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Interview: Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc.

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

"ndian Country Today: What do you think of as your greatest success, and how do you see it?

Lance Morgan: I think: building an organization that is lasting. I mean, on reservations with tribal environments, things kind of come and go. And the corporate entity we built has kind of evolved and learned and has laid down strong roots; and I think it will survive beyond me.

And when you have that kind of organization you can impact a lot of people's lives and impact a community in a broad way. So if I had to think about a greatest success, we are still here doing the same thing we started off doing - that's harder than you think in Indian country.

ICT: How did you manage to be so successful in Indian country: was the tribe a help or a hindrance?

Morgan: The tribe is ultimately responsible. They went along with Ho-Chunk Inc. because they believed in diversification. I'm not sure they had a complete understanding of how it was going to go and what we were going to do. I think that they trusted me at the time, and along the way the tribe has been incredibly helpful.

We've also had political issues that have been difficult and troubling; that comes from being in a tribal environment. We used the tribe's advantages to a great degree to help create our success. Tribal people offer a unique perspective, and also they can be tough employees.

So really you have kind of a mixed bag. On the whole, a tribal entity has positives, as long as they have a system that allows you to take advantage of positives. I think that's what makes us unique; we have a pretty clearly defined separation of business and politics. The tribe agreed to that and they are largely responsible for it, and they have maintained it to a large extent."

Get the Story:
A conversation with ... Lance Morgan (Indian Country Today 2/13)

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

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