1 InIntodf the TA Network Intertribal Agriculture Council Technical Assistance Network The successes documented in this publication recognize the American Indian spirit and highlights values such as perseverance, patience, persistence, and trust and the willingness to meet adversities and succeed through these values. Intertribal Agriculture Council s Intertribal Agriculture Council - Technical Assistance Program - PO Box Eagle Butte, SD
2 Intertribal Agriculture Council s Technical Assistance Network The importance of Technical Assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native farmers, ranchers, value-added food producers, and those interested in the entire food sector in Indian Country cannot be overstated. To be able to access the programs and services in the longstanding agencies and programs of USDA is essential to success. Knowing the when, how, why, who, and what is imperative to building successful businesses in Indian Country. Having the Intertribal Agriculture Council as a long and steady partner in this Technical Assistance role is absolutely critical. They are on the ground in Native communities; they see the problems and challenges up close; and they are committed to the hard work of making good things happen. In these times of federal budget challenges, delivering on the promise of Indian Country will be even more challenging, and federal agencies and departments can no longer expect to do it on their own. They need strong partners. Intertribal Agriculture Council has been committed when others were not. The important work of these Technical Assistance Specialists in their communities is vital and their passion for what they do is real. They are the missing link to success. Seeing their results in loans granted, acres planted, acres conserved, economic development projects materialized - - this is just the beginning. Janie Simms Hipp (former Director, Office of Tribal Relations) Janie Simms Hipp (Chickasaw) is the Director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas Robert A. Leflar Law Center. As the former Director of the Office of Tribal Relations, Janie worked closely with the Intertribal Agriculture Council and was instrumental in the creation of the Technical Assistance Network.
3 In the fall of 2010, through the ongoing efforts of the staff, board of directors and member Tribes of the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), an agreement was reached with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would greatly enhance our ongoing mission to address many of the issues identified by the Indian Agriculture Work Group, back in Among the issues addressed were the erosion of the reservation land base with its significant cultural attributes and decreased private enterprise in the agriculture sector, which ultimately resulted in increased dependency on public assistance and Federal support, while undermining the long-term efforts at Native American and Alaskan Native self-sufficiency. To date, the private sector has been unable or unwilling to meet the needs of Indian Agriculture. For this reason the working group has concentrated on Federal policies and programs in an effort to define realistic and meaningful actions, which reverse the trends in Indian Agriculture. Fast forward to the 2010 landmark settlement of Keepseagle v. Vilsack, which incorporated the establishment of regional technical assistance aimed at helping Indian producers overcome the obstacles that have prevented optimal access to the programs and services of the USDA. The Intertribal Agriculture Council was engaged to deliver these services through the deployment of regional Technical Assistance providers (TA Network). Meaningful Technical Assistance remains one of the first and foremost goals of IAC and this project. Meaningful TA occurs in several different forums; whether on the road putting together a local meeting with producers and USDA officials; sitting at the kitchen table helping a producer fill out applications, or helping to navigate existing rules and regulations to bring a producers dream to fruition. In just two short years, the economic impact for Indian Country by the Network has been very significant; over $6 million in loans, over $2.5 million in conservation contracts, securing grants from Tribal and Federal sources, and several million dollars in Keepseagle settlements and loan forgiveness can be directly attributable to Network participation. What makes the infusion of these resources even more meaningful is the significant improvement in relationship between Indian Country and USDA, which must be fostered and continually improved in order to realize the rural economic improvement possibilities. Settling the Keepseagle case was the first step in that journey; making the impacts of the TA Network real and lasting is the next step. With continued policy guidance by the IAC Membership and the leadership offered by the IAC Board of Directors; the TA Network is poised to serve a vital role in taking Indian Country natural resources to the next level providing technical assistance in developing our natural resources and embracing wholesale and retail opportunities for our products that will impact our local economies. By reaching for this goal of moving Indian Country closer to self-sufficiency and sovereignty by feeding ourselves better, from our own resources, and in a sustainable manner we can further realize the enormous economic opportunity our communities have before them.
4 Zach Ducheneaux is the Program Manager for the TA Network. He is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in north central South Dakota. He grew up ranching on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. He and his family raise beef cattle and Quarter Horses. He started ranching on his own in 1993 with the assistance of a Bureau of Indian Affairs Economic Development Grant. Shortly after this, Zach was elected to serve on the Tribal Council on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. During his term there he was appointed by the Tribe to be the delegate to the IAC, and was subsequently elected to serve as Secretary of the Board of Directors. What follows is a brief snapshot of each of the regions in which the TA Network operates; a little about the TA Specialists working for the Network in that region; and some glimpses of the success stories we can share. We have only begun to see the RESULTS of this work - - much more needs to follow and we need the strong support of USDA to continue on this journey. Great Plains Region Adam Schuchhardt is the Technical Assistance Specialist for the Great Plains Region. He joined the team in February He is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe where he grew up ranching. Adam attended Western Dakota Tech and received a degree in Ag Business. After graduating he worked for Walco International in the animal health field. Most recently, he worked for the FSA as a Loan Officer covering the largest territory in South Dakota (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) for 10 years. The Great Plains Region serves the following Tribes: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Council Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council Oglala Sioux Tribal Council Omaha Tribal Council Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council Santee Sioux Nation Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation Spirit Lake Tribal Council Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Three Affiliated Tribes Business Council Trenton Indian Service Area Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Winnebago Tribal Council Yankton Sioux Tribal Business & Claims Committee The Heart of the Keepseagle Settlement George and Marilyn Keepseagle have been ranching since the early 1950s. As named plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit, it d be expected that they d be forever jaded about participation in any USDA Programs.
