American Indian firm wins $100M pact

Wyandotte NetTel

An Oklahoma-based telecommunications and information technology services provider won a contract worth potentially $100 million Aug. 16 in what may be the largest award ever to a company fully owned by American Indians.

Wyandotte NetTel, based out of Wyandotte Nation-Oklahoma, in the northeastern corner of the state, will provide hardware and software installation, telecom services, project management and more under the five-year contract. The company, previously known as Wyandotte Network Communications, is a Small Business Administration-certified 8(a) firm, as well as a participant in SBA's HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) program.

GovWorks, a fee-for-service acquisitions provider to federal agencies that is managed by the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS), negotiated the contract. David Sutfin, chief of procurement operations for GovWorks, said Interior officials are working to determine whether this contract is in fact the largest to an Indian-owned firm.

Either way, the award is good news to members of the Wyandotte Nation, Sutfin said.

"The beauty of this is that it will in fact end up helping the Wyandotte tribe and that the profits from it will go back and help the community," he said. "It's a fantastic opportunity for the Wyandotte tribe to prove its economic independence."

Under Chief Leaford Bearskin, leader of the Wyandotte Nation and president of Wyandotte NetTel, the company has donated funds to support education, housing and health-related projects.

Bearskin attended a signing ceremony at Interior's headquarters, along with MMS and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) officials. Bearskin, who served for 21 years in the Air Force and flew 46 combat missions during World War II, has led the Wyandotte Nation since 1983.

Wyandotte NetTel will offer an array of services in order to reach the $100 million ceiling of the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, Sutfin said. "It's a very wide-open solutions-based contract," he said. "It has a lot of flexibility."

GovWorks will market the contract across the federal government, he said, and in particular to MMS' sister agency, BIA.

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