Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA In an effort to create jobs and business opportunities in Indian Country, Janie Hipp, Chickasaw, senior advisor for tribal relations, announced the selection of 27 projects in 14 states while attending the National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Janie Hipp - Chickasaw
Hipp made the announcement on behalf of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
“These grants represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen Tribes, Tribal businesses and Tribal governments and support sustainable rural business opportunities that will create jobs,”
“The Obama Administration is working to ensure that members of Tribes have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities and improve their quality of life.”
Today's announcement, follows last week's announcement by the Secretary to implement measures that will make it easier for individuals living in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas to obtain USDA funding to improve basic services, including water and sewer systems, broadband and electric infrastructure. These measures are a crucial step for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to build modern utility infrastructure, create jobs and improve their quality of life. The enhancements are being implemented through a final regulation published in the Federal Register.
The more than $3.2 million in grants announced today is administered through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. This program provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment related adult education programs.
In Nebraska, three Rural Business Enterprise Grants were announced to help provide job opportunities and business training. The Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation was selected to receive a $54,541 grant to provide technical assistance through the Winnebago Business Development Program. The funding will be used to conduct quilting training to enhance native crafts and expand income opportunities; conduct business plan development training to small and potential businesses owners and to purchase equipment and contract for food preparation and training. In conjunction with this training, the Little Priest Tribal College received a $40,000 grant to train tribal members on growing, preserving and marketing agricultural products. Also in Nebraska, the First Ponca Financial, LLC received a 7336;60,189 grant to provide technical assistance and education to Native American entrepreneurs of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, which encompasses service areas in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.
In Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation has been selected to receive a $252,185 grant to purchase equipment for the Cherokee Nation Arts Center to increase business opportunities for artists. This project is expected to create 10 full time jobs, 20 part time jobs and sustain nine full time jobs. On June 27, the Cherokee Nation will host a Native American Food and Agriculture Roundtable Discussion as part of the White House Rural Council, bringing together tribal leaders to discuss food and agriculture and other rural economic development opportunities.
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posted June 19, 2012 10:40 am edt