NCAI Applauds President Obama’s Historic Visit to Indian Country

Source: National Congress of American Indians
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) applauds President Obama for upholding his ongoing commitment to tribal nations and Native peoples by travelling to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation this Friday, June 13. Since taking office, President Obama has remained steadfast in honoring our nation-to-nation relationship. President Obama has kept his commitment to host the annual White House Tribal Nations Summit in Washington D.C. These summits have facilitated unprecedented engagement between tribal leaders and the President and members of his Cabinet.
At the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Summit, the President announced that he would visit Indian Country himself – a longtime priority of tribal leaders. Friday’s visit to Standing Rock fulfills that promise. This historic visit is the first by a sitting President in over 15 years and makes President Obama only the fourth President in history to ever visit Indian Country.
NCAI expects the President to address the economic development needs of tribal nations and the needs of Native youth.  While tribal youth are included in the Administration’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, this Administration has always known that Native children have specific cultural and education needs that require focused attention.
For this reason, Indian Country has witnessed an unprecedented collaboration between the Secretary Jewell at the Department of the Interior and Secretary Duncan at the Department of Education, to study what is necessary to make sure that all of our Native students – in public schools, tribal schools, and Bureau of Indian Education schools have the tools they need to ensure a strong future for all Native children. In 2013, Secretary Jewell visited the Pueblo of Laguna to see first hand how a tribal education department was improving the quality of schools operations, performance and structure of BIE schools. She witnessed a nation that was engaged and excited to participate in efforts to improve educational outcomes in Indian Country.
It will take visits like this – the agencies working together with tribal governments and national organizations such as the NCAI and the National Indian Education Association to ensure that our students can be the future tribal leaders, teachers, health care workers, and entrepreneurs that our nations and the United States need to thrive for generations to come.
The President’s visit builds on ongoing efforts of his Administration to work closely with tribal nations on policy that affects their citizens. We trust the visit will be a catalyst for more policies that will not only succeed today, but cement the positive relationship between tribal governments and the federal government well into the future. President Obama has made annual summits between our nations in his words, “almost routine.” We trust this will be the continuation of his Administration’s engagement with our nations that makes visits to Indian Country by the President and his Cabinet routine too.
About The National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit

Treasury Announces $12.4 Million in Assistance to Native Communities

cdfilogolarge_original_crop2013 NACA Program Awardees Will Stimulate Economic Development in Low-Income Areas

Source: Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, United States Department of the Treasury, September 19, 2013

Washington, DC – Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities (Native Communities) throughout the United States will receive much-needed economic and community development assistance as a result of the $12.4 million in Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program) awards announced today.

Thirty-five organizations serving Native Communities received awards from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) under the fiscal year (FY) 2013 round of the NACA Program.  The awardees all aim to increase lending and financial services in Native Communities, stimulating economic development in some of the most distressed and low-income parts of the country.

“The Native American CDFI Assistance Program is providing critically needed funds for distressed Native and tribal areas, many of which lack traditional banking services,” said Don Graves, Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development and Housing Policy. “This latest round of awards will expand the capacity of native financial institutions to develop innovative economic development solutions for the businesses and individuals in their communities.”

The awardees, all certified Native Community Development Financial Institutions (Native CDFIs) or organizations looking to become or create Native CDFIs, will receive a collective total of $12,451,015 in Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards. Eighteen Native CDFIs will receive Financial Assistance awards, which are primarily used for financing capital. Seventeen organizations will receive Technical Assistance grants, which are usually used to acquire products or services, staff training, professional services, or other support.

“The FY 2013 NACA Program awards will lead to increased loans for small businesses, affordable housing, and community facilities in Native Communities, in addition to basic financial services that are essential to building household wealth and stability,” said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. “As the award-making arm of the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives, the NACA Program has consistently supported the unique organizations that are doing such vital work in these communities.”

