White House Council on Native American Affairs To Increase Access to Capital Across Indian Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In opening remarks at the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that the White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) is taking critical steps to improve access to capital across Indian Country, including through the launch of an online clearinghouse that will serve as a searchable repository for an up-to-date list of all federal funding opportunities, including grants and loans, available to tribal nations and Native businesses. The Biden-Harris administration has made historic amounts of funding available to tribal nations through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda. 

The WHCNAA and the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs created a central database that will ensure that tribes are able to easily navigate and access the financial opportunities provided across the federal government. The version of the website being unveiled has over 500 federal funding programs and will serve as an initial version, with the goal of soliciting feedback to continually improve user experience. To ensure the effectiveness of this resource, agencies are directed to continually update and maintain this database – or an equivalent resource – as part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Reforming Federal Funding and Support for Tribal Nations to Better Embrace Our Trust Responsibilities and Promote the Next Era of Tribal Self Determination. 

“Indigenous communities have long faced barriers to gaining access to federal resources,” said Secretary Haaland, who serves as co-chair of the WHCNAA. “Through the White House Council on Native American Affairs, we want to make sure that we’re not just delivering more resources for Indian Country, but that they are getting to Indian Country. The administration’s Access to Capital Initiative is playing an important role in ensuring funding opportunities are available to tribes to help revitalize Indigenous communities.”  

The Council is also announcing a new draft Request for Information (RFI) as part of the Access to Capital Initiative that is aimed at assessing the current status of tribal nation’s funding needs, barriers to obtaining federal and non-federal funds, and priority areas of need. The WHCNAA will hold tribal consultations and listening sessions starting in January 2024 to hear from tribal leaders and experts on the RFI. Once completed, this data call will help the WHCNAA gauge the awareness, accessibility and utilization of federal sources of funding by tribal nations for areas of housing, education, healthcare, social services, food and agriculture, justice, economic development, and infrastructure. 

Increasing access to capital across Indian Country has been a central focus of the Biden-Harris administration. The above announcements are part of the WHCNAA’s “Access to Capital Initiative,” announced at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit, with the goal of increasing awareness, access, and utilization of financing opportunities for tribal nations.