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Lack of access to capital is a persistent issue in Indian Country, which is why a new $75 million Indigenous-led venture capital fund is like a welcome rain after a long drought. Vancouver- based impact investor Raven Indigenous Capital Partners said it closed an oversubscribed funding round and will launch its second venture fund to support early- and growth-stage companies led by Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada and the U.S.  

There’s also cash coming from the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, which announced plans for a $50 million funding opportunity targeting clean energy deployment on tribal lands. And funds for Tribal broadband continue to flow into Indian Country from both the federal government and through state programs

Cash flowing illegally out of a tribal enterprise in Michigan was also in the news last week, with a report that a Chicago man will spend two-and-a-half years in prison for his role in a fraudulent economic development scheme that cost the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians more than $1.1 million.

Tribes in northern California were in the news for investing capital in the future of their citizens. Up in Shasta Country, the Redding Rancheria Economic Development Corporation acquired a 51% stake in a vegetation management firm to launch a new venture aimed at protecting communities from wildfires. And in Sonoma County, which has some of the most expensive housing in the country, the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians plans to build 25 affordable single-family homes for tribal elders.  

Creative distribution:  Senior Editor Elyse Wild’s story about Bison Star Natural this week snuck in some information about how the company’s founders were leveraging unique distribution and retail opportunities.  The Taos, N.M.-based company sells its richly scented line of natural soaps and lotions at local farmers markets and online, but you can also find it across the country at spots like The Field Museum in Chicago, the Phoenix Airport and the gift shop at the iconic Yellowstone National Park.  Sometimes, you’ve got to get creative with your sales efforts. 

Quick hits: A company founded  by executives of color hopes to tackle the racial wealth gap by providing support for scalability, asset management, and capital structure, says the firm’s president, Valerie Red-Horse Mohl … The Oneida Nation plans to expand its Maple Leaf Market retail brand with a fourth store in upstate New York … Hattie Mitchell CPA, CFE, CVGA was appointed to the Government Accounting Standard Advisory Council.

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About The Author
Brian Edwards
Author: Brian EdwardsEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Brian Edwards is the interim managing editor of Native News Online and Tribal Business News.