Articles of Interest

CannaNative Announces Strategic Alliance with National Indian Cannabis Coalition (NICC)

CannaNative Announces Strategic Alliance with National Indian Cannabis Coalition (NICC)

Inter-Tribal Coalition Condemns Crop Destruction; Set to Assist Sovereign Nations with Enforcement of Legal Rights While Restoring Cannabis Crops and Cannabis-Based Business on Tribal Lands

San Diego, CA – November 20, 2015
– CannaNative, LLC (“CannaNative”) — the premiere Native American-owned and operated company created to assist more than 560 tribal nations located throughout the U.S. with utilizing the cannabis industry to gain true sovereignty — is proud to announce that it has developed a strategic alliance with the National Indian Cannabis Coalition (NICC).

The historic alliance was formed in direct response to the recent destruction of cannabis crops by U.S. law enforcement agencies on tribal lands. NICC is taking measures to ensure that Indian Country’s sovereign right to participate in this industry, as States are allowed to, is protected.   There is no other Native American-owned and operated group that is advocating for the rights of all tribes to this extent.

Jeff Doctor, Executive Director of NICC, emphasizes, “Tribal leadership is charged with protecting their communities, their investments and most importantly, sovereignty. We are at a critical point in history and with tribal support, NICC is taking the lead advocating for Indian Country on this issue in Washington, D.C.”

CannaNative and NICC are actively educating tribal leaders by providing access to accurate information in order to develop a successful cannabis-based economy within their sovereign nations. CannaNative is led by former tribal Chairmen and proven business leaders. The
NICC is based in Washington, D.C., and is led by proven leaders with vast experience including: tribal law, U.S. law, regulatory policy establishment and enforcement, economics, business, agriculture, health and wellness.

"CannaNative is at the forefront of the cannabis industry in Indian Country and the National Indian Cannabis Coalition is leading the way for Indian Country on Capitol Hill,” stated Anthony Rivera, Co-Founder of CannaNative. “We have joined forces to ensure the utmost protection of tribal sovereignty and reservation commerce. Together we are setting the standard to guide sovereign tribes to a safe and lucrative future in the cannabis industry."

At the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama (who also refers to himself as President Barack Black Eagle) is quoted as saying, “I’ve often acknowledged the painful history, the broken promises that are part of our past. And I’ve said that while we couldn’t change the past, working together, nation-to-nation, we could build a better future. I believed this not only because America has a moral obligation to do right by the tribes and treaty obligations, but because the success of our tribal communities is tied up with the success of America as a whole."

Hemp cannabis has a robust history with Native Americans. Farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut in 17th Century America were ordered by law to grow “Indian hemp”. By the early 18th century, hemp was considered to be legal tender and one could pay their taxes with it. A person could be sentenced to jail if they were not growing hemp on their land.

For Native Americans, it was a different story explains Anthony Rivera, “Many American leaders in the 1870s and 1880s thought that Indians should be encouraged or even forced to assimilate. U.S. Army leaders wanted the buffalo herds reduced, since that would force Indian tribes to stay on reservations and farm. Also, to further encourage assimilation, the U.S. government offered free farm land and help for Indian families that chose to leave their tribe and become settled, independent farmers."  

Over time, this ancient and once highly revered botanical became demonized and also re-named the derogatory term “marijuana.” Through negative propaganda campaigns, the plant was effectively removed from the U.S. pharmacopeia, removed as an agricultural crop, and ultimately the lives of U.S. citizens and tribal members by the 1940s. Further exacerbating the situation, “marijuana” was listed as a schedule 1 substance by the U.S. government in 1970.

Since then, decades of worldwide cannabis research has proven that the plant in whole and in part has substantial benefits. In the 1990s, hemp was legally separated from the definition of “marijuana,” which opened the door for hemp-based imports in the U.S. Today, more than half of the U.S. states have some form of medical cannabis laws on the books allowing accessibility. The popularity of hemp is growing from food and nutritional supplements to clothing, building materials, car parts and more than 25,000 other uses. Hemp alone is estimated to be at least a $620 million U.S. import.

