Tribes discuss E-commerce opportunities at annual conference at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
Gila River Indian News
Tribal representatives and legal experts from across the country gathered to discuss tribally owned businesses and technology.
The Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Indian Legal Program, hosted the 5th Annual Tribal Government E-Commerce CLE Conference at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino from Jan. 31 to Feb.1.
The theme of the conference was, “Innovative Strategies for Business Development Via E-Commerce.” Guest speakers discussed how the proliferation of e-commerce has boosted the economies of tribal communities.
A number of questions emerge as tribal communities gain a foothold in the world of e-commerce such as how to start and sustain a tribally owned business that generates revenue through online transactions.
According to the conference press release, the development of an e-commerce in a tribe, can lead to a “Multiplier Effect.” The idea is for each dollar spent in an economy, that dollar will multiply in several ways, while staying within a tribal economy.
The agenda was centered on how e-commerce could provide opportunities to tribal communities, while improving areas like education, knowledge on managing finances and growth for independently owned businesses.
Other topics covered were on the legal parameters of operating a business over electronic media, the physical challenges of building the infrastructure needed to bring e-commerce to rural tribes and how it will generate a strong enough market for it to be sustainable. The expansion of e-commerce has opened the door to countless opportunities for economic revenue for tribes.
Lt. Gov. Robert Stone provided the opening prayer and remarks for the conference.
“We work with each other to learn how we can make a better life for all of our tribal communities across Indian Country,” said Stone, “These kinds of events are great, understand how we can bring new ideas into [our] communities around e-commerce.”
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis said, “This is such a one-of-a-kind conference that we have this gathering of experts to talk about e-commerce and what that means for tribal communities.” Lewis said despite the increasing number households that have access to the internet, there are many out there, that are still going without it.
Lewis said, “When we think about the development of electronics, that has grown from land lines, to hand-held devices that fit in the palm of a person’s hand. These are the technological advances that are bringing our people closer together.”
Douglas Sylvester, Dean of ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law said it is great to see tribes engage new areas of law as it relates to e-commerce.
“To grow and promote in the field of expertise of Indian Law, to train future attorneys and undertake meaningful projects with tribes like this conference, it is a point of pride that we support,” said Sylvester, “When we have conferences like this, we are looking at the technological solutions, that are going to present new opportunities for solving problems.”
“We have to think what will Indian Country be in 30 years, when we see the advances in technology that connects us to our families and communities,” said Lewis.