NEW YORK, NY — In a unique and unprecedented new direction, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, located in Northeast Washington, has entered into a strategic alliance with the minority owned investment banking and financial services firm, Blaylock Van, LLC, of California and New York. The Kalispel-Blaylock collaboration will provide financial benefits for both parties and educational opportunities for the Kalispel for generations to come.
Some 474 members make up the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, whose Reservation — established in 1914 — is situated 55 miles north of Spokane, Washington, along the Pend Oreille River. For generations, the Kalispel Tribe found themselves trapped in a subsistence environment, battling unemployment, inadequate housing, prejudice, and limited economic opportunities. In 1965, the average annual income for Tribe members was $1,400 per year, today the annual medium income for members is approximately $39,500.
Thanks to the unbridled pioneering spirit inherent throughout the Kalispel Tribe, combined with its members’ sheer determination, resiliency, and community cohesiveness, the Tribe has developed innovative ways to create opportunity for its members and community.
Since 2000, they have built, grown, acquired and expanded various enterprises, which now include the popular Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights, Washington, two Fatburger franchise restaurants, two Chevron fuel stations and convenience stores, Kalispel Golf and Country Club, Crossroads Restaurant, Camas Center for Community Wellness, Kalispel Linen Services, and Kalispel Tribal Utilities.
In an effort to expand its investments and interests beyond the hospitality and gaming industry, the Kalispel Tribe has entered into this new partnership with the financial services firm, Blaylock Van, LLC. The president of Blaylock Van, LLC, Eric Standifer, has worked closely with the Kalispel to solidify the partnership, which will provide internships, training, and jobs for Native Americans in the financial services industry. “I see this as a win-win for the Kalispel Tribe and Blaylock Van. Our firm has always pursued opportunities to expand its outreach and capabilities, and to train and support underrepresented finance professionals,” says Standifer. “The capital inflow will support our sales and trading, and give the firm greater underwriting capacity. And, involving and training Native Americans in financial services aligns well with our mission.”
An equity participation and infusion of underwriting capital from the Kalispel Tribe will allow Blaylock Van to enter into the new arena of providing management and financial services to Native American tribes and tribal members, including underwriting, securities execution and equity management services.
The Kalispel Tribe searched the financial world for a minority firm with high-tech capabilities, decades of experience, and an impeccable reputation in investment banking and financial services; Blaylock Van answered the call.
“This is the first time a Native American tribe has partnered with an African American-owned and operated firm in the financial services sector,” says Glen Nenema, CEO & Chairman of the Kalispel Tribe. “The goal of the partnership is to create a longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship.” Rather than becoming complacent with the success they have worked so diligently to earn in the gaming and hospitality industry, the Kalispel Tribe chose to diversify by aligning with the nation’s longest running African-American owned firm.
“The Kalispel mindset is about preservation of culture, traditions and people,” says Nenema. “We are planning for seven generations from now, and will only invest in opportunities that benefit generations to come. That is how we think. We want to ensure that those future generations will prosper. That is our mission. It is good for everyone and good for America when enterprising African American-owned firms can partner with Native Americans to work together and prosper within the system. Both entities can now achieve successes they could not accomplish by themselves. Sharing the same goals and vision has allowed us to form a strong strategic partnership.”
Blaylock Van’s commitment to the strategic alliance with the Kalispel Tribe stems from the firm’s core philosophy and mission — to deliver financial services of the highest quality while encouraging diversity, equal opportunity and community outreach. To support excellence, the firm actively seeks opportunities to grow its lines of business and capital. To support a diverse workforce, the firm encourages all employees — over 50 percent of whom are women and people of color — to recruit others and participate in community outreach to mentor young people and provide internship opportunities.