Category Archives: Business

Wampanoag Tribe Get Their Casino…Finally!

“The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe won a major victory in its quest to build a resort casino in Taunton on Friday, receiving approval for 321 acres of land to be taken into trust by the federal government…after years of negotiations and reviews, clearing the path for the tribe to open a casino on the land with or without a state gaming license. The tribe’s plans for the land in Taunton includes three hotels, an event center, restaurants, retail stores, and a water park.” N. Sigelman, MVT

Chair Cedric Cromwell of Wampanoags. Photo Wampanoag

Chair Cedric Cromwell of Wampanoags. Photo Wampanoag

Excerpt: Feds Approve Mashpee Wampanoag Land, by Nelson Sigelman, Martha’s Vineyard Times

“Under the state’s 2011 expanded gaming law and a compact negotiated with the tribe by the former Patrick administration, the Mashpee Wampanoag would pay 17 percent of gaming revenue from a Taunton casino to the state if it opens a casino with no other gaming competitors in the southeast region.

A rendering of the proposed Mashpee Wampanoag Casino. Photo- BostonGlobe

A rendering of the proposed Mashpee Wampanoag Casino. Photo- BostonGlobe

A commercial casino, should one be licensed by the Gaming Commission, would have to pay the state 25 percent of gaming revenue in taxes under the law.The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has the discretion to issue a license in southeastern Massachusetts to another commercial developer. If both the tribe and a commercial casino opened in the region the tribe would not owe any gaming taxes to the state.

Maspee tribe celebrates new casino deal. Photo capecodtimes

Maspee tribe celebrates new casino deal. Photo capecodtimes

This outcome establishes a land base for Mashpee in their ancestral homelands, and will afford the tribe numerous possibilities for self-determination and economic development.”

I wish our brothers and sisters all the best as they move forward on this positive path for their people.” ~ Tobias Vanderhoop~ chairman of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe.

Category: Business

1st Native-Owned Video Game: ‘Never Alone’

O’siyo. The first Native owned video game entitled “Never Alone” will be released this coming fall for all to enjoy. The setting is Alaska and the protagonist is young Nuna and her arctic fox. Players help Nuna rescue her homeland from an endless blizzard and many folklore characters. The inspiration for the game comes from the centuries-old stories of the Iñupiat people native to the region.

Never Alone. Photo: Gamezebo.

Never Alone. Photo: Gamezebo.

Excerpt: Alaska Natives Tell Their Tales in Never Alone By Jim Squires

“The stories of our fathers are rarely written down. What we know of our family, our past, and to a certain extent our culture has survived because of the tradition of oral storytelling. In some cultures this is more valued than others. For the Indigenous People of the Americas, telling stories is essential to the preservation of their culture and heritage.
So why not share these stories through a more modern medium?

The brave  Nuna. Photo: Kotaku.

The brave Nuna. Photo: Kotaku.

Never Alone will be the debut release from Upper One Games, a studio founded by the Cook Inlet Tribal Counsel in Anchorage, Alaska. They’re the first indigenous-owned studio in the US, and that’s a title they wear proudly. Never Alone tells the tale of a young girl named Nuna and an Arctic fox. Everything in the game is inspired by the folk tales of the Iñupiaq people, including Kunuuksaayuka, Manslayer, Blizzard Man, and The Sky People.

Never Alone. Upper One Games.

Never Alone. Upper One Games.

As you might expect the developers have a rich cultural history to draw from, and for most gamers this will be their first experience with Indigenous folklore.

Interactive mediums have the potential to be great teaching tools. If Arctic Natives can use video games as a way to preserve their culture and share it with the next generation of Indigenous Peoples (and the world), I’m all for it.

Never Alone is aiming for a Fall 2014 release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One with an expected $14.99 price.

VIDEO: Trailer Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) [PS4/Xbox One/PC]

Video Link

“For thousands of years we told stories from one generation to the next. Our stories help us to understand how the world is ordered and our place within it, but what good are old stories if the wisdom they contain is not shared?” ~Never Alone~ ( Iñupiat Narration)


Category: Business

Navajo Dustin Martin “Point Lips” The Navajo Way

O’siyo. Navajo designer Dustin Martin, lives in Albuquerque, N.M., and attends Columbia University in New York City. He recently started his own clothing line which includes beautiful Native American images and motifs. His company name is  S.O.L.O. (Sovereign Original Land Owners) and his designs can be seen (and bought)  at Beyond Buckskin Boutique.

