U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Significant Federal Funding for Tribal Nations and the Native Community in the Twin Cities

WASHINGTON D.C. [1/13/23] –– U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that she helped secure over $8.6 million for Minnesota Tribal Nations and communities in the Twin Cities metro area. These funds will support the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Prairie Island Indian Community, the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, and the Native American Community Clinic. Senator Klobuchar also worked to secure this funding.

“For too long, Native communities have experienced negative impacts of federal underinvestment and underfunding of critical services. I’m proud to have worked with Tribal leaders to help secure funding for projects that will address some of these disparities,” said Senator Smith. “These are significant investments that will increase access to Indigenous health services, expand Tribal housing opportunities, and invest in clean energy, carbon reduction, and protecting waters. I look forward to seeing all the good these projects will do for Minnesota’s Tribal and Native communities.” 

This federal funding will help further the following priorities:

Expanding health care access and upgrading health care facilities:

  1. $2.25 million for the Indian Health Board in Minneapolis to support the Menaandawiwe Wellness Campus vision to provide traditional healing methods and establish a connection to nature for Native people living in the Twin Cities metro area. 
  2. $1 million to expand the Native American Community Clinic’s capacity by adding ten additional medical rooms, five dental exam rooms, expanded laboratory and diagnostic services, and establish a better clinic flow to improve efficiency.
  3. $850,000 for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to renovate the Ahnji-Be-Mah-Diz Recovery Center (ARC) to meet the substance recovery and counseling needs of people in their community.

Protecting the environment and reducing carbon emissions:

  1. $2.5 million to make the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s recycling facility more environmentally friendly by completing a water reclamation system to protect surface and ground waters.
  1. $1.169 million for the Prairie Island Indian Community to conduct an audit of Tribal homes and utilize data to guide energy efficient and carbon reduction upgrades.

Addressing housing needs:

  1. $920,000 for the Lower Sioux Indian Community to acquire and develop 80 acres of new lands for housing and community development.

“I wanted to thank Senators Smith and Klobuchar for their commitment to Urban Indian Health. The senators have advocated and shown true leadership for populations that have been long marginalized in our state. Their commitment to our communities and issues will help address the gaps in health care that we have been chronically facing as a state and country,” said Patrick Rock, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis. They have undoubtedly empowered communities and recognized self-determination as a strength to address long standing disparities. We are grateful that our state has such mindful representation in Washington DC. Our communities look forward to further Engagement with Senators Smith and Klobuchar!”

“The Congressionally-Directed Funding provided will help to expand critically important healthcare services to the American Indian Community in the Twin Cities metropolitan area – one of the largest and densest populations of urban dwelling American Indians in the nation,” said Dr. Antony Stately, President and Executive Officer of the Native American Community Clinic. “NACC provides comprehensive primary medical, dental and behavioral health services that have never been more increasingly necessary as the community confronts a wave of health concerns, not least among them COVID pandemic and its impact on physical, social and emotional health of our patients and their relatives. On behalf of the NACC staff and board, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Minnesota congressional delegation and to Congress for their generous support!”

“This funding will help address significant facility deficiencies to the Recovery Center, including a new roof, windows, doors, and enhanced security. Ahnji-Be-Mah-Diz, which translates to ‘change your way of life’ in our language, has been an aspiration for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe for many years. The Center provides inpatient treatment on the Leech Lake Reservation for our relatives who struggle with substance use disorders. It provides our loved ones an opportunity to heal at home and gives them with a chance to save their life and create a better one to live,” said Faron Jackson, Sr., Chairman of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. 

“Following our Dakota tradition of planning seven generations ahead, our tribe works to protect and enhance our earth’s natural resources,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Keith Anderson. “Thanks to Sen. Klobuchar, Sen. Smith, and Rep. Craig, this directed spending will help us construct and deploy a state-of-the-art stormwater management technology for our new Organics Recycling Facility. This project will help the greater Twin Cities metro area reach its waste diversion goals while protecting and enhancing the environment for current and future generations.”

The Prairie Island Indian Community would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for the federal funding that your office secured for our Tribal Homes Carbon Reduction and Safety Initiative.  As Dakota people, we strive to be good neighbors and good stewards of the environment and this initiative will support our Net Zero Project work to reduce our carbon footprint, support green energy jobs and business, and combat the negative impacts of climate change. Your continued dedication to serve the needs of Tribal nations and the state of Minnesota is greatly appreciated and the positive impact of this funding will be felt for years to come,” said Johnny Johnson, Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council President. “Wopida Tanka (many thanks) for your hard work and commitment to Tribal nations, the environment and the state of Minnesota.

“We are appreciative for all the work our legislators have done to make this happen. We have been working hard to reacquire land locally to be able to provide space for housing for our members. We have outgrown the bit that was held in trust for us and must do something soon to ensure our citizens are able to reside as a Community,” said Robert Larsen, President of the Lower Sioux Indian Community. 

Senator Smith is a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Both senators have been active in securing this funding for Native American communities across the state through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS). Throughout the CDS process, Smith and Klobuchar have considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across the state. 

Projects are expected to receive funding over the next several months.