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TIGUA - Road To Recognition: The Travails Of A Tribe

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Author Topic: TIGUA - Road To Recognition: The Travails Of A Tribe  (Read 3641 times)
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2009, 04:29:36 pm »

Revenue loss

Pinching pennies for medical services wasn't a problem until 2002, when the tribe lost its major source of revenue -- The Speaking Rock Casino and Entertainment Center. The casino generated about $60 million a year, but the state shut it down.

Tribal leaders had set aside $2.5 million from casino profits to provide insurance for non-insured tribal members. It used about $400,000 for the tribe's alcohol and substance abuse program. Casino profits also subsidized the tribe's contract health services.

Last year, the tribe began looking at ways to become more self-sufficient without gaming. It established a for-profit corporation to seek out business opportunities and created an economic development board to oversee it

"Right now, we are laying the foundation to be able to make the best decision as far as economic development," Hisa said. "We need to start thinking like a nation and start operating like a nation. We need to create policies and laws to protect our interests and, at the same time, protect anyone investing in the tribe. If we don't have that in place, who will want to invest or team up with the tribe?"

The Tigua Tribal Council created an economic development board in December 2007 to research and make decisions about potential business ventures. It operates independently of the council.

The tribe could have given up after losing its bread and butter, said Patricia Riggs, the tribe's director of economic development. Instead, it sought to develop ways to make itself more sustainable.

"We researched what the tribe could do to take us to another level," Riggs said. "So, in a sense, the closure of the casino actually helped us to grow."
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