Cavalry Tee by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin

Cavalry Tee by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin

Excerpt: Point Lips, Not Fingers…  By Lee Allen, ICTMN

“On June 18, Paul Frank Industries announced that four Native designers had been selected to collaborate with the company on a line of products. Called “Paul Frank Presents,” the collection will debut on August 16 at the Santa Fe Indian Market. Dustin Quinn Martin, who designs T-shirts for his company S.O.L.O. (Sovereign Original Land Owners), was one of the young fashion talents who got the nod.

PREZERVE Tee by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

PREZERVE Tee by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

“My contribution to the line was built on the concept ‘Point Lips, Not Fingers.’  When I was growing up, my grandfather taught me it was rude to point fingers (literally and figuratively).  So, like many Navajos who grow up on the rez, I learned that pointing my lips was a polite alternative to conventional hand gestures…The design I cooked up uses a cultural quirk (lip-pointing) to embed meaning and humor into the image and remind viewers of what sparked the collaboration…

Ceci N'est Pas Un Conciliateur by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

Ceci N’est Pas Un Conciliateur by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

Lone Resistance Tee by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

Lone Resistance Tee by Navajo artist Dustin Martin. Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

Without a doubt I’m very thankful for the opportunity. Though I now have an even better idea of how much there is for me to learn, I also know that a fashion collaboration — no matter how ‘big league’ it may appear at first — isn’t rocket science.  When I was able to look past ‘Paul Frank’ and [Paul Frank Industries’ parent company] ‘Saban Brands’ to see the people behind the curtain, it became a lot like working with friends.” Read more…

 “Above all, I went into this experience with this mindset: ‘This is the type of recognition and respect Native artists and designers have been praying for. Don’t Drop The Ball  I hope all four of us chosen designers make Native America proud.”~ Dustin Martin~

Congratulations to Dustin Martin, the other winners, and to the Beyond Buckskin Boutiquefor promoting Native cultures!

We here at Talking Feather  would also like to thank our readers for the wonderful  emails and positive comments. Keep them coming!  

Wishing All of Our Readers A Happy 4th!

Navajo Nation July 4th 2013 Celebration & Fair. Photo; Navajo Fair.

Navajo Nation July 4th 2013 Celebration & Fair. Photo: Navajo Fair.

July 4th in Arizona.Photo-ArizonaKey.

July 4th Celebration in Arizona. Photo-ArizonaKey.

Category: Business

Beautiful Earrings To Aid Indian Cancer Foundation

O’siyo.  Navajo, Hopi, Santa Clara Pueblo artist Maria Bird, of  Mea B’flly Designs, has created the first limited edition Powwow for Hope earring entitled Braver.  The profits from this edition will go towards helping the American Indian Cancer Foundation. The artist uses a mix of bold colors and Native culture to create unique earrings.  Maria’s earrings go beyond beauty and serve a much deeper purpose.

Braver: Telling the story about the cancer experience in Indian country.

Excerpt Powwow for Hope Benefit Earring American Indian Cancer Foundation Native News Staff

“The American Indian Cancer Foundation has partnered with artist Maria Bird, of Mea B’flly Designs, to create the first limited edition Powwow for Hope earring. 

The benefit earring, titled “Braver,” launched for viewing at the National Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas last month and is now available for purchase online for $30 at the Mea B’fly Designs Etsy shop.

MaRia Bird (Mea B'Fly) and Andrea Preston (DreLynn Design). Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

MaRia Bird (Mea B’Fly) and Andrea Preston (DreLynn Design). Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

Simple Luv.

Simple Luv.

Simple Luv.


Sakura Mano (Cherry Blossom Girl).

“I hoped to capture, with all the ranges of color, that cancer affects everyone’s inner light in so many ways immediately you are full of anger and demanding understanding then it moves to calm notes of prayer for strength and giving thanks for each day given further more. 

Ride Hard or Die Tryin.

The floral designs are in the two top and bottom placements because Love comes from above and below during difficult times. 

Walk With Me.

