The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation’s plan to grow industrial hemp was approved by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, according to a post on the Nation’s website. 

The move is the first step in a process to diversify the Tribe’s farm program, according to Chairman Joseph Rupnick. To date, ten tribes and eight states have received approval for hemp production plans. It is reported that the tribal hemp plans are surpassing expectations with the level of expertise and acumen displayed in the codes submitted for approval. Other tribal Nations with approved plans include Colorado River Indian Tribes, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Fort Belknap Indian Community, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes, Santa Rosa Cahuilla Indian Tribe, and the Yurok Tribe. 

Higher Education

The University of Nevada Las Vegas announced a $9 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians that will position the university as the nation's leading source for education and innovation related to tribal gaming operations and law, according to a news release. The gift – the largest out-of-state philanthropic gift that the California-based San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has bestowed on an educational or healthcare institution – will support course development and an endowed chair at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. It will also provide curricular, faculty, and program support at the William S. Boyd School of Law. The historic agreement will for the first time infuse the unique elements of tribal gaming into the world's leading hospitality and gaming program, and add a tribal gaming emphasis to the nation's only master's degree program in gaming law.

Real Estate/Development

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes purchased 157 acres of “prime commercial development land” in Mountain Home, Idaho, according to a report in Mountain Home News. The property is located 30 minutes from Boise and the city of Mountain Home has an Opportunity Zone designation, which allows for economic development opportunities for the Tribes.  No decision has been made on the use of the property, according to a source quoted in the news report. 

Health Care

WSU Health Sciences Spokane announced it will expand its support for Native American students, faculty members and prospective students with a $250,000 grant from the Empire Health Foundation, according to a report in The Spokesman-Review. The funding will assist in the creation of the Center for Native American Health and will also be used to develop programs for students interested in health sciences.  


The board of directors of Goldbelt, Incorporated, Juneau’s urban Alaska Native Corporation, selected McHugh Pierre to serve as its next President & CEO. Pierre has filled this role in an interim capacity since April 2019. Pierre joined Goldbelt in March 2015 as the Vice President of Alaska Operations. Prior to joining Goldbelt, Pierre owned and operated Quantum Communications, a public relations and government affairs firm. In addition, he has served as Deputy Commissioner and Director of Public and Government Affairs at the State of Alaska’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as Director of Public Relations in the Office of Governor Frank Murkowski.

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