Deidra Mitchell, President & CEO of Waséyabek Development Company, LLC, was asked to sit on a roundtable discussion hosted by MiBiz with a group of West Michigan Tribal leaders and business executives. Throughout the conversation, an overarching theme emerged that while West Michigan Tribes are new to implementing economic development and diversification plans, they have rapidly proven themselves to be successful key partners within their local business communities. What makes them unique is that they focus on building strong portfolios of commercial, federal, and real-estate investments with long-term, seven generational outlooks, which supports stable communities.
Tanya Gibbs is a managing partner of the Grand Rapids office of Rosette LLP, a majority Native American-owned niche law firm that works exclusively with tribal clients nationally. She spoke highly of Waséyabek Development Company, LLC (WDC) and Gun Lake Investments (GLI) in an article MiBiz wrote for the same issue in which the roundtable was featured. Gibbs said, “I think [WDC and GLI] are leaders nationally for a couple of reasons, the first being that they’ve been able to be really successful in a very short period of time.”
When asked what the West Michigan business community should know about doing business with tribally-owned companies, Deidra responded, “The relationships are long term, and there’s a foundation there that they can count on. The very nature of the culture of looking at seven generations is good for the community they’re in as well, because we have to be good business partners. We can’t go into a conversation thinking we’re here for seven generations and be a bad business partner.”