U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that two tribal communities in Northern Maine will receive a total of $222,453 to promote economic development through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Of that funding, $122,953 will be awarded to the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, and $99,500 will be awarded to the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians.
"We welcome this funding for Maine's tribal communities, which will help support vital economic development and foster innovative business ventures among the Aroostook Band of Micmacs and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians communities," said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. "By providing new economic opportunities, these investments will benefit the tribal communities as well as Maine's economy."
The funding for the Aroostook Bank of Micmacs will be used to develop a strategic economic and community development plan to consider the best use of the Tribe's 3,000 acres of land and other tribal assets. In addition, the funding will support feasibility analyses and business plans for two potential tribal enterprises: specialty foods and alternative energy production. The funding for the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians will be used to establish a revolving loan fund to support small and emerging independent tribal enterprises and Native entrepreneurs.
The funds were awarded through the USDA's Rural Business Development Grant program, which provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment related adult education programs.