While there are some who have to work tirelessly in order to reach the goals that they have set for themselves, this is not a reality that the richest Native American tribes have to contend with. For the wealthiest Native American tribes, their day-to-day routine has been simplified with a major cash influx. Casino gambling has provided the tribes on this list with a whole new lease on life.
In fact, the top 10 richest Native American tribes have been able to gross billions as a result of these streams of income. Thanks to monthly per capita payments, these revenue allocation plans have many tribe members living in the lap of luxury. This has led to infighting among tribes, as they look to decrease their membership totals, thus increasing everyone’s share.
Let’s take a closer look at the richest Native American tribes and how they have amassed. But first, allow us to walk you through our research process.
We take all of the necessary steps to bring you the most accurate information possible. All of the data provided in this list has been cross-referenced with Native Tribe Info and is considered to be accurate as of April 2023. The rest of our criteria is as follows:
As situations evolve, our need for new information evolves as well. That’s why we have made sure to cross-reference our information with the data that has been provided by the good folks at Native Tribe Info and Wikipedia.
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Top 10 Richest Native American Tribes in 2023
10. Seminole Tribe – $764 million net worth
The Seminole Tribe of Florida may be guarded about sharing tribal information with outsiders, but they were smart enough to hire a non-native chief executive for their gambling operations. In 2006, Jim Allen enabled the tribe to control the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino after beating 72 bidders.
The Seminoles thought he had gone crazy, but by 2016, the savvy business executive had managed to amass lots of wealth for the tribe with a little over 4,000 members. He helped them accrue more than $5 billion in revenue from the various operations that include 23 hotels, 11 casinos, and 168 Hard Rock cafes. Immediately after, Allen was already considering adding 25 Hard Rock Cafés more to the Seminole’s portfolio.
Thanks to his efforts, every tribe member gets $128,000 per year, distributed through biweekly payments. Before Allen took the helm, the members received only $30,000. Besides the hefty paychecks, members also get access to free private school and college fees, senior citizen care, and universal health care.
By the time Seminole children attain 18 years, they are multi-millionaires because the child and parents are not allowed to withdraw any cash from the trust funds until the kids are adults. According to Deep South Magazine, earlier on, the Children’s Trust Fund paid Seminole high school students $17,000 upon graduation, but the amount has since grown to $200,000.
The State of Florida has also been enjoying massive sums of money thanks to a deal brokered in 2010 where the tribe would make payments to the state in good faith in return for exclusivity to offer blackjack and other banked card games. The state breached the agreement, and in 2019, the Seminole tribe stopped making the $350 million annual revenue-share payments.
9. Squamish Nation – $780 million net worth
The Squamish Nation currently owns lands in the Lower Mainland and these areas also happen to hold a sizable portion of the province’s highest real estate values. When these lands and properties are leased, the revenue that is generated is then returned to the Squamish Nation. The Nation also drives additional revenues with various businesses, such as gas bars, marinas, driving ranges and casinos.
A business arrangement was recently established that allowed for the construction of digital billboards in various areas of Vancouver on Squamish Nation lands. The approaches to Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge, Lions Gate Bridge and Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing were all included in the project.
Thanks to the contract that was signed, this project is expected to generate an additional $60 million in revenue for the Squamish Nation over the next three decades. A large gaming facility is also going to be constructed on the highway that leads into Squamish. This contract has been projected to bring approximately $60 million in revenue to the Squamish Nation over three decades.
An Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Museum is slated to be constructed in Whistler, BC as well. The Squamish Nation is also closely involved in energy development, developing private hydropower projects on public rivers. They are also entitled to a share of the BC Liberal Government’s private revenue system, under a closed-door policy known as the BC Energy Plan.
8. Hannahville Indian Community -$803 million net worth
Hannahville Indian Community has a number of different revenue streams, according to Native Tribe Info. Their net worth, like many of the world’s richest tribes, can be traced back to their casinos. The Island Resort and Casino is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and generates a sizable amount of income for the tribe.
In addition to the casino, Hannahville Indian Community owns numerous construction businesses and a manufacturing company. Thanks to all of these businesses and the aforementioned casino, it has not taken long for the Hannahville Indian Community to become one of the richest tribes in the United States.
The casino was first opened back in 1998 and several additions have made to the property since its inception. In June 2005, a $45 million expansion took place, allowing the tribe to generate even more revenue. In fact, this expansion was so successful that a second one took place not long after.
The subsequent $30 million expansion was approved in 2020 and from there, the Hannahville Indian Community was able to provide the first sports betting venue in the Upper Michigan/Wisconsin region. Most recently, new top-of-the-line signage was installed outside during 2022.
7. Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians – $853 million net worth
The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians are one of the most well-known tribes on the West Coast, as they have made quite the name for themselves in the state of California. The tribe’s net worth is derived from its chain of popular casinos and resorts.
There is also a wide range of restaurants that visitors and residents love to frequent, according to Wikipedia. These locations include Bamboo, Blazing Noodles, Blends Coffee & Wine Bar, The Buffet, The Great Oak Steakhouse, Journey’s End, Kelsey’s, Paisano’s Italian, Pechanga Cafe, Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar, The Lobby Bar & Grill, and the Temptations Food Walk.
The tribe also derives income from the Great Oak Press, which they currently own and operate. The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians is responsible for the generation of a great deal of money for the local community as well.
