"I have been honored to lead my tribe, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, as tribal chairwoman in our quest for true tribal gaming economic self-sufficiency, by transitioning our casino from non-Native corporate management to our own tribal corporate management through the creation of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Entertainment Corporation.
As an aside, I have also been able to interact on another level with Corporate America, participating on many community boards where we are integrated with the presidents and CEOs of major multi-billion dollar corporations.
So I can say that I have sat on “both sides of the table” as a tribal leader contracting for products and services, and as a business owner seeking work. I have also witnessed how others keep themselves economically healthy by circulating their money back to their own communities.
The two largest and most esteemed national American Indian fraternal organizations, the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Gaming Association, get it. They incorporate American Indian business usage into their organization’s supplier base.
One can argue that NCAI and NIGA could do more, but I know that they believe in our people and rotate projects around to qualified American Indians.
And, the cry for using our own businesses has been shouted by our top-most leaders and the rhetoric to use our businesses is discussed at most every major Indian gathering. A Native businessperson even trademarked the phrase, “Buy Native.”
So it goes. Many attempts to formally organize campaigns to use American Indian businesses have been dismal and politically exclusive."
Get the Story:
Tracy Stanhoff: Buying Indian, supporting us all
(Indian Country Today 7/6)