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Montana Tribal Nations Awarded Indian Country Economic Development Grants

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

By Economic Development Blog

Several tribes in Montana have been awarded funding under the Indian Country Economic Development (ICED) grant program.

Tribes in Montana including the Confederated Salish and Kootenai, Blackfeet, Little Shell, and Fort Belknap Indian Community received $65,000 each for their economic development projects.

Governor Steve Bullock said in a release announcing the funding that the Indian Country Economic Development program honors their government-to-government relationship with every tribal nation in Montana, and also allows for continuing the valuable collaborative process that supports sustainable and effective solutions for creating new revenue and entrepreneurial opportunities in tribal communities.

The governing bodies of Montana’s eight tribal nation governments can apply for ICED funding of up to $65,000 for their priority economic development projects in each fiscal year. The funding can be used to support a business enterprise that will produce a positive economic benefit for the tribe.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes plan to use this funding to provide small grants to tribal business owners and startups to assist with job creation and retention.

The Blackfeet Tribe plans to use the funding to hire contractors for improving infrastructure, lighting, roads and electrical hook-ups at their RV parks and campgrounds. The Little Shell Tribe will use the ICED funding to purchase equipment for a quarry development.

The Fort Belknap Indian Community plans to upgrade their weight scale facility to meet enhanced use of the scale by local producers.  The Fort Belknap Livestock Marketing Co-op Board of Directors said in a statement that the upgrade will ensure that the small dynamic family operator can have access to the same economic advantages as a large producer.

Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary portrayed this support for tribal communities as a component of their overall Montana economic development plan under the Main Street Montana Project.

Director O’Leary said in the release that “As a key and intentional outcome of the Governor’s Main Street Montana Project, we are strengthening our relationships to and connectivity with each tribal community across the state and working together on their economic development priorities.”

The Main Street Montana Project is Gov. Bullock’s flagship economic development initiative for the state, and includes clear priorities for increasing capital and encouraging growth of new and existing businesses throughout the tribal nations.

As part of the efforts to implement the Project, members of the administration have met with tribal governments, economic development organizations and colleges to create action plans and work teams who are now implementing the objectives and goals identified in the plan.

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