Minneapolis Fed launches Center for Indian Country Development
The center’s aim is to provide energy and coordination to existing and newly forged partnerships in Indian Country.
Published July 27, 2015 | July 2015 issue
On April 3, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota announced that the bank “will establish a new Center for Indian Country Development … to take the Federal Reserve System’s long-standing work with tribal communities to a new level.”[*] The Center for Indian Country Development (CICD) will build off of the Minneapolis Fed’s 25-year history of working in Indian Country, which is rooted in the Federal Reserve System’s legislative responsibilities to understand and promote economic growth. (For more on this, see the “New center builds on a long tradition” sidebar below.)
The CICD will provide an ongoing home for Indian Country-related experience and knowledge that Minneapolis Fed staff members have acquired. The CICD will also leverage this expertise by operating at a national level through partnerships with tribal organizations, other Reserve Banks, government agencies, nonprofits, financial organizations, and others. As President Kocherlakota stated on April 3, “This reflects our intent that the Center provide energy and coordination to Indian Country development initiatives across the Federal Reserve System and take a lead role in forging Federal Reserve partnerships with other national and regional organizations.”
In keeping with the intent that the CICD work across all of Indian Country and its diverse tribal nations, the CICD’s official mission statement is deliberately broad: To help self-governing communities of American Indians in the United States attain their economic development goals. To help the center prioritize its work within this broad mission, a Leadership Council of recognized regional and national leaders engaged in diverse aspects of Indian Country development will provide direction. (See below for a list of inaugural council members.) The council is a crucial resource meant to ensure that the center’s work is focused, relevant, and based on demonstrated need.
The CICD will be staffed and funded mostly from existing personnel and resources. However, its leadership team of two co-directors will include both current and new staff. Sue Woodrow, who has led many of the Minneapolis Fed’s Indian Country initiatives since the early 2000s, will serve as one of the co-directors, and Patrice Kunesh will fill the other co-director position. Kunesh, who is of Standing Rock Lakota descent and recently served as deputy under secretary of rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has a record of strong accomplishments in Indian Country. According to President Kocherlakota, this team “will give the center continuity as well as new energy and insights.”
A CICD web site is in development and will launch later this summer in place of the Minneapolis Fed’s Indian Country Currents site at minneapolisfed.org/indiancountry. In the interim, interested readers are welcome to direct any questions about the center and its scope to Sue Woodrow at email@example.com.
New center builds on a long tradition
Center for Indian Country Development Leadership Council
“Indian Country” defined
[*] From a speech titled Persistent Poverty on Indian Reservations: New Perspectives and Responses, delivered at the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference in Washington, D.C. For the full text, visit minneapolisfed.org/news-and-events/presidents-speeches.