Tocabe Indigenous Marketplace and Red Lake Inc. have each purchased a 25% share in Arctic Circle Wild Seafood, based in the regional Inupiat Eskimo Village of Kotzebue, Alaska. The partnership means Arctic Circle is now wholly shared by three Native-owned companies.
“This acquisition is a step forward in growing and supporting the supply chain for Native producers, but also to actively invest in the development of Native producers,” Ben Jacobs, Tocabe co-founder and member of the Osage Nation, said in a company press release.
Founded over 14 years ago as Tocabe An American Indian Eatery, the company recently converted its Arapahoe Road location in South Denver’s Greenwood Village to Tocabe Indigenous Marketplace, Direct-to-Consumer and Direct-to-Tribe Ready Meal Program. By partnering with Indigenous farmers, ranchers and food producers, Tocabe is working to build a more sustainable and equitable food system for all Native peoples, Jacobs said.
Tocabe has been a longtime partner with Red Lake Nation Foods, which is involved in fish purchasing, processing and distribution by sourcing walleye from Upper and Lower Red Lake through the Red Lake Nation Fishery while additionally supplying Tocabe’s marketplace with products like wild rice and syrup.
Launching the partnership is the beginning of Tocabe’s plan to support Native-owned companies that want growth, according to Jacobs.
“We’re pleased both Red Lake and Tocabe are now owners within Arctic Circle Wild Seafood’s family of fishers and quality customers and are excited about the new markets and growth opportunities they’ll help create,” Arctic Circle Wild Seafood co-Founder Mike Scott said in the release. “Our co-founders Betty Nelson and Nate Kotch were wonderful partners that will be missed but they’ll continue to help market the company into the future and we’re looking forward to beginning work with Tocabe and Red Lake.”
“Bringing together three Native-owned food businesses is an amazing step in supporting the Indigenous foods system and extending the reach of the Native fishermen in northern Alaska,” Jacobs said.