Category Archives: Business

During Covid-19, The Navajos Are Planting and Sharing

“As the pandemic has brought home the importance of the global movement for food sovereignty, members are planting and sharing.”  A. Nierenberg, The New York Times

Artie Yazzie grows produce for his community in the Arizona section of the Navajo Nation. Credit- J. Burcham- NYT

Excerpt;  For the Navajo Nation, a Fight for Better Food Gains New Urgency . Amelia Nierenberg, The New York Times

“When Summer Brown lived in Phoenix, she had no problem finding fresh produce. If the Sprouts supermarket near her home didn’t have what she was looking for, she would just drive somewhere else. This winter, Ms. Brown, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, moved back to her childhood home in Cornfields, Ariz., to start a small business as a leatherworker. Now, healthy food is harder to find for her two children, Paisley, 6, and Landon, 7. The entire Nation, which stretches 27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has fewer than 15 grocery stores.

The Teesto Community Garden, which Mr. Yazzie tends, has remained opened through the pandemic.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

The small gardens and cornfields rising across the Nation are attempts to correct legacies of historical wrongs. Once, the Diné were prosperous gardeners, hunters and stewards of the land. Then the United States government colonized the land and displaced the Diné in the mid-1800s, during what is now known as the Long Walk, to an internment camp at Fort Sumner, N.M. Livestock were killed off. Fields were trampled. And some orchards were lost forever…Many households do not have running water, at a time when hand washing is critical.

Many multigenerational families live together in compounds, which makes social distancing impossible. And for the Diné and many other Indigenous nations, the public health crises caused by food inequality are generations old… After seeing food shortages during the pandemic, many Diné have started gardens. Normally, they would work communally, but social distancing has required some innovations.

Mr. Earle keeps corn pollen in a pouch for his morning prayers.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

Many Diné also receive federal food benefits. ‘You’ve got to stretch those funds, and the cheapest out there is junk food,’ said Artie Yazzie, a community gardener, who grows produce for his neighbors.  ‘People come in here and pick whatever they want,” Mr. Yazzie said. ‘I just leave a sign.’ Some programs are working to get fresh produce to Diné children. The Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment program, a nonprofit health partnership, provides vouchers for families with young children that are good for buying only fruits, vegetables and traditional foods. The amount, depending on family size, can go up to $35 a week…Felix Earle, 43,  has been advising gardeners growing Indigenous seeds. In 2015, he found a handful of white corn kernels in a jar, 35 years after his grandmother hid them for safekeeping…This year, Mr. Earle, a fashion designer, planted his biggest crop ever. Across his property, stalks of corn are rising, almost 1,000 in all. He turned his discovery into a business, Red Earth Gardens, and gives kernels to interested members of the Nation. This year, for the first time, he ran out…It took a deadly virus to make people realize just how important this is, how important it is to grow your own food, he said.’ Some gardens at schools and senior centers have been closed since March.”

Notices From the Office of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (Democratic Party)

Here are new rules for schools across the entire state

Click here to learn more about child care.

Click here to find nutritional assistance near you.

current public health order

following COVID-safe measures

For Personal Help – please visit  http://www.newmexico.gov/i-need-assistance/

Indian Country Today:

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

“The Democrats bowed to the realities of the pandemic and canceled the major in-person speeches that were still planned for their convention this month.” By Reid J. Epstein and Katie Glueck, The New York Times

Credit: M. V. Agins/The New York Times

“I’ve wanted to set an example as to how we should respond individually to this crisis,” Mr. Biden said at a fund-raiser on Wednesday. “Science matters.” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Tribe Buys Back Ancestral Land After 250 Years!

“The tribe purchased the 1,200 acre ranch near Big Sur as part of a $4.5m deal and will use it for educational and cultural purposes.”M. Koran, The Guardian

The Esselen Tribe of Monterey county now owns a small piece of their ancestral land along California’s north central coast.. Credit- Doug Steakley:AP

Excerpt: Northern California Esselen tribe regains ancestral land after 250 years,Mario Koran, The Guardian

“Two-hundred and fifty years after they were stripped of their ancestral homeland, the Esselen tribe of northern California is landless no more.

