The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe held a grand opening for its latest Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV) project yesterday in Onamia, MN. The new Eddy's Resort experience is all about recreation and is the perfect getaway for vacationers, families and outdoor enthusiasts. Special guests Eddy's Resort founder Eddy Silker, Senator Rick Nolan and National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Stevens joined the Band for the ribbon cutting and boat launch on Lake Mille Lacs.
The joint venture between the local community and the Band represents a strategic expansion into a market beyond gaming. Joe Nayquonabe, Commissioner of Corporate Affairs spoke to this strategy during the well-received Future of Indian Gaming Panel during the National Indian Gaming Association's (NIGA) Indian Gaming 2015 Conference & Tradeshow.
The Future of Indian Gaming Panel was one of the highly anticipated and well-attended sessions of Indian Gaming 2015. Nayquonabe explained the Band's Corporate Commission vision for economic diversification. He stressed how those additional opportunities provide more jobs for their tribal people allowing them to have a better quality of life. Chairman Stevens expressed how these are examples of the 387,000 indirect employment opportunities that tribes provide outside of gaming.
NIGA Chairman Stevens had the honor of presenting Nayquonabe an award during yesterday's grand opening for his visionary ways to extend the Band's self-sufficiency.
Nayquonabe is an example of a tribal executive that was encouraged to further his education, was provided internship experience and now is a leader in his community advancing economic development and business opportunities for his Band.
Although Indian gaming supports many of the services and programs offered by tribes, the Band wants to continue to plan smart so they are not dependent. The Band's casinos are performing strong, their hotels are doing well and Chief Melanie Benjamin, projects their newest resort to follow suit.
The Band's restoration of the property captures the genuine spirit of Eddy's Resort and creating a destination resort that continues to provide employment opportunities for the community, boost local tourism and enhance the environmental quality of the shoreline. This diversification follows the mission of the Band's former leader Arthur Gahbow. Gahbow dreamed of using gaming as a tool to rebuild and invest into tribal businesses and leaders like Benjamin and Nayquonabe are making sure this happens.
About Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures
Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures manages all the Mille Lacs Band's businesses, including Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Casino Hinckley, the Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel and the DoubleTree Hilton in St. Paul, Minn., 2020 Brand Solutions, Embassy Suites Oklahoma City and other Band-owned businesses such as a cinema, a grocery store, gas/convenience stores, a golf course, wastewater treatment plant and a print shop. It also oversees certain amount of the Band's investments and considers new business opportunities to provide economic support for the Band's future. Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures has over 3,500 employees and its board of directors is comprised of five members, who guide the business and investment decisions for the Band.