U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Celebrate Selection of Minnesota Tribe for Innovative, Culturally Responsive Social Services Pilot Program

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-Minn.) celebrated news that the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was selected for the Tiwahe Program Social Services Demonstration Project, an innovative program that allows participating Tribal Nations to integrate certain services for their members and incorporate culturally-appropriate components. Tiwahe, which means “family” in the Lakota language, focuses on job placement and training, social services, housing, wellness, and various courts to give Tribal Nations the ability to make these programs work best for their communities.

“The Tiwahe Program gives Tribes the flexibility to design family and social services programs that fit the specific needs of their communities,” said Klobuchar. “The Leech Lake Band’s inclusion in the Tiwahe program and White Earth Band’s new grant will help improve the delivery of services for children and families while ensuring Chippewa traditions and values are incorporated into the programs.”

“This program means Tribes will have the freedom to govern and deliver social services to their members in the way that works best for them,” said Smith, member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “The Tiwahe program is a crucial part of fulfilling our trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations and Native communities. I am proud of support the Tiwahe program and the work of Tribal Nations in Minnesota.”

Senator Smith wrote to the United States Department of Interior supporting Leech Lake Band’s application.  Leech Lake Band’s Tiwahe project will work to improve economic security, cultural connections, natural resource stewardship, healthy lifestyles, and other key needs among Tribal members.

Red Lake Nation has participated in the program since December 2020. White Earth Band of Chippewa will also receive funding to implement similar programs or to participate in a Tiwahe incubator that prepares them to join the program when additional funding is made available by Congress.

Tiwahe (ti-wah-hay) means “family” in the Lakota language. President Biden’s budget for Fiscal Year 2024 requested an increase of $33.5 million for the Tiwahe Program to provide additional resources for Native families and communities, which both Senators support.