Waséyabek Development Company, LLC (WDC) is a 100% Tribally-owned holding company formed by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP) to manage non-gaming economic diversification activities. The need to diversify Tribal economies is well established, as are successful strategies.

Nation building, Tribal community expansion, economic self-sufficiency, long-term wealth, and employment opportunities will be supported by the profitable operation and revenue generated by WDC’s subsidiary companies, as part of a broader economic development commitment by the Tribe.

“Our economic development organization is based on a proven model called the ‘Harvard Project Model’ developed 29 years ago and utilized today by those Tribes who are most successful at implementing economic diversification,” said Waséyabek Chief Executive Officer, and President, Deidra Mitchell.  “The study can be broadly summarized by saying that Sovereignty Matters, Institutions Matter, Culture Matters, and Leadership Matters.”

For more information on the Harvard Project, go to http://hpaied.org/about/overview.

Many Tribes have experienced exponential economic growth because of gaming. The resulting revenues have been a valuable resource to assist Tribes in turning their community’s wealth (people, land, culture, ideas, and initiatives) into Tribal government policies and practices that sustain the health and well-being of current and future generations. However, even during the early years of Indian gaming, dialogue began among Tribal leaders regarding the wisdom of singular and long-term dependence on gaming.

Time has passed and these conversations have acted as a foretelling: Increased competition from non-Indian gaming enterprises, over-saturation of the national gaming market, increased regulatory requirements, online gaming, and public concern over gambling addiction have placed ever-increasing pressure on Indian gaming.

Because of these concerns, WDC was organized in May 2011, and Tribal Council began a search for qualified Waséyabek Board Members in 2013. In 2014, the Board was seated and began building a foundation of policies and procedures to bring to life the vision of the NHBP Tribal Leadership and Membership.

Today, Waséyabek Development Company, LLC continues to build the infrastructure needed to support economic diversification efforts with people, procedures, and equipment; strengthen its financial position by evaluating the viability of current business holdings, and has been identifying and evaluating businesses for potential purchase or investment. In keeping with the philosophy of the Tribe, WDC evaluates their investments, acquisitions, and partnerships with an eye towards supporting the next Seven Generations.

References:

Mitchell, Deidra. “Why Waséyabek?” Turtle Press, July 2016, p. 34.