LAWRENCE, Kan. - Former Kickapoo leader Steve Cadue was farsighted enough to realize that gaming could mean economic growth to tribes in Kansas when he signed one of the original gaming compacts with the state.
He has turned that vision to the need for economic expansion through the Internet and started iPathfinder, a startup website development company to help those in Indian country expose their dreams of economic success to a worldwide market.
Cadue said he believes that not only can tribes and American Indian businesses set up their own websites and bring their information to a worldwide audience through iPathfinder, non-Indian owned businesses can become more involved with tribal governments in business opportunities.
"We need to get a better communication of telling the world that business is welcome within Native American tribes," he said. "We think we can remedy this and get the message out with website development.
iPathfinder is a full-service company that specializes in website design, redesign, site maintenance, graphic design, multimedia components, E-commerce, Web-enabled data bases, ADA compliance and technical support.
Cadue, president of iPathfinder managed to form what he considers a strategic alliance of top Web developers, graphic designers, technical support personnel and content writers with an in-depth knowledge of Indian country.
"We have gathered people from across the nation who are experts in this," he said.
iPathfinder will have a special focus on Native American business, organizations and tribal government entities, Cadue explained. Development plans call for sales and technical support staff in Minneapolis, Denver, Albuquerque and Tulsa. iPathfinder also will work with tribal and community leaders to help develop information technology infrastructure facilities on reservations and in rural communities.
Cadue said he sees this as a valuable tool to create jobs and economic development in areas where jobs can be hard to find.
"The success of the Indian casinos has shown the economic capabilities of Indian tribes and demonstrated that a productive economy benefits everyone," Cadue said. "iPathfinder would like to be a guide to advance the expanded economic, social and cultural interests available to Native Americans in the Internet marketplace.
"We aren't limited to just Indian companies and tribes. We are going out for business with non-Indian businesses as well."
Cadue said companies that lay cable and telephone lines already are contacting iPathfinder, wanting to get on the cutting edge of widespread Internet access to remote areas across Indian country.
In a recent letter to Susan Masten, president of the National Congress of American Indians, Cadue applauded that organization's work to help Indian country cross the digital divide.
"We realized that there are still barriers to Internet access in many Indian communities," Cadue said. "Fortunately Indian leaders, such as Susan Masten, have recognized these barriers and are working hard to develop creative solutions. As a result these barriers are falling."
For information on iPathfinder visit www.iPathfinder.com.