U.S. Economic Development Administration Celebrates Native American Heritage Month and a Year of Progress with Its Tribal Partners
Every year in November, America celebrates Native American Heritage Month, a time to honor the culture and achievements of our indigenous communities. EDA is proud to recognize the role these communities and their cultures play in enriching our nation.
While the month will soon be behind us, there is plenty of work ahead for EDA. This summer, as part of the American Rescue Plan, we introduced EDA’s first ever Indigenous Communities Program, allocating $100 million in funding specifically for Native American communities, which were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. To promote this new initiative, EDA partnered with the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) to conduct an informational webinar.
Other ARP programs, such as the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, were also introduced, allocating a total of $3 billion to help American communities recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
EDA continues to encourage its partners within the Native American community to participate in EDA’s entire portfolio of programs, including the Indigenous Communities Program, and this year we made it easier to do so. After participating in government-to-government consultations earlier this year, we updated our regulations in September to create greater opportunities for tribal participation in EDA grant programs. The new rule, published in the Federal Register, extends EDA Tribal eligibility to include for-profit entities that are wholly owned by and established for the benefit of a Tribe.
This month, we have also been able to report EDA success stories within Tribal communities, such as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Made possible through an EDA grant, the center serves as a showcase for Pueblo history, accomplishments and culture. It includes a museum highlighting cultural arts, educational opportunities, and space for daily artisans and dances.
Since taking office in January, the Biden-Harris Administration has shown its support for Tribal communities as they work to recover from the pandemic. Earlier this month, the White House Council on Native American Affairs hosted a Tribal Nations Summit. President Biden and other senior administration officials, including representatives from the Department of Commerce and EDA, met virtually with Tribal leaders to discuss key issues and goals for Indian Country as they recover from the pandemic and looking beyond. Following the day’s events, the President signed his historic infrastructure deal, providing more than $13 billion in direct investments to Indian Country. This will provide indigenous communities with such necessities as increased broadband service, clean drinking water, and better roads and bridges.
EDA is committed to working with its partners in the Native American community. As we enter a new year, we will continue to provide access to the economic resources needed to meet communities wherever they are by supporting infrastructure development and broadband and expanding small businesses and accelerating startups to build back better post pandemic.