Tag Archives: Hannahville Indian Community

registered and ready to ride

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With all the protesting and other non-sense, like greenhouse door destruction and mask-wearing, I decided to register my e-bike. I forgot my mask at it has become policy to wear one in government buildings so I hiked up my sweatshirt for appopriate cover, I mean to safeguard others. Anyway…

Officer Poupore came out to regisgter my bike for me in case I need to file a claim. Insurance is a whole different type of legal robbery I will avoid today but sometimes can be useful if it pays.

Officer Popoure and I have had our run-ins, especially when I drink (imagine that) but he has always given me a sense of mutual respect.

Here is Officer Popoure is seen here getting my information.

We rely on people like him when we are in need and need help or protection from threats by others. He has been with our tribal organization for many years now and survived our tribal politics. For which he deserves a medal.

Thanks for registering my bike Officer.

Avoiding Politics is not easy

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The children are laughing before school, that is rare and a delight to my ears. It reminds that life and its hardships are not that important, relevant to a child’s laugh.

This morning I write in hopes that I can wake up more appreciative for my state, although it be a personal challenge for me. You see I live on an Indian Reservation where nepotism, cronyism and favoritism have given rise to qualifications for jobs we or “Indian People” performed for many years but now have qualifications put on these jobs so they are out of reach for many tribal members who live in poverty and continue a trend common in “Indian Country”. This is not the intent of the federal law Indian Gaming regulatory act of 1988 (IGRA) or tribal law known as Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO). IGRA provided the economic means to support TERO and other tribal law providing for the welfare of tribal members and Indian people on or near the reservation.

The federal governments policy on Indian Affairs has never been consistent and now tribal governments are following a similar pattern. The end result of these inconsistencies is that the social influence and social demands fall upon tribal members. The deficiency in tribal government and the businesses the government owns are evident in employment. Employment is created for tribal members through gaming activity and those proceeds are to be used for 5 specific needs, all intended to improve the quality of life for impoverished and poor tribal members within the tribal governments reach. This is not working in some tribal members favor, especially mine.

My problem is I can advocate for myself and I would rather interpret ideas and theories for myself. I prefer not to lean on everyone else’s understanding for everything. I know the intent of tribal gaming as I have been involved in the industry since 1988. The early years were especially tough because local business did not like the idea of tribal members benefiting from casino business, but pig farming was just fine. We had to prove our economic worth with pubic relations and promotion of the extended benefits to neighboring communities.

Now these same communities have many people working in the tribal government who interpret and impose tribal, federal and state laws and write policy and rules at their leisure. They benefit from tribal gaming and set the rules for tribal members to follow. One of these are recommending job qualifications.

About 75% of all tribal government and business managers are not tribal members. This presents an agency problem for tribal members in employment areas as the tribal government attempts to retain family control. Managers and directors, who often fear for their jobs, write qualifications that do not uphold TERO and the tribal committee who approves the job descriptions never reviews or strikes these additional and unnecessary requirements for a job because most are personal friends with managers and directors in the workforce.

Where does a tribal member go to resolve this issue ? The Executive management are also in charge of the court system where civil law is supposed to be debated and memorialized. One can not expect equality and fair application of procedure and law with this type of structure.

Tribal members have no protection of rights and often are criminalized for seeking an improved quality of life. Tribal Chiefs continue to admire beads and trinkets over the success of its own people.

My struggle continue.

