Jordan Dresser, Chairman, Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation

Jordan Dresser, Chairman
Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation

Wind River Hotel & Casino in Riverton, WY; Little Wind Casino in Ethete, WY /

CHALLENGES/REWARDS: One of the greatest rewards is that we’ve been able to stabilize our gaming facilities. Across the country, all gaming facilities took a hit due to COVID. We’ve been able to provide a place of employment for our tribal members, and also a safe space where people can go and take part in entertainment and not have to worry too much. We strive hard to make sure that everything is sanitized properly and also the Wind River Reservation still has a mask mandate in place so that people are safe.

One of the challenges everybody else is facing is attracting new employees. We have been doing different incentive programs and expos to make sure that we not only attract good employees, but that we keep them and also help them be successful.

PROMOTING LEADERSHIP: As a leader, I try to surround myself with people who have ambition and really want something. Talent is always key, but drive is essential, and you have to be driven in order to get things done. A lot of the time I’m surrounded by people who are down for the cause, but also if they’re not, I try to find them places that they will thrive in. 

The key thing we do is promote the power of transparency and also the power of taking risks. The Northern Arapaho Tribe was the first tribe in the nation to not have a state compact. We continue to do things that are groundbreaking and take risks because we see the rewards in the end, and that’s the model we take. We don’t travel the path that’s already been laid out. We try to forge new paths that benefit us in the long run and also that use our sovereign status to the full extent.

INITIATIVES: What’s important to us is the power of going green. We are seeing this push among Indian Country and across the nation to use renewable resources to basically power us. Solar and wind – there’s so much potential in those areas. If tribes really utilize this technology, we can be leaders within the country, showing others not only what it can do, but also how it’s going to benefit everyone in the future.