A New Band of Tribal Tycoons

With some help from financial wizards, Indians learn to invest

The renovated Victorian warehouse in the Old Port section of Portland, Me., seems an unlikely setting for an investment firm. Instead of having spacious wood-paneled boardrooms adorned with portraits of famous financiers, the modest offices of Tribal Assets Management feature bare brick walls lined with photographs of Indian chiefs in full headgear. But when Tribal Assets speaks, the Passamaquoddy, Chippewa and Cherokee tribes listen. The company has handled investments worth $250 million for Indians across the U.S., bringing Wall Street wizardry to the world of tribal finance.

Such expertise is badly needed. A large number of American Indians still live under...

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