President Clinton's New Markets Tour



Encouraging Economic Development in Indian Country


Held the First White House Conference on Economic Development in Indian Country.

On August 6, 1998, the Clinton-Gore Administration held the first White House Conference on Economic Development in Indian Country. At the conference, President Clinton directed the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce, and the Small Business Administration to develop, in consultation with other interested parties, including tribal governments, a strategic plan for coordinating existing federal economic development initiatives for Native American and Alaska Native communities. The agencies presented their plan to the President in December 1999.

Promoting Lending and Expanding Capital in Indian Country. President Clinton signed the Community Development Banking and Regulatory Improvement Act (CDBRIA), which promotes more lending in Indian Country. The President has expanded access to capital through the creation of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI, contained in the CDBRIA), which supports banks and other entities that specialize in lending and investing in under-served communities. The FY99 budget included a $15 million increase in CDFI funding (from $80 million to $95 million), a 19 percent increase. The Presidentís proposed FY2000 budget increases CDFI funding to $125 million -- a $30 million increase.

Granting Three Times More Loans to Native American-Owned Small Businesses. Between FY93 and FY98 the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than 2,000 loans to Native American-owned small businesses under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. The 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program provides loans to small businesses unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels. The 504 program makes long term loans available for purchasing land, buildings, machinery and equipment, and for building, modernizing or renovating existing facilities and sites. In FY98 alone, the SBA granted 462 loans, worth $76.5 million, to Native American-owned small businesses, three times the number of loans granted in FY93. In addition, 459 Native American-owned firms participated in the 8(a) Program in FY98, receiving approximately $667 million in 8(a) contracts. SBA's 8(a) program helps small disadvantaged businesses compete for federal contracts.

Fostering Economic Development with Tribal Business Information Centers (TBICs). Tribal Business Information Centers are enhancing and fostering economic development in Indian communities by providing access to computer software technology, one-to-one business counseling services and business workshops. There are currently 18 tribal business information centers providing technical and informational services to Indian communities in Montana, Arizona, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina and Minnesota. During FY98, in total, TBICs assisted in the completion of approximately 200 business plans and 120 loan packages and were instrumental in the startup of approximately 170 new businesses.

Increasing Access to Government Contracts for Native-Owned Firms in Montana and Wyoming. Native American firms will have a larger role in Air Force contract awards through a joint initiative with the Air Force Small Business Office and the Native American Development Corporation of Montana and Wyoming. The initiative is aimed at increasing use of Native American firms in Montana and Wyoming in Air Force contract awards with a goal of generating $50 million in revenue in FY1999.

Providing Information Over the Internet. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is presently coordinating with the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank (KCFRB) in establishing a First Source Community Development Resource Guide on the Internet. This web site will link people and communities, including Indian tribes, in need of technical and financial assistance from the federal government for their community development projects.

Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. Spurring economic development in distressed communities, the Clinton-Gore Administration has created 31 Empowerment Zones (EZs) and more than 100 Enterprise Communities (ECs) that are creating new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. The FY99 budget included $60 million in flexible discretionary funding for the Round II EZs and Rural ECs. The FY2000 budget proposes mandatory funding for ten years: $150 million a year for the 15 Round II Urban EZs; $10 million a year for the five Round II Rural EZs; and $5 million a year for the twenty Round II Rural ECs. Of the five Round II EZs, Indian tribes are participating in two of the five, including the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and the Desert Communities EZ in California with three participating tribes. Of the 20 ECs, eight are tribal entities including: the Metlakatla Indian, Four Corners, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribe and Northwoods Niijii.

Supporting Economic Development with Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Many tribes use Community Development Block Grant funds for a number of community planning activities, including both housing development and economic development ventures. CDBG grants fund road construction, water & sewer facilities, and telephone and power extensions. In FY98 alone, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided $20 million to tribes for infrastructure development.

Helping Native American-Owned Businesses Compete in the Global Market Place. This year, the Commerce Departmentís Commercial Service introduced an initiative that forges new pathways between minority-owned businesses and opportunities in the global marketplace. The Global Diversity Initiative capitalizes on Americaís diversity through trade by creating comprehensive programs that will (1) increase the number of minority-owned firms in the U.S. exporting their services and products abroad; (2) expand the capability of minority firms entering international trade; (3) enhance the nationís economy through increased trade by minority firms. The Commercial Service has developed and maintained many productive relationships with tribes and Native American-owned businesses throughout the country. Because of these efforts, Native American-owned firms have had export successes in Italy, Germany, Japan and Switzerland.

