Blog Posts Related to the Native American Community

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

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    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.

  • From the Cradle to the Career: Improving Education for American Indians and Alaska Natives

    American Indian & Alaska Native Education Roundtable

    Tribal and US Government representatives take part in a discussion on American Indian and Alaska Native education, February 16, 2012. (Photo by Yvonne Davis, Bureau of Indian Education - Department of Education)

    On December 2, 2011, at the third White House Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama announced his Executive Order on Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities.  Last week, I had the privilege of joining the Department of Education and the Department of Interior at a roundtable on the Squaxin Island Reservation in Shelton, Washington which concluded a series of regional Tribal Leader Education Roundtables that will help guide the implementation of the Executive Order.

  • Building a Fair and Stable Economy for Indian Country

    In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. Today, the President released a budget that illustrates how we put that blueprint to work.

    The President has been clear that we need to do more to create jobs and help economic growth. While the current economic crisis has challenged all Americans, we know this to be especially true for Indian Country where some reservations face unemployment rates of up to 80 percent. Though the economic challenges of Indian Country are significant, President Obama is committed to building strong, prosperous Native American economies.

  • SBA Continues to Help Strengthen Small Businesses in Indian Country

    This post originally appeared on the Small Business Administration's blog

    Recently, SBA kicked off the 2012 Emerging Leaders (known as the e200) executive-level training initiative for small business owners in 27 cities, including 10 Native American communities.

    The e200 is an intensive training program for small companies that have the potential for quick growth and job creation. I’m excited that e200 continues to reach our Native small business communities with training, mentorship and resources to help them take their businesses to the next level. Native American small businesses are an important part of creating a blueprint for an economy built to last.