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


Federal 8(a) contracting

• Alaska Native-owned Akiak Technology LLC, an Alexandria, Va.-based SBA 8(a) certified I.T. solutions provider, has partnered with Herndon, Va.-based Centurion Consulting Group LLC, a woman-owned I.T. contractor, to launch a new joint venture. The newly formed AKCENT LLC, an enterprise I.T. and professional services firm, is also 8(a) certified and tribally owned, with a focus on the government contracting market. The company will leverage more than three decades of federal employee experience in the I.T. sector. “Our partnership with Centurion Consulting Group strengthens the federal government’s existing digital foundation and leverages insights into data to improve the quality of services to the American people,” Akiak Technology CEO Kevin Hamer said in a statement. Akiak Technology is a subsidiary of Akiak Holdings LLC, which is owned by the federally recognized Akiak Native Community in southwestern Alaska. 

• Tulsa, Okla.-based Cherokee Nation Operational Solutions, a subsidiary of Cherokee Federal, will provide research and development services and translational science and support service to the Defense Health Agency as part of a five-year contract. CNOS is one of several contractors included on the multiple-award contract, which has a ceiling of $10 billion. “We are proud of our tenured relationship supporting DHA and look forward to achieving the ultimate goal of enhancing force readiness,”  CNOS Operations General Manager Dirk Catron said in a statement. “Our seasoned team of lab techs, program managers and technologists provide innovative medical research, translation science and development support services and solutions to our government partners across North America.”


Health care

• The Health Resources & Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has selected the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence at Oregon Health & Science University for a $3.4 million grant. The competitive five-year grant funding will enable the center to expand beyond its initial focus of encouraging American Indians and Alaska Natives to become physicians to also add a focus on dentistry. The center will model the Wy’east Post-Baccalaureate Pathway, a 10-month program that prepares Natives for medical school, with the OHSU School of Dentistry. The program will accept its first cohort of five aspiring dentists in fall 2025, according to a statement. “We’re determined to break down the many barriers that prevent Native Americans like me from becoming doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and more,” Erik Brodt, M.D., an Ojibwe family medicine physician and founding director for the center, said in a statement. Brodt also serves as assistant dean for Native American health in the OHSU School of Medicine. “Supporting more American Indians and Alaska Natives in their efforts to become health professionals will help provide high-quality, compassionate and culturally appropriate health care for every American.” The center also will use some of its funding to expand its reach to students at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, as well as to create a pharmacy-focused digital media educational campaign.



• Cherokee Nation agreed to pay off a $170 million note related to the build-out of Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center one year ahead of the due date, according to a statement. The move was approved by tribal council earlier this month and serves as a sign of the tribe’s financial stewardship, per Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner. “The Cherokee Nation believes in self-funding the bulk of our health care expansion projects and minimizing any debt as well as paying those debts and interest off early,” Warner said in a statement. “This places us in a strong position to carry forward as we further invest in new health care infrastructure and services that benefit our Cherokee people.” The four-story 469,000-square-foot facility opened in late 2019.


Economic development

• The Delaware Nation Economic Development Authority was awarded a $2.6 million grant from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration to renovate the Greentech Center facility and campus. According to a statement, the renovations will allow businesses to locate and expand their operations in the facility. The business activity is expected to create 227 jobs, according to the EDA. The grant is part of the EDA’s Indigenous Communities program and is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. “President Biden is committed to ensuring that Tribal communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “This EDA project will support long-term economic development for the Delaware Nation, attracting new businesses to ensure a diverse regional economy.”

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