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Indian Affairs Invests Over $760,000 to Help Tribes Start New Businesses and Commercial Projects in Opportunity Zones

For Immediate Release:
January 14, 2021

WASHINGTON –  Assistant Secretary -- Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney announced today that Indian Affairs’ Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) has approved $762,346 in Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) grants to fund 14 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and tribal entities to perform feasibility studies of proposed economic development projects, businesses, and technologies located in designated Opportunity Zones. 

The funding will enable grantees to obtain guidance on the practicality of potential projects and how they can attract investment from Opportunity Funds.  Opportunity Zones were added to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017 (26 U.S.C. 1400Z-1 and 1400Z-2).  An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.  Opportunity Funds are set up either as a partnership or corporation for investing in eligible property or businesses located in an Opportunity Zone (26 U.S.C. 1400Z-2(d)).  

“Since their inception in 2007, NABDI feasibility studies have created blueprints for business projects in Indian Country and Alaska,” Sweeney said.  “This year, we broadened their value for tribes by focusing on attracting private investment.” 

NABDI is a competitive, discretionary program.  Proposals were evaluated on their potential to create jobs and stimulate economic activity within a Native community, the applicant’s willingness to consider implementing recommendations resulting from the feasibility study, and the applicant’s focus on obtaining qualified guidance on how to attract investment from an Opportunity Fund. 

IEED is administering this program through its Division of Economic Development (DED). 

Questions about NABDI may be addressed to the following: James R. West, Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Manager, Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, Room 6049-B, 12220 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191; telephone: (202) 595-4766; e-mail: jamesr.west@bia.gov

The NABDI grantees and funded amounts in today’s announcement are: 

  • Angoon Community Association, AK: $37,600 

  • Aroostook Band of Micmacs, ME: $26,400 

  • Chippewa Cree Tribe, MT: $35,000 

  • Delaware Nation, OK: $42,000 

  • Nez Perce Tribe, ID: $75,000 

  • Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, UT: $75,000 

  • Oglala Sioux Tribe, SD: $59,250 

  • Passamaquoddy Tribe, ME: $43,696 

  • Pueblo of Laguna, NM: $41,000 

  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe, SD: $75,000 

  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, MI: $70,000 

  • Seminole Tribe of Florida: $52,000 

  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, ND: $58,100 

  • White Mountain Apache Tribe, AZ: $72,300 

IEED administers the TEDC grants program through its Division of Economic Development (DED).  Please visit the IEED website for more information about this and other IEED programs and services. 

The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues, communicates policy to and oversees the programs of the BIA and the BIE, provides leadership in consultations with tribes, and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter-departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on Indian matters. 

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