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This week in Tribal Business News, a Native-owned fintech company raises $2.2M in pre-seed capital; an Oklahoma Tribe prepares for upcoming drone flight coordinator; and a new report examines how digital redlining stymies broadband in Indian Country.  

Native-owned fintech Totem raises $2.2M in pre-seed capital, eyes spring 2023 launch
Native-founded and -led fintech startup Totem Technologies Inc. plans to use the proceeds from its $2.2 million pre-seed round to continue developing its technology and building out its staff. Founded this year by CEO Amber Buker (Choctaw), the company is creating a digital banking app to serve the needs of Native communities and partner with tribal governments to help them distribute benefits to their members.

Osage Nation enterprise prepares for upcoming drone flight corridor
A $39 million investment for the Indian Nation Council of Governments bore its first fruit in early December by way of a partnership between the Osage Nation and Oklahoma City-based DronePort Network.

A developer of business and financial strategies for the aeronautics industry, DronePort will manage a planned 114-mile flight corridor between Oklahoma State University, Osage Nation, and Tulsa facilities. 

‘Digital redlining’ inhibits tribal broadband development
A new report from the Communications Equity and Diversity Council of the Federal Communication Commission outlines the problem in detail, calling it “digital discrimination” or “digital redlining” and pointing to under-investment in typically marginalized communities on the part of larger broadband providers. 

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Digital redlining has created large gaps in access to broadband, which also limits access to industries and economic opportunities dependent on consistent, effective internet, according to the report.

Tribal Business News Briefs
As well, the DOI announced $50M to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells on tribal lands, and Mashantucket Pequot-owned Command Holdings announces its first federal contract through a new subsidiary.

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