This week, the Esselen tribe finalized the purchase of a 1,200-acre ranch near Big Sur, along California’s north central coast, as part of a $4.5m acquisition that involved the state and an Oregon-based environmental group…Tribal leaders say they’ll use the land for educational and cultural purposes, building a sweat lodge and traditional village in view of Pico Blanco peak, the center of the tribe’s origin story.

The deal by the Esselen tribe will protect the Little Sur River. Photograph- Doug Steakley:AP

‘We’re the original stewards of the land. Now we’re returned,’ Tom Little Bear Nason, chairman of the Esselen tribe of Monterey county, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel… Since the 1950s the property, known as Rancho Aguila, had been owned by Axel Adler, a Swedish immigrant. After his death in 2004, his family put it up for sale for $15m.

After years-long negotiations, the Western Rivers Conservancy, a Portland-based environmental group, etched a deal to purchase the land and hand it over to the US Forest Service.

Working on behalf of the tribe, the conservancy secured a $4.5m grant from the California Natural Resources Agency to cover the land purchase and studies of the area.

Nason said the 214-member Esselen tribe will share it with other groups also native to the area, including the Ohlone, the Amah Mutsun and the Rumsen people – all of whom were devastated by the arrival of white settlers.”

‘This Is About Justice’: Biden Ties Economic Revival to Racial Equity

In the last of four proposals laying out his vision for economic recovery, Joseph R. Biden Jr. pledged to lift up minority-owned businesses and to award them more federal contracts”. – By T. Kaplan and K. Glueck , The NYT

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. released the fourth piece of his “Build Back Better” proposal in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday.Credit- M. Agins-NYT

 

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

Indian Country Today:

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

NM Tribe Turns Casino into a Movie Studio!

“A small New Mexico tribe has opened a movie studio in a former casino that it hopes will lure big productions.”  R. Contreras, Indian Country Today

Cheyenne and Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre, talks about Tesuque Pueblo’s new film studio in Santa Fe, N.M.-Photo- AP: Russell Contreras.

 

Excerpt: Tribe transforms old casino into movie studio, Russell Contreras, ICT

The Tesuque Pueblo recently converted the building near Santa Fe into a movie studio campus called Camel Rock Studios with more than 25,000 square feet of filming space.

The tribe’s lands feature stunning desert and the iconic Camel Rock formation in the red-brown foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and tribal officials said outdoor filming can take place on 27 square miles of the reservation.

The tribe with about 800 members decided to open the studio after scenes from the Universal Pictures western movie ‘News of the World’ starring Tom Hanks were filmed last year in the Camel Rock Casino, which closed in 2018.

Universal’s use of the casino for filming helped convince tribal officials to transform the empty building into studio space, said Timothy Brown, president and CEO of the Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corporation…Cheyenne and Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre, a Santa Fe resident and an advisor to Camel Rock Studio, said the studio’s unique aspect is that its former makeup as a casino provides the site with pre-made infrastructure that can be used for filming different types of movie scenes…Older movies filmed on the Tesuque Pueblo include the 1955 western ‘The Man from Laramie’ starring James Stewart and the 1988 ‘Young Guns’ with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland…Tribal officials plan to create internships and movie training programs for Tesuque Pueblo members and hope that the studio will foster a new storytelling movement, Eyer said.”

Indian Country Today: Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“European diplomats and foreign policy experts say that a Joe Biden presidency would restore the United States’ strained alliances with Europe.” Business Insider

STAY STRONG– STAY HEALTHY– STAY SAFE!

