facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to encourage tribes and Alaska Native Corporations to identify potential economic development projects or activities inside designated Opportunity Zones.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to encourage tribes and Alaska Native Corporations to identify potential economic development projects or activities inside designated Opportunity Zones. 

Via the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and its Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI), the department is seeking proposals from tribes for technical assistance to hire consultants to perform feasibility studies for Opportunity Zone projects. The agency has $900,000 allocated for the program. 

“These grants are also intended to fund applicants to obtain qualified guidance on how the development projects, businesses, or technologies they propose can attract investments from an Opportunity Fund,” according to a notice of the request for proposals (RFP) posted in the Federal Register. 

The agency expects to issue 20-25 competitive grants, which it estimates will range from $25,000 to $75,000. Applications are due at the end of the day on Sept. 15. 

“The feasibility studies will empower Tribes to make informed decisions regarding their economic futures,” according to the RFP. “Feasibility studies may concern the viability of an economic development project or business or the practicality of a technology a Tribe may choose to pursue in an Opportunity Zone.”

The goal for the studies is to help the tribes attract investment from an Opportunity Fund, which can invest in property or businesses in an Opportunity Zone. 

“Historically, NABDI studies have placed tribal economic development opportunities at the doorstep of investors, lenders and other government granting agencies,” Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara MacLean Sweeney said in a statement. 

The Opportunity Zones program was enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The program allows investors to defer capital gains taxes if they invest in qualified Opportunity Zones, which were created to drive development and economic activity to low-income areas around the country. 

Nationwide, Opportunity Zones most often attract real estate development, but have also been used for energy projects, especially renewable energy installations on existing facilities. 

The RFP is open to federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. Consultants to the tribes in the RFP can include colleges and universities or private consulting firms, as well as nonprofits and other organizations. 

The competitive grants will be evaluated on the project’s economic benefits, including how it would create jobs and stimulate economic activity for the applicant tribe. The agency will give priority to proposals from tribes “who can demonstrate that their communities suffer from economic malaise and unemployment and that the study will address these conditions.” It will also weigh whether the applicant has the financial resources to address those conditions. 

As well, the applicants should be willing to implement the recommendations from the feasibility study.

More Stories Like This

American Basketball Association Announces Native ABA Initiative
Four Winds South Bend Upgrades to Class III Gaming Casino
Native News Online Wins Two Awards from Native American Journalists Association
Wahlberg Brothers Are a Big Hit at Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas
Native Gro Offers Tribes a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Entering the Cannabis Industry

These stories must be heard.

This May, we are highlighting our coverage of Indian boarding schools and their generational impact on Native families and Native communities. Giving survivors of boarding schools and their descendants the opportunity to share their stories is an important step toward healing — not just because they are speaking, but because they are being heard. Their stories must be heard. Help our efforts to make sure Native stories and Native voices are heard in 2024. Please consider a recurring donation to help fund our ongoing coverage of Indian boarding schools. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].