February 4, 2016

State supports local Native development

By Jerry W. Kram

The grand opening of the Great Plains Indian Trading Company on the Main Street of New Town was a celebration. It was also the the first new business on Main Street since the completion of the street renovation that clogged up traffic all summer.

Also, according to Scott Davis, Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the state of North Dakota, it marks the beginning of more economic development on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

"I’ve been at this job for seven years," Davis said. "We started as the Office of Indian Business Development in the Department of Commerce. Today that program is under my office. What that really focuses on is helping Native owned private businesses on and off the Reservation."

Davis said that Great Plains Indian Trading was the latest of more 1,400 Native owned businesses in North Dakota. He said those businesses contribute to diversifying the economies of the reservations in the state as well at the state’s economy as a whole. Davis said that continued economic growth will depend on entrepreneurs starting new businesses especially given the boom and bust nature of the area’s energy and agricultural based economy.

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