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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country this past week.

 Native CDFI Fund Announces Need for Additional Time for Applications

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is moving back the timeline to roll out new applications due to the large response to recent application revisions. 

By moving the timeline back, the efforts to update the CDFI Certification process will be delayed in order to allow them to diligently make updates in accordance with public comments received. The CDFI Fund does not think that a lengthy delay will be necessary.

Over $166K to be Invested in San Carlos Apache Tribe to Cleanup Brownfield Sites

Included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a $166 thousand investment in San Carlos Apache Tribe’s environmental response. This is going to aid the tribe’s efforts to clean up “brownfield” sites in the community.

These sites are abandoned or underutilized areas where environmental contamination is present. According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, properties must possess three qualities to be considered brownfields: It is an underused commercial or industrial site; It has redevelopment potential; Its redevelopment potential is complicated by known or perceived contamination from a hazardous substance as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Making sure these sites are addressed will protect and promote public health and the environment. 

Rep.Tom Cole Introduces the Strengthen the Pediatric Research Initiative Act

Rep. Tom Cole, citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would prohibit future presidential candidates from using the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF), eliminate the PECF and transfer the remaining funds to the existing 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative. 

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act created the 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative to support pediatric research, with an emphasis on childhood cancers. Congress funded this initiative by prohibiting political parties from drawing down monies from the PECF for their nominating conventions and transferring monies reserved for that purpose to the 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative.

While the law did not change the ability of presidential candidates to tap the PECF for their campaign’s general election spending, no presidential candidate has used the PECF in a general election since 2008. Currently, the Pediatric Research Initiative is near the end of its funding while the PECF is sitting unused with a balance of $427 million as of December 2022.

USDA Supports Food Sovereignty in a New Agreement

The USDA recently announced that it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). 

Through this agreement, the tribe seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers and promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers. This will help promote locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities. 

h the LFPA funds, MBCI will contract with Choctaw Fresh Produce (CFP) to purchase fresh produce. This will lead the MBCI Produce Purchase and Distribution program to purchase fresh healthy produce and have it distributed among the tribe’s underserved communities while utilizing community-based marketing and outreach methods/activities to promote it.

Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), a Michigan State University student who is a staff reporter for Native News Online, contributed to these briefs.

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