5 Keepseagle class counsel called the network seeking assistance with FSA loan servicing for George and Marilyn, to ensure that they were compliant with FSA regulations. Zach Ducheneaux drove to Selfridge ND to meet them. Zach says Driving into their place on a gravel road, you are immediately overcome with a sense of history and pride, with the house George was born in still there and in good repair. Nothing appears out of place. Only after visiting for an hour or so, to take the measure of Zach, did the invitation to come inside to talk business materialize. It didn t take Zach long to understand why, out of thousands of claimants, the Keepseagles were chosen to represent the class. Kind, sincere, trusting and soft-spoken, they epitomize Indian producers everywhere. George and Marilyn had literally put every last thing they had into their operation in an effort to make it work. A 45-year employee of the BIA, Marilyn had gone so far as to cash out her retirement in an effort to save the family place. George did everything he was able as well, scraping and clawing to operate the last few years with little to no credit for operating. Because it had taken several years to settle the case, George and Marilyn s operation was not only the victim of attrition at the hands of some FSA officials, it was also under the grinding pressure of many years of accumulated interest. After this first meeting, it was also plain to see that the Keepseagles weren t obstinate or belligerent borrowers. They were very willing to consider all options, hadn t closed their mind to the prospect of working with the FSA despite the lawsuit, and readily accepted the help that was offered. TA Network staff, along with a summer intern funded by Four Bands Community Fund in Eagle Butte, SD, went to work on behalf of the Keepseagles. Assisting with everything from compiling records for tax preparation and researching the regulations regarding loan servicing, to filling out the Primary Loan Servicing form with them, the TA Network supported them through this time. Under the Keepseagle settlement, successful Keepseagle claimants were to have their FSA debt forgiven. What isn t so well known is that George and Marilyn Keepseagle were able to, with the assistance of the IAC TA Network and the FSA under the leadership of the likes of Chris Beyerhelm and Bruce Nelson, under existing regulation and law, come up with a Loan Servicing plan that would have saved their operation, debt forgiveness or not. The plan would ve allowed the Keepseagles to maintain, and expand their operation in order to increase repayment ability, something George has always wanted to do.
6 The Keepseagles were willing; the motivated FSA leadership combined with the assistance of the Network could help bring about a favorable resolution to a decades old situation. Not only were the Keepseagles pleased with the outcome, they have since worked with the NRCS and with the help of Corie Lund, are now successful participants in the Conservation Stewardship Program. Zach adds George is a real nice guy, everyone should have a chance to meet him, if anything, to thank him for the stand he took for Indian Country; he is a true advocate for the network. Wait and See Attitude + Persistence = Success for Young Professional Lyle Smith is the Tribal Project Coordinator for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. With an Environmental Science degree in his toolbox, he successfully managed the construction of a $100 million dollar hospital project. His professional success speaks for itself. In 2010, Lyle applied for an FSA loan to borrow money to purchase a portion of the ranch he was raised on. The FSA decision on the loan application at the local and state level said that he wasn t qualified. The TA Network staff helped Lyle appeal the decision and the FSA state executive director upheld the decision at the local level. The TA Network then took to issue to the national level, with their assistance, the TA network was able to re-engage the local and state officials. Lyle resubmitted his loan his loan application and two years after his initial application he finally succeeded and closed on the loan. He is now seeking an operating loan to put the land to use. He is working with the local TA Network staff to assemble an atypical package his plan pushes the regulations to their limits, again treading in uncharted FSA territory. Lyle s success is attributed to his wait and see attitude and the TA Networks persistence.