COVID-19 Is Destroying the Livelihoods of Native Artists

“The coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of Native American artists. But they are responding with a creative resolve born from centuries of adversity.” P. Leigh, The New York Times

Our great-grand folks went through the Great Depression, the artist Marvin Martinez says. Now I feel like I’m reliving my ancestors. Credit-Ramsay de Give for The New York Times

Mr. Martinez creates pottery blackened by blue smoke that recalls the legacy of his great-grandmother, Maria Martinez. Credit- Ramsay de Give for The New York Times

 

Excerpt: On Tribal Lands, a Time to Make Art for Solace and Survival — By Patricia Leigh, The New York Times

“For over 30 years, Marvin and Frances Martinez have risen with the sun to drive from their home at the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico to the centuries-old Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe.

They arrive early to snag a prime spot beneath the rough-hewed wooden beams of the portal, a colonnade where they sell pottery blackened by blue smoke that recalls the legacy of Maria Martinez, the grande dame of Native American pottery and Mr. Martinez’s great-grandmother.

Native American vendors under the portal of the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, circa 1925-1945.Credit…Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM:DCA)

They are among the 70 or so Native American artisans gathering here to earn a living…This living museum of craftspeople, a program of the New Mexico History Museum, is a Santa Fe institution that draws 300 to 1,000 tourists a day. That was before the yellow caution tape went up and downtown Santa Fe became a ghost town.

The gathering of Native artisans under the portal is a Santa Fe institution that draws 300 to 1,000 tourists a day. Credit- Palace of the Governors Photo Archives

New Mexico’s 23 tribal communities make up almost 60 percent of reported cases and half the deaths, though they comprise just 11 percent of the state’s population… Last month, Indian Market in Santa Fe, the country’s oldest and most competitive market, announced that it would be going virtual this August, spawning ripples of anxiety among artists untutored in e-commerce or living in isolated areas with little or no internet connectivity.

‘Most Native artists rely heavily on the principal markets as an economic lifeline,’ said W. Richard West, Jr., president and chief executive of the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. ‘To have it all come crashing down is really tough.’

Mark Bahti, who owns galleries in Tucson and Santa Fe, noted that many artists come from large extended families. ‘When people support an artist, they are supporting a community,’ he said. At Zuni Pueblo (pop. 7600), in a hard-hit part of New Mexico, some 77 percent of households have at least one self-identified artist at home. A young cooperative called ARTZ — for Ancestral Rich Treasures of Zuni — includes Zuni fetish carvers, who sculpt small animals and other spirit world figures from alabaster and other stones. But the tour buses and visitors stopped coming after the virus outbreak.

A mural by the street artist jetsonorama on Highway 160 on the Navajo reservation.Credit…Chip Thomas

On Highway 160 on the Navajo reservation, where jewelry vendors once set up stalls, a black and white mural by the street artist jetsonorama uses the haunting image of a masked Indian in a headdress to underscore, in both Dine’ and English, the urgency of following public health protocols…The economic importance of traditional cultural practices extends to regions not widely associated with the arts. A market study of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota by the First Peoples Fund, a nonprofit that supports Native artists and culture bearers found that 79 percent of home-based businesses were in traditional arts like beadwork and quillwork.

Rolling Rez arts, a roving arts studio, credit union, internet hot spot and mini-trading post on wheels, aimed at reaching artists in far-flung settings. Credit- Bryan Parker

A solution was Rolling Rez arts — a roving arts studio, credit union, internet hot spot and mini-trading post on wheels that until the virus struck — fanned out across 11,000 square miles to reach artists in far-flung settings…The Fund, based in Rapid City, is among the organizations stepping up to provide financial relief for Native artists in 25 states, who have reported losses ranging from $150 to $38,000 since March 1.”

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 06/12/20   Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. 

Where to begin? After extensive research, the most comprehensive and user-friendly website for finding assistance from a multitude of programs is arguably Benefits.gov.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic information. Indian Health Service National Congress of American IndiansNational Indian Health Board

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden delivered a speech at the funeral for George Floyd on Tuesday, calling on his family to turn his death into “purpose.”

“Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America,”Democratic Presidential nominee  ~Joe Biden~

TODAY WE MARCH — TOMORROW WE VOTE!