Today, CannaNative believes that full restoration of cannabis cultivation and developing a cannabis-based economy is an inherent right of all 566 tribes located throughout the U.S. A recent article by the Associated Press highlights the level of complexity that tribal nations are facing today with restoring cannabis agriculture on tribal lands. CannaNative is eliminating fears of re-establishing cannabis-based tribal economies through education and enforcement of unique sovereign rights. The inter-tribal coalition between CannaNative and NICC strives to prevent disruptive and costly incidents such as crop destruction by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

In response to the AP article, Lael Echo-Hawk, General Counsel for NICC explains, “Indian Country is complicated - tribes need partners that understand the legal complexities of Indian Country. In order to move forward, we need our federal partner to clarify their position and support equal tribal opportunity in this emerging industry. NICC is leading that charge both on the Hill and at the Administration.”

Other issues are also being addressed such as the U.S.-based cannabis industry’s lack of banking alternatives. Lack of banking in a cash-and-carry industry is creating a public safety issue. CannaNative is addressing this by modeling the highly regulated and successful cash-based gaming industry by Native American tribes to provide banking solutions for the U.S. cannabis industry. Each sovereign nation is described by Anthony Rivera as “domestic foreign countries in the U.S.”

Dr. Cedric Black Eagle former Tribal Chairman of the Crow tribe, brother to President Barack Black Eagle, and Co-Founder of CannaNative stands behind his famous brother’s statement of inter-tribal collaboration and working toward future growth and success.

Dr. Black Eagle states, “There appears to be some confusion by the tribes with clarification of processes on regulation of hemp and marijuana in sovereign nations. I am confident that the alliance between CannaNative and NICC will provide the path to streamlining processes of regulating the legal use of cannabis on Indian land. The CannaNative and NICC alliance will advocate and assist sovereign nations on the necessary regulations to protect the tribes’ assets and, in this case, their asset would be cannabis crops."

CannaNative was formed to spearhead the restoration of cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of finished products for health and wellness initiatives, medical research, banking and more. The alliance of CannaNative and NICC is now in place to protect tribal interests and advocate for what sovereignty brings: full self-sustainability on Indian reservations.

For more information on CannaNative, visit the Company’s website at

About CannaNative LLC.

CannaNative™ goal is to help tribes to develop hemp and cannabis-based economies on Native American lands throughout the United States.  We believe that every tribe should have the opportunity to establish and grow a responsible, cannabis-based economy to sustain all future generations. For more information on CannaNative, visit the Company’s website at

About NICC.

NICC has been formed to help move Tribal leaders through the information hurdles of creating working cultivation and manufacturing facilities. NICC is an educational resource for information on the medical benefits of cannabis; economic development opportunities for building a self-sustaining cultivation project from seed to sale; and investing with consideration for public health and safety. For more information, visit the organization’s website at

For further information, please contact:

Public Relations contact:

Media Contact:
Andrew Hard
Chief Executive Officer
CMW Media
P. 858-264-6601

Corporate Contact:

CannaNative, LLC.

550 West "C" Street, Ste. 2040

San Diego, CA 92101


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‘God Knows Junipero Serra Was a Sinner’ Prayer Memorial by Local Tribes



Several San Diego tribal bands gathered September 23, 2015 at the historic Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá Mission. They returned to what is sacred land in memory of their ancestors and to pray for healing of all those killed or buried on the grounds of the mission.

The first Franciscan Mission in what was then Las Californias, was founded on July 16, 1769 by Spanish friar Junipero Serra in an area long inhabited by the Kumeyaay Indians.

Anthony Pico, former Chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, addressed the crowd in remembrance of their tribal ancestors.

“Those running the mission knew this entire place was sacred ground but they started digging in this spot to make a building,” Pico said. “They began digging so they could construct the mission – but the lower they dug they started hitting human remains. By the time we found out about it, they were about eight feet deeper than a grave.”

“Those present that day looked over the holes and discovered skeletons were buried there,” Pico said. “Anthropologist Florence Peck took the bones to have them checked out. Florence told me that on the bones of the ones they took out, she saw marks on their forearms from being shackled and that they had to be under ground a long time to leave marks on their bones.”

As the day began to darken, more people arrived and singers began their chants and songs. It was a serene atmosphere as the Memorial was dedicated with lit candles surrounding a cross.

Pico remembers back in 1989 coming from the Viejas Reservation with other tribal members to the site at the Mission and singing for 18 hours and then digging for 10 hours to finally give those buried a proper burial.

“We did everything by hand with shovels, and it was brutal,” Pico said. “I felt exhausted, dirty and filthy, and when I finally made it home I just collapsed into bed.”