7 Alaska Region Barbara Blake is the Alaska Technical Assistant Specialist covering the regions of Interior and Southeast Alaska. She is of Haida, Tlingit and Ahtna Athabascan descent and belongs to the Yahkw Láanaas (Raven/Shark House) clan. She received her undergraduate degree(s) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a BA in Rural Economic Development and an AA in Tribal Management. She also holds a certificate in Tribal Governmental Business Law from Seattle University. Her former employment includes Program Assistant in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Office of Tribal Relations. Dave Monture is a Technical Assistance Specialist in the Alaska Region with responsibilities for Southwest and Northwest Alaska. He is a Bear Clan Mohawk. Studies include social sciences at the University of Western Ontario, the Banff School of Advanced Management and studies in conflict management and the art of negotiation. He has been a journalist; political advisor to two National Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada; and a Tribal Council Manager. He has a keen interest in circumpolar affairs and sustainable development. The Alaska Region serves the following Tribes: We realize this is a long list but it depicts the vastness of the state and the distances the two Technical Specialists serve. Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove Akiachak Native Community (IRA) Akiak Native Community (IRA) Alatna Village Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Algaaciq Native Village Allakaket Village Angoon Community Association (IRA) Anvik Village Arctic Village Council Asa'carsarmiut Tribe Atqasuk Village Beaver Village Council Birch Creek Tribal Council Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Chalkyitsik Village Council Cheesh-Na Tribal Council Chevak Native Village Chickaloon Native Village Chignik Lagoon Council Chignik Lake Village Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan) (IRA) Chilkoot Indian Association (IRA) Chinik Eskimo Community Chitina Traditional Indian Village Council Chuloonawick Native Village Circle Native Community (IRA) Craig Community Association (IRA) Curyung Tribal Council Douglas Indian Association (IRA) Egegik Village Eklutna Native Village Ekwok Village Elim IRA Council Emmonak Village Evansville Village Fairbanks Agency Gambell IRA Council Gulkana Village Healy Lake Village Holy Cross Village Hoonah Indian Association (IRA) Hughes Village Huslia Village Council Hydaburg Cooperative Assn. (IRA) Igiugig Village Inupiat Community of Arctic Slope (IRA)
8 Iqurmiut Traditonal Council Ivanoff Bay Village Council Kaguyak Village Kaktovik Village Kaltag Tribal Council Kenaitze Indian Tribe (IRA) Ketchikan Indian Corporation (IRA) King Island Native Community (IRA) King Salmon Tribe Klawock Cooperative Association Knik Village Kobuk Traditional Council Kokhanok Village Kongiganak Traditional Council Koyukuk Native Village Larsen Bay Tribal Council Lesnoi Village Levelock Village Lime Village Traditional Council Louden Tribal Council Manley Hot Springs Village Manokotak Village Mary's Igloo Traditional Council McGrath Native Village Council Mentasta Lake Tribal Council Naknek Native Village Native Village of Afognak Native Village of Akhiok Native Village of Akutan Native Village of Aleknagik Native Village of Ambler Native Village of Atka Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government Native Village of Belkofski Native Village of Bill Moore's Slough Native Village of Brevig Mission Native Village of Buckland (IRA) Native Village of Cantwell Native Village of Chenega Native Village of Chignik Native Village of Chuathbaluk Native Village of Council Native Village of Crooked Creek Native Village of Deering (IRA) Native Village of Diomede (IRA) (aka Inalik) Native Village of Eagle (IRA) Native Village of Eek Native Village of Ekuk Native Village of Eyak Native Village of False Pass Native Village of Fort Yukon (IRA) Native Village of Gakona Native Village of Georgetown Native Village of Goodnews Bay Native Village of Hamilton Native Village of Hooper Bay Native Village of Kanatak (IRA) Native Village of Karluk (IRA) Native Village of Kasigluk Native Village of Kiana Native Village of Kipnuk Native Village of Kivalina (IRA) Native Village of Kluti-Kaah (aka Copper Center) Native Village of Kotzebue (IRA) Native Village of Koyuk (IRA) Native Village of Kwigillingok Native Village of Kwinhagak (IRA) Native Village of Marshall Native Village of Mekoryuk (IRA) Native Village of Minto (IRA) Native Village of Nanwalek (aka English Bay) Native Village of Napaimute Native Village of Napakiak (IRA) Native Village of Napaskiak Native Village of Nikolski (IRA) Native Village of Noatak (IRA) Native Village of Nuiqsut Native Village of Nunapitchuk (IRA) Native Village of Ouzinkie Native Village of Paimiut Native Village of Perryville Tribal Council Native Village of Pitka's Point Native Village of Point Hope (IRA) Native Village of Point Lay (IRA) Native Village of Port Heiden Native Village of Savoonga (IRA) Native Village of Shaktoolik (IRA) Native Village of Sheldon Point Native Village of Shishmaref (IRA) Native Village of Shungnak (IRA) Native Village of South Naknek Native Village of St. Michael (IRA) Native Village of Stevens (IRA) Native Village of Tanana (IRA) Native Village of Tatitlek (IRA) Native Village of Tazlina