Investing in Native American Communities. To date, under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the Department of Commerceís Economic Development Administration (EDA) has invested $67.6 million in 526 Indian projects across the country. EDA has, for instance, helped Indian communities develop their natural resources, operate small-scale commercial establishments and Indian-owned manufacturing operations, and enhance existing tourism-related activities. In addition, as of July 1, 1999, using FY99 authority, the BIA has guaranteed $40 million in loans from private lenders to Indian tribes and individuals for economic development purposes on federally recognized Indian reservations.

Providing Management and Technical Assistance to the Native American Business Community. In order to address the unique business needs of Native Americans, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the Department of Commerce established its Native American Program (NAP). NAP consists of eight Native American Business Development Centers (NABDCs) and a Native American Business Consultant (NABC). NABDCs and the NABC provide management and technical assistance to the Native American business community.

Helping Individuals Move from Welfare to Work. In 1997, the President insisted that the Balanced Budget Act provide $1.5 billion a year in FY 1998 and FY 1999 for states, federally-recognized Indian tribes, and local communities to help move long-term welfare recipients in high poverty areas into jobs and help them succeed in the work force and support their families. In FY 1998, the Department awarded $15 million to 86 Indian and Native American Welfare-to-Work grantees, who have 3 years to spend these funds. An additional $15 million in grants is being awarded for FY 1999. The Administration proposes to reauthorize the Welfare-to-Work initiative in FY 2000, including increasing the resources available to Native American tribes. This program along with the job training program (JTPA Title IV-A) helps over 40,000 Native American participants (adults and youth) each year upgrade their skills and obtain better jobs in their communities.

Strengthening the Relationship Between the Federal Government and Tribal Nations. In 1994, President Clinton executed a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies directing agencies to consult, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, with tribal governments prior to taking actions that affect federally recognized tribal governments. On May 14, 1998, he issued an Executive Order that strengthens and makes effective across Administrations the 1994 Government-to-Government Memorandum. This executive order serves to establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Indian tribal governments in the development of regulatory practices on federal matters that significantly or uniquely affect their communities, to reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates upon Indian tribal governments, and to streamline the application process for and increase the availability of waivers to Indian tribal governments.


Providing Education and Training. The Clinton-Gore Administration is increasing the employability of individuals in the Native American community through educational and occupational training. For instance in FY98, the Department of Labor invested $54 million (through the JTPA Title IV-A program) in 183 Native American grantees to increase workforce development and training in the Indian community.

Expanding Investments In Youth Education And Training. While House Republicans attempted to eliminate the successful Summer Jobs program in FY99, President Clinton prevailed with his request for $871 million in funding, which will finance up to 530,000 summer jobs for disadvantaged youth. The Workforce Investment Act consolidated the Summer Jobs and the year round youth programs into one Youth Activities formula grant. The FY2000 budget includes $1 billion for youth activities, equivalent to the amount provided for these programs in FY99.

Supporting Youth Opportunity Grants (YOG). YOG provides high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 with academic and job-skills training, including apprenticeships to build and rehabilitate affordable housing. The President proposed and won $250 million for this new innovative program in the FY99 budget. The FY2000 budget continues funding for YOG at the 1999 level of $250 million.

Helping Young People with the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. The School-to-Work Opportunities Act was enacted in 1994 to provide seed money to local initiatives that use hands-on learning opportunities to help young people succeed academically and in the workforce. Through its grants to American Indians and Alaska Natives, the School-To-Work program (STW) funds efforts that link classrooms and job experiences; train teachers, counselors, and workplace and community mentors; offer career exploration opportunities for youth; and meet related needs for transportation, health care and day care. Funded partnerships include Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools; tribal educational, economic development, employment, and job training organizations; local tribal businesses and school-based enterprises; Tribal Colleges and area vocational schools; students and parents. To date, STW has awarded $3.57 million in funding -- 24 partnership grants -- to American Indians and Alaska Natives since 1995.

Providing Vocational Education Training. The Department of Education's American Indian Vocational Education Program works with Indian tribes, Tribal Colleges and tribal organizations to provide educational training that leads to jobs or further education for American Indian youths and adults. Grantees have developed secondary and postsecondary programs in health care, child care, heavy equipment operations, management and entrepreneurship, business management, construction, plumbing, agri-business, forestry and land management, as well as emerging opportunities in computer technology, specialized animal husbandry, tourism, hospitality and casino management. These emerging programs all provide postsecondary certificate or degree options.

Supporting Tribal Colleges and Universities. The Administration currently awards, under the Strengthening Institutions Program authorized by Title III of the Higher Education Act, approximately $6 million worth of grants per year to about half of the existing Tribal Colleges and Universities.

