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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 6, 2002 - Issue 58


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Winnebago Tribal Executive Profiled in People Magazine

credits: Lance Morgan, chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk Inc., shown here at a National Congress of American Indians conference in 2000. File Photo NSM.
Lance Morgan, chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk Inc., shown here at a National Congress of American Indians conference in 2000. File Photo NSM.What is Lance Morgan, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and head of the tribe's economic development corporation, doing alongside stars like Halle Berry, Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts?

Being one of People's "crusaders."

Featured in a special double issue of the magazine hitting the stands today, the 33-year-old Morgan gets a short but sweet two-page profile of his efforts to bring success to northeastern Nebraska. Past the big spread on the Oscar's, readers will find "Native Son," a description of how Ho-Chunk Inc. grew from a small tribal business to a $50 million economic enterprise with holdings as diverse as convenience stores, hotels, web sites and a home-building firm.

The story is familiar to many in Indian Country, as tribal leaders have come to the Winnebago Reservation to learn how to replicate the good fortune. Now, the magazine's estimated readership of 3.5 million can get a glimpse of how Morgan has helped propel his tribe into national prominence.

"People have hope," tribal chairman John Blackhawk tells the magazine, "and that has a snowball effect."

A 1993 graduate of Harvard Law School, Blackhawk recruited Morgan, recounts People. Tribal leaders foresaw a need to expand their dollars beyond a casino, located on trust land in Iowa. They provided $50,000 in seed money to start Ho-Chunk Inc., named after the traditional term for the Winnebago people.

Since then, it's been steady growing as Morgan has diversified the tribe's businesses, including AllNative.Com and Indianz.Com. Along the way, the corporation has picked up prestigious awards from Harvard University and accolades for a gasoline tax compact with the state of Nebraska.

And unemployment has dropped from 70 percent to 20 percent in the last decade. "It's hard to put a monetary value on that," he says of the greater impact.

For his part, Morgan says was motivated by what he calls a need to do something for his tribe. "I felt like I could make more of a different in my community," he tells the magazine.

Growing up poor off the reservation in Omaha, Nebraska, People gives readers some of Morgan's business acumen: selling snow cones at pow-wows and helping his father's roofing business. Television, it turns out, gave him role models in Alex Keaton of the sitcom Family Times ("That was me. I aspired to be a Republican.") and later, L.A. Law.

Now, Morgan has made ties of his own. He and wife, Erin, have two daughters -- Emma, 3, and Alaina, 1 -- and live a few miles outside of the reservation. People spent a couple of days with Morgan and family at their home and at the Winnebago tribe's offices.

The April 8 issue of People Weekly is on stands.

The Winnebago Tribe
This is the home of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska's web site ... it is full of interesting information so please visit often. The aim of our site is to provide information about our reservation, for and about the Winnebago people. The Winnebago tribal homelands are located in the northeast corner of Nebraska, and a portion of western Iowa.

AllNative.Com is a Native American e-commerce site. Our mission is to be the site to purchase authentic Native American products. Our products vary from traditional Native American goods to modern consumer products made by Tribally owned or Native American owned businesses. is majority owned and operated by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. has recently merged with provides original Native content and links to articles of interest from other sites. The combination of with AllNative allows us to be a one-stop shop for all your Native needs.

People Magazine,10872,,00.html

Winnebago IR Map

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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