SEATTLE – Several Indian country communities and colleges will share in $40 million in grants for economic development, improvement of public safety, health care and educational services, and housing rehabilitation.
The competitive grants were awarded in September by U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, whose mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in rural communities. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development has invested more than $72 billion since 2001 in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. More than 1.2 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments, according to Rural Development.
Some $9.9 million in housing preservation grants were awarded to tribal and non-tribal communities.
The Smith River Rancheria in California, home of the Tolowa Tribe, will use its $100,000 grant to repair or rehabilitate seven homes; the United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska, $22,195, eight homes; the Keweena Bay Ojibwa Housing Authority in Michigan, $17,342.02, 14 homes; the Haliwa Saponi Indian Tribe in North Carolina, $89,069, 10 homes.
In Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation will use its $47,461.47 grant to repair or rehabilitate 10 homes; Eastern Shawnee Tribe, $47,168.57, 13 homes; Citizen Potawatomi Nation, $47,451.58, 20 homes; Housing Authority of the Choctaw Nation, $16,632.58, eight homes.
In Washington state, the Southern Puget Sound Inter-Tribal Housing Authority will use its $40,000 grant to repair or rehabilitate 22 homes; the Confederated Tribes of Chehalis, $40,000, 11 homes.
Some $8.9 million in Community Connect Broadband grants were awarded. In New Mexico, the Pueblo of Laguna will use $3.3 million in grants to provide broadband service to 660 homes and four community centers in the villages of Encinal, Laguna, Mesita, Paguate, Paraje and Seama.
More than $1.4 million in “small minority producer” grants were awarded. The Native American Indian Farming and Ranching Cooperative in Oklahoma will use its $173,100 grant to conduct market research for alternative energy and feed stock-based businesses.
In North Dakota, the Native American People Cooperative will use its $129,027 grant to develop a plan for the marketing of hogs, heirloom seeds, organic vegetables and medicinal herbs. In South Dakota, the Intertribal Bison Cooperative will use its $200,000 grant to develop a training plan for its 57 member tribes in the management and restoration of bison populations.
Some $16.9 million in Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative Grants were awarded.
In Maine, the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation will use its $200,000 grant to build a community center. In Minnesota, the Upper Sioux Community will use its $400,000 grant to build a telecommunications administration building; the White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa, $300,000 to build a headquarters building.
In Montana, the Boys and Girls Club of Flathead Reservation will use its $250,000 grant to build a new club building; the Blackfeet Tribe’s Ka Nai Ta Pi Wa Corp., $50,000 to purchase furnishings and equipment for a tribal elder center. In Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation will use its $475,000 grant to build a fire station and purchase equipment.
In South Dakota, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe will use its $200,000 grant to build a drug and alcohol treatment facility; the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, $175,000 for its mobile emergency operations center and $135,000 to purchase two ambulances; the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, $45,000 for its firefighting units in Takini and Whitehorse.
In Washington, the Hoh Indian Tribe will use its $100,000 grant to purchase a new fire truck and firefighting equipment; the Makah Indian Tribe, $75,000 to purchase a new ambulance and medical equipment; the Quileute Indian Tribe, $61,640 to purchase playground equipment for its child-care facility.
In Wisconsin, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior will use its $200,000 grant to build a new medical clinic and a $56,000 grant to install a new heating and air conditioning system. The Sokaogon Chippewa Community will use its $70,050 grant to build a youth center.
Nearly $4.7 million in Tribal College Initiative grants were awarded to 15 tribal colleges. Sitting Bull College in North Dakota will use its $724,361 grant to build an entrepreneurial center; Bay Mills Community College in Michigan, $300,000 for administration building improvements; Leech Lake Tribal College in Minnesota, $139,800 for equipment purchases; Stone Child College, Mont., $300,000 for technology lab equipment purchases and Vocational Education; and Blackfeet Community College in Montana, $300,000 for land purchase.
Chief Dull Knife College in Montana will use its $300,000 grant to complete construction of an early childhood learning center; Fort Belknap College in Montana, $300,000 to design a cultural heritage project; Fort Peck Community College in M ontana, $300,000 to build a dormitory; Little Big Horn College in Montana, $300,000 to build a tribal archives and college administration building; Salish Kootenai College in Montana, $300,000 for renovation and repair projects.
The Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico will use its $200,000 grant to build a conference and academic center; Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota, $100,000 to make repairs to a campus building and water line, and $225,000 for equipment and supply purchases; Sisseton Wahpeton College in South Dakota, $300,000 for heating and air conditioning renovations; Northwest Indian College in Washington, $300,000 to build a child-care facility; College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, $300,000 to build a training and maintenance facility and install a sewer system.
<i>Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at rmwalker@ sanjuanjournal.com.