Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current, March 15, 2011, Page 3, Image 3

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    Smoke Signals 3
MARCH 15, 2011
Membership receives update on economic development
By Dean Rhodes
Smoke Signals editor
New Tribal Economic Develop
ment Director Titu Asghar pre
sented an overview of the Tribe's
burgeoning economic development
efforts at the Sunday, March 6,
General Council meeting held in
the Tribal Community Center in
Grand Ronde.
Asghar explained to Tribal mem
bers the foundation he has been
establishing since joining the Tribe
on Jan. 17.
After a brief explanation of his
previous work history and educa
tion, Asghar launched into the
philosophical underpinnings that
Tribal economic development will
need to have to become successful.
He said the Tribe must establish
clear-cut goals and also decide on
criteria with which to judge possible
Tribal economic development. The
Tribe needs to establish an invest
ment vetting process that will help
Tribal leaders make "thoughtful
decisions" and have a disciplined
investment approach, he added.
All of this, he said, will establish
a Tribal investment policy state
ment. Asghar briefly covered many of
the decisions that must go into
establishing a Tribal investment
policy. For instance, does the Tribe
want its economic development
efforts to be complementary to
its current business enterprises
in gaming and timber or does the
Tribe want to expand into other
areas that are not correlated to its
current business holdings? Does
the Tribe want to invest seed capi
tal in start-up companies without a
history of success or does it instead
want to invest in established com
panies with proven management in
a competitive market position?
Asghar said the Tribe also must
keep a global perspective when ana
lyzing potential economic develop
ment opportunities since events in
countries like Libya and Egypt can
affect the local economy through
higher gas prices.
"We need to take a holistic ap-
1 i
I k I- I .11 I
1 J
Photo by Michelle Alalmo
Titu Asghar, Tribal Economic Development director, responds to a question from
Tribal member Michael Bolton during the General Council meeting held in the
Tribal Community Center in Grand Ronde on Sunday, March 6. Asghar gave a
presentation on the Tribe's economic development efforts during the meeting.
proach and make educated guess
es," Asghar said. "We need to hunt
for the value in a bad economy and
diversify to spread out the risks
while still protecting our turf."
Asghar invoked well-known in
vestor Warren Buffett, who said
that in economic development and
investing, "Tomorrow is always
Asghar said he hopes to work with
Tribal Finance to help diversify the
Tribal stock portfolio so that not all
stocks are in one particular sector
of the economy.
"We need to divide the pie to meet
your needs," he said.
Tribal member Michael Bolton
said that he is concerned that
increasing gas prices will cause
another recession and that Tribal
economic development efforts need
to take that into consideration.
Tribal member Eric Bernando
said he supports diversifying the
Tribe's revenue stream beyond Spir
it Mountain Casino, timber sales
and state and federal funding.
Asghar said Tribal economic de
velopment should be about creating
the opportunity to create jobs and
make money, but it also should be
open to out-of-area investments
that will make the Tribe money.
Other Tribal members endorsed a
variety of economic diversification
efforts, from buying real estate in
a down market, funding biofuel ef
forts to decrease Tribal dependence
on foreign oil, eco-tourism on the
Reservation, starting ranching
operations to provide meat to the
casino and helping Tribal members
start their own businesses.
"Are we going to create an eco
nomic development environment
where Tribal members can start
their own businesses or are we
just going to make the Tribe more
money?" asked Tribal member
Bryan Mercier.
"A bit of both," Asghar said. "Job
creation is a byproduct of economic
Tribal member and Cultural
Resources Manager David Lewis
also suggested investing in Tribal
members who want to start their
own businesses. "Are we going to be
enriching the Tribe or investing in
Tribal members so they can make
a living as well?"
Tribal member and Eugene Of
fice Coordinator Perri McDaniel
suggested the Tribe concentrate on
self-sufficiency and sustainability
in its economic development efforts,
noting that most investments are
dependent on the oil industry. She
said she supports ways for the Tribe
to create its own energy, get off the
grid and grow its own food.
McDaniel's comments inspired a
discussion among Tribal members
about what Tribal self-sufficiency
"To me, diversification of assets
is the only way to become self-sufficient,"
Tribal Council member Valo
rie Sheker, who chaired the meeting,
said. "They go hand in hand."
Tribal Council member Wink
Soderberg said economic diversifi
cation should either create jobs or
create businesses that bring money
in to the Tribe.
Tribal Council member Jack
Giffen Jr. said that Tribal Council
has to balance the need to help
Tribal members who live locally
with ensuring Tribal investments
make money so that Tribal mem
bers who live outside of the area
still receive per capita, health care
and other Tribal benefits.
"Not all Tribal members live
here," Giffen said. "It's a struggle to
meet that mission statement."
Asghar concluded the 90-minute
presentation by adding that he is
proud to have joined the Tribe.
"We need to focus on what your
needs are," he said. "I will be per
fectly happy coming to you every
day, defending why I did not lose
your money."
Before Asghar's presentation,
Tribal members Bobby Mercier
and Brian Krehbiel performed a
blessing song.
The next General Council meet
ing will be held Sunday, April 3, in
Portland. The location has yet to be
Tribal Elders Butch LaBonte and
Steve Rife and Tribal member Gary
Campbell won the $50 door prizes
and Tribal member Rhonda Leno
won the $100 door prize. D
Saturday, March is zmi
Starting at Neon I
Community Center, Grand Re
.1 sZkm
Meal Service starts at Noon
Please come and enjoy some
I 4 x Traditional Foods!
V All are welcome!
I And FREE to all!
'mtm 1 Mmm
f? I
Eugene Tribal Wellness Program meets
The Eugene Tribal Wellness Program meets at 10 a.m. Monday,
Wednesday and Thursday in the satellite office at 711 Country Club
Road, Suite 1A. All fitness levels are welcome. The program covers
strength, cardio and stretching, and discusses strategies for healthy
living at home. .
The program is free to Tribal members and their spouses.
For more information, contact 541-484-7085. B
Land to be added to list for trust
Ad created by George Valdez
continued from front page
on the west side of Grand Ronde
"Even though this acquisition was
primarily driven for land consolida
tion purposes, it will immediately
generate additional income for the
Tribe from the hay fields and home
rental," he said.
In addition, Tribal representa
tives are surveying the properties to
determine if there are any potential
cultural assets located on them.
Reibach thanked numerous Trib
al departments for assisting in the
negotiations and purchase, includ
ing Finance, the Tribal Attorney's
Office, Executive Office and Tribal
"Congratulations to everyone for
all the work in getting our lands
back," he said.
Reibach said the properties would
be placed on a list of Tribal lands
that need to be taken into trust with
an application to be filed within the
next 12 to 24 months with the Bu
reau of Indian Affairs. B