Opinion

April 07, 2014
By:
Peter d'Errico

On March 6, 2014, the Connecticut Post newspaper published an editorial—"Some Indians are inconvenient"—blasting Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy for trying to block proposed chan

April 06, 2014
By:
Steven Newcomb

In September 2014 a United Nations High Level Plenary Meeting of the U.N. General Assembly is scheduled to meet at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

March 19, 2014
By:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Last week, I spoke to several hundred tribal leaders at the National Congress of American Indians Tribal Nations Legislative Summit here in Washington, DC. The conversation was wide ranging, but boiled down to two key topics: what have we achieved, and how can USDA programs better support sustained economic growth in Indian country?  

USDA and our partners in Indian country have made significant improvements to critical infrastructure over the past five years. In the past year alone, USDA invested more than $625 million in Indian country through our Rural Development programs. We have worked with Tribes to bring new and improved electric infrastructure to Tribal lands and financed Tribal community facilities, including schools, medical facilities and Tribal colleges and universities.

Upgraded facilities improve the quality of life in Tribal communities and provide state-of-the-art healthcare, education and training, particularly for young people. Still, retaining talented young people in Tribal communities remains a challenge. This is not an issue exclusive to Indian Country—we face the same challenge of brain drain across rural America.

From my perspective, Tribal-owned farming and ranching operations and small agribusinesses represent an enormous opportunity for Tribal Nations to create the kinds of jobs and opportunity that encourage young leaders and entrepreneurs to put down roots in Indian country.

Certainly, there is significant value in expanding access to healthy foods for Tribal citizens and teaching Tribal youth about traditional foods. At the same time, Tribal-owned businesses also expand economic development by infusing depressed areas with new in-flows of cash and encouraging those dollars to be spent locally.

While many tribes have commercial farms and ranches, others are just now re-entering farming or ranching, as many did not have access to the land or capital required to operate until relatively recently. Access to capital and resources can make or break these operations, and, while not a situation unique to Indian Country, credit histories or a lack of records, including tax filings, can make accessing credit a barrier for individuals and small businesses.

USDA is here to help. Our agency staffs understand the unique challenges that face farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs in Indian Country and stand ready to help navigate the landscape of USDA tools and resources.

One of the ways we do this is through the Obama Administration’s place-based initiatives, exemplified by the first tribal Promise Zone -- the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma -- and USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity, which works across the country and in 13 states with American Indian and Alaska Native communities. We partner with community organizations and technical assistance providers in these areas, like the Intertribal Agriculture Council, and provide extra help as they apply for grants, loans and other resources.

March 18, 2014
By:
Simon Moya-Smith

They murdered men, women and children. An estimated 300 died. Some were killed on the spot. Others, mostly kids, were chased down and shot. All of the dead, even the babies, were left on the field that winter day and froze.

December 30, 2013
By:
John Christian Hopkins

Well, 2013 started off on a sour note right from the beginning, or do I mean ending? You see I was counting on the world coming to an end, as predicted by Quextifizzle Fo’schizzel, my Mayan Psychic advisor.

December 06, 2013
By:
Alexander Ewen

In our time of utter moral decadence, he was the only statesman to stand for a higher level of human relationship in the political sphere.

- Albert Einstein, on the death of Mahatma Gandhi.

July 17, 2013
By:
Steve Russell

June 25, 2013, was a great day to be white in the United States.  In one day, the Supreme Court pulled the teeth of two laws with an excellent track record of providing remedies for racial discrimination, the Voting Rights Act and the Indian Child Welfare Act.

June 27, 2013
By:
Steve Russell

If something called “political science” exists, it’s not necessary to relate general principles of political behavior to Indians specifically.  That said, the following political eruption took place in Texas, and Texas has the fourth largest Indian population of any state. 

June 16, 2013
By:
Isaac Curley Jr.

The visions of my father, Isaac Curley Sr., come and go with each passing month and season. My father was born on March 25, 1922 and raised on the Navajo reservation. His home was a hogan, the family subsisted upon livestock, no modern conveniences and news was gathered only by word of mouth.

May 28, 2013
By:
Jay Daniels

Indian country has suffered for the past three years because the "Montana Mafia" has controlled the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). They have controlled the course of the BIA without regard for the entirety of Indian country.

May 27, 2013
By:
Ray Cook, ICTMN Opinion Editor

Memorial Day, once called Decoration Day, is meant as a day to remember all those who have died while in military service. This Memorial Day I think it important that you remember the day from a military mind. It is not about you or your vacation.

May 25, 2013
By:
Raymond Foxworth

There is a thriving movement in Indian country focused on food sovereignty and increased control of local food systems. Like other assets in Indian country, Native food systems have been colonized, altered and, in some cases, destroyed.

May 24, 2013
By:
Ralph Forquera and Polly Olsen

Urban Indians are not new to the urban scene, as New York Times reporter Timothy Williams suggested in his article, "Quietly, Indians Reshape Cities and Res

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