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USDA Invests $8.2 Million In Grants To Tribal Montana Communities

The City of Wolf Point and the Fort Peck Community College will both benefit from a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program designed to help improve infrastructure, housing and educational opportunities.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in Montana state director Kathleen Williams recently announced more than $8.2 million in grant awards to nine underserved and tribal communities in Montana.

“Everyone deserves access to education, housing, and reliable water infrastructure, no matter where they live, their age or ability, or their income,” said Williams. “Today’s investments underscore USDA’s commitment to our rural and tribal neighbors in Montana fostering opportunity by helping provide life’s basic necessities to grow and thrive.”

The grant awards in Montana were part of a broader $81 million USDA investment in 208 projects across 42 states and two U.S. territories — Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands/Micronesia. Montana’s investments came by way of USDA Rural Development 306C Water and Waste Grants — Native American, Housing Preservation Grant, and Tribal College Initiative Grant programs.

Recipients in Big Sky Country include: The City of Wolf Point received a $4.7 million 306C Water and Waste Grant — Native American, to replace wastewater collection lines and update its lift station, eliminating health and sanitary issues with the current system. When completed, this project will improve living conditions for more than 1,200 residents in its service area — both tribal and non-tribal.

Fort Peck Community College received a $352,000 Tribal College Initiative Grant to purchase two modular homes at its Wolf Point campus. Because of a shortage of housing in the area, these units will be used to recruit and retain faculty for the college. Its internal construction crew will prepare the site, build the foundation and provide landscaping for these homes, helping with cost savings and benefiting the more than 500 students, faculty and staff members at the college.

Homeward, Inc. of Missoula received a $350,000 Housing Preservation Grant to make infrastructure improvements at the Hearthstone Apartments in Anaconda. These apartments, home to more than 70 residents who are elderly and/or have a disability, serve Anaconda and all of Deer Lodge County in southwestern Montana.

Aaniiih Nakoda College on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Harlem received a $352,000 Tribal College Initiative Grant to purchase a used pickup truck for the physical plant, a snowplow attachment, a utility vehicle to assist outdoor studies, a zero-turn mower, a multi-disciplinary star lab set up for scientific study, a plasma table and tools for the industrial trades, a medical dosing machine and a large format printer. This investment will increase efficiency of operations at the college and improve the educational experience for more than 200 enrolled students.

Blackfeet Community College on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning received $700,017 through two Tribal College Initiative Grants to purchase landscaping, farming and classroom equipment that supports educational programs and improves year-round campus maintenance operations. Chartered in 1974, the college hosts academic programs and culturally oriented educational opportunities for 350 Native American students annually. Chief Dull Knife College on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Lame Deer received a $352,000 Tribal College Initiative Grant to purchase four 12-passenger vans and a commercial grade paper shredder. The vans will provide transportation for students and staff in the nearby area the shredder will facilitate more efficient document management for the administration.

Little Big Horn College on the Crow Indian Reservation in Crow Agency received a $352,000 Tribal College Initiative Grant to enhance its agricultural curriculum by facilitating research that explores best practices for raising livestock, plant breeding, analyzing agricultural value changes, examining interaction among soil health, agricultural productivity and water quality. This project will enhance the academic experience for students and research opportunities for faculty.

Salish-Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Pablo received a $700,017 through two Tribal College Initiative Grants to prepare and pave a parking lot adjacent to a dormitory housing project and purchase equipment for student transportation and grounds maintenance.

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