Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and pueblos in New Mexico. The governor announced the funding during an event at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Santo Domingo Pueblo, Sandia Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Jicarilla […]

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and pueblos in New Mexico.

The governor announced the funding during an event at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

Santo Domingo Pueblo, Sandia Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache Nation and Nambé Pueblo received funding from the law.

“This week, we are very happy… that we’ve been selected to receive funding for one of our broadband projects. These funds will be instrumental as we go forward. With the expansion of both physical and communication infrastructure for our public library” Laguna Pueblo Acting Gov. Gaylord Siow said.

The funds will go towards broadband expansion projects, child development centers and libraries.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when most work and school was virtual, lack of broadband availability in rural areas became apparent to the point where some school districts set up Wi-Fi hotspots at fire station

One of the guests at the event was Senior Advisor to President Joe Biden and American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling.

Related: ‘We’re gonna all be connected.’ Invest in America tour touts rural broadband expansion

Sperling described the history and importance of ARPA and other COVID-19 recovery legislation.

He brought up the Great Recession where recovery was long and hard and the recovery attempts under then-President Barack Obama were not strong enough to bring the U.S. economy back from the brink of disaster.

COVID-19 recovery efforts, therefore, had to be strong and lasting to work.

“So the focus here was having the American Rescue Plan that was powerful enough, not just to get us out of recovery, but to get everyone out,” Sperling said. “The fact that the design here was by design for everybody on board is one we should understand and we should insist on as we deal with future economic challenges.”

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed inequities that previously existed, but were exacerbated by the pandemic, Sperling said.

“Ohkay Owingeh appreciates the opportunity to engage in endeavors and help us maybe even catch up to any issues that we suffer and no convenient for some way library, community center is a place where our people gathered not only to communicate, but to pass on tradition,” Ohkay Owingeh Gov. Larry Phillips, Jr. said.

All of the pueblo and tribal leadership in attendance expressed appreciation for the federal funding they received during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will continue to leverage the funds invested in our tribal communities to support and promote the health, welfare and advancement of all people as well as our culture and landscape,” Siow said.

The funding becomes available to the tribal nations and pueblos once the paperwork is signed, Lujan Grisham said.

Of the $10 million ARPA funding, Santo Domingo Pueblo will receive $6.8 million, Sandia Pueblo will receive $1.3 million, Laguna Pueblo will receive $1.06 million, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo will receive $313,000, Pojoaque Pueblo will receive $276,000, Jicarilla Apache Nation will receive $103,000 and Nambé Pueblo will receive $67,000.

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