$1 million in grants awarded to WI tribes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

$1 million in grants awarded to WI tribes


 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MOLE LAKE (WAOW) -- A Northwoods group adds a million dollars to their budget, thanks to grants intended to boost their economies and foster growth.

The Northwoods NiiJii community group is made up of the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa, Sokaogon Chippewa, and Menominee Indian Tribes. Their community works to move forward to keep its people innovative and creative, and to alleviate poverty.

"It's all creating a circle of economics that we've never had before," said Sokaogon Chippewa Member, Fred Ackley.

"We see progress being made every year that the Northwoods NiiJii Enterprise functions," said Lew Boyd, who is the vice president of the group.

The group started their strategic plan in 1998 and has continued to build on that foundation ever since.

"This NiiJii program has worked hard over the years to really begin to rebuild the economic community in the Native American community in the surrounding areas," said USDA State Director for Rural Development, Stan Gruszynski.

Money from federal and local organizations, each to the tune of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, gets added to the NiiJii pot. 

"We think this is a good investment in federal dollars and we're looking forward to good things coming out of it," said Gruszynski.

Projects the group has already completed dot the area around Mole Lake. Group leaders said their creator helps those who help themselves.

"We, as adults, have to bring about justice for ourselves on our own," said Boyd.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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