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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country recently.

Regional Tribal Environmental Health Summits Scheduled 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in partnership with the National Indian Health Board are hosting a series of Regional Tribal Environmental Health Summits this summer. Each summit will include discussions on climate change, emergency preparedness, water safety, land revitalizations, and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as well as the new CDC Tribal Public Health Data tool. The next summits will take place in Billings, Montana, on August 17-18, and Green Bay, Wisconsin on August 22-23.

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Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Funds Announced

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration have announced the second  Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP).

This new phase, known as TBCP2, is designed to offer eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities the chance to access funding. The allocated amount for TBCP2 is approximately $980 million, intended for the expansion of Internet infrastructure, the establishment of affordability programs, enhancement of telehealth services, facilitation of distance learning initiatives, and advancement of digital inclusion efforts. These endeavors collectively aim to bridge the digital divide within Indian Country.

Aligned with this secondary NOFO and as a part of the Tribal Consultation process, the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) will provide Technical Assistance to applicants throughout the six-month application window, culminating on January 23, 2024.

This support is intended to aid applicants in navigating the application process effectively.

HHS Awards $2.5 Million to Help Decrease Food Insecurities in Native Communities

The funding will be used to improve health outcomes through greater food security under the IHS Produce Prescription Pilot Program. Five awards were issued to the Laguna Healthcare Corporation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Navajo Health Foundation – Sage Memorial Hospital, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Rocky Boy Health Center to implement these programs in their communities.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra recognized that "[f]ood is medicine and nutrition is health," in the press release on the awardees, "Programs like this feed directly into our Administration's goal of building healthier communities at the local level."

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