$25 million has been provided by Pechanga to the City of Temecula and County of Riverside, as a means of improving roads and public safety. An additional $15 million has been donated to local schools and the tribe works closely with numerous non-profit organizations that are currently working to build an even stronger community.
6. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community – $946 million net worth
The Pima and Maricopa tribes are based in Arizona and have come together to generate a net worth that has begun to approach the $1 billion mark. Since the latter half of the 20th century, these two tribes have owned and operated two casinos on their land, according to Wikipedia.
In addition to catering to local Phoenix residents, these casinos are known to attract a number of out-of-state gamblers. The Scottsdale Pavilions, a major outdoor shopping center, has been constructed on tribal land as well. Office development also continues to take place on Pima-Maricopa lands.
The tribe has made their presence felt in the world of sports, as they are responsible for the opening of the first Major League Baseball spring training facility on tribal lands. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick houses the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks during the lead-up to each season.
The Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has made a name for themselves in the NBA and WNBA as well, as they purchased the naming rights to what was formerly known as the America West Arena in 2015. The Phoenix Suns and Mercury play their home games at this venue. Agriculture and construction businesses make up the remainder of the tribe’s annual generated revenue, as per Native Tribe Info.
5. Oneida Nation – $1 billion
The Oneida Nation has amassed a net worth of $1 billion, with a wide range of business enterprises that span the central New York region, according to Wikipedia and Native Tribe Info. During the early 1990s, the Oneida Nation opened a bingo hall and a gas station, known as SavOn.
Since its opening, SavOn’s cheaper fuel prices have allowed the company to evolve into a popular chain. The tribe then became well known in the world of casinos and resorts, opening the Turning Stone Casino & Resort back in 1993.
The Yellow Brick Road Casino was then opened in June 2015 and Point Place Casino followed in March 2018. From there, the tribe purchased a marina that is currently located on Oneida Lake and they also owned the Indian Country Media Network until 2017.
At that time, this asset was donated to the National Congress of American Indians. To this day, the NCAI continues to publish online, providing the community with continued access to Indian Country Today. Tobacco production also serves as another primary source of revenue for the tribe.
4. Gila River Indian Community – $2.15 billion net worth
The Gila River Indian Community has derived the majority of its $2.15 billion net worth from casinos and resorts. As per Native Tribe Info, the tribe is currently running 11 casinos and has a number of other businesses that continue to generate annual income.
The community is located in the state of Arizona and is comprised of two different tribes, the Pee Posh and Akimel O’odham. In addition to the aforementioned casinos, the Gila River Indian Community has industrial developments and full scale farming operations.
Their resorts and spas attract a plethora of tourists each year and they are also happy to provide world-class golfing experiences for locals and visitors alike. There is also a motor sports park and the community provides access to several locations that are of great interest to many.
This includes their numerous archeological sites, which are of great significance from both a cultural standpoint and in a spiritual sense. As Arizona is a state that attracts a number of spiritually inclined visitors each year, these locations are quite popular and are expected to remain so.
3. Coeur d’Alene Tribe – $2.27 billion net worth
This tribe is known for its investments in various industries. Many of these businesses are located in the southwestern Kootenai County region, including the Coeur d’Alene Casino, Hotel, and Circling Raven Golf Club, as per Wikipedia.
These businesses are responsible for the employment of at least 500 local residents and generate up to $20 million per year that is then reinvested into the local community. The funding programs that the tribe has created contribute heavily to the economic development of the area.
In addition to the revenue that is currently being generated by tribal gaming, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe also controls the Benewah Automotive Center, the Benewah Market, the first three floors of the Coeur d’Alene Resort, and Ace Hardware. A bakery and a manufacturing plant are also primarily owned by the tribe, as they possess a majority share.
There is also a tribal farm that provides bountiful crops of various items, such as wheat, canola, lentils, peas and barley. Timber is chief among their natural resources and another major expert that adds to the overall tribal net worth.
2. Navajo Nation – $2.5 billion net worth
The Navajo Nation derives its massive net worth from a combination of tourism, casinos and natural resources. Oil, gas and coal are the primary natural resources that the tribe is able to generate annual income from and their stake in the casino industry is also nothing to sneeze at.
Navajo Gaming was established in 2006 and the tribe now controls four different casinos, including Fire Rock, Flowing Water, Northern Edge and Twin Arrows. As a result of these casinos, millions of dollars have been generated for local and state governments.
The tribe is also known for their parks and attractions, providing a number of different destinations, even for those who are less inclined to gamble. Shiprock Pinnacle and Navajo Mountain are considered to be the most popular, with Chaco Canyon and the Navajo National Monument also attracting many visitors each year.
1. Shakopee Mdewakanton – $2.7 billion net worth
The Shakopee Mdewakanton are the wealthiest Native American tribe, going by the individual's personal wealth. There are 480 members, and each member gets around $84,000 per month, as disclosed by a tribe member going through a divorce.
The tribe is so rich that no one has to work; in 2012, the tribe’s President then, Stanley R. Crooks, bragged that they enjoy 99.2% of voluntary unemployment.
According to Daily Mail, the main sources of income for the Shakopee Mdewakanton tribe are two casinos that attract tens of thousands of gamblers from all across the state.
The Mystic Lake Casino boasts an 18-hole golf course, a 2,100-seat concert venue, 600-room hotel, five restaurants, and an 8,350-seat outdoor amphitheater. The reservation also has Little Six Casino, and together, they account for $1.4 billion of Minnesota’s gambling profits.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson