Here is a roundup of business news from around Indian Country.
- The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi has opened a new restaurant and entertainment venue inside its Four Winds Casino location in New Buffalo, Mich. The Kankakee Grille, which opened Nov. 20, features a range of comfort food and pizzas, along with craft beers and specialty cocktails, outside seating and access to a poolside bar. The site also includes the Kankakee Live stage for live music and entertainment. The location had been a Hard Rock Cafe. The tribe closed the venue for rebranding in October. The tribe previously used the Kankakee Grille branding at its South Bend casino location. Despite a spike in COVID-19 cases locally, the venue was expected to immediately begin hosting entertainment events.
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC) will hold a virtual public meeting at 1 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 9. 2020. Registrations, which must be made in advance by the end of the day on Monday, Dec. 7, are available at this link.
- The Online Lenders Alliance will hold its inaugural Tribal Lending Conference virtually on Dec. 1 and 2. The conference will provide legislative and regulatory updates with an underlying focus on post-election results, including potential challenges and opportunities arising after the November election. Tribal Business News publisher Levi Rickert will participate in a panel discussion on media engagement on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 4:15 p.m. EST. Registration, which is $249 for members and $499 for nonmembers, is available at this link.
- Cherokee Nation held a grand opening last week along with Promise Hotels for a new 90-room Tru By Hilton location in Tahlequah, Okla. The midscale hotel is located at Cherokee Springs Plaza, a mixed-use development featuring the 92,000-square-foot Cherokee Casino Tahlequah and a 21,600-square-foot retail center. The Tru by Hilton brand is geared toward value-based business and leisure travelers.
- The Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif. received a 2020 Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council. The award, presented at the USGBC’s Greenbuild Conference this month, recognizes recipients that it deems are “at the forefront of green building and working to advance healthy, resilient and equitable buildings and communities.” The property, an enterprise of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, reduced its waste stream by 7.2 million pounds annually from 2004 to 2018, and increased recycling to 90 percent. The tribe also established a food donation program for seniors and helped educate the local community on sustainability best practices.
- The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed four bills on Nov. 18. All four will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
- Senate Bill 790 would give the Department of the Interior the authority to take land into trust in Cleveland County, North Carolina for the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Tribe, which hopes to open a casino on the site. The tribe’s reaffirmation in 1993 excluded it from the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The casino plans have drawn strong criticism from the North Carolina-based Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which has sued to block the plans.
- Senate Bill 3264 would create a Tribal Broadband Interagency Working Group to help tribes develop a Tribal Broadband Deployment Plan. The bill also would establish a Tribal Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee so tribal leaders can make recommendations to Congress on ways to improve services.
- Senate Bill 4079 would remove limitations placed on the Seminole Tribe of Florida to convey or transfer interest in non-trust lands, providing more autonomy for the tribe to control its own business affairs.
- Senate Bill 4556 would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services via the Indian Health Service to purchase land to create better access to the Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center in Hemet, Calif., as well as acquire a dirt and gravel road to the center and pave it for better year-round accessibility.
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