March 13, 2012 14:00 ET

Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC) Draws Clear Distinction in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Case

Native American Tribally Owned Businesses Are Self-Governing Entities, Operating Under Tribal Laws and Regulations Providing Significant Economic Benefit to Tribal Governments and Their Members

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Mar 13, 2012) - The Federal Trade Commission recently made an announcement that it has expanded its case against a single tribal member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe alleging that his company used deceptive practices and manipulates the tribal court system. The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC) seeks to distinguish the FTC case against a single tribal member from those instances where tribal governments pass laws and regulations to create online financial services that are owned and operated by the tribe for economic development purposes.

"The lack of understanding about how Native American tribes can and do engage in commerce for their economic development creates confusion and additional bias," said Executive Director, Barry Brandon. "Understanding that Native American tribes are sovereign governments and have the authority to create and regulate businesses on their lands is the first step to understanding the unique place that Indian tribes occupy in our country."

Many Native American tribes have been forced to seek alternative business models to continue to provide the necessary economic opportunities and services for their members. Properly created, these tribal enterprises enjoy the same sovereign rights as the tribe while providing resources to pay for basic services for tribal members like housing, education and medical care. The FTC case involves a single tribal member who owns and operates an online lending business. Unless a business is owned and operated by a tribe, it will not enjoy the rights and sovereign immunity of a tribe.

"With respect to operating a business that is cloaked with the rights and immunities of the tribal government, it is imperative that businesses do so in coordination with the lawfully constituted and recognized tribal government. The NAFCC is at the forefront of developing programs and tools for tribes to ensure they are following a set of best practices when setting up these businesses or engaging in partnerships to generate benefit for these tribes," said Brandon.

The development of technology, online and e-commerce businesses represent a new frontier of opportunities for Native American tribes, providing many tribes with the ability to use the NAFCC programs to develop digital platform technology opportunities through the application of online technology and e-commerce to achieve economic independence.

The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC) is a representative organization comprised of like-minded tribes and tribal members that are committed to protecting the sovereign rights - well settled in U.S. law - of Native Americans to pursue business and economic opportunities for their tribes nationwide. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the NAFCC is more than 10,000 individual members and represents Native American tribes nationwide.

Contact Information

    SSA Public Relations
    Elliott Chang
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    (818) 907-0500