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Every week, Native News Online brings you the latest Indian Country news and moves from Washington, D.C.

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Native CDFIs Receive $54.6 Million 

On Monday,  58 Native CDFIs received $54.6 million from teh U.S. Dept. of Treasury's CDFI Rapid Response Program.

Tribal Business News reported certified Native CDFIs, which include Native-owned loan funds, banks and credit unions, received funding ranging from $200,000 to more than $1.8 million to assist in their response to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding included in the Rapid Response Program is more than three times the annual set aside for Native CDFIs included in Treasury’s Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program, which has been hovering around $16 million for the past few years. The newest emergency funding comes in addition to this year’s NACA, which has already been distributed to Native CDFIs.

CLICK to read the entire Tribal Business News article.

RESPECT Act Unanimously Passes Out of Senate

The Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act, a bill that would repeal 11 outdated federal laws, including laws that stripped Native American children from their families for the purpose of placing them in cruel “Indian reform schools” like the now infamous Carlisle Indian Industrial School, was passed unanimously out of the U.S. Senate on Monday.

A full list of laws the RESPECT Act would repeal is available HERE.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ar), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) are cosponsors of this legislation.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House on May 12 by Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Tom Cole (R-OK). The legislation now awaits action in the House before it can be signed into law by the president.

The RESPECT Act is supported by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).

Sen. Heinrich Pushes Forward on Protections for Tribal Objects of Patrimony, Chaco Canyon in Key Budget Hearing

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) participated on Thursday in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget request for the U.S. Department of Interior.

During the hearing, Sen. Heinrich pressed for stronger enforcement of laws against the trafficking of Tribal cultural patrimony and requested that the “department work to encourage the voluntary return of sacred objects, both here and overseas.”

Senator Heinrich along with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the bipartisan Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, legislation to prohibit the exporting of sacred Native American items and increase penalties for stealing and illegal trafficking. In May, the STOP Act was favorably reported from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In the 116th Congress, Senators Heinrich and Murkowski successfully passed the STOP Act out of the Senate by unanimous consent.

Senator Heinrich also thanked Secretary Haaland for her partnership in protecting the landscape around Chaco Canyon. The president’s budget request continues the current moratorium on new mineral development, but Senator Heinrich expressed that “it’s time we move away from stop-gap measures and one-year pauses.”

Recently, Sen. Heinrich sent a letter to Secretary Haaland calling on the Biden administration to withdraw federal minerals within the Chaco Culture Heritage Withdrawal Area from future mineral development, including new oil and gas leasing.

Bartholomew “Bart” Stevens Named BIA’s Deputy Bureau Director for Field Operations, Kimberly Bouchard Will be Eastern Regional Director

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland on Thursday announced appointments to two key leadership posts within the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA): Bartholomew “Bart” Stevens as Deputy Bureau Director for Field Operations in Albuquerque, N.M., and Kimberly Bouchard as Eastern Regional Office Regional Director in Nashville, Tenn.

Bartholomew is an enrolled tribal citizen of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona with ancestry from the Gila River Indian Community in Ariz., the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Idaho and the Ute Tribe in Utah.

Bouchard is a tribal citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Wisc.

Both appointments became effective this month.

The Office of Field Operations, located in Albuquerque, supports the BIA’s 12 regions and 83 agencies in delivering program services to the 574 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, as well as individuals, either directly or through contracts, grants or compacts.

The Eastern Regional Office, located in Nashville, serves 34 federally recognized  American Indian tribes and has a service area that includes 460,980 acres held in trust and 102,677 acres of restricted fee lands. The region’s jurisdictional area is comprised of states located east of the Mississippi River from Maine to Florida and from Illinois to
Louisiana. Of the region’s 27 states, 12 are home to the tribes.

House Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Advances Bill to Curb Child Abuse & Neglect in Indian Country

The House Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Reauthorization Act of 2021.

As the primary federal law addressing child abuse and neglect, CAPTA has been crucial in protecting children in the United States. However, it has not gone far enough to address the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native children. Though CAPTA contains specific language regarding tribal eligibility for discretionary grants and an emphasis on American Indian and Alaska Native child maltreatment issues, tribal nations rarely receive federal CAPTA grants.

The bill includes provisions of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s American Indian and Alaska Native Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (AI/AN CAPTA)

"Child abuse and neglect don't have a place in our country, and its prevalence in Indian Country is unacceptable. I am glad to see that the legislation reported out of committee includes the provisions I proposed with Senator Murkowski to increase funding to address this problem, get better answers on how to best meet the needs of Native children, and help prevent child abuse across tribal communities," Sen. Warren (D-MA) said.

AI/AN CAPTA would increase the dedicated tribal set-aside for funding to five percent (up from one percent) after overall CAPTA funding increases -- bolstering community funding available for child abuse and neglect prevention efforts and helping to address current limitations in the development of innovative child abuse and neglect prevention program models in tribal communities. AI/AN CAPTA also requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on child abuse and neglect prevention efforts in tribal communities that GAO would conduct in consultation with tribal nations.

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