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Tribal Economic Diversity

Tribal Economic Diversity

Most financial experts agree that tribes that depend solely upon gaming revenues need to diversify their economy if they want the “seven generations” that they say they are protecting to thrive. A report prepared by Wells Fargo Bank and Boston Consulting Group spells out solutions for economic self-sufficiency for the 574 federally recognized tribes—gaming and in the U.S.

“Tribal communities have been impacted by economic events over the last 20-plus years: 9/11, the great financial crisis, and Covid,” Dawson Her Many Horses, the lead researcher for Wells Fargo, said. “This report was born out of that, reflecting on those experiences and our desire to support our clients and stakeholders in a way that’s meaningful and reflects our expertise in the market.”

One of the major problems for tribes of all sizes is the lack of access to capital. The chart at right demonstrates the few resources tribes can access.

The report provides tribal leaders a framework to think about other economic development opportunities with the profits they make from the casinos.

“It helps them think about other ways they can leverage their assets, to help them withstand the next economic downturn,” Her Many Horses said. “It’s a big report, but we think there’s a lot in it that folks will find useful.”

He hopes private investors will take a look at tribal communities.

“When we look at the banking landscape available for tribal communities, what we see is that a lot of the financial institutions that are available in mainstream America don’t necessarily go into or have exposure to Native America: venture capital, private equity, regional banks, national banks. You know, there are a lot of banks that just haven’t done much or may not know about opportunities in tribal communities,” Her Many Horses said.

To download a copy of the report, visit

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