Coalition opens new hotel in Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Three American Indian tribes made history recently in California, officially opening the first hotel located off-reservation in California to be owned by a coalition of tribes. Three Fires LLC, an economic development partnership of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, both located in Southern California, celebrated the grand opening of the new Residence Inn by Marriott Sacramento at Capitol Park, site of the California Capitol.

The 15-story, 235-suite hotel, located across from the California State Capitol, is the first hotel in the state located off tribal lands and owned by multiple tribes. This new economic partnership is one of the first joint business ventures in the nation between tribal governments formed as an investment coalition. The three tribes are principal owners of the hotel, along with 15th & L Investors LLC.

''This tribal partnership demonstrates how Native American tribes can leverage the success of their tribal government gaming operations to expand economic development beyond gaming, enhance self-sufficiency and, ultimately, further secure tribal sovereignty,'' said Viejas Chairman Bobby L. Barrett.

Tribal leaders believe that Three Fires LLC will serve as an economic model, benefiting other tribes interested in working together as one to strengthen efforts, reduce risk and diversify their collective and individual economic futures.

Gerald Danforth, chairman of the Oneida Nation, said, ''The hospitality industry has been successful for our tribe. We must continue to move forward into economic partnerships such as Three Fires, to maximize our economic resources. Smart business practices result in success and I believe this project will be a tribute to smart business, hardworking employees and strong leadership.''

Each tribe in the partnership has shown leadership and innovation in pioneering Indian-owned and -developed businesses, from hotels, a retail shopping center and bank, to a bottled water company.

''Together we are building upon a tradition of trade and commerce that has been the basis for connecting Native nations since time immemorial,'' said San Manuel Chairman Henry Duro.

The same three tribes, plus the Forest County Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin, formed a similar coalition, named Four Fires LLC, which opened a hotel in downtown Washington in 2005.