MACK, Colo (KKCO)- Many Native American tribes rely on casinos as a source of income, but that all changed when COVID-19 closed their doors.

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians observed EcoGen Laboratories, a local hemp company’s laboratory and farms.

The North Dakota tribe bought over half a million hemp seeds to help their economic growth.

“Reservations have been dependent on government grants for so long that we’ve become, we lost our traditional agricultural teachings,” says Sheldon Thomas, agricultural and business development specialist, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

The seeds were brought through a buyback program, which allow the Chippewa to sell the hemp back to EcoGen at market cost.