Blog Posts Related to the Native American Community

  • Preserving Our Natural Resources for the Future

    Harold "Gus" Frank is being recognized as a Champion of Change for his work demonstrating that corporate environmental leadership makes sense, both for business and for American communities.

    The Forest County Potawatomi Community (”FCPC” or the “Tribe”) is guided by a fundamental belief in protecting Mother Earth and ensuring that future generations will have access to clean air, water and land.  This philosophy has led FCPC to become an environmentally proactive tribe and take a pragmatic approach to ecological stewardship.

    Over the past several years, FCPC has implemented a number of energy efficiency initiatives to significantly lower its energy usage and reduce its carbon emissions. Since 2007, the Tribe has reduced its energy usage per gross square foot by 12 percent and reduced their corresponding carbon emissions by more than 20 percent. These efficiencies have significantly lowered both the Tribe’s energy costs and its environmental footprint.  It has eliminated more than 14,400 tons of emitted carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2,560 passenger vehicles, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 1,630 homes for one year.

  • A New Beginning for the U.S.-Tribal Trust Relationship

    This post originally appeared on the Department of Justice blog.
    Attorney General Eric Holder at Tribal Trust Settlement Event

    Attorney General Eric Holder announces the settlement of breach-of-trust lawsuits filed by more than 40 federally recognized American Indian tribes against the United States, April 11, 2012. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Justice).

    Today, we were honored to join Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to announce the settlement of breach-of-trust lawsuits filed by more than 40 federally recognized American Indian tribes against the United States.  The announcement was an extraordinary conclusion to nearly two years of negotiations between the tribes and the United States that have culminated in settlements between the government and 41 tribes, totaling more than $1 billion.

  • White House Event on Tribal Trust Case Settlements

    Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 1:30pm EST, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and other senior members of the Obama Administration will join tribal leaders to announce a significant step forward in the resolution of tribal trust cases pending against the United States.  Many of the cases include claims by the tribes that go back over 100 years.  Tomorrow’s event will recognize the good-faith cooperation and hard work of the Administration and 41 American Indian tribes in working out fair and honorable resolutions of the tribes’ claims.

  • White House Rural Council Hosts Native American Food and Agriculture Roundtable Discussion


    Yesterday, the White House Rural Council hosted a Native American Food and Agriculture Roundtable Discussion, bringing together tribal leaders and experts on Native American agricultural economic development with Administration officials from the White House Domestic Policy Council, National Economic Council, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, and federal agency partners including the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, Treasury, and the Small Business Administration.

    The White House Rural Council was established by an Executive Order of President Obama in June 2011. The Rural Council, chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, is dedicated to creating jobs and fostering economic development in Rural America. This is an all hands on deck approach - to accomplish this goal of growing the rural economy, the President appointed 14 Cabinet Members to the Council. In August 2011, the Council hosted the White House Native American Business Leaders Roundtable, which provided officials an opportunity to hear from Native American business leaders and policy experts about ways we can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs in tribal communities.

    The Native American Agriculture and Food Roundtable served as a forum for leaders and experts to contribute ideas for fostering community and agricultural economic development with a particular focus on Leasing, Technical Assistance, Strategic Business Planning and Access to Capital, Credit and other Financial Resources. These topics were chosen because of their importance for agricultural economic growth in Rural America and Indian Country. The White House Rural Council convened this roundtable to gather information and ideas to help us identify administrative barriers and explore opportunities to foster food and agricultural opportunities in Indian Country.

  • Tribal Health and the Affordable Care Act

    Recently, I had the privilege to speak about how the Affordable Care Act is having a positive impact in Indian Country as I joined other Administration officials in addressing the Executive Council Winter Session of the National Congress on American Indians in Washington, D.C.

    Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Indian tribes, tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations can now choose to purchase health insurance coverage for their employees through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.

  • Secretary Bryson Delivers Remarks at National Congress of American Indians

    Editor's note: This post originally appeared on The Commerce Blog.

    Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson delivered remarks at 2012 Executive Council Winter Session of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest and largest national representative of Tribal Nations in the United States. Bryson spoke about Commerce Department initiatives to promote exports, job creation and infrastructure in Indian Country.

  • Eliminating Barriers to Economic Growth in Indian Country

    Last year, around this time, the President instructed agencies to work closely with State, local, and tribal governments to identify any Federal barriers that prevent efficient use of taxpayer dollars to achieve the best results.

    On Friday, we released a report highlighting examples of where these new partnerships are leading to real benefits for state, local, and tribal governments. Among other areas, the report focuses on actions to create opportunity for economic growth in Indian Country. The Obama Administration has partnered with tribal leaders and taken decisive action to support infrastructure and workforce development to drive economic growth. These actions include expanding access to broadband under the Recovery Act; providing Federal loan guarantees; investing millions of dollars in businesses in Indian Country; building the capacity of Native Community Development Financial Institutions; implementing an Executive Order to Expand Educational Opportunities and Improve Educational Outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native Students; and supporting the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives, which channels contracts through tribal corporations to qualified businesses to help them gain greater access to Federal and private procurement markets.

    These actions are spurring entrepreneurship in Indian Country by increasing business infrastructure such as broadband, making resources such as business loans more accessible, and improving community and economic development. Moreover, they are helping prepare Native American youth to compete for the high-skilled, good jobs of tomorrow by investing in tribal colleges and universities and improving educational outcomes.

  • Strengthening Support to Minority-Owned Firms

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from The Commerce Blog

    Supporting the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned businesses is a priority for the Department of Commerce and the Obama administration.

    And we’re making good on that priority. Last year, the Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) registered the best annual performance in its 41-year history. It assisted minority-owned businesses in gaining access to nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital, supporting the creation of nearly 6,000 much-needed jobs. Over the last three years, our network of 39 MBDA Business Centers, has been largely responsible for generating $10 billion in contracts and capital while helping to create and save nearly 20,000 jobs.

    Today, the challenge for MBDA–like so many organizations across the federal government–is to figure out how we build on that record while becoming more efficient. A number of bureaus right here within the Commerce Department are facing a similar challenge, which has led, for example, to consolidating or otherwise cutting several programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), restructuring some units within International Trade Administration (ITA) and shifting the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) emphasis to regional innovation strategies. So how do we meet the President’s mandate to improve services to minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in an increasingly difficult budget environment?

    The answer for our Bureau started with looking at the grassroots where MBDA interacts on a daily basis with minority business owners. Our front lines are our 39 MBDA Business Centers and related business development support services. Our plan is to strengthen connections at that level to enhance services and get more for your tax dollar.The centers, operated by local entities, are funded in part by grants from MBDA.  The average grant is less than $300,000 and had not experienced an increase in funding in over 15 years. . . until recently.  Last year, when we launched a new round of competitions, MBDA was able to increase the size of the grants and extend awards from three years to five years. As a result of earlier streamlining efforts, MBDA was also able to expand its presence to establish new centers in Denver, Cleveland, Boston, Minneapolis and Anchorage in fiscal year 2011.