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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — For the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, patience has not only been a virtue, it’s also been profitable.
The Sault Tribe received a $3.25 million payout last year from its Section 17 corporation, Sault Tribe Inc., after years of sorting through the right path to handle entrepreneurial opportunities. The tribe services a region of seven counties in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan that served as its original lands, and it has 40,000 members enrolled worldwide.
“We’ve had to bootstrap a lot of things during the past few years,” said Joel Schultz, who assumed the newly created position of chief executive officer of Sault Tribe Inc. on Jan. 1. “At one point, we needed a loan of $650,000 from the tribe. But we were able to demonstrate to the board that if we invest, we can get a good return.”