Life survey to measure tribes' needs

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LAS VEGAS - Hoping to improve the quality of life on reservations
everywhere, some key business and communication leaders are teaming up to
conduct a new survey which will study the individual needs of tribes
nationwide and offer advice on how they can better their communities.

The purpose of the assessment is to identify priority needs for which
communications and information technology can be designed and implemented
to solve tribal concerns. The surveys will ask a series of questions aimed
at determining, and then ranking, what tribal members see is lacking in
their communities. Its narrow focus will make it differ from other such
surveys.

"This will be for the people, by the people to get accurate information to
help each reservation have a measuring stick for the future," said Marty
Hale, CEO of Blue Moon Solutions, a telecommunications company working on
the survey. "This is not to just create numbers. We want to look at where
the tribes were yesterday, where they are today and where they want to be
tomorrow."

Survey conductors expect a wide range of results - from infrastructure and
service needs such as police and fire protection, day-care, rubbish
collection and public transportation to affordable health care, secure
employment, housing and education - to top the lists. When compiled, the
list will be prioritized so tribes can determine which projects, especially
infrastructure improvements, should be funded first based on tribal input.

The Quality of Life Assessment was launched at February's Reservation
Economic Summit (RES 2005) in Las Vegas, where many tribal attendees filled
out and returned the surveys that will eventually be compiled, analyzed and
made public for them to view.

In the coming months, surveys will be conducted on reservations across the
country and tribal members will even be able to complete the forms online.
Once the data is collected and logged into a computer, it will constantly
be updated and can be used to create a master plan for the tribe, helping
them stay on track to reach their goals.

"This is something I always wanted to do," said Ken Robbins, president and
CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. "One
of the most frequent questions I get asked when I travel to reservations
is, 'We want to start a business, what would work?' It's a perplexing
question. Each community is different. Each has its own needs. We want to
assemble a team to go around and identify businesses that could be
successful.

"Find a need and fill it: that's the key to success."

To access the National Center's Web site go to www.ncaied.org.