Top Native American Investment Professionals

Traditionally, Native People have not been represented in finance. There’s been some motion, particularly as tribes have appeared to shore up their financial growth. For instance, the passing of the Indian Gaming Act, in 1988, arrange the trail for Native American-owned gaming which turned extra tribal consideration in direction of investing as a method of fiscal independence.

Nonetheless, indigenous communities aren’t essentially plugged into the investing world. Critiques of buyers have discovered that they are extra more likely to decide to together with “Indigenous Folks’s Points” of their social investing than to implement these guarantees, although the destructive dangers of ignoring indigenous points are rising. “This disconnect between philosophy and apply is emblematic of broader energy and relational asymmetries between Indigenous Peoples and the non-public funding world,” write Nikki Pieratos and Chrystel Cornelius, two investing professionals lined under, who’ve advisable using indigenous intermediaries to bridge the divide. A number of of the individuals lined right here have labored to function that bridge.


Key Takeaways

  • Opposite to the favored impression, many tribes are struggling economically, particularly since COVID-19.
  • The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act created a footpath for the Native American gaming business, Since then, tribal communities have appeared in direction of furthering investments in all kinds of fields.
  • Quite a lot of Native American-led corporations are working to spur financial growth and construct tribal sovereignty.

Nikki Pieratos

Govt Director, Tiwahe Basis

Nikki Pieratos is a distinguished determine in community-development finance, one who’s broadly revealed on the difficulty.

Pieratos serves as the chief director of the Tiwahe Basis, which gives grants with a concentrate on cultural revitalization, instructional development, and entrepreneurship. The muse—whose title relies on the Dakota phrase for household—describes itself as a group useful resource based mostly on the thought of “a steady cycle of success grounded in indigenous tradition that acknowledges that giving advantages each giver and receiver.”

Beforehand, Pieratos served as managing director of the NDN Collective, an advocacy group that goals to construct indigenous energy by decolonizing and creating Native American communities, in addition to preventing useful resource extraction.

Pieratos is a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and holds a grasp’s diploma in public coverage from the College of Chicago.

Chrystel Cornelius

President and CEO, Oweesta Company

Chrystel Cornelius leads the Oweesta Company, which serves as an middleman between Native American communities and the U.S. Treasury’s Group Improvement Monetary Establishments Fund.

Cornelius is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota.

In 2020, the usSecurities and Trade Fee up to date its definition of “accredited investor” to include Native American tribes, governments, and funds.

Leonard Smith

CEO, Native American Improvement Company

Leonard Smith was concerned in securing funding for the Tribal Management Council in Montana and Wyoming.

He based the Native American Improvement Company, an middleman for financial growth organizations and Native American companies. Smith serves as its CEO.

An enrolled member of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribe of the Ft. Peck in Montana, Smith has additionally assisted organizations corresponding to Native American Capital in vetting tasks for funding.

Earlier than COVID-19, Native American tribes watched their revenues develop considerably—principally due to investments in industries like hospitality and playing, in line with one evaluation. That made them financially susceptible to COVID’s closures. Within the aftermath, tribes at the moment are seeking to diversify, together with a flip to enterprise capital and personal fairness investments.

Joseph L. Falkson

Senior Managing Director, Native American Capital

Joseph L. Falkson co-founded Native American Capital, a monetary consultancy in Washington, DC. The consultancy connects buyers with Native American enterprises.

In his place as senior managing director, Falkson runs their tribal monetary companies consulting: connecting tribes to federal financing.


The proportion of philanthropic funding obtained by indigenous communities, in line with the nonprofits Candid and Native People in Philanthropy, a community of teams that put money into indigenous communities. Native People represent roughly 2% of the US inhabitants, in line with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Lynn Dee Rapp

Member, Board of Trustees, The Nationwide Middle for American Indian Enterprise Improvement

An enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Lynn Dee Rapp is on the board of trustees for the Nationwide Middle for American Indian Enterprise Improvement, a nonprofit centered on facilitating tribal financial growth.

Rapp can also be on the board of the American Indian School Fund, which helps Native American college students.

What is the Native American Enterprise Fund?

The Native American Enterprise Fund is an impression investing fund that works with Native American ventures. It describes its objective as offering the human and monetary capital to make the most of the general public insurance policies that exist to incentivize Native American enterprise.

What is the Native American Rights Fund?

The Native American Rights Fund is a registered nonprofit. Based in 1970, it supplies authorized help to individuals, tribes, and organizations, particularly on problems with tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, pure useful resource safety, and schooling, in line with its web site. It is an necessary group within the panorama affecting Native American investing and entrepreneurship.

Are Native American Companies Exempt From US Federal Taxes?

Underneath some circumstances. In line with the U.S. Inside Income Service, companies shaped below acts together with the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act are exempt, whereas state-chartered companies sometimes aren’t. Tribal taxation is a fancy and fraught query, which complicates tax points for companies shaped below tribal legislation.

The Backside Line

Native People proceed to face boundaries to financial alternative, together with smaller networks within the funding group. Each tribes and particular person Native People are constructing out growth via elevated use of investing. The funding professionals above are working to develop the monetary safety of indigenous peoples.