Thanks for the funding suggestions. The microloans may be very useful once people are relocated and starting new, green businesses. We are in an ethical dilemma in not wanting to raise expectations until we have something concrete to offer them. We have negotiated a deal with Marshall Islanders who have migrated to Springdale AK and will be working with the carpenter's union to build low-cost, culturally appropriate housing and create jobs in the construction industry but this model will not work with the Native American communities.
We can not do much more until we have funding to move ahead with specific communities. The process for the Choctaw and Quinault was much the same. Both communities spent a lot of time thinking about which aspets of their cuture were essential to them in terms of income generation, housing/community design, and how to preserve their language and customs. Both groups place a lot of emphasis on bringing the younger people into the process. The Choctaw have revived many of their handicrafts and traditional songs as part of the process. USDA has agreed in principle to work with us as they have a number of programs for innovative ag projects but we would have to write a proposal and many of the programs are for loans which the communities are not in a position to undertake right now. We need a partner that is committed to the future of Native American and Indigenous people and who is willing to fund the next phase of the relocation which is to make specific plans. BRACE is concerned that their plans to create new communities may be too expensive so we want to work with them on building in towns that already have infrastructure (sewers, roads, schools) in place. We have engaged the communities as much as we can without raising their expectations until we have something specific to offer them. I appreciate your thoughtful questions. Any suggestions about funding?