WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced $717,000 in grants to support business development and job creation in the Navajo Nation of Window Rock, Ariz., the Campo Band of Mission Indians of Campo, Calif., and Little Big Horn College of Crow Agency, Montana.

“Native Americans have been among the hardest hit by these tough economic times,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John R. Fernandez.  “These EDA grants will help alleviate hardships such as the closing of Reservation coal mines and create living-wage job opportunities to serve the local community.”

These grants include:

•  $450,000 to the Navajo Nation of Window Rock, Ariz., to help design a 30,000 square foot Ganado Shopping Center.  The Shopping Center will be home to a supermarket and several retail shops, advancing local business development and job creation.

Tony Perry, The Navajo Nation’s Director of Project Development for Economic Development, said “The EDA grant to design the Ganado Shopping Center is the critical plan needed to provide jobs and basic services in this under-served community.  Future development allows The Nation to capture sales leakage to nearby border towns and offer opportunities to entrepreneurs in creating long-term economic stability.”

•  $200,000 to the Campo Band of Mission Indians of Campo, Calif., to fund a local economic development strategy and development plan for an existing renewable energy zone on the Campo Reservation.  As part of the project, the applicant will procure a Tribal Energy Resource Agreement (TERA) with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“The wind project and the CREZ (Campo Renewable Energy Zone) will attract new commercial activities related to renewable energy development and operations and spur economic growth on the Reservation,” said Monique La Chappa, Tribal Chairwoman, Campo Band of Mission Indians.

• $67,000 to the Little Big Horn College of Crow Agency, Montana, to conduct a cost study, preliminary architectural report, and environmental assessment of the LEED-certified Education and Technology Training Center (ETTC) to serve Crow Tribal members.

“The ETTC will provide a direct pathway to training and skill advancement that will result in direct employment with energy projects such as the Absaloka mine north of the Crow Reservation and in the research and development of 100% synthetic jet fuels produced from the future Manystars/Crow Tribal Coal To Liquid Plant,” said Dr. David Yarlott, Jr., President of Little Big Horn College.

The White House partners with Native Americans to build sustainable and healthy native communities. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act continues to impact the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including through important projects to improve, rebuild, and renovate schools.  In 2009, the White House announced a consultation process to improve communication and coordination between the Federal Government and tribal governments.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov):
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.