Indigenous development group excited about future of Billings Sanctuary building

BILLINGS — The Shrine Auditorium has been a landmark in Billings since 1950. It’s hosted everything from basketball games to circuses, and now it’s entering a new chapter.

If the auditorium could talk, the stories it would tell could go on for years. Almost everyone in Billings is familiar with the building and now, after a year and a half on the market, it has sold for $2.2 million.

The sanctuary will now begin a new era, as the headquarters of the Billings-based Native American Development Corporation.

“The Native American Development Corporation is very much an economic development organization. We have a growing Native American population here in Billings. We who work here at the Native American Development Corporation come from all different tribes in the state and even out of state,” said NADC CEO Leonard Smith.

The building will offer entrepreneurial services, cultural events and medical services. Possible plans for the property include a full-service medical clinic, sports programs, and a venue for job fairs and trade shows. All serving the Aboriginal community and Billings.

“We’ve grown significantly over the last two years and we’re trying to catch up at the moment, trying to keep up with the growth. We also need to restructure our organization to accommodate that as we hire more people, and we have quite a large payroll that helps Billings’ economy,” Smith added.

Sheldon King is the owner of Morningstar Propane and a Northern Cheyenne tribal leader. He says NADC helped him start his business when he noticed a need on the reservation that “wasn’t being met.”

“The thing is, they’re a great community helper. They help wherever they can, business plans, feasibility, whatever comes out new, they try to intrigue us into investing in it. So that’s another thing that pushes our tribes towards the We’re a huge testament to what they’re doing for the Native American tribes here in the state of Montana And I’m just so grateful for what they’re doing and not only that, now they’re helping out in the town of Billings,” King said.

An important community landmark that will continue to serve, albeit in a new way.

“It’s really important to NADC because they’ve been in business for so many years and kind of operate under the radar in our community. Billings has the largest urban Native American population in Montana and maybe some And it’s going to continue to be a great asset to the community and personally, I’m happy to see a historic building like this continue to evolve,” said Jack Nickels, realtor at Montana Land Real Estate Professionals. .

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