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LANSING, MI-The state of Michigan and 12 Native American tribes have finalized a new agreement seeking to boost economic development projects around the state. The accord specifically seeks to boost non-gaming related development around tribal lands inthe state.

“We all benefit from a robust economy and more jobs,” Gov. Jennifer Granholm said after signing the accord. “I am pleased to be working with the 12 Indian tribes in Michigan to maximize our ability to foster an environment that welcomes new business and growth.”

Under the accord, state and tribal leaders will meet twice each year to review their progress in developing joint economic opportunities, to develop strategies for future joint economic development activities, and to improve the coordination of economic development programs and resources among state, local, and tribal government officials.

The goal is to diversify tribal economies by developing new, non-gaming enterprises, Granholm said. A principle focus will be on finding ways to coordinate economic development initiatives currently available through the state with those availablethrough the tribes in order to attract investment and create jobs that might otherwise locate outside of Michigan.

In addition to Granholm, accord signers included: Frank Ettawageshik, tribal chairman, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians; Jeffrey D. Parker, president, Bay Mills Indian Community; David K. Sprague, tribal chairman, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians; Robert Kewaygoshkum, tribal chairman, Grand TraverseBand of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians; Laura Spurr, tribal chairperson, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians; Kenneth Meshigaud, chairperson, Hannahville Indian Community; John Miller, tribal chairman, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians;Susan LaFernier, tribal council president, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community; Audrey Falcon, tribal chief, Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe of Michigan; James Williams, Jr., tribal chairman, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians; Aaron Payment, tribal chairman, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; and Lee Sprague, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

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