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Tom Daschle; PART TWO

WASHINGTON - In an exclusive interview with Indian Country Today, Senate
Minority Leader Tom Daschle provided his views on a range of national and
Native issues. In this conclusion Sen. Daschle offered his thinking on
inter-tribal private sector economic development in South Dakota and
elsewhere.

Indian Country Today: The idea that we've come to is the idea of a trade
and commerce expedition where tribal leaders or executives of tribal
businesses would go to places like South Dakota and take a look at what's
possible, pragmatically and practically - not like another conference or
something - in terms of connecting the wealth and the needs and the
opportunities of the larger Native economies in the East to some of the
tribal economies in the Midwest that haven't necessarily benefited as much
from gaming operations. What is your sense of that? Would it be useful to a
place like South Dakota?

Daschle:"I think it would be very useful. I think it would be a tremendous
opportunity for tribal leadership to compare notes and to compare the
challenges that we face with people that could make a difference in helping
us overcome those challenges. I would even argue that maybe it shouldn't be
thought of in terms of one meeting but an ongoing dialogue, perhaps both in
Washington as well as in South Dakota and maybe even in some of the
locations around the country, Connecticut and California and Florida come
to mind, where we could go there and make the case as well to a larger
group. It may be hard given busy schedules to expect everybody who could be
potentially helpful to come at one moment but if it were viewed as an
ongoing effort where that dialogue could be established and meaningful
relationships built over a period of time by using the three venues as sort
of the occasion for us to make the case, I think that has great merit and I
would be very supportive and want to be a part of anything along those
lines ... One possibility could be that a lot of people are coming in [to Washington, D.C.] for the dedication of the museum [the National Museum of the American Indian on Sept. 21], and it could be that the first effort to
create some dialogue could occur right while everybody is right here in
Washington."

ICT: Tribal leaders are sincere in looking at what can really be done to
reverse the trend of economic problems in parts of Indian country. For
example, at one nation they do some of their own beef production. But they
can't supply the full demand for beef in their casino complex. They would
welcome some sort of business relationship with Indian ranchers in South
Dakota for example, to start purchasing beef immediately. They're not one
of the largest enterprises out in the East either. There are even larger
ones.

Daschle: "Just think of the network that could build if you had a policy
that you tried to buy Indian first in those locations where they go through
just a tremendous amount of product. You know I was in Connecticut a couple
of months ago and I was amazed at how big those facilities are there, and
the tens of thousands of people that come through each week. So if they
had, you know, a buy-Indian program just in those resorts alone, there
would be a tremendous opportunity for economic development for ... the
reservations that have things to sell or could produce things that could
meet some of that demand... I'd love to be one of the catalytic forces here
if we can put some concrete ideas in place."