Providing Technical Training. In 1997, the Department of the Defense (DoD) entered into a cooperative agreement with the Oglala Sioux Tribe to provide $1.2 million to the Tribe for training and technical assistance to cleanup the former Badlands Bombing Range on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Through the cooperative agreement, sixteen members of the Tribe recently completed training to become the first civilians to be DoD-certified Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Technicians.


Increasing Access to Education Technology. The President has made an unprecedented commitment to bringing technology into schools. In the FY99 budget, President Clinton won $75 million to fund technology training for teachers and $10 million for new grants to public-private partnerships in low-income communities to provide residents access to computer facilities for educational and employment purposes. Education technology has always been a top priority for the President and Vice President; since 1993, they have created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and increased overall investments in educational technology by thirty-fold, from $23 million to $698 million this year.

Providing Discounts On Telecommunications Services Through E-Rate. The E-Rate Universal Service Program provides discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access and internal connections. Funded this year at the maximum $2.25 billion, E-rate has helped 38 million children in over 80,000 schools and libraries in the country's poorest areas acquire modern telecommunications services. The Office of Indian Education at the Bureau of Indian Affairs has submitted the necessary paperwork to the Federal Communications Commission so that all 185 Bureau-funded schools can take advantage of the e-rate discount. The majority of the schools qualify for the highest rate authorized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Last year, the Bureau received approximately $500,000 in discounts for servers and circuits. Bureau-funded schools will qualify for over 2 million dollars in discounts in school year 1999-2000.

Linking BIA-Funded Schools To The Internet. The Administrationís BIA started a National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR) initiative called Access Native America (ANA) in 1997 to connect 185 BIA funded schools to the Internet. As of June 1999, 120 schools have been cabled and 89 schools have been connected to the Department of the Interior network. As a result of this project, Indian communities and schools located in some of the most rural remote areas on 63 Indian reservations and in 23 states, will have access to the Internet.

Bringing the Benefits of the Information Superhighway to Indian Communities. In 1993, the Clinton Administration established the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) to fund demonstration projects on how to extend the benefits of the Information Superhighway to under served areas through public-private partnerships. The program is administered by the Commerce Departmentís National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). As part of this nationwide program, TIIAP has provided seed money for eighteen projects that demonstrate how Native American communities and organizations can integrate telecommunications and information technologies to improve such critical areas as education, health care, economic development, public safety, and delivery of government services.

Promoting Private Sector Technology Partnerships With Tribal Colleges. The Clinton Administration has promoted many partnerships between the private sector and tribal colleges to help train Native Americans learn the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

Providing Instructional Programs for Native American Students. The Star Schools program will provide $45 million in FY99 to fund demonstration projects that use distance learning technology to provide instructional programs for students and professional development activities for teachers in under served areas. The Star Schools program provides $2 million to The Mountain-Plains Distance Learning Partnership, which focuses on the needs of Native American students. The project involves 21 schools, including 11 on reservations in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah and will deliver interactive multimedia curricula to remote communities for K-14 and adults.

Providing Regulatory Assistance for Telecommunications In Unserved Areas. After holding two unprecedented field hearings in New Mexico and Arizona to focus on the issue of telephone service to Indian Reservations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in August will announce regulatory solutions and will begin a rule-making proceeding to improve universal service support and to provide regulatory assistance for telecommunications in insular and unserved areas, including Native American reservations.

Serving At-Risk Tribal Reservations. The Clinton Administration has established programs to serve at-risk communities, including tribal reservations. For example, the Lifeline/Linkup programs help low-income residents receive basic telephone service and the Telemedicine program -- funded this year at $3 million -- supports the costs of providing advanced telecommunications links for rural health care.

Improving Access To Indian Reservations. In 1999, $275 million will be provided to improve roads that provide access to and within Indian reservations, Indian trust land, restricted Indian land and Alaska Native villages as part of the Indian Reservation Roads Program.

Providing Advocacy, Outreach and Financial Assistance To Native Americans. The Department of Transportationís (DOT) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) actively includes the Native American community, especially small and disadvantaged businesses and educational institutions in the Office's advocacy, outreach and financial assistance programs and activities. One example of this is that OSDBU has established a partnership agreement with the United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota under our Entrepreneurial Training and Technical Assistance Program (ETTAP).

Providing Funds For Transportation Services To Native Americans. The Clinton Administrationís DOT provides funds to Indian tribes for provision of transportation services. For example, funds are provided to capital, operating, and administrative assistance for public transportation in nonurbanized areas. In FY97, $2 million went to 25 tribes. Under the program for meeting the transportation needs of elderly people and people with disabilities, $465,000 went to 17 tribes in FY97.


