Two Oregon tribes get USDA funding for sustainable development

Salmon is one of the traditional foods that the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs wants to process with a new business backed by USDA funding.

Salmon is one of the traditional foods that the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs wants to process with a new business backed by USDA funding. 

Two Oregon tribes were among 27 grant awardees sharing $3.2 million in project funding announced this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs received awards under the USDA's Rural Business Enterprise Grant program which focuses on small and emerging rural businesses.

"These grants represent USDA's ongoing commitment to helping strengthen Native American businesses, support sustainable economic development, and create jobs,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker in a press release.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will get $30,000 for a feasibility study and business plan for the commercial processing and freezing of traditional tribal foods such as salmon, elk, mushrooms and berries. Through the project, the tribe aims to reduce waste of harvested food and and enhance the use of natural resources for economic development. The business is projected to create 15 jobs.

The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde will get $30,000 for the development of a physical and online marketplace for tribal art including basketry, jewelry, traditional clothing and the like. The physical marketplace will be developed in conjunction with a museum and cultural center space on the Grand Ronde Reservation. The marketplace is expected to create three full-time jobs and supplement artisan income by as much as 25 percent.

In addition to the awards in Oregon, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation will receive $78,250 to help Native American seafood businesses in California and Washington.

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