A new online community, GoTribalGov, is an exclusive networking community to support, inspire, encourage, share and connect Tribal professionals and Native American business people.
Minneapolis, MN (December 5, 2012) – Kim Strand, Ojibwe of Wisconsin, has started an online community exclusively for Tribal governments, Native American professionals and business owners. GoTribalGov is dedicated to providing information, networking and support to people who work in Native American governments and Native American businesses. The online networking community will allow members to discuss problems and help each other come up with solutions, share information, and get the latest developments in Indian Country.
While working at the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, Strand says she witnessed the stress of change in Tribal Council leadership. "I am at awe of the people who work in our Tribes everyday and deal with the challenges and stress, and who try and have good outcomes for our people. At the same time there is often little support for our leaders and employees. This is part of my inspiration for creating a new website called GoTribalGov."
Working in the economic and business development department at Lac Courte Oreilles, Strand realized how isolated working in Tribal government could be. She says, "Our Tribes are often in rural areas where we don’t have access to other Native development associations and groups. At Lac Courte Oreilles there were no other Native economic and business development directors."
Strand says, "There are 565 federally recognized Tribes across America so there must be at least 300 other economic development people. But I did not know who they were or how to contact most of them. When I did make contact with others they were very helpful, encouraging and informative. I often thought there should be an association or some kind of forum where we could connect on a regular basis. Face-to-face meetings are often impractical because of cost."
Strand launched the networking site in November 2012 and says the immediate feedback was positive and encouraging. "I’m really excited about the potential for Native people to network and help each other in the Native community. It is phenomenal. If the average Tribe has 400 government workers times 565, that comes out to 225,000 people. That is a lot of networking and connections,"
"In the Tribal governments often people are new to their jobs, we are just now developing resources that help support our people to do their jobs and be successful at their careers. We need organizations who are devoted to helping them do their jobs and helping Native for-profit and non-profit businesses be successful, too. We are developing our infrastructure and GoTribalGov hopes to be a part of it," said Strand.
GoTribalGov has sections in business, health, education, economic development, gaming, chamber of commerce, historical preservation, and human resources. Strand says they also plan to offer online training in the near future. The new, innovative site also offers free postings, free job postings, and groups and discussion forums on numerous topics of interest to Native professionals and tribal governments.
Strand says, "We will have online training in a variety of areas: Liquor license training for people who sell alcohol at the casino’s and stores; accounting and computer software training such as Quickbooks and Microsoft Word; and eventually we plan to develop our own Native specific online training. Right now we will be partnering with an online training company."
Ashley Strand, Kim's daughter, is the site's community engagement specialist. She is working to add valuable content to the site and engage members in connecting and utilizing the site's resources. She encourages information sharing and feedback from members to further improve the site.
Of the overall goal and future of the site, Strand says, "I would love to see it be a positive force in ‘Indian Country’ supporting, encouraging and helping develop Native people who work in Tribal governments and businesses."
Still in its early stages, the membership already has a diverse makeup of Tribal government and business professionals. Many have Phd’s, Masters Degrees, and Bachelor Degrees; in fields as diverse as medicine, construction, social media, entertainment, economic development, For Profit and Non-profit, and government administration, among others. And members who are signing up come from all over the U.S. and Canada.
Strand was an Archibald Bush Leadership Fellow, and received a Masters of Public Administration from University of Minnesota. She received a Bachelors Degree in Business and Ethics, and after graduation owned and operated several small businesses. She has worked as Adjunct Instructor for The American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center (AIOIC), the Fond Du Lac Tribe, and LCO College, and worked as business manager and economic development director at the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe. Strand also was a business and technology consultant to businesses and non-profits in the energy, construction and health sectors. She grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and lives in Danbury, WI.
To learn more or sign up for the free membership, see: www.gotribalgov.com. Or see their Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/