This November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has joined Americans across the country in recognizing Native American Heritage Month. We’ve taken time to honor the contributions of more than 5 million Native Americans across the United States. We’ve also reaffirmed our special relationship with those who live, work and raise their families in rural America.
Rural America provides so much to all of us – abundant food, clean water, beautiful outdoor spaces, renewable energy and more. The positive impact of our rural areas is further strengthened by the diversity, knowledge and tradition of Tribal communities.
Today, more than 55 million acres across America is Tribal land, much of it in rural areas. Agriculture is a leading employer in Tribal communities. The number of Native American producers is on the rise, up almost 90 percent. Read more »
Years passed, but no one was able to get near the stray dog roaming the 90 acres of the Ely Shoshone Tribal District in Nevada. Tribal members had tried many times to corral her, to no avail.
Then, in 2011, the stray became pregnant, giving birth to a litter under a walkway at the tribe’s clinic. Occasionally, the puppies were heard crying, but a few weeks later their cries grew less noticeable. When employees became concerned, they resorted to tearing up the walkway. Only one of three puppies was still alive, but it soon died after being taken to a veterinarian for care.
Many communities in the United States, including Native American tribes like the Ely Shoshone, face similar problems when dogs and cats are not spayed or neutered. Frequently, when humans are unable to take care of their unsprayed or unneutered animals, they abandon them — bringing problems ranging from cats forming feral colonies to abandoned dogs becoming wild packs. Worse, a significant public health threat looms from potential dog bites and animals carrying diseases that can be transmitted to humans, primarily through ticks. Read more »
Webinars and Teleconferences are not the raw materials that Tribes use to build the infrastructure that they need. However, at USDA Rural Development we believe that these tools are crucial building blocks that help our Agencies and staff build a foundation for consultation, cooperation and mutual understanding with Federally Recognized Tribes.
Over the last few months, Rural Development co-hosted an Indian Housing Webinar Discussion Series with the National American Indian Housing Council. The goals of that series were clear and simple: 1) Educate USDA Rural Development personnel on the unique issues in providing affordable housing in Indian Country; 2) Educate Tribes and Tribal housing program staff on USDA Rural Development’s programs and services; and, 3) Examine and discuss strategies to improve the partnership between Tribal housing programs and USDA Rural Development. The final webinar was hosted on November 7th and in preparation for the National American Indian Housing Council’s Legal Symposium in December 2012, we are putting together a joint white paper on the Webinar Series and recommendations to consider moving forward. Read more »
NRCS provided technical assistance to the Choctaws in the creation of Lake Pushmataha, a 285-acre lake in Neshoba County.
November is American Indian Heritage Month and offers a great time to recognize the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians for their stellar record as stewards of the environment. Read more »
Left to right guest speaker Dr. James E. Pete and Rural Business Specialist Ken Lynch presenting Dr. Pete with one of his drawings.
South Dakota staff held a “kick-off” for Native American Heritage Month in early November with opening comments provided by State Director Meeks sharing a PowerPoint – 5 minutes 500 years – with statistical information gathered by the National Congress of American Indians, an Indian Taco meal, and guest speaker Dr. James E. Pete, who also provided a blessing before the meal. Read more »
A young Tohono O’odham girl smiles and shows off a peacock feather. The Tohono O’odham Community Action is working to create a healthy, sustainable and culturally-vital community for the Tohono O’odham Nation’s 28,000 members. Photo by Cheryl Francisco.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Profile America Facts, the first American Indian Day was celebrated back in May 1916. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state, gathering endorsements from 24 state governments to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, then President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month, and this year President Obama continued the tradition. Read more »