From the Editor: COVID Has Shown Us That Diversification Is More Important Than Ever

“Whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic, recovering from a pandemic, or not in a pandemic at all, the need for economic diversification across Indian Country is a constant,” Carmen Davis the founder, publisher and executive editor of Native Business Magazine.

Let’s face it: we talk about diversification a lot here. There’s a good reason for that; inspiring Tribes to diversify their economies and business holdings has been a foundational part of our mission and why we started this magazine in the first place.

We are now at 15 months since the World Health Organization issued a global health emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. Over that time, many businesses have closed permanently and still more have continued to operate while barely making ends meet. Entire industry sectors have been hit so hard that they will take years—if not longer—to rebuild.

Many of the sectors hit hardest—gaming, tourism, hospitality, and others—are core revenue generators for many Tribes. Fortunately, while we aren’t in the clear just yet, the fog appears to be lifting. The number of vaccinations is rising and the number of new cases are falling. Hope is glittering on the horizon.

Whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic, recovering from a pandemic, or not in a pandemic at all, the need for economic diversification is a constant. In the past weeks, we’ve featured some stellar examples of Tribes doing just that.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has added another property to its expanding Seminole Real Estate Fund (SemREF), with the purchase of a luxury apartment building in Dallas featuring 124 units and modern, high-end amenities. The Hudson Dallas is the third property the Seminoles have purchased since launching the fund; they also have another property in Dallas and a property in North Carolina.

“Until now, the tribe’s sovereign wealth fund has received most of its revenue from casino properties, but after extensive research and deliberation, it was concluded that commercial real estate is the next advantageous, conservative opportunity for tribal investment,” they said.

In California, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have expanded their holdings into the Las Vegas market with the announced acquisition of the Palms Casino Resort. For 35 years, San Manuel has operated a casino in Highland, Calif., making this purchase truly an important milestone.

“Today represents an important step for the Tribe and its long-term economic diversification strategy,” said San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez.

And, since rarely a day goes by when cryptocurrency isn’t in the business headlines, we interviewed Blake Trueblood—one of Indian country’s foremost advocates and most knowledgeable resources when it comes to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Trueblood sees these new forms of currency as having great potential to diversify Tribal investment portfolios.

“If you’re a large gaming Tribe with a large cash reserve, are you going to let it sit there and get eaten away at by inflation?” Trueblood asked. “Or could you invest in Bitcoin as a means to hedge against that inflation?”

We may have seen significant disruption over the past 15 months, but one lesson we should unquestionably take away is that diversification is essential. We will continue providing news and inspiration to help you find new avenues for economic success and prosperity.


Native Business Magazine

Native Business Magazine

Carmen Davis - Founder, Publisher and Executive Editor

Mrs. Davis is the founder, publisher and executive editor of the only Native American wholly owned and operated national tribal business publication, Native Business Magazine, and the producer of the annual and nationally attended Native Business Summit.

Mrs. Davis is also president of Davis Strategy Group has over 23 years of service to Indian Country and as an entrepreneur she has successfully established, operated, managed and grown several businesses in multiple sectors. She is equal parts a strategic visionary and behind-the-scenes implementor, essential in guiding and overseeing every process of brand development, business expansion, nation-to-nation relationship building and more.

She was named in 2009 as one of the first recipients of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s, “40 Under 40” award which recognizes up and coming community and business leaders from across Indian Country.