9 Native Village of Tetlin (IRA) Native Village of Tyonek (IRA) Native Village of Unalakleet (IRA) Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government (IRA) Native Village of Wales (IRA) Native Village of White Mountain (IRA) Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council Nenana Native Association New Koliganek Village Council New Stuyahok Village Newhalen Village Newtok Traditional Council Nightmute Traditional Council Nikolai Village Ninilchik Traditional Council Nome Eskimo Community Nondalton Village Noorvik Native Community (IRA) Northway Village Nulato Tribal Council Nunakauyarmiut Tribe Ohogamuit Traditional Council Organized Village of Grayling (IRA) Organized Village of Kake (IRA) Organized Village of Kasaan (IRA) Organized Village of Kwethluk (IRA) Organized Village of Saxman (IRA) Orutsararmuit Native Council Oscarville Tribal Council Pauloff Harbor Village Pedro Bay Village Council Petersburg Indian Association (IRA) Pilot Point Tribal Council Pilot Station Traditional Village Platinum Traditional Village Council Port Graham Village Council Port Lions Traditional Tribal Council Portage Creek Village Council Qagan Tayagungin Tribe of Sand Point Village Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska Rampart Village Ruby Tribal Council Scammon Bay Traditional Council Selawik IRA Council Seldovia Village Tribe (IRA) Shageluk Native Village (IRA) Sitka Tribe of Alaska (IRA) Skagway Village Sleetmute Traditional Council Solomon Traditional Council St. George Traditional Council Stebbins Community Association (IRA) Sun'aq Tribe of Kodiak Takotna Village Tanacross Village Council Telida Village Teller Traditional Council Traditional Village of Togiak Tuluksak Native Community (IRA) Tuntutuliak Traditional Council Tununak IRA Council Twin Hills Village Council Ugashik Traditional Village Council Umkumiut Native Village Unga Tribal Council Venetie Village Council Village of Alakanuk Village of Anaktuvuk Pass Village of Aniak Village of Atmautluak Village of Chefornak Village of Clarks Point Village of Dot Lake Village of Iliamna Village of Kalskag Village of Kotlik Village of Lower Kalskag Village of Old Harbor Village of Red Devil Village of Salamatoff Village of Stony River Village of Wainwright West-Central Alaska Agency Wrangell Cooperative Assn. (IRA) Yakutat Tlingit Tribe Yupiit of Andreafski
10 Alaska Partnerships through TCDs Tribal Conservation Districts in Alaska are still a new concept. Forming, developing and retaining TCDs in Alaska proved to be a complex process for TA Network staff Barbara Blake. The Alaska Native Claim Settlement Act involvement was a hurdle in addition to the fact the State of Alaska does not recognize Tribes. Lastly, access to USDA and other federal, state and local entities is limited because much of the Tribal entities in Alaska are off-the-road systems (systems that are remote with limited access to resources). Nevertheless, Tyonek Tribal Conservation District (TTCD) was established in 2005 and was the first ever established district in the State of Alaska. Unlike TCDs in the lower 48; TTCD was formed through a Mutual Agreement not only between the Tribe (Native Village of Tyonek), the TCD and USDA NRCS but Tyonek Native Corporation (ANCSA Corporation) as well. Their mission statement is to conserve, enhance, and encourage the wise use of the natural resources in game management unit 16B. TTCD s vision is to become self-sustaining, protect natural resources, and have an integrated, sustainable approach to energy use. Kwethluk TCD was also able to plant a community garden with the assistance from the NRCS in Alaska. They were able to purchase and use three different sized high tunnels. Logistically speaking, ordering and shipping the high tunnels alone to the remote village of Kwethluk is no easy task. The high tunnels arrived via barge in a large conex last year. This year planting took place in an abandoned runway located on the edge of town. Barbara commends the Tyonek and Kwethluk TCD s They should be recognized to share their stories of not only their community garden but their perseverance and dedication to conserving and enhancing their natural resources for generations to come through their TCD s. She adds Every region in the US is unique and diverse, but both Tyonek and Kwethluk are off the road system and they are able to succeed in their work and provide inspiration to other Alaska Tribal communities: Both TCDs can also highlight the many other partnerships they developed with other federal, state and local entities to help them succeed.
11 Reclaiming Sacred Traditions At one time Alutiiq families were the majority of fishermen in the Kodiak Archepelago. Today out of some 520 salmon licenses - only 70 are in the hands of Alutiiq families. A hemorrhaging of natural resources was occurring with the Sunaq tribe in Kodiak, Alaska. They wanted to position themselves in the value added sector of the seafood industry. Most Kodiak fish processors are selling fish in the round and shipping them to Asia to be finished. The goal of this landless tribe was to secure the resource, add value in Kodiak, provide jobs for its members and establish its own markets while buying fish directly from the tribal members. Dave Monture was the economic development director for the Sunaq Tribe at the time and recently joined the staff of the TA Network. He encouraged the Tribe to consider the option of a Section 17 Corporation - direct charter between the Tribe and Congress, established during the Indian Reorganization Act. In Alaska, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act left the Tribes landless and created State corporations and the tribal members became the shareholders. The corporations are state chartered. However; a Section 17 corporation enables a Tribe in Alaska to reinforce its federal relationships. It enables them to gain an equal footing with Tribes in the Lower 48 States for the purposes of tax planning and doing business. Sunaq Tribal Enterprises purchased 100% ownership of the Kodiak Island Wild Source Company. The Tribe was able to persuade the president of the company to join the Tribe s Section 17 Corporation and made him the CEO of the corporation. He had been an employee of a major Alaska seafood processor for 17 years, it was always his dream to establish a value added enterprise and step away from the large corporate environment. They have worked at creating a vertically integrated fisheries operation basically, putting a thumb in the dyke to stop the hemorrhaging of resources. The company has been working with Nathan Notah of the American Indian Food program of the Intertribal Agriculture Council. Nathan is helping them get established in the Foreign Exports Market. Dave says working with Kodiak Island Wild Source through IAC has been a privilege. The Sunaq Tribal enterprise is enabling members to regain skills and balance the economic equation through its own food security measures. There is a continuity of some 7,500 years of seafaring tradition which they have called upon.
