March 23, 2007
Lance Morgan, CEO Ho-Chunk, Inc.
Posted by Gordon Smith

I am sitting in the 21st Annual Coming Together of Peoples Conference, listening to Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc. Morgan is telling the story of his company, and he begins by fingering tribal trust land as the source of economic development problems among Native Americans. Under the most charitable view of history, trust land was initiated as a way to protect Native Americans from expropriation, but even if it began for good reasons, trust land now stands in the way of economic development. The problem is that trust land cannot be used as collateral.

Enter gambling, which has provided the capital for further community development in Thurston County, Nebraska. Much of that development is now being financed through grants and tax credits, but the ultimate goal, according to Morgan, is to create an economically viable community, which does not exist now.

By the way, Morgan graduated from Harvard Law School.

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