Impact on Indian Country – Weekly DC Briefs


Indian Affairs Begins $ 900 Million In Funding US Rescue Plan For Indian Country

Senior Assistant Deputy Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland announced on Friday that the Office of Indian Affairs (BIA) had started disbursing $ 900 million to federally recognized tribes under the bailout act American (ARP). The ARP was signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, and the funds will help the tribes fight the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effects on the Indian country.

The BIA’s $ 900 million disbursement plan covers all program activities stipulated by Congress in the ARP Act:

  • Drinking water delivery – $ 20 million
  • Home improvement – $ 100 million
  • Tribal Payments and Direct Service for Tribal Government, Social Services, Public Safety and Justice, Indian Child Welfare and other related expenses – $ 772.5 million. These funds will be distributed as follows:
    • $ 700 million through the Aid to Tribal Government funding line, allowing tribes to reprogram on Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) lines if necessary. Funding will be allocated to the tribes listed in the Federal Register notice of the BIA. Allocations will be based on tribal registration data, using a distribution approach that groups tribes by registration size.
    • $ 30 million for law enforcement and detentions funding.
    • $ 30 million for the tribes in Public Law 83-280, also known as PL 280, states through the Social services line. The majority of tribes in these states do not receive law enforcement support from the BIA. To meet their unique needs, these funds can be used for tribal security needs that fall outside of a formal law enforcement program. The tribe can determine whether to reprogram them if necessary in other areas such as tribal courts. In addition, tribes can provide funding to regional or agency offices of the BIA for direct support services, if required.
    • $ 12.5 million will be held centrally to be allocated for unforeseen needs if necessary.
  • Administrative and Oversight Costs – $ 7.5 million: These funds will be centrally managed to support the maintenance of public health capacity in order to have an informed Indian response to COVID-19, advanced computing needs, adaptations for COVID security requirements, personal protective equipment (PPE), personnel advanced needs, and project management.

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hears Testimony on Impact of Covid-19 on Indigenous Education

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a monitoring hearing on Wednesday titled “Examining the Response to COVID-19 in Indigenous Communities: Indigenous Education Systems One Year Later.”

The committee heard from Melissa Emrey-Arras, Director of Education, Workforce and Income Security at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Tony Dearman, Director of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), Director of Schurz Elementary School and Vice Chairman of Pyramid Lake Junior / Senior High School Board of Education Chairman Lance West, Principal of Ke Kula ‘O Nāwahīokalani’ōpu’u Kauanoe Kamanā and Superintendent of School District of Belcourt Michelle Thomas.

In his opening statement, Schatz underscored the essential role of the US bailout in mitigating federal shortcomings that have left Indigenous students and schools exposed to severe impacts from COVID-19.

“For many Indigenous leaders, educators and school officials, critical federal resources have been difficult to access, if not nonexistent. This is unacceptable, especially during a pandemic, “he added. said President Schatz. “The United States must live up to its trusting responsibility to support indigenous service schools and provide comprehensive educational opportunities for Native Americans, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians. That’s why this committee ensured that President Biden’s US bailout contained more than $ 2.5 billion for Indigenous students, including the first dedicated funding for Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native educational organizations, to meet their COVID-related needs. “

To see the full video of the hearing, click here.

Inaugural Cohort of Remembering Our Sisters Fellowship nominated by the Center for Native American Youth

The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) at the Aspen Institute has announced the first cohort of the Remembering Our Sisters Fellowship. The cohort is made up of six incredible young indigenous women and female leaders from across the Indian country.

The Remembering Our Sisters Fellowship is a storytelling and digital arts program of the Center for Native American Youth that aims to empower young Indigenous women and female leaders (ages 18-24) to raise awareness, honor our sisters and affected families, and lobby for better policies to deal with the crisis.

Throughout the six-month fellowship, CNAY will work closely with fellows to develop and enhance the skills and knowledge needed to create a series of digital art and storytelling projects focused on MMIWG2S +.

Lawrence (Larry) Roberts (Oneida) becomes the first Native American Chief of Staff

The US Department of the Interior announced on Friday that Lawrence (Larry Roberts), a tribal citizen of the Oneida Nation, will become its chief of staff.

Larry roberts

Robert previously served as former President Obama’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and Senior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. Roberts also worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The department announced Roberts’ new role along with several other new appointments, including Heidi Todacheene, a Navajo Nation citizen who previously served as legislative counsel to Secretary Deb Haaland in Congress.

Introducing a bipartisan bill to support Native American languages

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and United States Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Deputy Chairman of the Committee, presented the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages ​​Act of 2021.

This bipartite legislation marks the 30e anniversary of the Native American Languages ​​Act by ensuring that federal efforts achieve the goal of respecting and supporting the use of Indigenous languages.

The bill, named after Durbin Feeling, a renowned Cherokee linguist and Vietnam veteran who died on August 19, 2020, would review and make recommendations to improve the coordination of federal agencies in support of Native American languages. It would also authorize a federal survey of Indigenous language use and programmatic needs every five years. These surveys will serve as “health checks” to allow Native communities and Congress to more effectively target federal resources for Native American languages.

The bill is supported by the National Joint Committee for Languages ​​- National Council for Languages ​​and International Studies, National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Education Association, National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs and the nation Cherokee.

Miami tribal citizen appointed by President Biden to sit on National Humanities Council

Daryl W. Baldwin (Kinwalaniihsia), a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, has been appointed by President Joe Biden to serve on the National Humanities Council for a term expiring January 26, 2026.

Baldwin is executive director of the Myaamia Center at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio. He is co-director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages.

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