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Here is a round up of business news from around Indian Country.

Economic development

• The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians’ non-gaming investment arm, Odawa Economic Development Management Inc., plans to expand the tribe’s Victories Square development, located at the site of the former Victories Casino in Petoskey, Mich., according to a report in the Petoskey News-Review. The mixed-use development currently includes several retail businesses and a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. OEDMI plans to construct a new multi-tenant building and a six-story, 133-room Cambria branded hotel on the property, according to the report. The organization expects construction to begin this year. 

Gaming

• Uncasville, Conn.-based Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, an enterprise of the Mohegan Tribe, appointed Bobby Soper as its international president, a new role for the organization. The hire is a homecoming for Soper, who previously held various executive roles at MGE, including the CEO position from 2015 to 2017, as well as prior executive stints at the Mohegan Sun casino, according to a statement. Most recently, Soper served as president & CEO of Sun Gaming & Hospitality. In the new role at MGE, Soper will oversee the development of the company’s plans in South Korea and Japan. “Having served the Mohegan Tribe and MGE for many years, we are confident in Bobby’s experience and capabilities to guide our efforts on the ground in Asia,” Mohegan Tribe  Chairman James Gessner, Jr. said in a statement. 

• Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation is moving forward with plans to develop a $405 million casino and entertainment destination in Beloit, Wis. after securing support for the project from Gov. Tony Evers. The tribe expects the new location will employ about 1,500 people. Plans include a casino, hotel, convention center, restaurants, and waterpark, according to a statement. The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved an application to take the land into trust in 2020, which set a one-year deadline for the governor’s office to offer its concurrence on the plans. After Evers issued his concurrence last week, the BIA will now prepare the determination and the administrative process for taking the land into trust, according to a statement. 

Federal 8(a) contracting

• Herndon, Va.-based Portico, a subsidiary of Alaska Native-owned Akima, was selected by the U.S. Air Force to provide renovation services and infrastructure repair and upgrades at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. With the $43.7 million contract, Portico will lead hangar upgrades at the base, including to historic Hangar 5, which was damaged during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The scope of the project also includes repairs and upgrades to electrical, mechanical and communications infrastructure, according to a statement. Portico is a provider of end-to-end construction services to federal, state, local and commercial clients. “We work tirelessly to offer best-fit solutions for our military customers, and this work with the U.S. Air Force represents another opportunity to deliver efficient support that will provide long-lasting value,” Akima President and CEO Bill Money said in a statement. Parent company Akima is an enterprise of NANA Regional Corporation Inc., which is owned by 14,300 Iñupiat shareholders with roots in a 38,000-square-mile section of northwest Alaska. Akima employs more than 7,500 people across its various subsidiaries. 

Education

• The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan was among the 44 grantees from around the state selected for a Future Proud Michigan Educator Grant program. The Michigan Department of Education program aims to develop new opportunities for middle and high school students to explore professions tied to education. The tribe will receive $10,000 per eligible school building to “build implementation teams, provide student engagement activities, and plan for hands-on learning” in the 2021-22 or 2022023 academic years, according to a statement. As part of the program, grantees will also work with school districts, community colleges and other institutions of higher learning to create pathways to the profession. 

Health care

• North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission Executive Director Scott Davis will resign from his position effective April 30 after nearly 12 years serving as the state-tribal liaison, according to a statement from Gov. Doug Burgum’s office. Davis will leave the position to join Sanford Health, where he will lead the large rural nonprofit health care system’s outreach to Native Americans. Davis led the Indian Affairs Commission under three governors and 23 tribal chairs.

Want more news about the $130 billion tribal economy? 

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