NAAFTF Announces Eligibility for $38 Million Keepseagle Grants Distribution

Published on May 17, 2016

Native American Agricultural Fast Track Fund (NAAFTF) Announces Eligibility for $38 Million Keepseagle Grants Distribution

WASHINGTON DC, May 17, 2016 | Today, the class counsel in the Keepseagle v. Vilsack case announced a one-time distribution of $38 million from the remaining settlement funds through the Native American Agricultural Fast Track Fund (NAAFTF).

This will be the first distribution of $380 million left in the Keepseagle cy pres fund for the benefit of Native American farming and ranching.

“Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new era in Indian agriculture,” said Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians. “The initial $38 million from the remaining Keepseagle settlement fund will go a long way to furthering the reach and capacity of organizations which have always supported our Native farmers and ranchers. By increasing our ability to feed ourselves, we can strengthen our sovereignty.”

The fast-track registration opens May 25, 2016, and closes applications June 24, 2016. According to a press release by Echo Hawk Consulting today, the awards from NAAFTF are to be made on a competitive basis. Echo Hawk Consulting will be managing this process under the supervision of class counsel.

The NAAFTF awards eligibility criteria:
Interested organizations must provide documentation of agricultural, business, technical or advocacy services to Native American farmers or ranchers between January 1, 1981, and November 1, 2010;
The organizations must be based in the United States, and meet one of the following criteria:
o 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization;
o 7871 designation as a non-profit organization chartered under the tribal law of a state or federally recognized tribe;
o An educational institution described in 170(b)(1)(A)(ii); OR
o An instrumentality of a state or federally recognized tribe, designated under 7701(a)(40).

The NAAFTF awards process:
Step 1: One-month period for letters of intent (5/25/2016-06/24/2016)
o May 25 at 12:00 p.m. MDT – Letter of Intent registration, application materials, process details, and timeline is available at
o Friday, June 24, 2016, by 5:00 p.m. MDT – Letter of Intent application closes.
o Technical assistance for the application process will be available by dedicated phone and email.
Step 2: After the one-month period closes, an Advisory Committee will issue an invitation to eligible candidates on July 28, 2016 to submit complete proposals. The Advisory Committee includes six experts in the areas of Native American farming, ranching, and philanthropy.
Step 3: All awards are subject to court approval. Advised by the Advisory Committee, the class counsel will make recommendations to the Court on awards.
NAAFTF letter of intent application must include:
Description of interested organization;
Demonstrate eligibility through the criteria described above;
Explanation of purpose for seeking NAAFTF funds;
Interested organization’s total annual operating budget, and total project costs (if applicable);
Total requested amount of funds; and
Proposed use of award funds to provide assistance to Native American farming or ranching activities. Lobbying, political activities, and/or litigation is NOT eligible for funding.

The size of awards will vary depending on the interested organization’s focus and scope. NAAFTF will also consider applications from intermediary organizations having existing, relevant grant programs which can be expanded through awards.

Questions about NAAFTF? Contact Crystal Echo Hawk at Echo Hawk Consulting via email ( or phone (720.891.9118).

On April 20, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a modification to the Keepseagle settlement agreement, which included a process for the distribution of funds to cy pres beneficiaries. The modification to the settlement also provides for additional damage awards to be paid to prevailing claimants. The remaining funds, approximately $265 million, will go to a Trust that will distribute funds at the direction of an independent board of trustees for up to 20 years. NAAFTF is separate from the Trust, and is designed to ensure that a substantial portion of the remaining funds are distributed to qualifying organizations more quickly than the Trust will be able to award grants.

NAAFTF was created to make awards to such organizations already involved in supporting Native American ranchers and farmers before the original Keepseagle settlement was agreed to in 2010.
The Court's order is open to appeal through June 20, 2016.  If an appeal is filed, the grant process will be suspended until a decision on the appeal is rendered.

About The National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit
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