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TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN -
“Indians should view their economies like third-world countries,”
declared John Petoskey, Ottawa, at the "Emerging Tribal Economies" seminar in Traverse City, Michigan on Thursday.
"This is a useful metaphor," said Petoskey. "Tribes have to work on business development in their markets."
Petoskey, a partner with Fredericks Peebles & Morgan, LLP, served as general counsel for the Grand Traverse Bay Band of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians for 23 years prior to becoming a partner.
He provided an overview American Indian economies in Michigan currently, which are dependent on Indian gaming. Combined the American Indian Michigan tribes that have casinos take in $1.3 billion annually from slot machines.
"Gaming is not recession-proof," said Gavin Clarkson, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, who is a associate professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center.
“Tribes need to diversify.”
"Buy a successful and profitable business and make it an Indian-owned business," Clarkson told the seminar attendees. "Ninety percent businesses fail, why not buy one that is already successful and keep their experienced management staff?"
"Tribes should consider gaining the SBA 8(a) program," said Antonio Franco, an attorney with PilieroMazza PLLC from Washington DC. "It is a business development program."
A SBA 8(a) designated business is a for profit, small business, at least 51 percent tribally-owned and controlled and has potential for success.
"Tribal enterprises can own and operate any number of 8(a) firms," continued Franco.
Participants at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
The seminar is being held at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, which is owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, based in Suttons Bay, Michigan.
The "Emerging Tribal Economies" seminar organized by The Seminar Group and continues on Friday.
posted August 11, 2011 6:00 pm edt
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