12 Midwest Region Daniel Cornelius is the Intertribal Agriculture Council s (IAC) Technical Assistance Specialist for the Great Lakes Region, which includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa. His position focuses on helping Indian Tribes and Tribal food producers gain better access to USDA programs, as well as on general food and agricultural issues. Much of his current work centers on strengthening connections and partnerships among the region s food producers and communities, a task highlighted by IAC s new Mobile Farmers Market. Mr. Cornelius also grows corn, squash, and other vegetables, as well as harvesting and processing wild rice. He is an alumnus of both University of Puget Sound and the University of Wisconsin- Madison. The Midwest region serves the following Tribes: Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians Bay Mills Indian Community Bois Forte Reservation Business Committee Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee Forest County Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin Grand Portage Reservation Business Committee Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Hannahville Indian Community Ho-Chunk Nation Huron Potawatomi, Inc. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan Mille Lacs Band Assembly Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan Sokaogon Chippewa Community St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Stockbridge Munsee Community of Wisconsin White Earth Reservation Business Committee Mobilizing Agricultural Markets Stronger connections, partnerships, and communications among Great Lakes Region Tribal food producers were the missing links in promoting expanded Tribal agriculture. Partnering with the Oneida Nation, the IAC technical assistance specialist organized a Great Lakes Region Tribal Food Producer Summit in April 2012 that drew over fifty participants from across the region and as far as Oklahoma. Funding from First Nations Development Institute and a grant secured from North Central Region SARE allowed travel scholarships and covered meeting expenses, including highlighting regional foods (much of which was donated by
13 participants). The summit was a resounding success, especially in its focus on giving attendees the ability to share their stories in a manner that significantly helped develop connections. Building on this success, a $75,000 SARE Professional Development Program (PDP) grant was secured to hold a series of Tribal sustainable agriculture skills workshops across the region over the next three years. In April, 2013 along with the Oneida Nation and First Nations Development Corp, the Great Lakes IAC Region sponsored the 1 st Annual Food Sovereignty Summit in Green Bay, WI. The Summit was a major success with approximately 300 participants connecting with one another while learning about various topics in three different tracks. The event was an excellent opportunity to visit some great Tribal operations, including Tsyunhehwka, Oneida s traditional and organic operation, that grows and processes the Oneida white corn. The sales booth was a great chance to work out the kinks in our setup and begin to spread awareness of the project. Several products sold out, and many people are inquiring about larger future orders and ways to partner with their local communities. A regional website and newsletter are further attempts to strengthen communication and connects, and he s also working on developing additional strategies and projects, including a technology-based youth learning initiative, for expanding and promoting intertribal communication and partnership. In the Fall 2012, the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) received a Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant to start a Mobile Farmers Market, which is a fuel-efficient cargo van that will be helping to establish farmers markets in local communities and strengthen the Tribal regional food distribution network. Full operations are anticipated to begin in early June The Mobile Farmers Market has two primary objectives: 1) expand market access for Tribal food producers and 2) increase availability of fresh, healthy, and traditional food items, especially in remote Tribal communities. The project is seeking to partner with existing Tribal farmers markets and helps create new ones where there is community interest. Initial plans include every other week stops through most of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin and monthly through the rest of the region. The van arrived on April 1st & will begin full operations in early June.
14 Adding Value to Value Added The Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program was promoted by working with tribal groups on developing applications for the summer of 2011, but soon eligibility issues surfaced. Passing those stories along to USDA s Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) and maintaining contact with USDA resulted in the Rural Development agency implementing an Administrative Notice clarifying Tribal eligibility for the VAPG in However, despite clarified Tribal eligibility, a major hurdle still remained in the 50% matching funds requirement. Dan secured a $100,000 commitment from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to be used as a 25% match for Tribal applicants in the Great Lakes and Dakotas. This match assistance significantly improved Tribal interest, and four Tribal Applications from the region moved forward. These applications, along with several more applicants that considering applying, should translate into additional future applications id program funding becomes available> Dan also assisted with an application from a fisher family to help open a small fish company on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. Dan says: Laying the foundation for expanded food production and more resilient food systems are the first step toward improving the health of our communities and generating sustainable economic development. He adds: although the Value Added Producer Grants applications weren t initially successful, the steps the IAC and the Rural Development took will help future grant applicants be successful. Find more information on the Mobile Farmers Market at They keep their Facebook customers and producers updated on their Facebook site as well.