Above could mean those looking down upon us to our mothers and grandmothers and below meaning our children and those who are unfortunately just finding out they have cancer.

Traditional Nites.

Flowers speak in a gentle but strong manner. It is also iconic that we come from the earth and will return to it again.”

You can find more information or support the cancer cause in Indian country by purchasing BRAVER online at the Mea B’fly Designs Etsy shop.

Note: Maria’s additional earring designs shown here can be found at Beyond Buckskin.

Kudos to Maria Bird and Mea B’fly Designs, the American Indian Cancer Foundation, and everyone who supports this worthy cause.

American Indian Cancer Foundation.

Category: Business

The Pequot Nation: Rulers of The Golden Empire…In Trouble?

Foxwoods Is Fighting for Its Life, By Michael Sokolove, The New York Times

The Pequot Tribal Council. Photo credit Tribal Home

The Pequot tribe, owners of the famous Foxwoods Resort Casino, are proud people. The tribal members built Foxwoods  through hard work, keeping their population low (there are only 900 members)  and by smart planning. It is amazing how this tribe almost driven to extinction, has turned itself into one of the largest American Indian conglomerates known throughout the western hemisphere. Although it appears that the tribe is in debt, they are hardly going “under”. In fact, in many ways they have gained valuable insight from this experience which will make them stronger.


Nearly everything about the Foxwoods Resort Casino is improbable, beginning with its scale. It is the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere — a gigantic, labyrinthine wonderland set down in a cedar forest and swamp in an otherwise sleepy corner of southeastern Connecticut. Forty thousand patrons pack into Foxwoods on weekend days. The place has 6,300 slot machines. Ten thousand employees. If you include everything — hotel space, bars and restaurants, theaters and ballrooms, spa, bowling alley — Foxwoods measures about 6.7 million square feet, more than the Pentagon. The owner of this enterprise is the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Once powerful and even feared, the Pequots were nearly extinguished in one day — in fact, in just one hour — when English colonists and their Indian allies attacked and torched the main Pequot village near Mystic in the spring of 1637. The survivors were sold into slavery or given over to neighboring tribes…

Foxwoods Resort Casino. Google images

In the early 1970s, just one resident remained on a Pequot reservation in Ledyard, now the site of Foxwoods — an elderly woman named Elizabeth George. Her grandson was Richard Hayward (known as Skip), a pipe welder and a former short-order cook with an audacious vision, innate political skills and a flair for dealmaking. Through his efforts, the tribe won federal recognition in 1983. In 1986, it opened a high-stakes bingo hall. Full-blown casino gambling came to Foxwoods in 1992 and in the two decades since has produced not millions but billions of dollars of revenue. Not surprisingly, the casino and its largess rejuvenated the tribe, whose population is now about 900…[In the beginning] $100,000 was given to each adult member of the tribe…they built new housing, a child-development center, ballfields and tennis courts, a spacious community building with a health club and an indoor-outdoor pool…The pièce de résistance was a $225 million museum to commemorate the Pequots’ tragic history and stunning resurrection… Children began getting the disbursements when they turned 18. Luxury automobiles abounded… The payments stopped… in late 2010, and more Pequots have been going to work at Foxwoods. You had this big moneymaking enterprise with a limited amount of mouths to feed…But everything’s about austerity now. It’s no different than what a family would do. You’ve got to get rid of the cable TV. You’ve got to get rid of the Cadillac. You’re not going to go out to eat anymore.. [With strategic guidance and planning] the casino’s profits have been increasing… Foxwoods had been an early mover, built to stand astride a huge geographic area — much like the Pequot tribe once dominated a big swath of New England… Foxwoods will expand…”

The Pequot Museum and Research Center at Foxwoods.

A good article about the tribe, and about the casino industry in general. Kudos to the Pequots for holding their own, and for taking care of their tribal members, especially their young. They have demonstrated true leadership and sovereignty.

It was a vision that would not die, one that endured through years of hardship and loss. It was the dream of a small group of Mashantucket Pequot Indians to rebuild their nation and to bring its members home. That was the legacy of Elizabeth George, who protected the Pequots’ right to live on the Mashantucket reservation and who instilled in those around her a love for and desire to keep their land, at any cost…~Pequots Museum~

Category: Business