Welcome to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' CSKT Economics website. The following is information that will hopefully provide some 


During this COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses and individuals are suffering on the Reservation. The following is information gathered by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Economic Development Office (CSKT EDO) that could assist these businesses and individuals.

*    State Grants -- New announcement from the Montana Department of Commerce and Governor Bullock:

"The State of Montana is making emergency financial relief available from the federal government to those who have been hardest-hit by impacts of COVID-19 through a single application portal....

"Small businesses, nonprofits, [individuals], cooperatives and food and ag businesses can apply through a single application portal by clicking on the “APPLY HERE” button on the homepage. Visit COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV to submit your application for the following programs:

"Montana Business Stabilization Program
The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for small businesses to support payroll, rent, accounts payable, debt service and expenses related to shifts in operations in order to retain existing businesses, retain current employees or retain business viability for future re-employment. Eligible small business must be Montana-owned, employ 50 or less, have sustained a loss of revenue since Feb. 15 due to COVID 19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. Total funding available is $50 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000." 
For Indian Country, only 70 applications were received as of May 12 for this program and up to 500 grants can be awarded for Native-owned businesses. Some things to keep in mind for applications:

  • Only 1 application per individual or business will be considered: It was not made clear in the application, but if an individual has two businesses, they can only apply for one business.
  • Tribal Identification: Applicants need to upload a tribal ID or some documentation verifying they are eligible for the Native American business portion of funding. Tribal enterprises are eligible.
  • 2019 Gross Revenue Must Be ≥ Grant Request: The state has been getting applications where the revenue for 2019 may be $1,000 but the request is for $9,000.  If eligible, that business would only be awarded $1,000.
  • Business Registration: If businesses are not registered with the Secretary of State’s Office, a tribal business license, tribal business registration, TERO or Indian Preference paperwork helps to verify the business.
  • Taxes: Many businesses are sole proprietorships that claim their business income/loss on their personal taxes on their Schedule C.  Please upload the complete tax record. This is used to verify that the business is associated with the individual.
  • Eligible Expenses: Working capital and operating costs are eligible expenses including loan payments, inventory, business rent, utilities, insurance, and wages.  Taxes are not eligible.  If a businesses is home-based, only a portion of the total rent/mortgage should be expensed for the business.  Expansions and remodeling are not eligible (unless the remodel is to enact social distancing protocols or install safety equipment).


"Montana Innovation Grant Program
The Montana Innovation Grant program is intended to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or services developed in response to COVID-19. Projects should demonstrate significant impact in improving public health, safety, and economic impact. Eligible companies include non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees that have created an innovative product or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency. Applicants must have primary operations based in Montana, be in good standing with the Montana Secretary of State and must not be debarred from receiving federal or state funds. Total funding available is $5 million with a maximum award amount of $25,000.

"Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program
Grants are available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID 19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Grants are intended to create additional economic activity and bolster food security. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste. The need for such innovations must be driven by the COVID 19 pandemic. Total funding available is $500,000, with a maximum application amount of $10,000.

"Social Services Nonprofit Grants
Grants of up to $10,000 per applicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofits that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. This includes senior services, housing services, transportation, public safety, energy assistance, economic development, job training, recreational services and tourism-related activities. Current funding available is $10 million.

"Emergency Housing Assistance Program will provide rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19. Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continuable inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible. Total funding available is $50 million. 

"Stay Connected Grants ranging from $500-$2,000 per applicant are available to reduce social isolation among Montana’s seniors. Eligible applicants include area agencies on aging, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and tribal elder services. Grant funds can be used to fund technologies and other efforts to encourage physically distant forms of social interaction for elderly Montanans during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Current funding available is $400,000."

 ·       Federal Grants and Loans – The Small Business Administration has resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications from approved lenders on behalf of eligible borrowers. This loan could have the potential to be similar to a grant whereby repayment could be forgiven “if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities,” according to the Paycheck Protection Program screen on the SBA web page at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp. Contact your local bank to see if they can assist with one of these loans. On May 6, Brent Donnelly, the Montana District Director of the SBA, reported that "SBA headquarters reports there is approximately $140 Billion in funds remaining for PPP. If any businesses still want to apply, funding currently remains available.

Mr. Donnelly also provided the following updates on the PPP loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL):

 "EIDL for agri-business: New applications for agri-businesses will be the only new applications accepted. The website is supposed to specifically note that fact.... [If non-agri-businesses] do apply, they will get a note from ODA saying they are not eligible because it is for agri business only. 

  1. "EIDL for applicants who need to re-apply: Also, even though the website will say it is for agri business only, ODA has informed Mr. Donnelly that if someone who has a 200 series EIDL loan number (meaning that they were in the initial group and need to reapply)  they WILL be able to re-apply and have their new loan number tied to their original loan number so they don't lose their place in line....
  2. "PPP FAQ’s: Answers to some new questions were posted at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf
    1. Employees who decline to return to work
    2. Seasonal employer certifications
    3. Hospitals
  3. "EIDL Status request response:  We are continuing to receive a number of inquiries on the status of EIDL applications at the District Office.  While we do not have access to individual EIDL application information at the District Office, I was provided the [following] response that the Office of Disaster Assistance is currently providing to applicants for everyone’s information:"

Mr. Donnelly,


This is in response to your inquiry to the U.S. Small Business Administration. 


