Tribes aren't banking on just casinos anymore

November 13, 2011 - 1:05 PM
Tribes Beyond Casinos

This October 2011 photo provided by the Passamaquoddy tribe shows Chief Joseph Socobasin paddling a birch canoe with his grandmother Joan Dana in Indian Township, Maine. Tribal members built the canoe, a replica of one from the 1800s, using a single piece of birch bark. Though Maine voters rejected a racetrack casino on Nov. 8, 2011, that would have helped bolster the tribe's economy, they are looking to wind, water and land for other means of economic development. (AP Photo/Martin Dana)

INDIAN TOWNSHIP, Maine (AP) — Maine's Passamaquoddy (PASS'-uh-muh-kwodd-ee) Indians lost their bid for a racetrack casino last week. But that doesn't dampen the tribe's enthusiasm for other economic development projects that are in the works.

The tribe at the nation's northeastern tip is looking to wind, water and land with proposals that could one day include a commercial wind farm, a bottled water plant and maple syrup production.

Indian Township Chief Joseph Socobasin says the tribe still hopes to one day operate a casino, despite state voters' rejection of the racino proposal on Election Day. But he says the tribe understands it needs to diversify into other ventures as well.

Across the U.S., 220 tribes operate about 400 casinos, but economic development expands beyond that into real estate, construction and energy.