Foundations of Finance: Tribal Members are Shareholders

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Introduction

An organizational analysis that compares a smaller company to a larger company can create new opportunities for change and growth. Creating economic growth in “Indian Country” or tribal reservations rely on business profits generated by various business ventures, usually undertaken by the tribal government. Indian reservations were formed to disperse land claims funds and the Hannahville Indian Community was one of those reservations. On June 27, 1936, duly adopted by a vote of 41 for, and none against in an election in which over 30 percent of those entitled to vote cast their ballots in accordance with section 16 of the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18,1934, (48 Stat. 984), as amended by the Act of June,15, 1935 (49 Stat. 378). Judgment funds were held in trust by the United States, including interest and investment income accruing on such funds, and judgment funds made available for programs or distributed to members of the Wisconsin Band of Potawatomi (Hannahville Indian Community and Forest County Potawatomi) (Public Law 100-581). In order to claim these land claims money tribes created governments who then in turn created business corporations through charters issued by the newly formed government. The Hannahville Indian Community was formed in 1936 and then formed a corporate organization with the same name. Pursuant to section 17 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat, 984), the Charter was issued on August 13, 1937, by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior to the Wisconsin Potawatomie of the Hannahville Indian Community, Harris-Wilson, Michigan, and was duly submitted for ratification to the adult members of the Community and was on August 21, 1937 duly adopted by a vote of 42 for, and none against.  With the adoption of the corporate charter Hannahville could now legally enter into contracts with other legal entities.

 Legal forms of business are reaching new global markets as corporate giants like Walt Disney World expand their stockholder’s wealth.  A business-like Walt Disney World has many common stockholders to keep informed throughout the world. Unlike a public corporation like Walt Disney Company. tribal organizations such as the Hannahville Indian Community are corporations chartered specifically by the federal government. Like Walt Disney Company some tribal organizations pay dividends or per cap payments to the tribal membership who are considered the legal owners of the tribal corporation. This study will compare organizational business structures and how corporate governance and reporting is practiced in each corporate entity.

The Shareholder

Corporations have a long history in the US economy. Corporations are an entity that legally functions separate and apart from the owners (Author J. Keown, 2017).  The shareholder in corporate structures adhere to certain ideals that promote the interest of shareholders in a business structure. The shareholder is the provider of equity in which businesses are formed to provide the equity needed for asset investment. For example, Walt Disney Company’s top five shareholders are also part of the governance board for the firm. According to Investopedia Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO owns 1.018 million shares, Christine McCarthy, the CFO holds 131,139 shares, making her the company’s second-largest individual shareholder. Alan Braverman, the Disney general counsel, holds 98,922 shares of the company. With 86,140 shares. Aylwin B. Lewis is the company’s fourth-largest individual shareholder. Robert W. Mattschull is the fifth-largest shareholder of Disney with 71,360 shares (Maverick, 2019). The information about the corporate governance and its ties to large shareholders is easily found.  When we examine tribal members, who are the investors, we find that there is only one share, and this belongs to the tribal council and its executive officers board. This sounds like a good working relationship overall but presents issues for tribal members as investors and stockholders of the organization’s resources and assets. Reporting standards made to stockholders, in our case, tribal members, are controlled by entity Corporate governance just like Walt Disney Company but has no measure of the equity for individual tribal members. The CEO board, which is a tribally chartered governance board are also the primary government officials for the tribal council who issues and grants charters. The tribe also utilizes a Section 17 corporation status to create bond issues for large construction projects. This type of corporation is easier to work with as it can be sue and be sued. The charter for a section 17 is issued by the US Secretary of Interior which allows the corporation to have only one share. This seems to be a huge advantage for governing officials who have remained in control for almost thirty years. There are no waivers of sovereign immunity issues because section 17 owns and manages the one controlling share of all tribal businesses. Without the proper controls the shareholder has no value to the executive management in the tribal corporation.

Importance of Knowledge

Corporate governance has become increasingly more important since the bank bailouts in 2008 due to scandals that included many companies, with Enron being the most memorable. Similar situations arise in the course of managing resources for tribal members. The Cobell Vs. Salazar settlement exposed mismanagement of Individual Indian Money accounts. There were about 300,000 account holders and the suit award 1.5 billion in 2010 (Echohawk, 2019). Both issues present the principal-agency problem. Principle five of Finance says: Conflicts of Interest Cause Agency Problems (Author J. Keown, 2017). The concept of free cash flows is a valuable tool to be able to understand how managers “use” cash and how conflicts can happen. This is evident in the disapproval of very highly compensated CEO’s who benefit from salaries and other business perks.  Cash flows are an important aspect of financial management and it is very important that tribal council and its corporate structure never fall short of evaluating performance from a cash flow perspective. Tribal Governments and the US Congress have specialized powers to reduce the shareholder to only one share and represented by a board the tribal governments construct to manage resources for economic development. When preparing to control the agency costs managerial finance and the use of financial statements for corporations is critical in meeting business objectives while creating wealth and value for the shareholder or tribal member. Training and development in financial administration would help introduce new ways to control spending costs in tribal administration and business management.

