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Friday, May 6, 2022

Sound the alarm! Fed grant $2.5 million to Narragansetts for telecommunications infrastructure

The CCA will probably go nuts over this

By Will Collette

The Narragansett Indian Tribe received one of 19 grants awarded by the Biden Administration under the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to help tribes expand internet access for tribal members. 

The grants are awarded by the US Department of Commerce which is led by former RI Governor Gina Raimondo.

The grant to the Narragansetts totals $2,498,250. 

According to the Commerce Department news release, the Narragansetts will do the following: 

This project proposes to increase internet services and access for Tribal members who reside on ancestral lands in Washington County, Rhode Island. The project aims to provide distance learning capabilities and strengthen digital literacy, improve broadband speeds and affordability of services for community members, and generate workforce development and job creation.

If any of this project involves land use or changes to the town's infrastructure, the Tribe will probably face the usual racially-motivated opposition from the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) which currently controls Charlestown town government.

In all probability, the town will sic Charlestown's Indian fighter, attorney Joe Larisa, to figure out ways to either make the Tribe seek town permission for any work on the project or find ways to block it.

It has been the CCA's position, frequently articulated by Larisa, that the Tribe has no sovereign rights and may undertake no project involving land use without the advance, expressed permission of the town.

Charlestown is the only town in Rhode Island or indeed southern New England that has hired an attorney who's sole job is to fight a local tribe and thwart any ambitions it might have to improve the economic and social well-being of its members.