Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Nations Develpment Institute

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Mary Phillips
Phone: 540-371-5615 ext. 31/ e-mail: mphillips@firstnations.org
First Nations Development Institute Releases a Financial Investment Guide for Native American Communities

August 24, 2006
Investing for the Future was developed to meet the needs of tribes who are considering ways to
provide their members with the tools they need to make decisions about the management of their
financial assets.



Longmont, CO - First Nations Development Institute, a Native nonprofit located in
Longmont, Colorado, has just released their most recent and comprehensive guide to financial
investing titled Building Native Communities: Investing for the Future. Funded by the NASD
Investor Education Foundation, this workbook serves as a basic investment resource and
encourages Native Americans to invest as a means of promoting financial security. First Nations
developed the workbook titled Investing for the Future to respond to the needs of tribes who are
considering ways to provide their members with the tools they need to make decisions about the
management of their financial assets.

“We hope that this investor education tool is useful to Native community members who are
interesting in learning about the financial investment field,” said Mike Roberts, President of First
Nations Development Institute. “Through the Building Native Communities curriculum series we
hope to generate a focus on prominent economic issues in the Native American community. It is our
intent to protect our most vulnerable through financial education, economic development and
empowerment.”

Investing for the Future teaches general investment principles and skills in an intuitive and
accessible style. The guide illustrates the process of identifying financial goals and outlines the
varying ways of achieving them. The text explains such concepts as asset allocation and
recommends different investment options for different investment goals in a tribal community
setting; it covers the benefits of savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and government
securities. “There is a high volume of information in the curriculum that is practical and shows how
Native people can use this information to safely invest,” stated Lorna Ray of the Salt River
Community Housing Division.

Additionally, the book explains essential concepts such as the time value of money, risk
reduction, periodic investing, diversification, and inflation. As a large portion of the guidebook is
dedicated to investing in the securities markets, the text helps to clarify more advanced concepts
such as stock assessment and portfolio management. Gaylene Pretty Bird, the Executive Director of
the Sicangu Fund, an emerging Community Financial Development Institute on the Rosebud Sioux
Recycled 2

Indian Reservation comments, “it is a wonderful compliment to other economic development types
of training for the Native American community – a much needed component which has not been
addressed to a large extent in the past.”

First Nations Development Institute has designed the guide to pair values, investment
strategy, and concerns of Native Americans with pertinent financial advice. Through a threepronged
strategy of education, advocacy, and capitalization, First Nations Development Institute is
working to restore Native control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own - be
they land, human potential, cultural heritage, or financial resources - and to establish new assets for
ensuring the long-term vitality of Native communities. This mission is especially pertinent today
when more and more tribes are taking control of their trust funds and a large number of tribes are
paying out per capita payments to their members. “You have to change the paradigm about the idea
that money is here today and gone tomorrow. Change the way a poverty culture views the money,”
said Cynthia Tam a Certified Financial Planner and financial columnist, concerning the need to take
steps to implement the curriculum.

Each year, 73 tribes distribute per capita payments to their members. Because per-capita
payments are held in trust funds for many youth until they turn 18, many find a large sum of money
available to them at that early age. The influx of per capita payments in some Native communities is
changing the outlook for Native Americans and the tribal economy but is also leading many into
financial vulnerability. The Cherokee Preservation Foundation recognizes the significance of
financial education for young people about to receive their first per-capita payments: “It is very
tempting for [youth] to withdraw their funds at this time. Many of these young men and women
have not learned financial management skills. As a result, many have spent their trust funds very
quickly on cars and other items young people crave, only to find belatedly they do not qualify for
financial aid for college.” (http://cherokeepreservationfdn.org)

Much of the text is interactive and promotes reader participation. This makes the workbook
perfect for anyone who is apprehensive about what to do with their money and how to begin
planning their financial future. The activities encourage the reader to put together an investment
plan that relates to cultural practices and expenses, and take the recommended steps to start saving.
The text is simple enough for personal use, but thorough to the extent that investment
advisors, tribal councils, tribal colleges, and other nonprofit organizations can easily adopt it and
put it to work in a course or workshop. First Nations plans to offer a free Train-the-Trainer
workshops on this investor education curriculum in 2007.

Investing for the Future is available free of charge at the First Nations Development
Institute website (www.firstnations.org); ordering information for free hard copies is also available.
For more information about the curriculum contact Sarah Dewees at
sdewees@firstnations.org.

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Through a three-pronged strategy of education, advocacy, and capitalization, First Nations Development
Institute is working to restore Native control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own - be
they land, human potential, cultural heritage, or natural resources - and to establish new assets for ensuring
the long-term vitality of Native communities.

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