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Lance Morgan: Indian culture always about survival

Ed. Note: Lance Morgan is CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Ho-Chunk Inc. owns Indianz.Com and its sister e-commerce site

"I run Ho-Chunk, Inc., a 10-year-old tribal development corporation. When we first started Ho-Chunk, Inc., we had discussions about being ''too corporate'' or ''too white'' or losing our cultural identity. I used to spend lots of time balancing this issue, but to be honest I have decided that it really is a non-issue. It occurs to me that we are stereotyping ourselves. We have an image of ourselves rooted in a culture based on an economic reality from a long-distant past. The vast majority of Indians are not living in the woods, hunting or growing their food and making their own clothes.

Rather than worry about being culturally appropriate, we should be focusing on our inner core values as a people. How we make a living shouldn't define us - that is the white world. What should define us is how we view ourselves, how we view the world, how we treat each other, and how we treat our families. To me, being Indian isn't about hunting and gathering. It is about something far more important.

There is no playbook on how to be a modern Indian in a corporate world, so we at Ho-Chunk, Inc. decided a few years ago to stop feeling guilty and to simply self-validate ourselves."

Get the Story:
Lance Morgan: Collective cultural guilt (Indian Country Today 2/17)

Relevant Links:
Winnebago Tribe -
Ho-Chunk Inc. -

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