Michigan Indian Tribes Seeking New Business Opportunities

A recent conference of at the Little River Casino Resort was the venue for a discussion among Michigan Indian tribes about how to diversify their business interests beyond casinos and gaming.

According ot Steve Parsons of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, casino gaming is not sustainable over the long-term.

Many speakers at the conference echoed the sentiment emphasizing the need for tribal members to apply for certification as minority businesses in order to qualify for government assistance and contracts.

William Largent, a Keewanaw Bay Indian who also is National Director of Native American Affairs for the U.S. Small Business Administration, commented that tribal economies used to be highly dependent on government assistance and natural resources. More recently, gaming and entertainment have become the focus of their economic actrivity. “It’s hard to find something that gives us the return on investment gaming does. We need to create economies in individual tribes. No two tribes are alike.” Largent observed.