Croation official and Morongo leaders discuss partnership

Morongo, California (ICC) August 2010

A delegation from the Republic of Croatia met recently with tribal leaders of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians to discuss a future agreement aimed at promoting tourism, economic development and job creation.

Preliminary discussions of the future partnership occurred during a tour of the Morongo Resort & Spa and other tribal facilities by the delegation led by Croatia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Kolinda Grabar–Kitarovic•.

It is believed that such an agreement would be the first ever between a Native American tribal government and a foreign nation.

The tour took place just hours after the Croatian officials signed a historic bilateral trade agreement with the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to promote economic development, foreign investment, trade and tourism.

As a recognized leader in state tourism and gaming with diverse economic holdings, Morongo tribal chairman Robert Martin and vice chairman Maurice Lyons led the Croatian delegation on a tour of the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. The delegation also visited the $26 million Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water bottling plant opened on the reservation in 2003.

Tribal Chairman Robert Martin called the preliminary discussions promising, and said he looked forward to exploring opportunities for a future partnership between the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Republic of Croatia that would bring new jobs, economic development and investment to the region.

“As a leading tourist destination and employer, Morongo is committed to improving the local economy by increasing tourism and creating economic opportunity,” said Martin. “We look forward to working cooperatively with the Republic of Croatia for the benefit of all.”