Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
The Turtle Mountain Reservation is home to more than 15,000 Chippewa Indians who, in spite of strong cultural assets and educational resources, suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment, poor housing conditions, and serious health problems. The Reservation is located in a remote area of North Dakota, far from major population centers, so the Band has had limited opportunities to take advantage of gaming and other strategies that Tribes in other areas have used to develop their economies. In 2005, the Cedar River Group was chosen to help the Turtle Mountain Band create a poverty reduction strategy to address these challenges.
Working closely with the Tribal government and other community leaders, our team helped the group identify their own list of good ideas for reducing poverty, then wove those ideas into a coherent plan for community development. Called Pathways to Prosperity, the 10-year plan includes both immediate measures, such as campaigns to increase participation in the Earned Income and Child Care Tax Credit Programs, and longer range strategies, such as a major housing initiative and the creation of a Tribal power utility to develop the Reservation’s wind and geothermal resources.
In January 2006, the Tribal government chartered a new community development organization to implement the Pathways Plan. Within just one month, the Northwest Area Foundation announced a 10-year, $10 million grant to the Turtle Mountain Band to make the plan a success.