A new federal grant program has made up to $50 million available to tribes to support harvesting, processing, and packaging Indigenous meats, like salmon, moose, and caribou in Alaska.
As KDLG’s Izzy Ross reports, tribes across the country can now apply for the funding.
Over the past two years, the federal government has worked with tribes to find ways to help support Indigenous food gathering traditions.
Julia Hnilicka, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development program, says the result of that process was the Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant.
“It was really out of this consultation, especially as we were moving out of the pandemic, and seeing the worries that a lot of tribes have for food security and food sovereignty, that informed this program.”
The grant is part of the USDA’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative, which began in 2021.
The initiative works with organizations that serve tribes to get Indigenous perspectives on how to improve federal food programs.
The grant doesn’t set limits on the amount of money tribes can apply for, but there are a few restrictions: Projects must involve Indigenous animals and meat processing activities and can’t be used to buy land, meat, or animals.
Still, Hnilicka says, the program was designed with tribal governments in mind.
“There is just so much flexibility within this money, it can be something from like a four wheeler to move animals to an entire distribution center. It really, really depends on what the tribe’s needs are.”
Grants are available for tribes across the country, and Hnilicka says there’s a good chance tribal nations in Alaska could tap into a large portion of what’s available.
“I do know that they are really looking for networks that can reach across the nation, but also across tribes, as well. So there is an opportunity with these monies for tribal governments to band together and to submit co-applications.”
The mid-July deadline is in the middle of summer fishing and harvesting, already a busy time in Alaska.
“It’s unfortunate that the window falls during this timeframe from now until July 19. But this could be the only time so I really, really encourage everybody who can apply for this to do so.”
Hnilicka says anyone interested in applying should reach out with questions.
More information on the grant can be found at the USDA’s website.
Killers of the Flower Moon premiered over the weekend at the Cannes Film Festival.
The film is directed by Martin Scorsese, based on a best-selling book about the Osage Nation and oil.
In the 1920s, after oil is found on Osage land, Osage people are killed and the FBI investigates.
The Osage News reports, at the end of the film premier in France, there was a nine-minute standing ovation from the audience for the director and actors, which include Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro.
During a press conference at Cannes, chief of the Osage Nation Geoffrey Standing Bear says the tribe expressed they wanted to make sure they did not lose their voice in the story.
“Early on, I asked Mr. Scorsese how are you going to approach this story and he said I’m going to tell a story about trust, trust between Molly and Earnest, trust between the outside word and Osage, and a betrayal of those trusts, deep betrayal. My people suffered greatly and to this day those effects are with us, but I can say on behalf of the Osage, Martin Scorsese, and his team have restored trust.”
Chief Standing Bear says Osage people were extras in the film and were behind the camera, they also made costumes, music, and the Osage language is featured in the film.
Killers of the Flower Moon is scheduled to be released in theaters in October.
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