When each applicant submitted their Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application on or after the evening of March 29, they received a 10-digit application number that begins with the number 3. This documents the status that their application is in processing. This is the only status information available regarding their application until either a deposit for their EIDL Advance is made or they receive an email invitation for their EIDL loan as explained below.

Generally, the deposit will occur first without prior notification. 


Following the passage of the CARES Act, on the evening of March 29, SBA opened an online COVID-19 streamlined application process. This provided small business owners and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 with the opportunity to request an EIDL Advance based on $1,000 per pre-disaster (i.e., as of January 31, 2020) employee up to a maximum of $10,000 on their Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application. We are working to process and distribute the Advance as quickly as possible and transfer it directly into the account the applicant provided when they submitted their application. Due to the unprecedented volume of applications we have received we appreciate everyone’s patience. 


The status of a specific application will be available to the applicant when processing of their EIDL is near completion. SBA will provide an email notification inviting the applicant to set up an account electronically. This account will enable applicants to check the status of their application, loan decision, loan amount, sign loan closing documents, schedule disbursement, etc. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience while their applications are being processed.... 


If you have further questions, please visit sba.gov or contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'"

·       “How We Can Help Surveys” – Other federal, state and local agencies and private foundations are asking how they can help small businesses. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), for example, recently sent the EDO a survey for farmers and ranchers to fill out with ideas for how the USDA can help them during and after the pandemic. If a business, including farmers and ranchers, provides an e-mail address to CSKT’s Planning Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., she will forward the survey to them to fill out online to make their concerns known directly to the agency.

·      Free Webinars and Online Training Opportunities – Free webinars are available on the SBA YouTube page at www.youtube.com/sba, as well as at https://sbdc.mt.gov/classroom where one can find great webinars for disaster planning and dealing with the COVID-19 situation. 

The CSKT Economic Development Office is working with consultants to provide additional, free online training. The Office would also like to host an online meeting with Tribal business owners. Notices will be sent via e-mail, and posted on the CSKT Workforce Enhancement Facebook page, the CSKT Economics website at www.cskteconomics.org, and in the Char-Koosta News. Stay tuned for these notices.  

 ·    Other Resources for Businesses and Employees – The Montana Department of Labor is posting frequently asked questions and resources for businesses and employees at its webpage dedicated to providing COVID-19-related information at http://dli.mt.gov/employer-covid-19.

New information for business owners is sent to the CSKT’s EDO on a regular basis. If a Tribal member owned business is interested in this information, provide an e-mail address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Mrs. Camel will forward this information. She can also be reached at 675-2700, extension 1256.

Businesses may also contact Velda Shelby, the new Economic Development Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., extension 1163; or Dacia Whitworth, the EDO/Vibrant Tribal Economies Assistant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., extension 1091. EDO staff are working remotely, but are checking office messages daily during the work week.

  *  *  *  *  *

Tribal economic development focuses on four main areas: 

  • Jobs - Workforce Enhancement
  • Corporate Development
  • Small Business/Entrepreneur Support
  • Planning and Development

This website provides resources for job seekers who can use the "Workforce Enhancement" link at the top of this page to make an appointment with our Workforce Enhancement Coordinator. The Coordinator provides assistance with training, resumes, job applications, career blueprints and other resources. $25 stipends are available to tribal members who complete an assessment survey and Career Blueprint.

Links to a list of CSKT job openings and a Workforce Training Directory are located in the upper right column of this page.

Information about CSKT's corporations is available by clicking on the "Tribal Corporations" link at the top of this page.

Small business and entrepreneur support is provided through grants, loans, free training, quarterly networking meetings, and other technical assistance. To review our Business Resource Directory or check our list of Native American owned businesses, click on the links in the upper right column of this page. Additional information is available by clicking on "Small Business-Entrepreneur Support" at the top of this webpage.

Planning and development includes work with other agencies to address economic development and land use issues of mutual concern, as well as planning for development and management of existing and newly acquired Tribal properties. The Hot Springs Wellness Center and culturally-appropriate tourism development are two of CSKT's planning projects.  

The Tribal Economic Development Office (EDO) is charged with planning and implementing some of these resource development projects, with Tribal Council and interdisciplinary staff concurrence, to lead the Tribes toward a self-sufficient economy within the parameters of sound environmental stewardship.  The Annual Work Plan for the EDO includes the following goals:

  1. Facilitate Reporting and Communications between Tribally-Owned Corporations/Enterprises and the Tribal Council/Shareholder 
  2. Complete Due Diligence, as directed, on New Business Proposals Submitted to CSKT by Outside Business Interests
  3. Assist Tribal Member Entrepreneurs and Prospective Entrepreneurs with Access to Capital, Training, and Other Business Development Needs
  4. Support Revenue-Producing Tribal Programs, including Review of Land Acquisition Proposals with Revenue-Producing Potential
  5. Research and Plan for the Best Use of Tribal Assets
  6. Coordinate with Other Governmental Entities Regarding Economic Development, Planning and Workforce Development