15 Navajo Region Danielle Notah began work with the Intertribal Agriculture Council as the Technical Outreach Specialist for the Montana/Wyoming Region in February In August 2011 she transferred to the Navajo Nation Region returning to her homeland and takes pride in working for her people. She is responsible for providing outreach, technical assistance and collecting and disseminating information on USDA s general purposes and programs to build a more serviceable relationship between USDA and Native American communities. Born and raised on the Navajo Indian reservation in Tohatchi, New Mexico. She attended secondary school in Tohatchi where she was active in 4-H and FFA showing market lambs, steers, hogs and horses. She earned her Associates Degree from Candeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, ND and her Bachelor s Degree in Business Management from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Danielle lives in Tohatchi, NM with her three boys Briley, Brant and Bravin and is excited to work with the Navajo communities in the Four Corners area of the United States. The Navajo Region serves the Navajo Nation The Navajo Nation encompasses the states of Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico; an area the size of the State of Iowa. Progress In The Middle of Nowhere The Navajo Nation-IAC Region Office organized a Navajo reservation wide USDA outreach meeting in Shonto, AZ, a relatively remote location in western Arizona. The turn out at this meeting was an important success in terms of meetings held in remote locations on the vast Navajo reservation where very little efforts are made to actually reach the isolated grass roots agriculture producers. USDA representatives were brought to the meeting from the state and local NRCS offices to speak about program opportunities and pilot easement programs; FSA to discuss program updates; and APHIS PPQ to give updates and present their programs on Tribal Relation efforts and challenges. Turn out for the meeting was very good with more than half the participants being grass roots producers. Gilbert Harrison, who was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture
16 to the new Council for Native American Farmers and Ranchers, also an outcome of the Keepseagle settlement, was able to address the participants at the program. He explained his role on the Council and stressed that Native people need to work very diligently together to get things accomplished at all levels with USDA: national, state, and local. The Navajo Nation-IAC Region Office covers a territory of more than 27,000 square miles; the Navajo Nation occupies portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. It is the largest land area assign primarily to a Native American jurisdiction within the United States. The TA Network staff person makes it a point to attend and conduct numerous Navajo chapter/community visits throughout the reservation. A Chapter is a form of local government entities modeled after State government forms; such as counties or townships. There are 110 Chapters in the Navajo Nation and working with local USDA offices make FSA programs such as the Wool and Mohair subsidy Payment Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster program and the 2011 Notice of Loss on Native Grass for Grazing program available to native producers. Danielle travels to very remote locations throughout the Navajo Nation and had the privilege to meet with many grass roots Navajo people, some of which did not speak English. These visits continue to be a highlight of the job since Danielle is able to assist USDA staff in helping and explaining to traditional Navajo farmers and ranchers the sign-up processes and procedures. When USDA program personnel aren t fluent in Navajo she provides translations for USDA staff. Danielle says: I work hard in my region to make sure grass roots Navajo people are aware of the United States Department of Agriculture. I know as long as I get the word out on USDA there will be more interest which will lead to more participation in programs.
17 Northwest Region Katherine Minthorn Good Luck is the Technical Assistance Specialist working with the Tribes of Oregon and Idaho. She attended Blue Mountain Community College and Eastern Oregon State College. The past 20 years Katherine has served her Tribe (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla) as a member of the Natural Resources Commission, Tribal Farm Committee and Tiicham Conservation Board. She has served as a FSA State Committee member for Oregon since In 2008 Katherine was appointed to the Secretary of Agriculture s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Michael Shellenberger is the Technical Assistance Specialist working with the Tribes of Washington State and Northern Idaho. Michael was born and raised on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Toppenish Washington. He received an Associate in Arts Degree and a Chemical Dependency Counseling Degree from Yakima Valley Community College; he also studied Environmental and Natural Resource Management at Central Washington University. He was a Chemical Dependency Counselor with Merit Resource Services; a Farm Service Liaison with the National Tribal Development Association. The Northwest Region serves the following Tribes: Burns Paiute Tribe, General Council Coeur d'alene Tribal Council Colville Business Council Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Tribal Council Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Tribal Council Coquille Indian Tribe Cow Creek Government Offices Cowlitz Indian Tribe Fort Hall Business Council Hoh Tribal Business Committee Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Council Kalispel Business Committee Kootenai Tribal Council Lower Elwha Tribal Council Lummi Indian Business Council Makah Indian Tribal Council Metlakatla Indian Community Muckleshoot Tribal Council Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee Nisqually Indian Community Council Nooksack Indian Tribal Council Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe Puyallup Tribal Council Quileute Tribal Council Quinault Indian Nation - Business Committee Samish Indian Nation Sauk-Suiattle Tribal Council Shoalwater Bay Tribal Council Siletz Tribal Council Skokomish Tribal Council Snoqualmie Tribal Organization Spokane Business Council Squaxin Island Tribal Council Stillaguamish Board of Directors Suquamish Tribal Council Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Tulalip Board of Directors Upper Skagit Tribal Council Yakama Nation
