Written by Vicki Schurman, USDA Rural Development, Nebraska
Ten USDA agencies and Nebraska’s four federally recognized Indian Tribes gathered earlier this month at what is believed to be the first ever Tribal Listening Session in Nebraska. Seventy-two attendees participated in the Listening Session at the Life Long Learning Center at Northeast Community College in Norfolk that was spearheaded by the State Food and Agriculture Council.
All of Nebraska’s headquartered Indian Tribes had both Tribal Council Leaders and Tribal Business Management representatives at the session. Federally recognized Tribes in Nebraska are the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska, and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.
The guest speaker was Rural Development’s South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks who spoke of her own experiences as a Native American and on utilizing USDA programs. She emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to working with the Tribes. Each USDA agency hosted booths for Tribal members to visit to learn more about what is available to assist them. Breakout sessions included Land Use Management, Economic/Community Development, Health and Human Services and Housing. All sessions were presented by USDA specialists.
A Tribal opening prayer and the Noon Prayer and Spirit Plate, customs of the Tribes, were shared with all. Bison, a traditional food of the Tribes, was served at lunch.
Secretary Vilsack earlier today announced funding to assist Tribes in business development ventures. To learn more click here.
Session attendees included Tribal leaders and members and USDA staff.