Angela Elliott Santos, Tribal Chairperson for the Manzanita Band of Mission Indians arrived this night with many of their band. Along with the Memorial and prayers for ancestors the tribal members were also protesting the upcoming sainthood of Father Junípero Serra who was in charge of the Mission when all of this happened.

“We are here because of the potential canonizing of a man who treated our people badly and to show everyone we still exist, Santos said. “This matters to us. The Manzanita were oppressed in the ‘80s. Even though some of us were younger we knew the history and what happened here. Our people were forced to build the missions and they were civilized people with their own religion. It’s very sad if they canonize a man who has cost so much heartache for us to get over. Today, on this sad day, we are here to pray for the ancestors and for ourselves to find a way to get through another atrocity to our people.”

The Honorable John Elliott, Councilman of the Manzanita Band of Mission Indians thanked those in attendance.

“Today we pray for the ancestors and for healing for our people,” he said. “The mission system was such devastation to all levels of our society that it’s time for us to start healing at this spot, an Indian cemetery that is sacred ground to us, and where we want to come and recognize them. They’re the ones that had to live under this oppressive system and their energy will be energized if we stand up and start healing our own people.”

As the group surrounded the cross-circled with candles, two signs under a tree expressed the message all were here to share. One read “Serra isn’t a Saint, God knows and so do we, genocide is wrong;” and the other “Native Lives Matter.”

Pope FranciscanonizedJunipero Serra September, 28, 2015.



CannaNative: Historic Partnership Offers 566 Native American Tribes and Sovereign Nations Sustainable Cannabis-Based Economic Solutions

Native American-Focused Company Brings Experience to Pave the Way for Indigenous Tribes to Restore Cannabis Cultivation, Use, Research, Commerce and Banking on Tribal Lands


SAN DIEGO, Oct. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Native American tribes are positioned to benefit from the official launch of CannaNative, LLC.  CannaNative™ is the premiere majority Native American-owned and operated company to assist tribal nations - more than 560 tribes in the U.S. - with utilizing the rapidly emerging cannabis industry to gain true sovereignty: restored self-sufficiency with complete economic and environmental sustainability.


Andy Nakai, Anthony Rivera, Jr., Stuart W. Titus, PhD, and Dr. Cedric Black Eagle represent the founders of CannaNative, LLC.


Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

In addition to a booming marijuana industry, current U.S. imports of hemp products are valued at $620 million annually. CannaNative™ will usher a new age for sovereign nations, as Native American tribes have unique rights that allow for cannabis (marijuana and industrial hemp) cultivation, manufacturing, marketing, sales, use, distribution, medical research and even banking institutions for the rapidly growing cash-and-carry industry.

CannaNative™ was recently featured in a Bloomberg issued report titled Where to Stash Cannabis Cash?  Tribal Nations Make Bid to Bank It introducing the Native American economic development and advisory group. The report answers the question that Bloomberg recently posed, “Does Anybody Want $3 Billion in Cash From Pot Sales? Big Banks Say No, Thanks”. 

The vision for CannaNative™ began with former tribal Chairman, Anthony Rivera, Jr., who evaluated the emerging cannabis industry and viable business partnerships in late 2014.  By early 2015, Rivera established a majority partnership with General Hemp, LLC, and launched the unprecedented venture CannaNative, LLC.  CannaNative™ plans to bring back improved health, wellness and prosperity to all tribal nations – with cannabis.

“We are honored to take part in this historic venture between Native Americans and our group that has developed the largest hemp CBD pipeline,” states Stuart W. Titus, PhD and President of General Hemp, LLC.  “Native Americans generally have a good amount of agricultural land that can be used to grow a robust hemp crop.  I’m also very excited about the potential for medical marijuana to be grown and researched on native lands; that opens up a great amount of possibilities for tribes and the industry.“

Rivera states, “To move forward, one must first take a look back at our ancient heritage.”

According to hemp history, carbon tests have suggested that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 B.C.  The Columbia History of the World (1996) states that weaving of hemp fiber began over 10,000 years ago.  Native American natural remedies and farming heritage and culture dates back centuries. 

Hemp was grown at Mount Vernon, and George Washington became interested in the crop by 1765 to serve as one of the staple crops to replace the cultivation of tobacco. Washington is quoted as saying, “The Hemp may be sown anywhere.”

