Fort Belknap

The Fort Belknap Reservation is home to two tribes, the Assiniboine, or Nakoda, and the Gros Ventre. Located forty miles south of the Canadian border and north of the Missouri River, there are 6,693 enrolled tribal members, almost half of which live on or near the reservation. The Reservation has been working hard to increase opportunities and build a strong community. Through the Nakoda Aaniiih Economic Development Corporation (NAEDC) the Tribe has seen some great success including developing the Aaniiih Nakoda Tours, opening the Red Paint Creek Trading Post and Pantry, as well as Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop.

On June 13, Lt. Governor Cooney, Jason Smith, Director of Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, Tara Rice, Director of Depart. of Commerce, Kathleen O’Leary, Deputy Commissioner of Dept. of Labor & Industry, and Elisa Fiaschetti, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, met with the community members from the Fort Belknap Reservation to discuss the community’s accomplishments and successes, as well as their challenges and roadblocks.

Rural Partners Highlights

During the Rural Partners visit we discussed priorities, and the challenges and opportunities to reaching these priorities. Priority areas discussed included:

  • Infrastructure
  • Opportunity Zones
  • Workforce
  • Housing
  • Business Development & Local Investments
  • Broadband

As a follow-up to the June visit, Rural Partners has continued to work with the tribe to make appropriate connections, provide resources, and identify potential next steps. In the meeting notes, there are also a number of resources and examples to provide assistance and may be helpful to advance projects.