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USDA to Hold Tribal Collaboration Meeting in Fairbanks

10 Federal Agencies to Bring Information on Rural Programs and Services

   ANCHORAGE, Alaska, July 25, 2013 – USDA-Rural Development (RD) Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today announced the next in a series of Tribal Collaboration Meetings will take place 9 a.m. on Friday, August 9th at the Westmark Hotel at 813 Noble Street in Fairbanks.  Leadership from several federal agencies will meet with elected leaders from Alaska Tribal governments in the Interior.  The meetings are in response to a memorandum signed by President Obama directing federal agencies to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials.   

   The USDA-led meetings entail face-to-face collaborations with tribal leaders to share information on federal programs and services for rural Alaska, and discuss relevant topics for their communities.  The meetings will be held in designated local communities throughout the various regions of Alaska.  

   Previous meetings have been held in Bethel, Nome, Ketchikan, Tazlina, Juneau and Kodiak.  Additional meetings are being planned and will be posted with other on-going information about this project at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/AKTribalBlog.html

   "Collaboration with Alaska’s 229 federally recognized tribes in their local areas is a considerable undertaking, but we feel this is the best way to understand the needs of Native communities.  It presents an opportunity to seek their advice and provide answers to their questions on federal programs and services," said Nordlund.  "It’s our hope to strengthen the government-to-government relationship between tribal leaders and the federal government; provide an overview, by topic, of certain federal programs that have an effect on tribes; and engage in constructive dialogue, respond to questions and solicit ideas regarding federal programs," added Nordlund.

      The consultation discussions will be focused on five topics:

·         Food production, availability and nutrition

·         Rural housing

·         Land management programs of Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service

·         Rural utilities (electric, telecom, solid waste, sewer and water)

·         Rural economic and community development

   Five USDA agencies will participate in the meetings, including Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Forest Service, and Food and Nutrition Service. 

   Additionally, five other federal agencies with similar programs will be represented, including: Department of Housing and Urban Development, Small Business Administration, Economic Development Administration, Department of Energy and the Denali Commission. 

   The Intertribal Agriculture Council is providing logistical support in coordinating the meetings.

   For more information, please contact Tiffany Zulkosky at USDA-RD (907) 543-3858, or tiffany.zulkosky@ak.usda.gov.

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