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Tribal Financial Advisors Adds Native Advisory Board

Tribal Financial Advisors, an independent investment bank headquartered in Los Angeles specializing in capital, financial advising and casino operations management specifically for Native tribes and entities, has added an advisory board. This board, chaired by Rick Hill, chairman emeritus of the National Indian Gaming Association and former chairman of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, draws from Native business and gaming executives around the country.

“The purpose of the advisory board is two fold,” Hill told Indian Country Today Media Network in an exclusive interview. “First, the board will help TFA educate tribes about the financial options available to them to develop their communities. Second, the board will educate TFA about tribes and their communities. Tribal councils are under tremendous pressure to balance [demands on] and allocate their resources. Many investment transactions are complex and complicated. Who wouldn’t want seven senior bankers on their side of the table when negotiating with the bank?”

According to a press release from TFA, these individuals are national proponents of tribal economic sovereignty and will advise TFA on tribal financial matters across Indian Country. All were hand picked by Hill and chosen for “the highest integrity from different tribes who share my philosophy of promoting tribal economic growth and understand the importance that financing decisions have on a tribe’s sovereignty. I sought out individuals who have a breadth of knowledge and understanding across multiple tribal environments in order to share with TFA their professional wisdom and provide the best advice possible.”

The other six member of the advisory board are:

  • Tribal Chairman Daniel Tucker of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, and chair of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association
  • Tom Rodgers (Blackfeet Nation), an advocate/lobbyist, and a whistle-blower in the Jack Abramoff scandal
  • John Tahsuda (Kiowa of Oklahoma), principal in Navigators Global, a political affairs firm based in Washington, D.C., where he leads the tribal affairs practice. He also serves as a policy advisor for the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.
  • Kip Ritchie (Forest County Potawatomi), chief operating officer of the Potawatomi Business Development Corporation
  • Valerie Spicer (Mescalero Apache), acting director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association and its former deputy director
  • David Greendeer, former chief executive of the Ho-Chunk Nation (Wisconsin), faculty fellow of Global Association of Alternative Investors, focusing on Native American investment, community development and transglobalization

The advisory board will provide insight into tribal communities and consider recommendations for products and services that TFA could offer to tribal entities, according to Hill.

“This is a natural progression for TFA as a business—one of their goals was to establish this board. My own experience is such that I know financial transactions have significant impact on tribal governments. Both long and short-term decisions they make deal with large amount of resources of the tribe and can affect their sovereignty. This advisory board is about getting people around the idea to help educate tribal councils and staff about what’s available in terms of investment, to diversify beyond gaming and casinos and develop their communities generally. Through collaboration with the tribes at the outset, TFA can help protect tribal priorities and goals, and help them go through all the ideas they have to develop their communities,” he told ICTMN.

Hill adds that each advisory board member has committed to a one-year term, and will meet for regular quarterly meetings. Additional meetings may be scheduled as appropriate. Hill will serve as liaison between the advisory board and TFA’s management.

According to TFA’s website, Tribal Financial Advisors was founded in 2009. TFA is not a provider of capital, instead it recommends creative solutions for Tribes.