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WASHINGTON — In addition to news already covered during the previous week, each Sunday Native News Online provides an overview of activity in Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country during the past week.

BIA announces $13.84 Million for Tribal Climate Resilience Grants for FY 2021

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) announced on Friday that more than $13.84 million has been awarded in grants for Tribal Climate Resilience Program (TCRP) for Fiscal Year 2021 to dozens of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations and organizations.

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These funds will be used to support tribal efforts to support climate adaptation planning, ocean and coastal management planning, capacity building, and relocation, managed retreat, and protect-in-place planning for climate risks. 

135 awards were given to 79 Tribes and 13 Tribal organizations. The training and awards were Tribally designed and delivered and are expected to benefit nearly 255,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives. The adaptation planning and data development awards are expected to benefit over 444,000 AI/AN people, and the ocean and coastal work funding should benefit around 55,000 AI/AN people. 

The BIA’s list of awardees and project descriptions can be found here.

 “Climate change is being most keenly felt in Tribal communities throughout Indian Country and in the unique coastal and interior environments across the state of Alaska, which are home to thousands of Alaska Native people,” Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said.

HHS Announces Tribal Consultation on Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Dawn O’Connell announced on Monday tribal consultation on recommendations to facilitate tribal access to medical countermeasures and supplies that may be needed in public health emergencies.

As part of this consultation, input is welcome on the following questions:

  1. What gaps or issues did your facility encounter when requesting federal assistance for medical supplies needed during the Covid-19 pandemic?
  2. What recommendations do you have to improve and address the gaps or issues?
  3. What recommendations do you have to improve the request process for federal assistance to access supplies held in the Strategic National Stockpile and other federal and military stockpiles?

Please make plans to join us and share your recommendations during one of the following virtual sessions:

Written comments and recommendations are welcome. Interested parties should email: [email protected] by October 22, 2021.  

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Promote Tribal Sovereignty for Federal Food Assistance Programs

U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced bipartisan legislation to allow tribes have more control over how federal hunger programs are administered.

The Senators said that their SNAP Tribal Food Sovereignty Act would allow tribal governments to administer the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly known as SNAP) through self-governance contracts.

The bill would advance tribal sovereignty and make sure that SNAP is run in a culturally-appropriate way that promotes the health and economic well-being of tribal communities. Approximately 25 percent of Native Americans receive some type of federal food assistance, and in some tribal communities, participation is as high as 80 percent.

“Tribal governments understand what works best in Tribal communities and should have more say over how SNAP is administered,” Sen. Smith said. “The SNAP Tribal Food Sovereignty Act is about promoting Tribal sovereignty and helping Tribes fight hunger in a way that works best for them.” 

You can access a summary of the legislation here.

Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Program Awards Grants to 10 Federally Recognized Tribes

The Indian Affairs Office of Indian Economic Development (OIED) announced grants totaling $500,000 have been awarded to 10 tribes. This funding was awarded so Tribes are able to better evaluate and identify viable economic opportunities that will better their communities. 

The following tribes have been awarded:

  • Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria awarded $44,500 for a convenience store/gas station feasibility study. 
  • Nulato Tribal Council Awarded $45,000 for a Tribally owned airline feasibility study. 
  • Delaware Nation awarded $37,500 for an orchard and apiary products company feasibility study. 
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe awarded $65,000 for a feasibility study for businesses for the Crazy Horse scenic byway. 
  • Lower Brule Sioux Tribe awarded $48,000 for an aquaculture/aquaponics feasibility study. 
  • Oneida Nation awarded $65,000 for a beef and buffalo production plant feasibility study. 
  • Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia awarded $40,000 for an economic development through tribal enterprises feasibility study. 
  • Walker River Paiute Tribe awarded $65,000 for a food sovereignty economic development feasibility study. 
  • Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians awarded $45,000 for an economic development recovery feasibility study. 
  • Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria awarded $45,000 for an economic feasibility and business plan. 
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Chairman Nominee Sara Bronin Pledges Support of Tribal Historic Preservation

Professor Sara Bronin of Hartford, Conn. testified on Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on her nomination to become chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). President Joe Biden nominated Bronin in June for the chairman position.

Bronin is a Mexican American architect, attorney, and policymaker specializing in historic preservation, property, land use, and climate change. She is a professor at the Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and an Associated Faculty Member of the Cornell Law School. She is a board member of Latinos in Heritage Conservation and an advisor for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sustainable Development Code.

During her confirmation hearing, she pledged to better support the 574 federally recognized Indian tribes, including 204 Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and Native Hawaiian organizations, and the 59 state and territorial historic preservation offices.

“My passion for preservation comes from the recognition that historic, tribal, and cultural resources benefit us in unique ways,” Bronin said. “They connect us with our past and give us a sense of continuity, identity, and belonging. They generate economic activity, both during rehabilitation projects and for many years after. They offer us a chance to be more sustainable. And perhaps more importantly, they guide our faith and center our spirits. Throughout my work, I have tried to ensure that communities of all kinds can benefit from preservation. I have found that there are many people who share our common commitment to protecting and celebrating the rich and complex stories that make us American.”

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

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