A weekly round-up of business briefs from around Indian Country.  


Buffalo Thunder Inc., the gaming unit of the Pojoaque Pueblo, has taken over management of Hilton and Homewood Suites hotels at the tribe’s casino, according to a report in the Santa Fe New Mexican. The gaming company took over management of the hotels, located at the tribe’s Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, in late August. The Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder hotel has 395 rooms; the Homewood Suites has 81 rooms. Collectively, the hotels employ approximately 235 employees.    

The economic development arm of Washington-based Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has begun preliminary work to expand its existing market and deli into a new store called Big Nation Station, according to a story in The Auburn Reporter. Muckleshoot Development Corp. said the new store, located by its casino, expands on the existing deli with increased grocery and grab-and-go options, as well as additional gas pumps, a car wash and vacuum stations. 


The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Hard Rock International (HRI) announced it has hired a licensing firm to help expand the entertainment and hospitality brand’s retail presence throughout Europe. HRI said it has hired the Netherlands-based brand licensing firm J&M Brands B.V. to help introduce Hard Rock branded products in several categories including home textiles, luggage and bags, housewares, electronics and premium apparel for the first time to the European market. Founded in 2012, J&M Brands works with a variety of global brands including Hello Kitty, Sesame Street, Mr. Bean and others. 

Indian gaming 

A decision by the Nebraska State Supreme Court could help pave a path forward for a casino proposed by Ho-Chunk, the economic development corporation for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. The 4-3 vote by the state’s high court last week gives Nebraska voters a chance to weigh in on three measures that would legalize casino gambling in cities with horse tracks, according to a report in the Sioux City Journal. 

Higher education

The National Science Foundation awarded researchers at New Mexico Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, The University of New Mexico and partner institutions $740,000 in grants to address under-representation of American Indian and Alaska Native students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines and workforce. The Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education (CIRCLES) and STEM Alliance builds on existing partnerships with tribal communities and tribal colleges in six states: New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. 

The New Mexico Film Office announced $330,000 in grant funding for 20 higher education film programs through the state’s Giveback Program, which was initiated to support the growth of the New Mexico film industry’s future workforce. Recipients of the grant funding include the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M. and Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, N.M. The money can be used to purchase equipment, software, materials and supplies, as well as student scholarship programs and other student opportunities.

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