Native Americans

Conference participants

Native American Conference
Tempe, Arizona

RCAC is highly dedicated to providing information and assistance to Native American groups. Our work with hundreds of Native communities continues to expand. Our assistance focuses on drinking water, wastewater, solid waste, housing and financial services.

Click here for 2015 Tribal Drinking Water Conference information and registration.  

Also, RCAC's specialists offer drought preparedness assistance for tribal water systems. Click here for a brochure which details our drought services.

Other RCAC Native American program services include:


RCAC's tribal water/wastewater circuit rider program assists water operators and administrators in Arizona, California and Hawaii to operate and manage their community water and wastewater systems. Through training workshops and individualized assistance, compliance with drinking water regulations has increased. Native American leaders are becoming better educated in water and wastewater operation and management. RCAC also has helped many Native American operators obtain state operator certification.

Through its Native community environment work RCAC:

  • Helps a coalition of tribes in Southern California set up and operate the Native American Water Masters Association (NAWMA). Click here to see a video. 
  • Assists tribes conduct utility rate studies
  • Conducts waste generation surveys for recycling programs
  • Assists tribes to maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act
  • Conducts on-site technical, managerial and financial evaluations and capacity development
  • Conducts water/wastewater operator certification classes
  • Assists with grant writing and financial packaging

Loan Fund

RCAC's Loan Fund fills financing gaps and serves those traditionally neglected by conventional markets. The Loan Fund provides prudent and profitable lending in Native communities that is conducted in a culturally appropriate fashion.

RCAC Financed Projects

  • Chignik Bay Tribal Council, $105,900 intermediate construction loan for a 5,466 square foot regional clinic and multi-purpose facility
  • United Native Housing Development Corporation, $150,000 loan to lender, state Community Housing Development Organization lender
  • Native Village of Perryville, $216,000 loan for a 5,570 square foot health clinic and multi-use project


RCAC provides technical assistance to a variety of organizations that help retain or expand a community's affordable housing stock. Technical assistance is provided in areas as diverse as strategic planning for nonprofit and Tribal organizations to project-specific assistance, such as land acquisition and construction management.

Recent Native Housing Work

  • RCAC facilitated a strategic planning process with Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority in Northern California, resulting in a new nonprofit organization, which became the first CHDO on tribal lands in California. RCAC also provided grant writing and fundraising assistance for Northern Circle's housing rehabilitation program. Northern Circle is also an RCAC homeownership counseling sub-grantee.
  • In New Mexico, RCAC assisted Zia Pueblo establish a house-by-house rehab program using New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (NMMFA) funds, Santa Clara Pueblo acquire funding to rehabilitate old homes around the reservation’s historic plaza and Acoma Pueblo apply for NMMFA funds to establish a rehab program.
  • RCAC assisted White Mountain Apache in Arizona secure $135,000 from the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona for a weatherization project for owner-occupied units. RCAC also assisted the tribe to revitalize a U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Conservation grants for $414,500. The funds will be used to hire an energy conservation coordinator. The coordinator will develop a comprehensive energy conservation plan, work with the housing authority to exchange incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs at a projected savings of $211.00 per household each year and obtain assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to provide emergency heating to low-income families during winter.

Other Direct Services

RCAC takes a comprehensive approach to its community development work. Often, our work extends beyond environmental, finance or housing programs.

Examples of Other Direct Services

  • RCAC provided both leadership and economic development technical assistance to the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation in Ibapah Utah. RCAC assisted the tribe to prioritize goals in its newly developed strategic plan; evaluate costs of implementing components of the plan; coordinate with funding agencies and other technical assistance providers; and develop board policies and procedures. RCAC is working with the tribe to develop a fueling center, which is an economic development component of its new strategic plan. The fueling center will save the tribe on costly fuel and create at least one job in addition to creating revenue through selling gas and grocery items.
  • RCAC helped the Tetlin Village Council in Alaska to conduct a needs assessment for a community health center, develop a health and social service delivery plan, and prepare concept design drawings, cost estimates and funding applications. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funded the project while RCAC Loan Fund committed the needed match. RCAC is assisting Tetlin Village in project planning, design, financial management and construction activities.
  • RCAC assists the Westwater Dine of the Navajo. The two dozen residents of Westwater, a 120-acre tract of land adjacent to Blanding, Utah, are mostly elderly, and all very low-income members of the Aneth Chapter of the Navajo Nation. The residents have a Dine government with elected officials and a decision making process. We assisted the Chapter in identifying another organization, which is now building eight new homes for the residents. RCAC is also working with the community to access funding to install rainwater collection systems on two houses; to acquire propane gas from a local supplier; and finally to find solutions that will allow it to eventually access running water.
  • RCAC delivered leadership development training to the Goshute Tribe (mentioned above) and two separate groups from the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority in Ukiah, California. The comprehensive program entails recruiting a broad and diverse cross-section of the community to spend four weekends over four months learning leadership skills such as fundraising, marketing, team building, volunteer recruitment and maintenance, project planning and implementation The group then spends a year practicing the skills they learned by implementing a small, visible project they conceptualize. The participants and graduates infuse the skills they learn into other organizations and situations in which they are involved, thereby continually improving a broad, diverse cross-section of their communities. The leadership program also is delivered in segments which can be tailored to groups due to limited funding, time or specific areas that need to be addressed.

Needs of Tribal Elders

There are many challenges to providing for tribal elder's needs as they age, such as small populations, specialized and expensive construction and high operating costs, conflicting regulations from various funding agencies and cultural requirements or preferences with which standard senior care or housing options may not be compatible. This RCAC study looks at the regulatory conflicts with the federal and state Medicaid program: Developing Assisted Living Housing on Tribal Lands in Washington State

For more information on RCAC's Native American program contact David Harvey, Regional Manager - Environmental at 760/492-2543; e-mail: