Dave Staddon: Choosing tribal economic development plans

"Tribal economic development is a complex issue, but important to the future development of tribal economies. Tribes get a wide variety of projects pitched to them. And not all of them are potentially beneficial. It’s important to have somebody on staff that can do an evaluation of any proposed project. This would involve having as seasoned business professional on board as a staff consultant, an economic development director, or a similar position. But one person can’t know everything about everything, so it may be necessary to call in a consultant or a specialist in the specific industry/business in order to determine if the proposed project should make it past the initial stages. Accepting a referral for a consultant from the people/company making the pitch is not a good idea, for obvious reasons, hopefully. A challenge for many tribes is limited resources to engage in properly vetting a project, but the tribes who are most likely to be targeted have resources, usually from casino revenues.

First it’s important to evaluate the credibility of the company and individuals making the pitch. What’s their track record, who have they worked with in the past on what type of projects, how long have they been in business and what experience do they have in Indian Country? Investigate their background. This all sounds like common sense, right?"

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Dave Staddon: How Should Tribes Evaluate Economic Development Projects? (Indian Country Today 12/10)

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