Previous observations of tribal council meetings involving fiancé decisions did not include a Cash flow analysis as most information was presented by Income statement performance or a projected budget. This can be misleading for top decision makers because they are not really viewing a true picture of cash flows and how they are created. Debt structure has been able to create growth and maintain operational expenses during slow seasons. Tribal members have been used to other managing their accounts as we saw in the Cobell case but often managers are not providing information on how to evaluate finances. How do tribes allow their tribal members to become competitive market players? Through proper evaluation techniques that allow them to make sound decisions about how to invest its resources or create debt to improve economic conditions with out taking on too much risk. Even if tribal members want to make riskier investments the opportunity is not available with the current business structure.

Even when “Indian reservations do have valuable economic resources, these resources either go undeveloped or are developed by outside, non-Indian promoters with only minimal economic return to the tribe and its members in the form of rentals or royalties.”23 H.R. REP. NO. 93-907 (1974), as reprinted in 1974 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2873, 2874, 1974 WL 11451.

As we compared a small organization, a federally chartered corporation to a larger, public company we can identify much more with the importance of maintaining proper and informative reports that can provide information to make a financial analysis. Although Walt Disney Company has global reach it has used technology to keep its shareholders well informed of their activities. In contrast finding financial information about the Hannahville Indian Community is cumbersome. If tribal members want to be able to evaluate the community and its businesses the proper financial documents need to be provided so voting members will have a better idea how to manage cash while maintaining high ethical standards. These include creating more opportunity and wealth for the average tribal members as the original investors.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion shareholders in US Corporations expect the value of their investment to increase and to know how the capital structure is being funded. Walt Disney Company is an example to follow as they are the entertainment giant to the world. The Hannahville Indian Community is also in the entertainment business and is heavily reliant on a steady stream of customers. When new capital projects are being considered there is no way for a tribal member to influence the outcome with shares they own in the company. Unlike Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Company, who owns over 1 million shares of stock that gives him huge advantage as a voting shareholder. Recently Tribal members opposed an investment in a new golf course and a tribal survey revealed that almost 80% of the registered voters in the community did not think it was a very good investment. If the tribal business structure were more transparent and improved the governance of the corporation then other voting rights and property right could be extended to the tribal member. Creating tribally or government owned business is not promoting individual membership inclusion in the decision process as they have not voting rights about resource allocations or there is no way to sell equity in the tribal organization as it is all owned by one board controlled by the tribal government. More exposure to training and development in financial administration while improve the chances that members can influence the outcome of cash flow and create an environment that adheres the first principle in Finance: Cash flow is what matters. If members can evaluate finances using more than income statements, then their chances to control principal-agent problems that create unnecessary expenses and demand using assets properly.

References

Author J. Keown, J. D. (2017). Foundations of Finance: The Logic and Practice of Financial Management. New York: Peason Education, Inc.

Echohawk, J. E. (2019). Individual Indian Money (IIM) Accounts – Cobell v. Salazar. Retrieved from NARF: https://www.narf.org/cases/cobell/

Maverick, J. (2019, October 3). The Top Five Disney Individual Shareholders (DIS). Retrieved from Investopedia: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/102715/top-5-disney-shareholders.asp

Thompson, H. D. (2018, October 19). GreenburgTraurig. Retrieved from Competitive Advantages of Doing Business with Native American Tribes & Tribal Corporations: https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2018/10/competitive-advantages-of-doing-business-with-native-american-tribes-and-tribal-corporations

Walt Disney World. (2019). About: Walt Disney World. Retrieved from Walt Disney World: https://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/about/