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A weekly round-up of business briefs from around Indian Country.  

FUNDING

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration announced a $70 million program to help fund construction and bridge and road repair on tribal or federal lands. The recently published Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects is available to tribal governments, cities and states, and federal lands agencies. The deadline for applications is Nov. 2, 2020. 

The Native American Agricultural Fund announced $15 million in grant funding that will support 112 projects focused on building food systems in Indian Country. The Fayetteville, Ark.-based nonprofit said the grants will be spread across 101 grantees in 28 states. Funding includes $4.8 million for community development institutions, $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations and $2 million to tribal governments.  

Nevada’s USDA Rural Development director announced $305,271 in grant funding for nine projects statewide that will help create rural enterprises and jobs. The projects funded include $68,500 for the Elko Band Colony of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone to fund a feasibility study to determine the viability for multiple small tribal businesses, as well as $94,771 to fund two projects of the Indian Dispute Resolution Service, which will provide on-site business training and technical assistance to Nevada tribes and tribal members to assist in small business start-up and expansion.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation announced it is designating more than $1 million in financial assistance to small businesses owned by tribal members. Businesses can apply for up to $30,000 in working capital and adaptation equipment and supplies. Awarded funds will be used to help support qualified CSKT-member-owned small businesses and active CSKT-member livestock producers in the recovery, stabilization and adaptation of business operations, according to a report in Char-Koosta News.  

TOURISM

The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) recognized several tribal destinations and tourism industry leaders last week during the 22nd Annual American Indian Tourism Conference — the organization’s first-ever virtual conference. The honorees included Cherokee Nation (Tribal Destination of the Year);  Arizona Indian Festival (Best Cultural Heritage Experience); Linda Taylor of the Cherokee Nation (Excellence in Customer Service); and Bonnie Sprague, general manager of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Soaring Eagle Waterpark (Professional of the Year).   

HEMP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the approval of hemp production plans under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program for Utah and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. The approval brings the total number of approved plans to 60. USDA continues to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes.

ARTS

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts announced results of its first-ever Virtual Indian Market in August 2020. The virtual market drove sales for SWAIA's 450 participating artists and increased membership by 144 percent. Out of the 1,117 Indigenous artists who were juried into the 2020 Santa Fe Indian Market, 450 artists joined the inaugural Virtual Indian Market. Of the initial artist participants, only 77 artists had existing websites; at the time of the Virtual Indian Market launch that number increased to 450. A Virtual Winter Indian Market is planned for November 27, 2020.

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