Aiding the Government's Native Financial Literacy

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Indian Country Today (New York)
By: Rob Capriccioso
March 31, 2010

Mar. 31--WASHINGTON -- The First Nations Oweesta Corporation, a national Native American community development organization, has completed a round of Capitol Hill advocacy, getting policy makers up to speed on a range of Indian country economic issues.
As part of the outreach, Tanya Fiddler, the corporation's vice president of programs and operations, provided testimony March 9 to the House Committee on Financial Services at a hearing entitled, "Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs): Their Unique Role and Challenges Serving Lower-Income, Underserved and Minority Communities."

There, Fiddler offered perspective on the role Native CDFIs have in transforming not only their local economies, but also how they play a key role in the nation's overall economic recovery efforts.

She explained that Native CDFIs have enabled Native Americans to build stronger, more self-sufficient communities and nations by creating entrepreneurs and businesses, increasing homeownership, and empowering community members to reach their financial goals.

She also said Native CDFIs provide locally-based access to capital and the necessary capacity building services to bring permanent and positive change to Native economies.

Fiddler urged Congress to continue its support of the CDFI Fund, a major funding and training source for these specialized community-based financial institutions.

"It was an honor to provide testimony at this hearing addressing a very important topic, not only for Native communities but many underserved communities throughout the country," Fiddler said after testifying.

"It was evident from listening to the panel of witnesses that CDFIs are in a unique position to bring opportunity to these underserved communities and transform lives."

Fiddler has hope that the Obama administration will make progress in resolving long-standing Native issues in this arena.

Leaders with Oweesta, which has nearly a decade of experience in establishing Native financial education programs across the nation, also took part in a financial capability discussion hosted by the Obama administration at the White House March 11.

"It was refreshing to see the administration focusing on financial education," said Vickie Oldman-John, the organization's director of financial education and asset building.

"I am pleased that Oweesta and the administration's efforts on this front are in alignment, and I look forward to a dynamic working relationship as we work towards a common goal."

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This page contains a single entry by Ernest Roberts published on April 1, 2010 3:18 PM.

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