Seneca Nation Leverages Tribal Sovereign Economic Advantages to Woo Corporate America to Tribal Lands

True to business advice delivered by Gabe Galanda on March 15 at RES 2011, the Seneca Nation is inviting Corporate giants like Verizon to greenfield new operations centers on Seneca tribal lands. According to an Indian Country Today Media Network story, "Seneca Offers Land, Tax Advantages, Expertise to Verizon":

Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter wrote to Ivan G. Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, on March 18 urging him to consider the many advantages of Seneca Nation land for future Verizon development. . . .

[T]he Seneca Nation doesn’t suffer from the same “systemic impediments” as New York’s local and county governments and invited him to visit Seneca territory to see for himself. The nation, Porter said, supports business development on its territories and throughout Western New York. . . .

Businesses that develop facilities on sovereign Indian land enjoy a number of competitive advantages, Porter said, listing a number of them:

- The Seneca Nation has civil regulatory authority over its own territory, meaning development on Seneca lands would not be subject to New York and county regulatory regimes so that projects can move forward more quickly than on non-Indian land. - Seneca has “streamlined processes” over the tens of thousands of acres of its territory in Western New York. As a result, companies who locate businesses on Seneca land won’t face “nuisance litigation from neighboring landowners as Verizon did," Porter said. - Businesses that locate on Indian land also have certain tax advantages, including in Seneca’s case, no property taxes. “As a sovereign nation, we control our own tax regimes. Culturally, we do not believe in imposing business-choking taxes on our people and development partners. As a result, your facility would not be subject to property taxes on our lands,” Port told the Verizon CEO. The IRS also allows third-party businesses on Indian land to use a shorter depreciation recovery period of approximately 40 percent for most non-residential depreciable property used in development.

Bravo, Seneca Nation, bravo!

Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm.  He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California.  He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or, or via