Famous Native American Entrepreneurs Who Made It Big and Are Giving Back

The Seminole Nations and African-Americans

Seminole Nation in Florida is composed of a) Miccosukee and b) Muskogee (Muskoki) peoples and c) descendants of the black Africans that escaped slavery and joined the tribe. This group of Native Americans aided the welfare of escaping black slaves hundreds of years ago, as did Cherokee Nation and some other Native Americans. By adopting blacks into their own tribe, the Seminole offered a type of freedom, along with an opportunity for life as a tribal member, and later, to some in tribal and member-owned businesses.

The Everglades Miccosukee Tribe of Seminole Indians Constitution is locate at Constitution. This group of Native Americans planned for success. As early as 1959, it became recognized in a treaty as "Miccosukee Seminole Nation" by Cuba. In Florida, Seminole Nation owns a successful Hard Rock Cafe. In the near future, the Seminole Indian News organ is to be reactivated.

The separate Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. is a Native American group dedicated to business operations and development under leadership of the Tribal Council under their own Constitution. Headquartered in Hollywood, Florida, they state that they are the most successful business people among Native Americans in that they own the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel, a number of gaming establishments, large numbers of cattle, citrus groves, museums, tobacco shops, and other businesses. Black Africans and African-American descendants have enjoyed participation in these interests within both constitutional tribes in Florida.

See the links below for more information about our successful Seminole friends.

A typically well made Seminole Coiled Sweet Grass Basket.
A typically well made Seminole Coiled Sweet Grass Basket. | Source

Seminole Family in Cyress, Florida in 1916

Colorful attire has become popular with tourists in purchases from the Seminole peoples.
Colorful attire has become popular with tourists in purchases from the Seminole peoples. | Source

Blackfeet Nation

The Blackfeet call themselves Niitsapi, the Original People, and live on 1,500,000 acres of prairie lands. Members of other tribes and some non-Native people live with them and enjoy the hospitable nature of the Blackfeet. Around the world, almost 86,000 people report full or part-Blackfeet heritage and their registered tribal roles make them one of the largest Native American Nations in North America. Living on original lands since thousands of year ago, the tribe usually calls itself Blackfeet in Montana and Blackfoot in Canada.

The Blackfeet Nation owns many successful businesses in the 2010s and its members own many more on and off the reservation. The Blackfeet are successful business people, which they attribute to the refusal to fail, supported by strong family and tribal ties and actions. How successful are they? With literally hundreds of businesses, the Blackfeet are leaders among Native North Americans in business and economic growth. Oil and natural gas leases on reservation lands form a major source of income, but businesses have includes companies involved in aviation, fine arts, tourism, entertainment, education and a number of other goods and services.

Favorite Past Business

A Blackfeet Writing Company pen is one of the best stick pens you can find. We used them in the 1960s and 1970s in school, because they never left a pesky smeared blob of ink at the beginning or the end of a word like some other pens did.

Available throughout the decade of the 1960s from the Blackfeet Nation and distributed to retail outlets such as Walgreen's and through some USAF Post Exchanges, Blackfeet pens, pencils, markers and related items became the products of an actual factory founded in 1972. The plant operated until the end of the century and closed down. From time to time, new production of pencils and pens is listed on the Internet as a fund raiser for youth (I last spotted an announcement in 2007), but these items are available on eBay rather consistently. Blackfeet Nation bought out the Lindy Pen Company in the 1990s and moved to Montana to do business until closure.

Other businesses have more than replaced the nation's income from pens and pencils, although many consumers would like the plant to be reopened.

Blackfeet or Blackfoot Nation in USA and Canada.
Blackfeet or Blackfoot Nation in USA and Canada. | Source

Tribal Recognition

  • FBI awards Blackfeet initiative that aims to curb harmful effects of alcohol in Indian country. During January 2012, a reservation program against harmful effects of alcohol received recognition from the FBI. The number of drunken driving violations on the reservation declined from 484 in 2009 to 199 in 2010, reduced by over half.