In 17th Century America, farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut were ordered by law to grow “Indian hemp”. By the early 18th century, a person could be sentenced to jail if they weren’t growing hemp on their land; hemp was considered to be legal tender. For over 200 years in colonial America, hemp was currency that one could use to pay their taxes with.

The reason, Rivera states, “Cannabis benefits Mother Earth and mankind.”

There are more than 25,000 known uses for industrial hemp including: pulp, paper, insulation, biocomposites, construction materials, food, feed and pharmaceuticals. Hemp is used today for soil remediation in polluted areas; planting cannabis naturally eliminates toxins and restores balance.  With no need for herbicides or pesticides, cannabis is a proven eco-friendly resource. 

The crop flourished until negative propaganda created stigma of its use in the late 1930s.  By the early 1940s, the botanical was removed from the U.S. economy and pharmacopeia.  Its demonization and elimination was extended to tribal nations through Federal law. 

Today with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Wilkinson and Cole memorandums, that has all changed.  Functioning as an educational and advisory group on the cannabis industry, CannaNative™ has traveled to numerous leaders on reservations.  Meetings focus on building their nations with sustainable cannabis-based solutions, as well as protecting tribal sovereignty through strict regulations and collaboration with legal authorities.

Rivera continues, “The response has been 100% positive.  Helping tribes create and implement proprietary solutions in the cannabis industry will take them to true sovereignty. Cannabis restoration by sovereign nations represents a unique advantage that is larger than the multi-billion dollar Native American gaming industry.” 

Titus adds, “Native Americans have done a lot to get the gaming industry ‘banked’ so to speak; the Native American gaming industry represents a proven banking model in a cash-based industry. Another thing we are interested in is developing banking solutions for the cannabis industry. Through the development of CannaNative, we are very excited about the numerous opportunities before us.”

Rivera concludes, “In the gaming industry, location is key and not all tribes are benefitting. However, the cannabis industry is limited to only land and imagination.  The gaming industry is a great stepping stone proving that native tribes already have a blueprint for success in a cash-driven industry.  Becoming involved in the cannabis industry levels the playing field for all tribes.  We are here to help tribes grow with CannaNative.”

About CannaNative’s Leadership Team:

Anthony Rivera, Jr. leads CannaNative, LLC, an innovative company working with Native American Sovereign Nations to establish a self-sustaining Cannabis and Industrial Hemp economy on sovereign lands.  He is Harvard University trained and governed his Indian Tribe as Tribal Chairman.   He has also earned earned his wings with over twenty years of experience in management and business development, academic and government assignments and financial services.  He has served various businesses and tribal organizations as an Executive Leader, Elected Official, Project Manager, Lead Negotiator, Business Diplomat, Financial Specialist, Academic Instructor, Security Operator, and Cultural Specialist. In his role as Tribal Chairman of the Acjachemen Nation in southern California, Anthony was instrumental in leading the tribe’s economic and political efforts in both California and in Washington D.C.  He is the Owner and Founder of 7 Green Feathers and has demonstrated his trustworthiness throughout Indian Country.

Dr. Cedric Black Eagle, Co-Founder of CannaNative, served as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Crow Tribe of Montana and has a background in business administration and Indian Law.  Dr. Black Eagle was instrumental in negotiating the Crow Nation Indian Water Rights Settlement and continues to serve as a consultant to Indian tribes on Indian economic development projects, Indian water rights, and Indian energy projects.  Dr. Black Eagle formed Black Eagle Enterprise International, serving as the company’s president.

Andy Nakai, Co-Founder of CannaNative, is a member of the Navajo Nation whose passion is to create and develop economies on reservations all across the country.  A graduate of the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, Nakai studied finance at the graduate school at the University of Utah.  He began working with tribal economics and finance issues in 1995, and has represented more than thirty tribes and tribal enterprises to date.  A former Vice President in the banking industry, Nakai served as a Board Member for the Navajo Partnership for Housing and American Indian.  Currently, he is Vice Chairman for the Board of Directors for Navajo CDFI, which is poised to be the largest Native CDFI for Indian Country.

For more information on CannaNative, visit the Company’s website at

About CannaNative LLC.

CannaNative’s goal is to help tribes to develop hemp and cannabis-based economies on Native American lands throughout the United States.  We believe that every tribe should have the opportunity to establish and grow a responsible, cannabis-based economy to sustain all future generations. For more information on CannaNative, visit the Company’s website at

The final photo is also available at Newscom,, and via AP PhotoExpress.


