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Casino

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe on Friday announced plans to develop a $350 million casino resort in Richmond, Va. and another in Norfolk, according to a report by the Associated Press. In a statement, the Pamunkey Tribe said it purchased three properties in South Richmond for a casino and a fourth property nearby for a workforce training center. The resort, as proposed, includes a 275-room hotel tower. The tribe also announced it had purchased land in Norfolk along the Elizabeth River where it plans to build another casino if legislation is passed to allow commercial gaming there.  

Real Estate

Two tribally owned investment firms announced the purchase of a historic building in the heart of Michigan’s second-largest city for $17.5 million. Gun Lake Investments, owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan (commonly known as the Gun Lake Tribe) and Waséyabek Development Company, owned by Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, partnered to buy the 18-story McKay Tower in Grand Rapids, Mich.  The purchase of the iconic downtown building, located on a piece of land where an Indian village once existed, is the first joint venture together for the two tribes. The 154,000-square-foot tower is a mixed-use building featuring commercial, retail and office space, an event venue, conference rooms and three floors of luxury apartments that include a roof-top lounge and views of downtown Grand Rapids. 

The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in northern California purchased 10 acres in a residential area near its Red Hawk Casino in Placerville for $1.5 million, according to a Sacramento Business Journal report (subscription required). A tribal spokesperson told the publication that the tribe has no immediate plans for the land.  

Agribusiness

Tulsa, Okla.-based Native American Hemp LLC reported that it plans to expand operations in 2020 through new partnerships with Tribes, farmers, processing facilities and other hemp businesses. The Native American-owned business grows, processes and markets industrial hemp crops and value-added products. Native American Hemp cultivated multi-use hemp crops in Oklahoma during 2019, the first full year industrial hemp was completely legalized in the state, and has now brought in a successful first-year harvest, according to a press release. 

Small Business

The business incubator program of Change Labs, a Native-controlled nonprofit, is accepting applications for its 2020 cohort. The business incubator will choose 10 Native American entrepreneurs for a one-year program designed to help launch or accelerate their small business startups. Applicants must be Native American and must reside in Arizona, Utah or New Mexico. The deadline to apply is February 19, 2020.    

Funding

The Cooperative Development Institute was awarded three U.S. Department of Agriculture grants worth $420,00 to support business education, training and technical assistance to New Americans and Native American enterprises in the northeastern U.S., according to business publication MaineBiz. The grants will help support Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective, a Native American group in northern Maine that’s aiming to develop a formal network of Native business projects, including herbal medicine and youth leadership community gardens. 

Lake Forest, Calif.-based Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution announced a $500,000 equity investment from First Choice Bank, a community bank in Cerritos, Calif. Clearinghouse CDFI finances community facilities, affordable housing, commercial real estate, and other job-creating projects throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Indian Country.

Banking

The Chickasaw Nation’s wholly owned Bank2 announced it is changing its name Chickasaw Community Bank to better reflect the tribe’s values and heritage. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby led a ceremony in Oklahoma City last week celebrating the new name.

Telecommunications

Fourteen Native American tribes in Southern California have connected to Pacific Wave, an international Internet Exchange, according to a statement. This new connection through Tribal Digital Village enables tribal libraries, scientific research facilities and cultural preservation institutions to collaborate with partners across the state, the nation and the world. Tribal Digital Village is a tribal consortium-owned internet service provider. Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVnet) was created by the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA) in 2001 to bring internet services to key community buildings and resource programs on reservations.

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