STAY STRONG — STAY SAFE

“How Native Business Owners Can Manage During COVID-19”

“…A chat with expert Tracy Stanhoff,of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce. Stanhoffhosts free webinars aimed at Native business owners dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.” R. Tupica, Native News Online.Net

Tracy Stanhoff-President

Excerpt: How Native Business Owners Can Manage During COVID-19, By Rich Tupica, Native News Online.Net–

Tracy Stanhoff of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce hosts free webinars aimed at Native business owners dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the third in a series of Q&A profiles spotlighting both established Native American business owners and emerging entrepreneurs who are working through the pandemic. Native News Online shares their story, including how they became the person they are today and how they’re coping with the COVID-19 crisis. If you have a suggestion for a person we should profile, please email rich@indiancountrymedia.com

Being a small-business owner when the economy is strong is often a challenge—surviving through a pandemic turns that into an uphill battle not everyone will survive. 

Luckily, during trying times, there are experts like Tracy Stanhoff, president of American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California, who are offering advice and support to Native business owners across the country.
Back in 1988, she founded AD PRO, a firm located in Huntington Beach, California. The company is a full-service advertising, graphic design and branding firm with clientele that includes everything from Fortune 500 corporations and Tribal enterprises, to government entities and small businesses.

Stanhoff, who is also a former Tribal Chair of Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, chatted with Native News Online about what entrepreneurs can do to weather the storm and be prepared for the post-Coronavirus economy.

NATIVE NEWS: In response to COVID-19, there are some new financial resources available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). What should people know about those?


Tracy Stanhoff: One important thing is, there’s a lot of fraud in the loans right now. Just go through the SBA portal and go to your local bank that you use already. There are a lot of people sending e-mails out saying they are loan brokers for the Small Business Administration, and they’re not. Once you get a loan, document, document, document your uses of the money. You need to do that so you can get it forgiven under the regulations they have. 

NATIVE NEWS: If someone is a new Native business owner, what would you tell them right now?

Tracy Stanhoff: For new businesses, I’d say, ‘Good luck.’ I don’t mean to sound flippant or rude, but when you’re first starting up, there are a lot of challenges— I couldn’t imagine just starting a restaurant during this time. It’s never easy, even when the economy is doing well… So, for new businesses, I’d say, just hang in there or reevaluate what you’re doing, because there might not be tomorrow for you.

NATIVE NEWS: For those looking to be proactive in saving their business, what would you recommend?

Tracy Stanhoff: I’d encourage everyone to join our chamber’s weekly webinars. There are several facets, but one of them is (about) what you can do to stop the bleeding and see where access to capital is going to be. So we’ve worked with the SBA, and the states and the feds to help provide input into the program and stimulus packages that are out there now for Indian Country.


NATIVE NEWS: Your chamber webinars are hosted on Zoom, is anyone able to join in?

Tracy Stanhoff: People are from all over the country. Our California chamber really has a national presence, and it has for a long time… We’re just trying to help anyone we can and we share information. If somebody’s been through something, they’ll reach out and give advice—and we’re open to it. And, it’s nice to be able to connect with people right now, we’re all sitting at our houses so it’s good to be human.

NATIVE NEWS: Where do people goto join these chamber meetings?


Tracy Stanhoff: Go to our website aiccal.org, or follow me on Facebook, I post info on there.

NATIVE NEWS: Face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are in demand, what would you say to someone looking to pivot in that direction?

Tracy Stanhoff: “There are some opportunities happening now to support the COVID fight. For instance, we just had a webinar on supply chain management: what can be sold to the government and what cannot….Also, what irks me is, I’ve heard people say, ‘Tribes don’t have to follow rules and regulations as strictly as hospitals,’ or whatever. Well, we better! With the liability that you sell something to somebody on a reservation that’s not good, and they think it’s good, and then they expose people — that’s traumatic and negligent…”

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 04/24/20   Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. The National Retail Federation also has over 70 corporations looking for workers.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

For The Kiddies:

Former First Lady Michelle Obama-Reading to Children

Michelle Obama Is Reading Books to Children Stuck at Home, By Mariel Padilla

“Michelle Obama read one of her beloved children’s books aloud on Monday, live streaming to hundreds of thousands of people stuck at home. The virtual story time was the first in a four-week series called “Mondays with Michelle Obama.”