A Portion of the Blackfeet Ancestral Lands

show route and directions
A markerBrowning MT -
Browning, Mt 59417, USA
[get directions]

The Major city on th ereservation.

B markerBlackfeet Reservation -
Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Blackfeet, Mt, USA
[get directions]

Blackfeet Writing Instruments Inc

North Dakota Oil and Gas: The Three Affiliated Tribes

Mandan and Arikara delegation. Six Indians with three escorts (back row), 1874.
Mandan and Arikara delegation. Six Indians with three escorts (back row), 1874. | Source
Long Time Dog of the Hidatsa Nation in 1908. Photographed by Edward Curtis.
Long Time Dog of the Hidatsa Nation in 1908. Photographed by Edward Curtis. | Source
Mandan adult male, 1914. He is seen on the far left, front row of the Three Affiliated Tribes photo featured above.
Mandan adult male, 1914. He is seen on the far left, front row of the Three Affiliated Tribes photo featured above. | Source

Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Making It Big

OIL BOOM

Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation owns the massive oil and natural gas rights on the large Fort Berthold Reservation (e.g. oil boom towns Williston and New Town in North Dakota). The Bakken Oil Field is said to hold enough oil alone to fuel all of North America for decades. Already refining additional oil coming down from Alberta Province in Canada via pipeline, the MHA tribe expects a new oil refinery to begin construction just west of Makoti ND along Route 23 by Spring 2012. This is near the active Enbridge Pipelines and Canadian Pacific Rail Line.

The jobs open on reservation lands are increasing in numbers and open to anyone qualified, with many non-Natives being hired. Tribal leaders have been advocating for additional construction of additional living spaces for new workers since 2010. from Summer 2008 to Autumn 2011, the MHA Nation spent $15,000,000 on infrastructure that included new roads. An International Energy Summit was held by the MHA Energy Division in early February 2012 to discuss and plan oil and natural gas extraction, oil and gas sales, and improving the quality of life for Native and non-Native residents of North Dakota. Links below feature job listings and additional data about the oil boom.

Forth Berthold MHA Reservation. The large body of water is Lake Sakakawea.
Forth Berthold MHA Reservation. The large body of water is Lake Sakakawea. | Source

© 2012 Patty Inglish

More by this Author


Comments 7 comments

DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 4 years ago from USA

This is fascinating information on these tribes and their ingenuity and entrepreneurship. The information on the Blackfeet writing pen was especially interesting, and I plan to check it out.


Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 4 years ago from Illinois

Thanks for the information on the early Indian Tribes. Yes there was intermarriage between the Indians and Africans, I thought mostly in the southern states.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Donna - I still purchase the pens at some flea markets and "collectibles" shows. Someone out there still has some stock. They are my favorites!

Nan - I think you're right, except in the case of the Mohawk, Oneida and Seneca in the Northeast that owned black slaves and some intermarried.

Fantastic comments!


Daniella Lopez profile image

Daniella Lopez 4 years ago from Arkansas

Fantastic hub. It's quite impressive how successful many tribes have been. I have really been enjoying your hubs on Native Americans and I hope to see more from you on the topic in the future. Voted up!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

It's encouraging to read about Native Americans overcoming the roadblocks they've encountered from so many directions. My significant other is a Medicine Man of the Lakota/Sioux Nation -- I'm referring him to your Hub as he always takes pleasure in Indian business success stories. Great read and voted up. Best, Sis


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Thanks, Patty, for this revealing and interesting infromation about the Seminole Nations and African Americans. Even though I live in Florida - home of the Seminoles - I was not aware that there were two distinct Seminole nations. Who knew? Not me until now.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Daneiella - I love to write about these types of topics, especially after I learned of family members that were Native. Thanks!

Angela - I have great respect for the Medicine Man and know that his ways are sometimes more effective that allopathic medicine. It's a great pleasure to know that you are with a Medicine Man.

drbj - I read in a newsletter that a govt-sponsored 3rd nation was attempting to emerge as well and will keep my eye on it. Thanks fr the comment.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working