Visioning Tribal Economic Development

by Robert Parker

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) held its semi-annual conference at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington this week. Established in 1953 by Tribal leaders, ATNI represents over 50 Tribes from primarily Oregon, Washington, Idaho, with additional member Tribes in Alaska, Montana, Nevada, and Northern California. ATNI also hosts an EDA Economic Development District (EDD) that supports tribal economic development efforts.  The district is in the process of developing a comprehensive economic development strategy.

The CSC was invited by the ANTI Economic Development District to help facilitate a visioning workshop with tribal representatives. The workshop was organized by the district and about 25 tribal representatives attended. The participants identified a broad range of issues and opportunities facing tribes related to economic development. Three issues/opportunities rose to the top:

  1. Workforce
  2. Inter-tribal capital projects
  3. Economy that takes care of all

The participants discussed these issues in small groups and focused on leveraging strengths in these areas.  The session concluded with a report-back from the three groups and an overview of the next steps.  The EDD will host two more workshops as part of the CEDS process. CSC will continue to support ATNI in developing a CEDS that helps guides all Northwest tribes to a prosperous future.