Historic memorandum of understanding signed

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Bill Martin, president of Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) and Chris E. McNeil Jr., Sealaska president and CEO recently announced that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Central Council and Sealaska.

The memorandum is a historic agreement that strengthens opportunities for shareholders and members of both Native organizations. The intent is to provide business opportunities to meet mutual objectives, including exploring business partnerships and investment opportunities in the region.

“This is a challenging time for southeast Alaska but there is potential for developing innovative and sustainable economies,” McNeil said. “Collaboration amongst these Native institutions represents a new model to discovering solutions that will strengthen our region and benefit tribal members and Sealaska tribal member shareholders.”

Sealaska and Central Council will work to identify and evaluate strategic plans then consider acquisition or startup of operating enterprises. The primary goals of the memorandum are to:

• Research new opportunities to improve the economic conditions of and employment opportunities for the tribe’s members and Sealaska’s tribal member shareholders.

• Generate revenue for the tribe and Sealaska.

• Enhance the tribe’s economic self-sufficiency and self-determination.

• Increase benefits and employment opportunities for tribal members and Sealaska tribal member shareholders.

• Enhance Sealaska’s access to contract opportunities.

“During this struggling economy it is important that we obtain maximum funding for our region through the stimulus act,” Martin said. “I look forward to the tribe working cooperatively with Sealaska to bring economic and employment opportunities to our tribal citizens and shareholders.”

Central Council and Sealaska will focus on U.S. Small Business Administration federal contracting and mentor/protégé programs, renewable energy projects, labor force training and deployment, tourism and community infrastructure development.

“The board of directors, Sealaska management and our subsidiaries are working together to increase our economic activity in the southeast,” said Sealaska Director Tate London. “This MOU aligns well with that vision and is an important step that will build off the collective strength of Sealaska and Central Council.”

Presidents Martin and McNeil’s vision is to jointly develop enhanced revenue for the tribe and Sealaska through future partnerships. Sealaska and Central Council will initially focus on the opportunities available by passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.