Providing Housing Assistance To Native Americans. The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) gives Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages or their Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs), providing communities with more flexibility than ever before to plan and develop programs that best meet locally determined needs for housing assistance. In FY98, $600 million in funding was provided to tribes for IHBG assistance. In FY99, $620 million was provided to tribes. The Presidentís FY2000 budget request also asks that $620 million be appropriated for this program.

Streamlining Mortgage Lending Process In Indian Country. The Administration and tribal partners are working together to streamline the mortgage lending process in Indian Country, cutting down the barriers to private sector home mortgage lending.

Building And Renovating Affordable Housing On Tribal Lands. The Administration is working with tribal leaders to create a national housing model called "Shared Visions" to build and renovate affordable housing on tribal lands and to help more Native Americans become homeowners. This model strives to increase the number of affordable, quality homes and to make it easier for Native Americans to obtain mortgages by encouraging private sector partnerships, streamlining federal regulations, and improving coordination among federal agencies and tribes. As part of the project, a nonprofit will be established to provide financial help, low-cost financing, down payment assistance, and home ownership counseling.

Funding Economic Development Projects In Indian Country. The Clinton Administrationís HUD recently announced that in FY 99, twenty-six economic development projects were funded in Indian Country for a total of more than $7 million. These projects are located in eleven states and include such activities as business incubation, vacation cabin rentals and a water bottling plant.

Ensuring Safe Drinking Water In Rural Communities. President Clinton launched the Water 2000 safe drinking water initiative in August, 1994. In almost five years, USDA-Rural Utilities Service has targeted some $2 billion in low interest loans and grants to solving some of the most serious drinking water quality and dependability problems in some of the nationís most economically distressed communities. The emphasis has been on bringing quality drinking water to families that literally have no water piped into their homes, and on greatly improving grossly substandard water quality and dependability in other homes.

Creating Technology-Based Jobs In Economically Disadvantaged Rural Areas. Under the Bringing Rural America Venture Opportunities (BRAVO) Program, the Clinton Administrationís U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will develop partnerships with American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and other rural communities, land-grant educational institutions, small disadvantaged companies, private corporations, and government organizations to create technology-based jobs in tribal communities and in surrounding economically disadvantaged rural areas.

Increasing Funding for Rural Development Programs. The Administrationís USDA increased funding for Rural Development programs and initiatives for American Indians and Alaska Natives from $52.9 million in FY94 to $191.5 million in FY99 and the Administration has requested $306.4 million in FY2000.

Financing Child Care Facilities, Emergency Services, and Schools. During the past five years from fiscal year 1993 through fiscal year 1998, the Clinton Administrationís Rural Housing Service Community Facilities (RHS CF) programs have made over 57 loans and grants totaling approximately $56 million to American Indians and Alaska Natives to finance child care facilities, fire and emergency services, high schools, and colleges, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and museums. By comparison, from fiscal year 1988 through fiscal year 1992, the RHS CF programs made seven loans to American Indians and Alaska Natives for community facilities projects totaling nearly $2 million.


Improved Law Enforcement in Indian Country. The final FY99 budget bill includes a $109 million increase -- for the Departments of Justice and Interior -- for the President's Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative. The initiative will improve public safety for the 1.4 million residents on the approximately 56 million acres of Indian lands. This funding will increase the number of law enforcement officers on Indian lands, provide more equipment, expand detention facilities, enhance juvenile crime prevention, and improve the effectiveness of tribal courts. Although violent crime has been declining nationally for several years, it has been on the rise in Indian Country. At the same time, police service on Indian lands has been steadily shrinking. Recognizing these facts, the President made a major commitment to improve law enforcement in Indian country. The Presidentís FY2000 budget includes $164 million, a 50 percent increase over FY99, for the Departments of Justice and Interior for the second year of the President's Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative.

Comprehensive Approach to Public Safety. The Department of Justiceís Consortium of Indian Reservations Cooperating in Law Enforcement (CIRCLE PROJECT) is a demonstration project, taking a comprehensive and coordinated approach to law enforcement and public safety in Indian country. DOJ will provide enhanced technical assistance to three Indian communities, the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, and the Northern Cheyenne in Montana, in order to help them identify their crime and public safety problems on a community-wide level. Through this process, the communities will develop a comprehensive plan to address law enforcement and public safety concerns. The communities will use these plans to apply for DOJ funds in a new, coordinated process with one application rather than on a piecemeal basis. This will ensure that the communities can maximize the use of federal funding in a coordinated, problem-solving manner. The goal of this project will be to help Indian communities develop comprehensive strategies for improving public safety.

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E