Pine Ridge Reservation among latest named as 'Promise Zone'

The Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation will serve as the lead agency for the Promise Zone program. Photo from Twitter

The Obama administration has named the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota as a Promise Zone.

The designation will help the Oglala Sioux Tribe and other entities address economic conditions on the reservation. According to today's announcement from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture, nearly half of the 35,000 people at Pine Ridge live in poverty and nearly 22 percent don't have jobs.

“The tribe sees [Promise Zones] as a model for building other energy efficient planned developments across the reservation as a way to alleviate the housing crisis, create jobs and move our community forward, and we are looking forward to seeing our community build its capacity to take on this challenge," former president Bryan Brewer said in materials distributed today.

The Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation will serve as the lead agency for the reservation. The non-profit is overseeing a project to invest $15 million to boost economic development opportunities.

"Thunder Valley CDC is honored and humbled to coordinate the Promise Zone Initiative on Pine Ridge in collaboration with the Oglala Sioux Tribe for the benefit of the Oglala Lakota People," Nick Tilsen, the organization's executive director, said in a press release. "We strongly believe that we can overcome obstacles and challenges to create pathway's to prosperity that will benefit our nation."

Last year, the Choctaw Nation was chosen as one of the first five participants in the Promise Zone program. Eight more were announced today -- Pine Ridge and Choctaw are the only Indian County representatives so far.

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota was a finalist but was not chosen for the program with the latest announcement.

Get the Story:
Feds Designate Pine Ridge Indian Reservation As Promise Zone (AP 4/28)

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