The Department of Commerce pledges to collaborate and align efforts with indigenous tribes to boost economic development, as discussed at the White House Tribal Nations Summit.

At the White House Tribal Nations Summit on December 15, 2023, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to working and coordinating with Tribal Nations to support economic growth. This commitment is a reflection of the Biden-Harris Administration’s dedication to strengthening Nation-to-Nation relationships.

During her remarks, Secretary Raimondo emphasized the Department’s mission to create conditions for economic growth and prosperity for all communities and people. She highlighted the unprecedented resources and funding available under the Biden-Harris Administration, including investments in infrastructure, job training, broadband access, and regional economies.

The Secretary also acknowledged the challenges that Tribal Nations have faced in the past, stating that the federal government has often left them to struggle on their own. To address this, the Department has created The Good Jobs Challenge, which has allocated half a billion dollars for job training. As an example, Lakota Funds in South Dakota was awarded $5 million to establish a construction trades training program for residents of nine tribal reservations.

In addition, the Department has awarded nearly $2 billion to over 220 tribal entities to expand high-speed internet access and close the digital divide. Secretary Raimondo announced that an additional $1 billion in funds are available for this program.

The Secretary emphasized the Department’s intention to be intentional in its investments and to include Tribes in the design process to ensure their needs and priorities are addressed. She concluded by stating that this is just the beginning of a long-term commitment to making investments in Tribal communities and ensuring they share in economic opportunities.  

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