The majority of the target markets served by the awardees are rural, although seven organizations primarily serve minor urban areas. The organizations are headquartered in fifteen different states across the country. Full information about the FY 2013 NACA Program awardees can be found in the CDFI Fund’s Searchable Award Database at

The FY 2013 NACA Program Awards announcement comes at a time when the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives is in the middle of studying the current availability of access to capital and credit in Native Communities. The “Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities” study will draw on focus groups, tribal consultations, and independent research to establish the current reality of capital and credit availability in Native areas. The results of the study will be used to inform the CDFI Fund’s future approach to the training, technical assistance, and awards that it provides through the Native Initiatives.

Learn more about the “Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities” study at Additional information about the FY 2013 round of the NACA Program, including key highlights and the full award list, can be found below and at


2013 NACA Program Award Resources

Award Book: Learn key facts and statistics about the full group of awardees
Award List: Alphabetical by Organization
Award List: Alphabetical by State
Searchable Award Database: View the profiles of individual awardees



About the CDFI Fund

Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded over $1.7 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the CDFI Program, the Bank Enterprise Awards Program, the Capital Magnet Fund, the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program, and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $36.5 billion in tax credit authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program. Learn more about the CDFI Fund and its programs at


About the Native Initiatives

The CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives work to increase access to credit, capital, and financial services in communities by creating and expanding CDFIs primarily serving Native Communities. This is achieved through two principle initiatives: 1) a funding program – the NACA Program – targeted to increasing the number and capacity of existing or new Native CDFIs, and 2) a complementary series of training programs that seek to foster the development of new Native CDFIs, strengthen the operational capacity of existing Native CDFIs, and guide Native CDFIs in the creation of important financial education and asset building programs for their communities. Learn more about the Native Initiatives at


Strengthening our Federal Partnership with Tribal Nations

By Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior,

This week represents another important step forward in the nation-to-nation relationship between Indian Country and this Administration.  Yesterday, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Native American Affairs, which will help to continue to strengthen our federal partnership with Tribal Nations.

As Secretary of the Interior, I am honored to chair this Council, which will bring together federal departments and offices on a regular basis to support tribes as they tackle pressing issues such as high unemployment, educational achievement and poverty rates.  By further improving interagency coordination and efficiency, the Council will help break down silos and expand existing efforts to leverage federal programs and resources available to tribal communities.

Throughout the year, the Council will work collaboratively toward advancing five priorities that mirror the issues tribal leaders have raised during previous White House Tribal Nations Conferences:

1) Promoting sustainable economic development;
2) Supporting greater access to and control over healthcare;
3) Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of tribal justice systems;
4) Expanding and improving educational opportunities for Native American youth; and
5) Protecting and supporting the sustainable management of Native lands, environments, and natural resources.

Identifying these priority areas was just one of the many beneficial outcomes of the White House Tribal Nation Conferences, which have been held each year since the President came into office. That is why it’s so important that yesterday’s Executive Order also takes the step of codifying the White House Tribal Nations Conferences as an annual event to ensure that the Executive Branch will continue to meet directly with federally recognized tribal leaders each year.

We know the power of these conferences to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States government and tribes and want to ensure that they continue.

The federal government’s unique trust relationship with tribes, as well as distinct legal and treaty obligations, calls for a priority effort to promote the development of prosperous and resilient tribal communities. Yesterday’s Executive Order underscores this Administration’s promise to engage in truly collaborative partnerships and meaningful dialogue with tribal communities.

I’m pleased to play a role in the President’s historic action to further advance the policies of tribal self-determination and self-governance that will help tribes build and sustain their own communities.

McCoy will impart real-world perspectives in MPA program

Lawmaker, a long-time Native-American leader and economic-development/high-technology trailblazer, is named an adjunct professor at The Evergreen State College

Source: Office of State Rep. John McCoy

OLYMPIA — State Rep. John McCoy has already worn more hats in his personal and professional lives than about anyone else you could name. Don’t look now, but he’s about to don yet another impressive piece of headwear.

McCoy has accepted an opportunity to share his real-world knowledge and experience in the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year with students at The Evergreen State College (TESC). The veteran lawmaker, and Tulalip-tribal and Snohomish County community leader will teach as an adjunct professor in Evergreen’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) Tribal Concentration program.

