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MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS 

A division of the Bay Mills Indian Community, based in the eastern Upper Peninsula, has signed an agreement to acquire Four Season’s Market Inc., a grocery store in Brimley, Mich.

The tribal council approved Bay Mills Enterprises moving forward with the deal on Jan. 27. It expects the acquisition to close within the next six months, according to a report in regional business publication MiBiz. The 5,160-square-foot IGA-affiliated store is directly across the street from the 160-acre Brimley State Park, located along Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior, about 15 miles southwest of Sault Ste. Marie. Bay Mills Indian Community Tribal Chairman Bryan Newland said the acquisition will help the tribe toward its goal of “diversifying our business holdings.”  Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

BREWERY

The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians opened the Rincon Reservation Road Brewery on tribal land adjacent to Harrahs’ Resort Casino in Funner, Calif.  Also known as 3R Brewery, it’s the first Native-American owned and operated brewery on tribal lands in Southern California.  The brewery is operated by Rincon Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), the economic development arm of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. Beers include the Chief IPA, Rez Dog Hefeweizen, Rattler Amber Ale and the Oasis Blonde Ale.  

FINANCE

Navajo Nation announced it had received $2 million from an agricultural insurance policy it has participated in for the last three years.  The Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture applied for the insurance coverage through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Insurance Program. In 2016, the 23rd Navajo Nation Council adopted the Síhasin Fund Pasture Rangeland and Forage Expenditure Plan, which reserved $20 million from the Nation’s Síhasin Fund for insurance premiums to the USDA through CKP Insurance, LLC. To date, the Navajo Nation has received nearly $40 million overall from its initial investment.

The Tulalip Tribes reached an agreement that could end a federal lawsuit and allow it to begin collecting millions in tax receipts generated businesses that border its reservation. The agreement between the Tribes, the state of Washington and Snohomish County is an important step to resolve a five-year legal battle over who is entitled to collect sales tax at the Quil Ceda Village in Tulalip, Wash. Under the agreement, the Tribes would receive a portion of the state’s sales tax collected, with the amount growing to an estimated $30.2 million in 2025, according to media reports. 

BOARD NEWS

Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. announced that its board of directors elected new officers to serve one-year terms. Livándrea Knoki (Diné) was elected to serve as President.  Carmenlita Chief (Diné) was elected as Vice President. Sharine Sonny was elected as Secretary. Gavin Healey was elected as Treasurer. The NACA board is currently comprised of the following members: Curtis Honanie (Hopi), Jacqueline Gencarelle (Diné/San Carlos Apache), Suzanne Long, Shirley Peaches (Diné), and Dempsey Davis (Diné).

GAMING

GAN plc, a developer and supplier of enterprise-level Internet gambling software and online gaming content, said it agreed to supply its simulated gaming software to the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, which owns and operates the Snoqualmie Casino about 25 miles east of Seattle. The agreement with GAN will enable the Tribe to provide an expanded suite of online gaming and could allow the Tribe to offer sport wagering if legislation and corresponding regulatory approvals come to pass in the State of Washington. 

LITIGATION

The state of South Dakota agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleges its Department of Social Services discriminated against American Indian job applicants, according to a report in the Rapid City Journal.  The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuit in 2015 after a discrimination complaint filed by a Native American job applicant.   

GRANTS

The New Mexico Film Office has created a new grant for Native American filmmakers in the state, according to a report in The Journal.  The new Sen. John Pinto Memorial Filmmakers Fund, which is set to receive $100,000 annually from the state, will award funding to Native filmmakers in $5,000 increments and projects will need to be completed in two years.  The grants can be used for film, television, video games or audio-visual projects. Information and application materials can be found on the New Mexico Film Office website

A consortium of five colleges in Massachusetts has received a $2.5 million grant to enhance their Native American and indigenous studies, according to a report on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. The four-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Five College Consortium will allow the colleges to develop expanded curriculum, hire faculty and recruit more Native American students, according to Laura Furlan, a UMass Amherst professor and the chair of the Five College’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Committee.  The five colleges are: Amherst, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Smith College, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke College.

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