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LAS VEGAS — Actor Mark Wahlberg and his brother, chef Paul Wahlberg took center stage the National Indian Gaming Association's Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 21, to announce a newly formed partnership between their company, Wahlburgers Franchising and Little River Holdings, LLC, a wholly owned enterprise of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, based in Manistee, Mich.

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It all started in a meeting in Las Vegas, where a couple of tribes expressed their concerns about managing the many operations involved with entering the cannabis industry to the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of Violet Gro, Hyperponic, and Sunflower Consulting Group. 

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LAS VEGAS — Actor Mark Wahlberg, along with his brothers, Paul and Donnie, will join Little River Holdings officials, General Manager Eugene Magnuson and board Chairman Frank Lewis, at the National Indian Gaming Association's Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 21, to announce a newly formed partnership.

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ONEIDA, Wis. — The Oneida Nation announced a new sports betting venture on July 1, following the amendment of its gaming compact with the state of Wisconsin in a signing ceremony with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on the same day.

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WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has awarded more than $6.5 million in Energy and Mineral Development Program (EMDP) grants to 27 federally recognized tribes and seven Alaska Native corporations in 15 states. The funding will aid tribal efforts to identify, study, design and develop projects using energy, mineral and natural resources.

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WAYLAND, Mich. — Gun Lake Casino, located halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Mich., is raising its minimum starting wage to $14 per hour, which represents more than a 30 percent increase, beginning June 1, 2021.

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“I have really slow internet at my house,” Alaska Native Iñupiaq seventh grader, Kaden Kulukhon, wrote in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Kulukhon was among a handful of middle schoolers and educators beseeching the FCC to approve a licensing modification to send satellites into polar orbit, effectively offering remote Alaskan villages access to broadband internet. “All the people in my house use the internet. When COVID hit all the websites that I used at school could not load at my house,” he wrote. “Even at our school some websites won’t load properly and we consider the school internet ‘fast.’”

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Growing up, when Harlan Kingfisher (Plains Cree from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation) would leave the house for big hockey games, his grandfather, or Mushum, would instruct him to smudge his blades and hockey stick. “Smudging” is the Indigenous practice of burning sweetgrass or sage in prayer to summon positive energy and cleanse one’s spirit. 

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The digital divide is great in the United States, often separating the rural from the urban, the rich from the poor. Indian Country is no different, with just 60 percent of residents living on tribal lands in the lower 48 states having access to broadband internet at the end of 2018. That was tough enough pre-pandemic. Today, not having in-home access to the internet can mean long drives to places like McDonald’s for internet service, just so children can do homework assignments.