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 recently.

Virtual Federal Communications Commission meeting regarding the E-Rate Pilot Program

On November 7, at 2 p.m. EST, there will be a virtual E-Rate Pilot Program meeting for Tribal libraries who are interested in the program. To register for the meeting, click here.

The pilot program will provide direct assistance to tribal libraries throughout the process of preparing for and applying for E-Rate support during the 2023 funding year. Support will include one-on-one assistance. 

Applications are due by November 18.  

Funding Available for Tribes Through Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Grants 

The Department of Interior announced on Wednesday that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) made $122.5 million in fiscal year 2022 funding available for the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization grants. These are available to states and tribes to support long-term rehabilitation of abandoned mines.

Grants are available to the six Appalachian states with the highest number of unfunded high priority abandoned mine land problems and three Tribes with approved AML programs. In fiscal year 2022, AMLER funds have been allocated as follows: Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia ($26.63 million each); Alabama, Ohio and Virginia ($10.652 million each); and the Crow Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, and the Navajo Nation ($3.551 million each). 

Official guidance on how eligible entities can apply can be found here 

Indian Affairs Awards $3.9 Million to Promote Economic Development in Tribal Communities 

The Indian Affairs Office of Indian Economic Development announced grants under two programs that support economic development in Indian Country, the Native American Business Incubators Program and the Native American Business Development Institute Feasibility Study Program.

“Entrepreneurship has a long history in Indian Country, and the Department of the Interior is proud to support businesses in Tribal communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “These grant programs are part of the federal government’s treaty and trust responsibility to protect Tribal economic sovereignty and revitalize Indigenous communities by spurring economic growth and innovation. Growing businesses in Indian Country is necessary to build sustainable Tribal economies that generate revenue, meet community needs and create jobs.”

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The Native American Business Incubators Program awarded grants totaling $2,926,924 to 10 Tribes and Tribal Organizations. These funds will be used to establish and operate business incubators that assist entrepreneurs by providing guidance and services like workspace, advice on how to access capital, business education, counseling and mentorship opportunities to navigate obstacles in transforming their innovative ideas into operational businesses.

  • Change Labs, Arizona $300,000 
  • Quechan Indian Tribe, Arizona $300,000 
  • Plenty Doors Community Development Corporation, Montana $300,000 
  • Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma $300,000 
  • Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma $300,000 
  • Sinte Gleska University, South Dakota $300,000 
  • South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency, Washington $300,000 
  • Taala Fund, Washington $300,000 
  • Regents of New Mexico State University, New Mexico $289,869 
  • Mohave County Community College District –Hualapai Tribal Nation, Arizona $237,055 

The Native American Business Development Institute Feasibility Study Program awarded a total of $1 million to 15 Tribes and Tribal Organizations to fund feasibility studies that evaluate the viability and risks of an economic development project, opportunity, enterprise or business, or the practicality of a technology a Tribe may choose to pursue.

The studies may be used to determine the likelihood of success for businesses in specific American Indian and Alaska Native communities. When performed by a reputable third party, an economic development feasibility study also can be used to help persuade lenders and investors to provide financial backing. A study that concludes a project is worthwhile and financially sustainable can often fulfill many of the lender’s or investor’s due diligence requirements by answering questions about a project’s chances of success, resulting in a more rapid loan approval or better loan terms.
  • Pit River Tribe, California $75,000 
  • Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, California $75,000 
  • Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana $75,000 
  • Bay Mills Indian Community, Michigan $75,000 
  • Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma $75,000 
  • Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas $75,000 
  • Kiowa Tribe, Oklahoma $73,665 
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma $68,708 
  • Burns Paiute Tribe, Oregon $65,750 
  • Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, $62,164 
  • Delaware Nation Economic Development Authority, Oklahoma $60,300 
  • Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Arizona $59,700 
  • Shinnecock Indian Nation, New York $58,752 
  • Resighini Rancheria, California $57,187 
  • Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma $43,774 

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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