In their ongoing efforts at developing the tribe’s commercial and mineral resources, the CPN Office of Self-Governance and the Office of Economic Development secured federal grants for the upcoming fiscal year. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Transit Program will also continue its mission of providing transportation for the local community through the use of federal grant funds.
The Office of Economic Development secured more than $300,000 in funding for the third and final year of its Comprehensive Water Resource Plan. The plan is funded by the Environmental Regulatory Enhancement program administered by the Administration for Native Americans (under the Department of Heal and Human Services).
The previous two years have seen test wells dug along the water flows, both above and below ground, that traverse the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Currently, 10 early warning well sites are present along the North Canadian River and Little River, which transport water from the Oklahoma City Metro area.
“The testing phase of the water study is complete. This final year will mainly be the U.S. Geological Service build a study. We see that as a ‘what if?’ model,” explained Dr. Jim Collard, Director of Economic Development. “It will help us determine what our water resources are for expanded use, especially in the case of bringing in new businesses that may require large amounts of water at sites like Iron Horse Industrial Park.”
The tribe’s potential for mineral development, specifically for cement use, will also be studied. The $50,000 Mineral Development Grant and Cooperative Agreement provides funding for a feasibility study that will assess deposits of sand and gravel on tribal land. It will be administered by the by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Indian Energy & Economic Development, Division of Energy & Mineral Development.
The ultimate goal would be to develop these deposits for the commercial benefit of the tribe by cutting costs in the tribe’s numerous construction and maintenance projects.
“The Citizen Potawatomi Nation has natural resources on its trust land,” said Assistant Director of Economic Development Kelley Francen. “As we continue on our path towards economic self-sufficiency, this grant will help us to understand the quantity and quality of the mineral deposits, specifically sand and gravel on the tribal trust land.”
CPN has 900 square miles of land, either held in trust or owned by the tribe, and the development of natural resources on this property may help offset costs and boost profits for tribal enterprises.
The Tribal Transit program was also awarded a $406,000 grant from the Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration. The federal grant will fund the CPN Transportation Department, which is a stand out program in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. It is the first year the program will be administered under the new MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) legislation.
Vice Chairman Linda Capps commented on the impact the Transportation Department has on the communities surrounding the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
“Our Nation provides the only transportation services in the area that are free of charge to the public. I am proud that our Nation can play a part in helping to alleviate some of the stress for those who do not have their own transportation, and this grant will allow us to continue to serve our local community.”