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2017-05-18 / Front Page

Summit Produces Plan For Reservation Economy

BY TOM CRASH
LCT CORRESPONDENT

Lance Morgan, executive director of Ho- Chunk Inc. Speaks to the Tribal Economic Summit participants; photo courtesy of Arlo Iron Cloud.Lance Morgan, executive director of Ho- Chunk Inc. Speaks to the Tribal Economic Summit participants; photo courtesy of Arlo Iron Cloud.
RAPID CITY - Last week, tribal representatives, businessmen, program directors and students came together in Rapid City at the Best Western Ramkota for the First Great Plains Tribal Lead-ers’ Economic Summit.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were open for tribal representatives from a number of areas while Friday was reserved for representatives from the tribal government, districts and communities of Pine Ridge reservation.

“This conference was a complete success, beyond expectations,” said Dr. Richard Zephier, OST Planning Office director and one of the conference planners. “For us, the conference focused on the needs of economic development on Pine Ridge Reservation, developing an employable work force, structuring government to meet economic needs of the reservation and providing strategies to improve reservation infrastructure.”


OST representatives pose with Ho-Cunks Lance Morgan and included Tiger Brown Bull, Darla Black, James Cross, Steph Leasure, Ella John Carlow, Kydia Bear Killer, Lance Morgan, Scott Weston, Richard Greenwald and Donna Salomon; photo courtesy of Arlo Iron Cloud. OST representatives pose with Ho-Cunks Lance Morgan and included Tiger Brown Bull, Darla Black, James Cross, Steph Leasure, Ella John Carlow, Kydia Bear Killer, Lance Morgan, Scott Weston, Richard Greenwald and Donna Salomon; photo courtesy of Arlo Iron Cloud. Summit objectives going into the conference included: sharing examples of innovative governance strategies, best practices and resources to assist tribal leaders to take necessary steps to create an environment for successful economic development; inspire tribal leaders and their economic development teams to explore new approaches to stimulating tribal economies consistent with cultural contexts and provide a forum for tribal leaders in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions to work together to develop regional economic development strategies.

“Lance Morgan, executive director of Ho-Chunk Inc., was a breath of fresh air,” said Zephier, “He stresses the need to stagger terms of council members so that a third of the representatives are elected every two years for better continuity, develop a holding company that would be separate from tribal government, provide support for small business development, develop a separation of powers within tribal government, having a strong court system, and the creation of a process to lease land and to have long term leases available.”

“Tribal councils need data to manage tribal economies,” added Zephier.

“And the Promise Zone helps the tribe access federal resources.”

There were 216 participants at the conference that was started with the help of a $50,000 Bush Foundation grant, and $188,000 in donations, contributions and grants.

“We need to put together a secretarial election to bring about staggered terms, we need to implement a separation of powers, something that already was passed in a secretarial election and with a profile of each district, encourage development in each district summed up some of the participants,” said Zephier.

“Tribal leaders were inspired, especially after Lance Morgan’s presentation,” said Arlo Iron Cloud who broadcast parts of the summit live on KILI Radio and streamed other parts live,

“Morgan did say that he had been approached at least six times over the years from representatives from Pine Ridge, asking for help and advice - after a day long session, you’d see 20- 25 summit participants get together to discuss the day’s presentations and how they could be implemented back home.”

Presenters and discussion leaders included Dr. Miriam Jorgensen/Research Director Native Nations Institute, LanceMorgan,JoanTimeche/ executive director Native Nations Institute, Nikki Pieratos, executive director and Dr. Dick Todd/Advisor Center for Indian Country Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Attorney’s Steve Gunn and Charles Abourezk, Joseph Serena, project director, Small Business Services, U.S. Department of Transportation and Bruce Jones, acting state director of USDA, Rural Development.

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