“I am very honored and very grateful for this chance to work with men and women who are obviously very committed to lives of public service,” said McCoy. “I know that I will be learning every bit as much from them as I hope they will be learning from me.”

Lee Lyttle is Evergreen’s MPA Director and a faculty member. He said that TESC “is terrifically privileged to welcome and embrace in our college family a man possessed of Representative McCoy’s background and widespread acquaintance in ‘Indian Country’ issues and management.

“John McCoy’s ‘skill set’ in our 20th century and 21st century life and times is simply unmatched; there’s no other way, really, to put it,” Lyttle emphasized.

“The intersection of his diverse experiences in Indian Country — both in his pursuit of economic and community development and in his working with all levels of the business community and local, state and federal governments — will make Representative McCoy a singular, extraordinary participant in our program.”

McCoy represents the Everett, Marysville, and Tulalip communities and neighborhoods of Snohomish County in the House of Representatives. First elected to the Legislature a little more than 10 years ago, he now chairs the House Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee. He is vice chair of the House Environment Committee, and he also has a seat on the House Education Committee.

McCoy served in the United States Air Force for 20 years, retiring in 1981 with extensive training in computer operations and programming. He worked as a computer technician in the White House from 1982 to 1985. Then he came back home to Tulalip, Snohomish County and the state of Washington. Very soon after returning home McCoy championed the bringing of computers, the Internet, and all that that entails to the Tulalip Tribes.

McCoy and his wife, Jeannie McCoy, make their home in Tulalip. They have three daughters, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

The new professor will be visiting the TESC Tribal cohort on May 24. In the fall he will be teaching Tribal Economics and during the winter session he will be teaching Tribal Policy.

Lyttle said that McCoy’s classes will include as many as 30 MPA students, who themselves will bring a tremendous range of personal and professional knowledge to the academic table. Most but not all students in the program are Native American, and they come from different communities all across the land.

Evergreen’s MPA Tribal Concentration program right now represents the nation’s only such program placing strong emphasis on tribal-governance.

“With that in mind,” says the program website, “the Tribal Governance Concentration focuses on structures, processes and issues specific to tribal governments. It provides current and future tribal leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to work successfully in Indian Country. The Concentration is also appropriate for those working with governmental or other organizations in a liaison role with tribal governments. Students go through the entire program as a cohort and finish in two years in this structured program.”


Energy Department Announces $7 Million to Promote Clean Energy in Tribal Communities

Source: US Department of Energy

The Energy Department today announced up to $7 million to deploy clean energy projects in tribal communities, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and promoting economic development on tribal lands. The Energy Department’s Tribal Energy Program, in cooperation with the Office of Indian Energy, will help Native American communities, tribal energy resource development organizations, and tribal consortia to install community- or facility-scale clean energy projects.

Tribal lands comprise nearly 2% of U.S. land, but contain about 5% of the country’s renewable energy resources. With more than 9 million megawatts of potential installed renewable energy capacity on tribal lands, these communities are well positioned to capitalize on our domestic renewable energy resources—thereby enhancing U.S. energy security and protecting our air and water.

Through the “Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country” funding opportunity, the Energy Department will make up to $4.5 million available, subject to congressional appropriations, for projects installing clean energy systems that reduce fossil fuel use by at least 15% in either new or existing tribal buildings. Renewable energy systems for power generation only must be a minimum of 50 kilowatts and use commercial-warrantied equipment.

Through the “Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance” funding opportunity, the Department will make up to $2.5 million available, subject to congressional appropriations, for projects installing renewable energy and energy efficiency that reduce fossil fuel use in existing tribal buildings by at least 30%. These projects must use commercial-warrantied equipment with renewable energy systems for power generation only of at least 10 kilowatts. Leveraging state or utility incentive programs is encouraged.

The full funding announcements are also available through the Department’s Tribal Energy Program website.

The Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy and the Tribal Energy Program promote tribal energy sufficiency and foster economic development and employment on tribal lands through the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

The Department has invested $41.8 million in 175 tribal clean energy projects over the years, and provides financial and technical assistance to tribes for the evaluation and development of their renewable energy resources, implementation of energy efficiency to reduce energy use, and education and training to help build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects.