On September 24, 2021 at Lincoln South Rotary Club, we heard about HoChunk Inc. from Lance Morgan, President and CEO.
Some of us did not know anything about Ho-Chunk Inc. until the announcement of their involvement with the WarHorse Casino development in Lincoln. But there is much more to the company! Why the name Ho-Chunk? The traditional name for the Winnebago people is Hochungra, often shortened to Ho-Chunk.
Looking at the website you will see the tag line "The People's Company".
Listening to Lance's presentation, that tag line is very appropriate!
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, like other Native American communities, have struggled with low income, unemployment and lack of housing. There are generations of alcoholism, abuse and lack of education. Tribal members started leaving the reservations which added to the struggles. Many left because there was nothing there - no way to survive.
Lance explained that Ho-Chunk is dedicated to investing in the future of the communities - not just making money to pocket the proceeds. They provide opportunities for the community for education, employment and affordable housing. What matters - take care of our people!
He is proud of the fact that there is a high percentage of employees at Ho-Chunk that are Native American. Some had good jobs in other companies but saw the opportunities that Ho-Chunk offered and what Ho-Chunk was doing for the community.
The members are coming back - they went from 12 graduating from high school to 50 recently.
Lance said they have been looking at Lincoln and Omaha. They wanted to do more than just give money - they wanted to invest in the future of the communities. So providing development which includes bringing jobs to the community was important. That is why he believes the casino projects are important and will succeed.
Read more:
Op-ed in Omaha World Herald - click here.

Lance Morgan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ho-Chunk, Inc. Morgan launched Ho-Chunk, Inc. in 1994 as the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Under Morgan's leadership, Ho-Chunk, Inc. has been recognized by a variety of national organizations including: Innovations in Government Award, sponsored by Harvard University and the Ford Foundation; Honoring Nations Award, also sponsored by Harvard; Minority Business Magazine, Entrepreneurial Spirit Award; Distinguished Alumni Speaker, Harvard Law School; Small Business Administration; U.S. Department of State; U.S. Department of Commerce; and the White House.

Morgan was selected as a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2011. In 2012, he was awarded the Nebraska Builder Award by the University of Nebraska and the keynote speaker for commencement ceremonies. Morgan was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian in 2013/2014, he was honored with the Advocate of the Year Award by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

Morgan earned a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Nebraska (B. S. 1990) and graduated from Harvard Law School (J.D. 1993). He is a member of the Minnesota Bar Association. Morgan is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.