By Bethany Clough
The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians is now selling Native American Coffee, a product Chukchansi leaders hope will bring greater prosperity to the Madera County tribe, and eventually others.
The coffee beans are grown by indigenous tribes in South and Central America and roasted in Mariposa with a Native American-influenced process the coffee roaster says makes for a smoother, purer cup of coffee.
Selling coffee is an unusual business for a tribe to get into, but it's no surprise that the Chukchansi are trying to vary their economic efforts, says Troy Vanderhule, director of marketing for the nonprofit National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Seeing competition from Internet gambling in the future, many tribes are changing up the ways they make money.