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In opening remarks at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a series of actions to support tribally led conservation, education and economic development through a new Office of Strategic Partnerships at the Department of Interior (DOI). The new office will assist in building partnerships, leveraging resources and promoting innovative solutions for Indian Country.
As a first step, the DOI executed four memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements with: American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) supporting entrepreneurship; Enterprise Community Partners supporting affordable housing; Native CDFI Network and Oweesta Corporation to increase access to financial resources and leveraging; Trust for Public Land to create culturally informed outdoor educational spaces infused with native languages and culture.
In addition to my role as the elected chair of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA), I also serve as vice chair of Oweesta Corporation, a national Native intermediary serving American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiians, and it was in this capacity that I attended the Washington, D.C., signing ceremony
Also present was Pete Upton, executive director of the Native CDFI Network (NCN), a coalition of Native Community Development Financial Institutions located in 27 states. Oweesta and NCN will work together through the DOI Office of Strategic Partnerships, to address access to financial resources and leverage opportunities for native peoples across the country.
“Today, [just] four cents on every $100 issued by philanthropic organizations make it to our tribal communities,” Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Brian Newland said. “Our Office of Strategic Partnerships aims to change that.”