In partnership with PBS Kids, Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books, Ms. Obama, the former first lady, said she would share some of her favorite children’s books, provide an opportunity for children to practice their reading and give families a much-needed break during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Join me, @PBSKIDS, and @penguinrandom for read-alongs on Mondays at 12pm ET Facebook and YouTube!  https://twitter.com/pbskids/status/1251196381840187395 …

Be Smart…Be Safe!

Paiute Tribe Has the Only Native Cannabis Lounge in Las Vegas

“Nevada law restricts marijuana consumption to private residences until 2021, but sovereignty exempts the Las Vegas Paiute.” D. Hernandez, The Guardian

Benny Tso, the former chair of the Las Vegas Paiutes, stand inside Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace. The dispensary is owned by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe. Photograph- Jeff Scheid

Excerpt: ‘The tribe has taken over’: the Native Americans running Las Vegas’s only cannabis lounge-Dan Hernandez, The Guardian

“A couple seated at a high-top table smoked a joint, while six tourists in a circular booth nearby drank THC-infused beer and reviewed the flower menu. It was the morning of the Southern Paiute’s traditional hunt, when tribal youth learn to shoot and harvest mule deer as adult ‘providers’, but Benny Tso, 43, was stuck in the Las Vegas Paiute’s new cannabis tasting room, taking meetings and making calls.

The Tudinu, or ‘desert people’, from whom the Las Vegas Paiute descend, have lived in southern Nevada  for more than 1,000 years, spending summers in the mountains and winters by a valley spring until the area was taken over by white settlers. They worked as ranch hands for several decades, and in 1970, the Las Vegas Paiutes became recognized as a sovereign nation, after which they launched several businesses.

Customers gather at the NuWu Tasting Room on Saturday 5 October 2019. Photograph- Jeff Scheid:The Guardian

In 2017, they opened the NuWu Cannabis  Marketplace, a glass-walled, big box structure that half resembles a car dealership. NuWu – which means ‘the people’ in Southern Paiute – sits on the tribe’s colony one mile away from the neon-lit Fremont Street Experience.

Last month, NuWu became the go-to dispensary for many in Las Vegas, and not just because it’s the only one with a drive-thru window. NuWu opened Nevada’s first cannabis tasting room in October. Sovereignty exempts them from a law that restricts marijuana consumption to private residences until 1 July 2021…for the next 21 months, this 55-member Southern Paiute band has the pot lounge business all to itself.

‘We laughed at first about it. Like, ‘oh crap, we’re going to be weed dealers?’ said Tso, who served as the tribal council chair for over 10 years. ‘After we got the jokes aside, we started digging into the numbers. It was just a different way to generate revenue for the tribe when we realized we needed to do something to put our people in better situations. Within a year and half this is going to compete with our other businesses,’ Tso said of NuWu Cannabis Marketplace. ‘I think we’ve prolonged our tribe by three to four more generations.’ He noted that federal assistance for healthcare, education and law enforcement services has dwindled since the recession…Occasionally, NuWu has to cut people off. But overall the experiment has gone so well that two to three other Native American tribes visit each week to learn about the industry some are calling ‘the new new buffalo’, a reference to the term used for casinos when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act passed in 1988…The strength and ingenuity they have used to survive centuries of marginalization has parallels to the Las Vegas Paiutes’ creation story, which states that their ancestors roamed the desert as ants until a great flood forced them to crawl up a mountain and ascend trees. When the water receded, they returned to the ground and became ‘wo legs’ – human beings – and an especially communal, hardworking sort.

‘We do get teased because we’re city Indians, but a majority of us know our culture and that’s the point,’ said Tso, whose arms are covered in tattoos of traditional Paiute symbols and tools.

His community may need NuWu to be that mountain they climb in the event of a perfect storm, since the tobacco shop revenue plateaued years ago, right as healthcare costs rose to levels unmet by federal support.”

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