Indigenous climate initiatives get $20m from US administration

Feb 16, 2024


The latest initiative by the Biden-Harris Administration, part of the Investing in America agenda, involves a $20 million investment to support Indigenous communities in their climate and environmental stewardship efforts.  

This funding, provided through the Inflation Reduction Act, is administered by the USDA Forest Service in the form of competitive grants, targeting federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations and villages. 

The move, announced by Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small, focuses on enabling these communities to tap into private markets for forest resilience, climate mitigation, and more, drawing on Indigenous Knowledge and practices for land management. This initiative is a key component of the administration's commitment to creating economic opportunities while advancing a clean energy economy across the nation. 

The USDA Forest Service's engagement with Tribes has seen a significant increase, with over 120 co-stewardship agreements in fiscal year 2023, marking a substantial rise from the previous year. These agreements, alongside policy adjustments to include Indigenous Knowledge, underscore the USDA's dedication to advancing co-stewardship and supporting Tribal access to federal programs. 

This funding announcement also plays a crucial role in advancing environmental justice and supporting the Justice40 Initiative, ensuring that a significant portion of federal climate and clean energy investment benefits reach disadvantaged communities, including Tribal ones. 

Interested parties have until August 21, 2024, to submit their proposals for a slice of this funding, which aims to support a range of activities from forest management planning to biodiversity conservation, all designed to facilitate participation in markets geared towards climate mitigation and forest resilience. 

This initiative represents a significant step forward in the USDA's commitment to honoring its trust responsibilities with Tribal nations, promoting self-determination, and acknowledging the critical role of Indigenous Knowledge in managing natural resources and addressing the climate crisis.

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