18 Vaccination Clinics A Step in the Right Direction A partnership was created with the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service/Vet Services (APHIS), Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and Intertribal Agriculture Council to provide vaccination clinics for horses on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The cost of vaccinations and vet services is cost-prohibitive to most tribal members wishing to have their horses tested and vaccinated. Horses are transported from reservation to reservation in the summer months for various parades, celebrations, rodeos and horse racing, specifically between the States of Washington and Oregon. Currently, there are no requirements to acquire Coggins and health certificates between the sister States. The combined effort provided a critical service to horse owners on the reservation. APHIS provided the veterinarian to vaccinate the horses and complete the forms for the Coggins testing. CTUIR on behalf of their tribal members funded the Coggins testing and IAC provided coordination, advertisement and administration of the vaccination clinics. At the clinics, a total of horses owned by members of the CTUIR have been Coggins tested, wormed and vaccinated for West Nile Virus and 4-way Vaccinations for Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis, Influenza and Tetanus. Tribal Advisory Councils During the first quarter of 2012 several Northwest area Tribes were introduced to the Intertribal Agriculture Council s Regional Technical Assistance Program. Formally developing Tribal Advisory Council s was a determined first step from those initial meetings. The Tribes of Idaho have all by resolution designated their representatives to the Idaho NRCS Tribal Advisory Council and eight of the nine Tribes of Oregon have by resolution designated their representatives to the Oregon NRCS Tribal Advisory Council. Katherine and the Oregon NRCS worked with Jerry L. Thompson, Program manager for the Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council (WTCAC) to provide training on Tribal Participation on State Technical Committees the week of April 8-12, 2013, a four day workshop for the Tribes of Oregon and Idaho, the workshop was hosted by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla at Tamastsalikt Cultural Institute.
19 The opening presentation was made to the USDA staff in attendance, the video AMERICAN INDIAN HOMELANDS (by Indian Land Tenure Foundation) was shown for the USDA staff to understand the chronological order of the various bills and laws that have created the government to government relationships and the Treaty obligations with ALL Federal Government agencies, not just the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service. Several USDA staff members gave presentations were made and Jerry Lauer, Superintendent- Umatilla Agency-BIA, made a presentation on the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NRCS and FSA as well as the MOU with Rural Development. Jerry Thompson, Program Manager-Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council provided training to the tribal delegates on their participation on State Technical committees. Overcoming Adversity with Determination Shawna is a 33-year-old member of the Warm Springs Tribe of Eastern Oregon. She grew up on the Yakama Indian Reservation in White Swan, Washington. As a teenager, Shawna was dealt a tough hand in life - she was involved in a terrible automobile accident that left her disabled and wheelchair bound; however, the accident did not deter Shawna in obtaining the goals she has set for herself. Shawna became interested in her stepfathers small but successful farming operation. She was interested in the management of the operation and was instrumental in using management software to track the successes. It has proven to be a great partnership, her stepdad provides the labor and Shawna provides the brain. She convinced her stepfather to help her purchase some cattle and now owns ten cow calf pairs. Inspired by the management of the operations, Shawna enrolled in the Business Management program at Heritage College. She is currently excelling in these classes and is very motivated to expand her Livestock Operation. In December of 2012, with the assistance of Mike at IAC and the FSA Loan Officer, Crispin Garza, Shawna successfully received a $35,000 Direct Operation Loan. She purchased 35 Black Angus Heifers and 2 Angus Bulls and is well on the way to seeing her dreams come true. Shawna says; If it wasn t for the outreach of the Intertribal Agricultural Council, I would not have known that this loan was available, Thank You Mike!
20 One Determined Teenager Devalyn is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee and a Yakama Nation descendant. She is seventeen and currently attends Toppenish High School and Yakima Valley Technical School where she is studying Physical Therapy and Occupational Medicine. Devalyn has been a member of the local FFA chapter for four years and is currently the Vice- President. While in FFA, she has raised many pigs for show and her families consumption. Devalyn is active in Rodeo where she competes in barrel racing, goat tying and pole bending she also rides cows. In the summer, she works for a local rancher as an irrigator changing hand lines on alfalfa and grass hay fields; this is extremely hard labor and many days reach over 100 degrees. With IAC s assistance, Devalyn worked on a youth loan with USDA. She successfully purchased two Duroc Swine to show at this springs Central Washington Junior Livestock Show. Devalyn s future plans are to attend college and become a part of Justin s Sports Medicine Team. She eventually wants to raise rodeo stock and become a Stock Contractor. Mike Shellenberger says Devalyn is truly a remarkable young lady and I believe she will achieve any goal she puts her mind to, you wont find many kids willing to work as hard as she does.