Tribal Energy Summit


This Tribal Energy Summit is the second in our "Tribal Energy Development" series.  This two-day event is entitled "Structure and Financing: How a Deal Gets Done." Day One will focus on structuring tribal energy deals, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and energy buying and selling. Day Two will feature sessions on financing energy deals, where to find capital, what investors require and tax implications for tribes. Please join us at Sycuan to hear and learn from the experiences of other tribes already engaged in the energy market.

When:  November 16, 2015 - November 17, 2015
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM Pacific Time 

Sycuan Casino & Resort
5485 Casino Way  El Cajon, CA 92091

Where to Stash Cannabis Cash Tribal Nations Make Bid to Bank It

Shaun Gindi brought a duffel bag stuffed with 1,000 twenty-dollar bills to open a checking account at his local Chase branch. He was successful. Until the branch closed the account a week later.“I’ve gone through at least eight banks,” said Gindi, 38

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Anthony Rivera
Source: CannaNative

As the owner of two marijuana shops and a weed warehouse in Colorado, where the drug is legal, Gindi is a pariah to banks, which face expensive compliance hurdles and uncertain legal consequences because ganja still violates federal law. Of the more than 7,600 banks and credit unions in the U.S., only 220 accept cannabis cash, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Anthony Rivera says he has a solution: an American Indian banking system.

Rivera, a Harvard Business School graduate who led the 1,940 members of the Acjachemen Nation in Southern California for nearly a decade, says native governments could legalize marijuana. His organization, CannaNative, is trying to link tribal leaders from the 566 sovereign American Indian nations with finance professionals and legal-marijuana businesses to use the expertise gained from decades of managing casinos. That way, he said, they can go where big institutions such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. fear to tread -- banking the legal-pot industry’s estimated $3 billion in annual revenue.

“The Indian casinos are basically small little banks,” Rivera said. “They receive deposits in the form of gaming, and they manage that cash in a way which is highly regulated with commissioners and regulators.”

Running Casinos

Rivera said CannaNative is emulating the casino model introduced in the 1980s by providing management services, with the help of existing cannabis companies such as Medical Marijuana Inc., for tribes hoping to set up financial institutions for the budding industry.

“When Indian gaming became legalized, tribes didn’t know how to run casinos, so many companies that knew how to run gaming operations became managers of the tribal enterprise until the tribe figured it out,” Rivera said. “Then the tribe took it over.”

In October 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice opened the door for tribes to legalize marijuana for medicinal, agricultural and recreational use the same way individual states can. Jurisdictional issues can get complex because some tribal territories cross state lines. Problems will be addressed by lawyers on a government-to-government basis, the Justice Department said.

“We look at the constitution and the laws of that certain sovereign nation and we do our best to find a way to pass legislation on the reservation to ensure that we can do this not only legally on the reservation but also compatibly with laws and regulations in the state and federally,” Rivera said.

Since 2012, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use, and 23 states, D.C. and Guam have approved medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

For the tricky and sometimes dangerous business of transporting cannabis cash, CannaNative has signed on with MPS International, a unit of Medical Marijuana that provides security for the industry.

Bags of Cash

Employees of legal-weed companies resort to extreme measures to deal with the piles of cash they accumulate, said Michael Julian, MPS International’s chief executive officer. Shaun Gindi’s duffel bag bulging with twenties isn’t uncommon. Julian said he knows of companies spending $150,000 to build their own high-tech vaults. Still, a lot of them need a way to move their money from their storefronts to the vaults, he said.

“The federal government and these banking laws are making it so that people have to walk around with tens of thousands of dollars in their businesses, in their cars, in their homes, putting these people in danger,” Julian said.

CannaNative may have competition from applications such as Hypur, which aims to lessen the compliance paperwork for banks, said Aeron Sullivan, the CEO of Boulder, Colorado-based Tradiv, an online business-to-business marketplace for cannabis products. A bank’s compliance officer might spend 20 hours on a cannabis-related account compared with just one hour on another type of account, making it nearly impossible for a bank to make money on a marijuana business, Sullivan said. With the right software, he said big banks could cut the time and lower the cost.

In the meantime, Shaun Gindi’s job will continue to involve duffel bags bulging with cash.

“I don’t want people out there to know that there is ever a large amount of cash in somebody’s car,” said Gindi, whose Louisville, Colorado-based business is called Ajoya. “We all just want to follow the rules.”