Native American Credit Union Administration


In 1997 I wrote out a grant for the Bear River tribe to establish a tribal credit union. The grant would have been approved except the tribe did not have an established housing authority which was required we found out too late. Now the tribe does have a housing authority and a successful casino. I've tried several times to get Bear River interested in developing one of the original Heartlands lottery system innovations that uses Native American gaming rights to run a special lottery system using credit card usage instead of lottery ticket outlet sales.


NACUA/Lifeline Lottery System


I came up with the NACUA lottery/credit card system back in 1995 but we didn't need it for the Bear River Heartlands Project because existing lottery systems were there, were familiar and this NACUA system was and still is a new untried Native American banking system that has the potential for creating a new type of credit card, one with automatic entry into a NACUA credit card Rewards lottery system. Each time the NACUA credit card is used, it automatically registers as another entry in the NACUA lottery for NACUA credit card holders only.

It would be the only credit card in America that has this feature which Indian Gaming rules allow. It doesn't even require direct lottery ticket purchase as that's part of the NACUA Rewards system and automatically part of credit card banking membership. Actual lottery prize number selection would all be handled by tribal officers and done on tribal trust land. At no point does a NACUA member have to purchase any lottery ticket. That's automatically done as part of the NACUA Rewards system. It should make the NACUA card very popular like Indian casino gambling is very popular..and very lucrative.

Credit Unions can have different classes of membership. NACUA system would have two classes: Tribal members (inter-Tribal) and Non-Tribal members which opens the NACUA credit card ownership up to the general public where only advertising costs would limit credit card membership expansion.

The NACUA lottery/Rewards credit card requires computer coding for the credit card to be "read" on existing point of sales terminals in retail stores. We have a highly qualified computer systems expert in Tony Milosz who can write the necessary coding for all our electronic transaction devices.

We also have a bank loan officer and business plan writer to create a workable Business Plan for the NACUA system.

Every lottery system in order to gain governmental permission usually has a Good Cause where a percentage of the lottery sales goes to fund some worthy public goal, e.g. here in California, public schools.



NACUA Lifeline Lottery


Creating Lifeline Lottery, a global lottery dedicated to raising funds for Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid to communities around the world in desperate need.


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Lotteries as a form of benign government taxation for expensive social infrastructure:


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Since the times of the ancient Romans lotteries have been used for raising funds to finance large-scale community, regional or national projects that benefit society such as schools. London Bridge and the British Museum were both financed through British national lotteries. In America, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Dartmouth universities were financed by lotteries. Well-run lotteries raise billions of dollars per year for various good causes requiring massive funding amounts such as our California state school system.


Project History

The Heartlands Project

In 1995, I read about the Coeur d'Alene Tribe in Idaho starting a national lottery using Indian gaming rights to do so. I was an environmental activist at that time who's girlfriend happened to be both Native American and a former California Lottery set-up person. Realizing how much money the Coeur d'Alene Tribe expected their National Lottery to generate, I thought that perhaps a local Native American tribe here in Humboldt County, California, could also run a lottery, one that would only need to be in California because, unlike Idaho, we have a large population that a lottery needs as a customer base to succeed.

I contacted the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria and pitched the lottery project as a means for the Bear River tribe to regain a large portion of their former ancestral lands. Their Tribal Council agreed to sponsor the project which became known as the Heartlands Project after my partner Bear River tribal member Donald Brenard joined in 1996. We worked for about 13 years on and off with a few other members of the Tribe unable to ever get a solid backing for our Heartlands Project because of tribal politics - - the Tribe also had a Casino Commission going which did not appreciate our lottery project seeing it as unwanted competition. Our Heartlands Project was handicapped throughout its entire 13 year existence with this internal tribal political battle that pitted our Project against the tribeís Casino project with the Casino group eventually winning the upper hand and closing down our Heartlands Project three different times, the most recent rejection happening about three years ago which is why I turned to the Lakota where I have some good friends and even relatives now through my son-in-law's Crow Creek heritage.

I worked with Arlene Catches the Enemy for year or so before her economic development office was closed and our NACUA project along with it. Not knowing where to go next with the NACUA/Lifeline Lottery project I haven't attempted to promote the project until a few weeks ago when I saw the MacArthur Foundation's monstrously large grant online and it's requirement for funding of an organization's addressing some worldwide Problem. So, why not Disaster Relief and funding poorest of Americans? Why not submit an Oglala NACUA/Lifeline Lottery plan to the MacArthur Foundation's 100Million and Change program?

2017 Update:

The Oglala dropped the ball, the same lottery as a political tribal football it turned out that the Bear River Tribal Council's played with for years. And still today, this NACUA system sits undeveloped by any tribe and that's a shame because tribes without successful casinos could really use this system. But often tribes make poor decisions due to trying to work within European-American government models instead of their old ways that worked.


The Heartlands Trust Company proposal

The final Heartlands Project act was to submit a Heartlands Trust Company reorganization plan to the Palco Bankruptcy court case in Corpus Christi, Texas which was ignored by the judge there because Bear River did not have any legal representation in court in Texas. The Heartlands Reorganization Plan is valuable for its Palco diversification plans relevant to Disaster Relief that included Communikit mfg. (as "Palco-kits") and "Down Homes"--emergency disaster relief tents made like sleeping bags to withstand cold weather.

Two new ways for Native Americans to run legal lottery systems

New cell-phone/satellite phone lottery system*

While researching lottery systems Iíve developed a new global lottery system that I believe will be the most advanced cell-phone type lottery system in the world and one that will provide the model for the next generation of state and national lotteries. The Coeur d'Alene's National Lottery was stopped by what is called the Wire Act which prohibits any type of gambling over any telephone lines that cross state lines within the U.S.A.

This new cell phone/satellite phone lottery system needs no land lines to operate and so far, there are no laws prohibiting Tribes using such a system to run a national or international lottery. And at this point in time with many tribes with casinos able to lobby for Indian gaming expansion with major money behind, it would be very hard for the U.S. to try to stop such a Native American run international lottery. With the tribe no longer interested in recovering their ancestral lands using the lottery mechanism, I am free to use this new lottery system for what I believe will be the next level of lottery systems which is global and includes a much more relevant Good Cause--Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid to communities in desperate need. Emergency Shelters, Food, Medicine, and state-of-the-art eco-friendly sustainable community self-sufficiency systems--the Lifeline Lottery can provide funding for all of this.

* This cell-phone/satellite phone lottery system was actually made obsolete by the NACUA credit card rewards lottery system that needs no lottery ticket purchasing because of being automatically included in the NACUA credit card Rewards system. No actual tickets need be purchased eliminating government restrictions on lottery ticket purchasing by non-Native Americans.


Steve Lewis

NACUA Project Coordinator

Contact me at: arielmessenger@gmail.com