Government-tribal collaboration session set for Southeast

Tribal leaders attend May 4th’s Ketchikan tribal cooperation meeting. From left: Tim Gillen, Wrangell Cooperative Association; Delores Churchill, Ketchikan Indian Community; Frank Demmert Jr., Klawock Cooperative Association and Rob Sanderson, Ketchikan Indian Community. Photo courtesy U.S. Agriculture Department Rural Development.

Officials from 10 federal agencies will meet Thursday, Aug. 9, with tribal leaders from northern Southeast Alaska.

They will discuss federal housing, nutrition, economic development, utility and other programs available to tribal governments and non-profit groups.

Department of Agriculture Rural Development spokesman Larry Yerich says it’s one in a series of regional tribal collaboration gatherings.

“We want to just say ‘Here’s the main stuff that we have available, but we’re certainly open to hearing what your questions are.’ And that’s the difference between this kind of meeting and rule-making, which is much more rigid,” Yerich says.

Thursday’s meeting runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Juneau’s Tlingit and Haida Vocational Training and Resource Center. It’s part of an Obama administration directive for agencies to work with Native organizations.

The meeting is in person and will not include participants via teleconference.

Yerich says much of the discussion will be about funding.

“Any of the federal partners who are participating in the project, we all have a variety of loan and grant programs. And we all have services that could be of interest to the people who are attending,” Yerich says.

Thursday’s meeting is for Southeast tribal officials from Sitka or to the north. Southern Southeast had its own meeting in early May in Ketchikan. Bethel, Nome and Tazlina, near Glennallen, have had similar events. Yerich says more are planned.

Federal agencies to be represented at the meeting are Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Forest Service, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Small Business Administration, Economic Development Administration, Department of Energy and the Denali Commission.

Programs of greatest interest:

• Food production, availability and nutrition

• Rural housing

• Land management programs of Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service

• Rural utilities (electric, telecom, solid waste, sewer and water)

• Rural economic and community development

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