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Seminole Tribe granted ‘opportunity zone’ funds

The Seminole Tribe has been awarded funds to study the viability of an economic development project in Hendry County just outside the Brighton Reservation.

The Indian Affairs’ Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) recently announced more than $760,000 had been set aside for 14 federally recognized tribes (and tribal entities) to start new businesses and commercial projects in designated “opportunity zones.”

The Seminole Tribe’s share of the funds is $52,000. Details of the project have not yet been disclosed.

Opportunity zones are located in “economically distressed” areas where new investments, under certain conditions, become eligible for preferential tax treatment. The Brighton and Immokalee reservation areas are included in two of Florida’s opportunity zone tracts.

The funds, distributed through Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) grants, are set up either as a partnership or corporation for investing in eligible property or businesses located in the zone.

“Since their inception in 2007, NABDI feasibility studies have created blueprints for business projects in Indian Country and Alaska,” outgoing Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Tara Sweeney, said in a statement. “This year, we broadened their value for tribes by focusing on attracting
private investment.”

Sweeney said proposals were evaluated on their potential to create jobs and
stimulate economic activity within a Native community, among other measures. The following is a full list of grantees with corresponding funding amounts.

• Angoon Community Association (Alaska): $37,600
• Aroostook Band of Micmacs (Maine): $26,400
• Chippewa Cree Tribe (Montana): $35,000
• Delaware Nation (Oklahoma): $42,000
• Nez Perce Tribe (Idaho): $75,000
• Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation (Utah): $75,000
• Oglala Sioux Tribe (South Dakota): $59,250
• Passamaquoddy Tribe (Maine): $43,696
• Pueblo of Laguna (New Mexico): $41,000
• Rosebud Sioux Tribe (South Dakota): $75,000
• Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Michigan): $70,000
• Seminole Tribe of Florida: $52,000
• Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (North Dakota): $58,100
• White Mountain Apache Tribe (Arizona): $72,300

More information on opportunity zones can be found at bia.gov.

South Florida “opportunity zones” are shown in green shading. Areas in and around the Brighton and Immokalee reservations are included. (Image via bia.gov)
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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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