- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A southeast Alaska regional tribal government is taking one step closer to self-sufficiency.

In an effort to protect itself from federal budget cuts, the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is exploring new business ventures, CoastAlaska News reported (https://bit.ly/2ppeWdi) Thursday.

Tribal President Richard Peterson estimates nine-tenths of the council’s money comes from federal sources. The rest comes mainly from the state.

In order to protect its program, its Tribal Business Corporation purchased government-services business KIRA. Corp. last summer. CEO Richard Rinehart says KIRA’s main customer is the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We are running power plants, water systems, water-treatment plants. We have dozens of electricians, dozens of plumbers and a couple dozen carpenters,” Rinehart said. “We do vehicle maintenance, grounds maintenance. We do complete base operations services.”

Under tribal ownership, KIRA is eligible to bid for contracts as part of a disadvantaged-business program, KIRA Founder and current President Carlos Garcia said. He expects the company will continue to expand and as it does, it will need more workers.

“We’re going to need good employees, both Native and non-Native,” he said at a recent Tribal Assembly in Juneau. “And I see in this room many, many people from all over the areas you represent that can help us.”


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