Today, new technologies and market interests are dramatically changing the business opportunities for many tribes, and few are better positioned to take advantage of those breakthroughs than the Northern Arapaho. One significant change is that many industries no longer are hampered by location. They can exist wherever telecommunications can reach. Likewise, vast, unspoiled land holdings are increasingly rare. So rather than being too far from markets, industries like ecotourism, telecommunications, power generation, oil, gas, and mineral development are coming to areas like WRIR. Having a stable pool of workers who can be trained for specific industries also has become a valuable commodity that many are seeking.
We have numerous schools on our land, from preschool to high school, and Central Wyoming College, an accredited community college, is located in Riverton. The Arapaho Tribe is in the process of developing our own Wind River Community College. The University of Wyoming is only a few hours to the southeast.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe has taken an organized, methodical approach to developing its corporate enterprise capabilities. First, they have invested substantially in building the community infrastructure with new homes, water, sewer, and electrical service and more. That process is still underway. They have also secured the resources for those projects from public sector programs and then managed the funds effectively.
To continue to expand these types of activities, the Tribe formed the Northern Arapaho Business Development Corporation (NABDC) in 1999. The purpose of the corporation is to serve non-tribal partnerships and expand American Indian owned business on tribal lands. A primary goal is to enable the corporation’s management team to work in harmony with but separate from the day-to-day demands of managing the overall tribal government. The organization has a seven member Executive Board made up of tribal leaders, as well as an advisory council, made up of experts from a variety of companies, including US Bank, First Interstate Bank and a law firm. As a result, the Northern Arapaho Business Development Corporation is now a business designed to do business effectively.
Among the assets the Corporation brings to the marketplace are:
- A vast natural resource: The tribe owns over 2 million acres of remarkable beauty and salable natural resources, both above and below ground.
- A dependable labor force: The Tribe represents a labor pool of more than 2000 individuals between the ages of 18 to 54. Tribal members have a vast interest in hosting the success of the enterprise development on our home-land.
- Access to training support resources: Public and private sector resources are available to help train Tribal members for specific industries. That represents a significant savings for most participating companies. This resource also includes a new 3000 square foot Training and Community Center now under construction.
- Private sector firms seeking to partner with the Tribe: Several companies from a variety of industries are available to partner on specific joint ventures. Such partnerships provide added expertise, resources and the ability to produce at levels otherwise not feasible for the Tribe.
- A strong general management and advisory team: The corporation’s Advisory Council helps to guide the organization through sound business decisions and prudent stages of growth.
- A strong fiscal control and reporting system: As part of our overall development process we created effective financial management system for all tribal activities. As a result, the Tribe has received recommendations-free independent audits consecutively for the last few years.