Wells Fargo Renews $750,000 Investment in Indian Land Capital Company, Funds Assist in Recovery of Sacred Site Pe' Sla

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Wells Fargo renews loan to Native lender, Indian Land Capital Company, and assists in return of sacred Black Hills land to Great Sioux Nation

“Returning these sacred lands to Indian control is a major victory for the Great Sioux Nation, which never agreed to the sale of Pe’ Sla or any of the Black Hills in the first place."

Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC), an American Indian Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) specializing in financing tribes for land purchases, announced today that Wells Fargo has renewed its $750,000 investment to the capital loan pool. The loan was originally granted in 2006 to Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) which, along with Native American Community Development Corporation (NACDC), created ILCC as a collaborative effort in 2005.

“As the first financial institution to invest in ILCC, Wells Fargo is pleased to renew this funding in support of ILCC’s work to promote community and economic development on tribal land,” said Megan Teare, Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment. “We are proud to assist in the expansion of ILCC’s efforts and we look forward to seeing the positive impact from projects this investment helps fund in the years ahead.”

The loan renewal allows ILCC to continue investing in the resources for tribal land recovery and community-based development projects for the next seven years. In September, using its current pool of funds, ILCC was able to loan Rosebud Sioux Tribe $900,000 for the earnest money to secure the $9 million purchase of the sacred site Pe’ Sla. Pe’ Sla, considered by the Lakota Nation to be one of its most holy sites, comprises 1,942 acres of land in the Black Hills that was privately owned by the Reynolds family whose ancestors acquired the land through the Homestead Act in 1876.

“We are truly grateful for Wells Fargo’s ongoing support of ILCC and their commitment to Indian Country,” said Gerald Sherman, president of ILCC. “Having these and other resources available allowed us to act fast in order to help the tribes of the Great Sioux Nation to secure a deal to purchase these sacred lands that otherwise would have been sold at auction to the highest bidder.”

Unlike most traditional lenders, ILCC does not require land to be used as collateral for a loan, but relies on the “full faith and credit” of the Indian nation. This approach is more appropriate for lending to sovereign nations and eliminates the need for much of the costly and time-consuming measures required by traditional lenders to secure land and other assets as collateral. Most importantly, the land ownership is not at risk going forward.

While the earnest money made it possible for the participating tribes to secure a deal to purchase Pe’ Sla, the sale will not be final until November 30, 2012 and several of the details regarding the remaining $8.1 million in financing and cooperative land management have yet to be released. In addition to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, several other Great Sioux Nation member tribes have made commitments to contribute funds for the land purchase.

“Returning these sacred lands to Indian control is a major victory for the Great Sioux Nation, which never agreed to the sale of Pe’ Sla or any of the lands in the Black Hills in the first place. In essence, this was a purchase of the Reynolds family’s use rights, not land,” said Cris Stainbrook, ILTF president. “This sends a strong message that we can and will work together to recover and protect what’s rightfully ours.”

Other projects made possible through ILCC financing have included construction of elder housing and homes for tribal members, sustainable forest management, wetland restoration and protection of sacred and cultural sites.

In August 2012, ILCC received a $725,000 Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) grant awarded by the Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) program. This was the second year in a row ILCC received this grant, the highest tier financial award given by the Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund.

Since inception, ILCC has made nearly $7 million in loans to Indian nations, and has assisted in the recovery of approximately 30,000 acres of tribal land. ILCC’s long term goal is to substantially increase its loan pool and its capacity to make more and larger loans. In 2011, ILCC launched a campaign to raise $4 million in the first year with the goal of building a $100 million investment fund for Indian Country over the next 10 years.

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Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) is a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing alternative loan options to Indian nations for tribal land acquisition. ILCC was created in 2005 as a collaborative effort between Indian Land Tenure Foundation and Native American Community Development Corporation. ILCC grew out of an identified need in Indian Country for financial mechanisms that offered full faith and credit lending options for tribal land purchases. Unlike traditional lending institutions, ILCC responds directly to the unique financial needs of Indian nations, and as a Native-run business, ILCC understands and supports tribal sovereignty and recognizes the importance of land to Indian people. Learn more at http://www.ilcc.net.

Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, nonprofit organization serving American Indian nations and people in the recovery and control of their rightful homelands. ILTF works to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands. Learn more at http://www.iltf.org.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 full-time equivalent team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2012 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

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Gerald Sherman
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