21 Rocky Mountain Region Anita Matt is the Technical Assistance Specialist for the Eastern Montana area of the Rocky Mountain Region. She is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe; she has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Agriculture from the Salish Kootenai College and the University of Montana. Prior to IAC, Anita managed the Tribal Realty Program and coordinated the Water Administration Program for her tribe; she also provided outreach to Native American farmers and youth with the National FSA American Indian Credit Outreach Initiative. Kole Fitzpatrick is the Technical Assistance Specialist for the Rocky Mountain Region. He is a member of the Blackfoot Tribe. Kole attended the University of Montana and Salish Kootenai College majoring in Business Administration. Prior to IAC, Kole worked for the Native American Community Development Corporation providing technical assistance and financial literacy for farmers and ranchers. He resides with his family on his ranch in Browning, Montana. The Rocky Mountain region serves the following Tribes: Arapaho Business Committee Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Crow Tribal Council Fort Belknap Community Council Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council Shoshone Business Committee Young Ranchers Lowering the Median Age and Bridging the Gap In Montana, the median age for ranchers is 57 year old. With the support of a new FSA Farm Loan Manager; the TA Networks Anita Matt is helping youth and young families realize their dreams with USDA and other programs. Anita worked with the National Tribal Development program from and averaged 8-15 youth loans each year on the Flathead Reservation. The FSA Youth Loan Program has competitive rates and a youth borrower can borrow up to $5,000. The Montana Department of Agriculture offered $7,500 for youth and markets forced borrowers to use the Montana
22 Department of Agriculture loan program. Today, the FSA microloan program (loans up to $35,000) is a promising platform to help younger people get started with ranching and farming. The following is an example of successful ranchers bringing the median age down. Madeline and Jason Netwig operate a ranch on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Starting with 10 head they wanted to purchase another 20 head and continue to operate near Charlo, Montana. Their dream was to develop a home site and work with the Tribe to lease land for their operation. In December 2012, they were successful in obtaining the financing needed to purchase cattle. They worked with the Lake County Farm Loan Manager and obtained two loans. Inspired by the Netwigs motivation and participation; Anita nominated Madeline and Jason for a scholarship to attend the Beginning Farmer Rancher symposium in Billings in They were selected, attended the workshops and were subsequently selected to sit on the steering committee representing young ranchers in Montana. The couple has been participating for 2 years. Anita says I am very excited to have been able to assist these young Native American Ranchers, its important and satisfying work encouraging and helping young people in Agriculture. Kole, like Anita works with several youth in the Browning area; encouraging them to ranch and take part in programs designated for youth to get started in ranching. Kolby and Chance K., ages 14 and 10, are two young brothers who saved up $500 to buy some cows. Working with Kole their local TA specialist, they took the initial steps to reach their goals of becoming ranchers. They have taken several steps towards realizing their dream and have secured their own brand. Success is more evident when a person takes pride in their accomplishments and this duo is no exception, they take great pleasure and pride in marking everything with their brand: fence posts, t-shirts etc. They applied for and received a $5000 Youth Loan in late February to start their venture. Kolby and Chance definitely have what it takes to be successful and time is definitely on their side. Brothers Share Grown-up Dreams
23 Southern Plains Region Zachary L. Butler Sr. is the Technical Assistance Specialist for the Southern Plains Region. He comes from the Bear clan on his Sac & Fox ancestry and the deer clan on his Shawnee ancestry. Zach received a Bachelors degree from Oklahoma State University in Agronomy (Soil Science). He has been with the Intertribal Agriculture Council since January He is committed to providing any Tribe or Tribal member with technical assistance with the different USDA agencies and programs. The Southern Plains region serves the following Tribes: Apache Tribe of Oklahoma Caddo Nation of Oklahoma Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma Comanche Nation Delaware Nation Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska Kaw Nation Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Breaking the Barriers to Self-Sufficiency Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma Wichita and Affiliated Tribes These success stories may seem small yet they are huge stride to get the Native American community involved with the many USDA programs that could help with their Tribes and individual operations. There has been so much distrust from the Native community and the Federal government that it has sometimes hampered the success of Tribal operations. Zach Butler has been breaking the barrier from the Native community and the USDA in parts of Oklahoma. A meeting with the Absentee Shawnee Tribal leadership in late 2011 and early 2012 kicked off the efforts with a presentation on the services of the IAC and USDA and how to bridge the gap between the two. From that meeting, the Tribal Agriculture program was created. Contact was made with Pottawatomie County District Conservationist- Shawn Fleming; a meeting was set with the Absentee Shawnee Tribal leadership and Realty department to get a conservation plan in the works for the land that will be used in their cattle and farming operation. A crew from the Absentee Shawnee leadership, realty representatives, NRCS, BIA, IAC and wild land fire fighters conducted a prescribed burn on Tribal lands for the cattle and farming operation. NRCS then started combing the lands and taking notes to help create the Tribal conservation plan. The tribe now has an estimated 65 head of registered Black Angus cattle and approximately 500 acres of Tribal and leased land for their operation. IAC continues to work with the tribe as they develop the Agriculture and Conservation programs.