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The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota was selected last week for the Tiwahe Program Social Services Demonstration Project, a program that allows participating Tribal Nations to integrate certain services for their members and incorporate culturally appropriate components.

Tiwahe, which means “family” in the Lakota language, focuses on job placement and training, social services, housing, wellness, and various courts to give Tribal Nations the ability to make these programs work best for their communities.

Leech Lake Band’s Tiwahe project will work to improve economic security, cultural connections, natural resource stewardship, healthy lifestyles, and other key needs among Tribal members.

Red Lake Nation has participated in the program since December 2020. White Earth Band of Chippewa will also receive funding to implement similar programs or to participate in a Tiwahe incubator that prepares them to join the program when additional funding is made available by Congress.

Tiwahe (ti-wah-hay) means “family” in the Lakota language. President Biden’s budget for Fiscal Year 2024 requested an increase of $33.5 million for the Tiwahe Program to provide additional resources for Native families and communities, which was supported by Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar (D) and Tina Smith (D).


Smith, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, wrote to the United States Department of Interior supporting Leech Lake Band’s application to the Tiwahe program. 



“This program means Tribes will have the freedom to govern and deliver social services to their members in the way that works best for them,”  Smith said in a statement. “The Tiwahe program is a crucial part of fulfilling our trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations and Native communities. I am proud of support the Tiwahe program and the work of Tribal Nations in Minnesota.” 

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