Native News Weekly (03/10/2021): DC Briefs

WASHINGTON – In addition to the news already covered over the previous week, each Sunday Native News Online provides a snapshot of activity in Washington, DC that is impacting the Indian country over the past week.

Senators urge Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to establish tribal affairs office

Tribal affairs news reported a group of US senators wrote a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen urging her to quickly establish an office of tribal affairs at the US Department of the Treasury.

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“Recent consultations and tribal interactions between the Treasury and tribal nations underscore the need for sufficient, dedicated internal expertise in the Treasury on issues of tribal politics,” five senators wrote in a September 29 letter. “The establishment of such an office enjoys the support of the Indian country and would improve the Treasury’s ability to fulfill its trust responsibilities to respect the nation-to-nation relationship between the federal government and the tribal nations.”

Read more in Tribal Business News

President Biden signs bill extending Indigenous Children’s Commission

The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Indigenous Children Commission Act (Art. 325) was officially promulgated by President Joe Biden, introduced by US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Deputy Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) in February 2021, this law now amends the bear Speckled Alyce and the Walter Soboleff Commission on Indigenous Children Act to extend the previously set deadline for the report promulgated by that act.

The report is a comprehensive study of federal, tribal, state and local programs that serve Indigenous children. In order to get the highest quality report, the deadline has been extended due to the slowdown in work related to completing the report during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This report will be sent to Congress and the Presidential Administration upon completion.

Federal Communications Commission Proposes Updated Electronic Rate Rules To Promote Tribal Library Participation

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday proposed revisions to the definition of library in the rules of its E-Rate program. This change would clarify that tribal libraries are eligible to participate in this program.

This program was established in 1996 and offers discounts on broadband service to schools and libraries, and some tribal libraries have not received these services due to the outdated definition. The Board is also seeking comments on the change it is proposing and whether or not to consider making other changes.

BIA announces Indian Child Welfare Act Title II grants totaling approximately $ 2 million

The Office of Indian Affairs (BIA) announced on Wednesday that around $ 2 million has been awarded for grants to various Indian organizations. These grants will help support off-reserve child and family service programs under Title II of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

These programs help stabilize Native American and Native Alaskan families and tribes and in turn ensure that the last resort is the permanent removal of an AI / AN child from their home.

“The safety and well-being of our children is of the utmost importance, and I am very pleased to provide this funding to support organizations in this crucial work,” said Darryl LaCounte, director of the Office of Indian Affairs, in A press release. “The BIA is committed to protecting Indian children, the future of sovereignty and self-determination in the Indian country.”

The winners of the ICWA Off-Reserve Scholarships are:

  • Alaska Native Justice Center ($ 150,000) – To expand its current foster care program and case management services.
  • American Indian Child Resource Center ($ 160,023) – To expand its services through its Foster Family Agency through counseling, peer mentoring, community outreach and training.
  • American Indian Community Center ($ 141,015) – To expand its current foster care program and case management activities.
  • Denver Indian Family and Resource Center ($ 200,000) – Provide legal defense services to promote ICWA compliance for two of Colorado’s largest counties.
  • ICWA Law Center ($ 200,000) – To expand its legal defense and family preservation center to families affected by the Minnesota child welfare system.
  • Ileihno Bopachemihn, Inc. ($ 200,000) – Develop new foster care services in two counties in California.
  • Indian Child and Family Preservation Program I ($ 194,672) – To acquire new software to collect ICWA data for foster care recruitment and to provide fingerprinting training digital.
  • Minneapolis American Indian Center ($ 200,000) – To expand its out-of-state tribal liaison project to create and maintain child welfare ties.
  • Rhode Island Council ($ 200,000) – Establish a parentage program and provide families with legal defense services.
  • Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council ($ 200,000) – Establish a web-based Indian child welfare resource center for caregivers.
  • Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness ($ 143,520) – To employ a social worker who will coordinate and serve as a liaison to fill gaps in ICWA services in Maine.
Senator Murkowski introduces a resolution to designate September 30 as the National Day of Remembrance for Indigenous children who attended residential schools

Senator Murkowski presented Concurrent Senate Resolution, supporting the designation of September 30 as National Day of Remembrance for Native American children who died while attending residential school in the United States, and to recognize, honor and support residential school survivors and their families.

In a movement that started in Canada in 2013 and moved to the United States to Indian country, September 30 was celebrated as Orange Shirt Day which commemorates Indian children from residential schools and schools.

Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) are also co-sponsors of the resolution. A concurrent House resolution was also introduced by Congressman Don Young (R-AK) with Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) , Dusty Johnson (R -SD), Ed Case (D-HI), Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI), David Joyce (R-OH) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).

Natural Resources Committee Hosts Live Event to Discuss Tribal and Hawaiian Law

The United States Indigenous Peoples Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee is leading an oversight committee hearing that will be broadcast live on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

The sub-committee, headed by President Teresa Leger Fernández (DN.M.), will hold a legislative hearing on the following bills:

  • HJRes.55 (Kahele), Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole Family Inheritance Protection Act.
  • HR 441 (Youth), To provide for the transfer of certain property to the Tanana Tribal Council located in Tanana, Alaska, and for other purposes.
  • HR 2402 (Fortenberry), Transferring administrative jurisdiction over certain federal lands from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Office of Indian Affairs, to take such lands in trust for the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska, and for other purposes. Winnebago Land Transfer Act 2021.
  • HR 4881 (Grijalva), Law on the acquisition of community lands of former Pascua.
  • HR 5221 (Grijalva), To amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to establish an Urban Indian Association policy for the Department of Health and Human Services. Urban Indian Health Conference Act.


Panel I: Congress Panel

  • Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Arizona, 3rd district
  • Representative Don Young, Alaska, At-Large
  • Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele, Hawaii, 2nd district
  • Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska, 1st district

Panel II: Administration panel

  • MP Benjamin Smith (HR 441, HR 5221), Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Indian Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Mr. Darryl LaCounte (HJRes. 55, HR 2402, HR 4881), Director, Office of Indian Affairs, US Department of Interior

Panel III: Panel of expert witnesses

  • The Honorable Peter Yucupicio (HR 4881), President, Pascua Yaqui Tribe
  • The Honorable William J. Ailā, Jr. (HJRes.55), Chairman, Hawaiian Houses Commission, Department of Hawaiian Lands
  • The Honorable Lois Huntington (HR 441), First Chief, Tanana Tribal Council, Tanana Indigenous Village
  • The Honorable Victoria Kitcheyan (HR 2402), President of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
  • Mr. Walter Murillo (HR 5221), Chairman, National Urban Indian Health Council

When: 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Watch live: “>

Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Odawa Indian bands of Little Traverse Bay), a Michigan State University student interning with Native News Online, contributed to these briefs.

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