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.

SAVE THE DATE: National Traffic Safety Board to Present Safety Messaging Webinar Set for Aug. 10

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 42,795 people died from crashes in 2022, compared with 42,939 in 2021. But all communities and areas of the country are not affected equally. According to an article published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), those who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native are killed and injured at a rate 2 or 3 times the national average (BIA 2022 Annual Report). Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional death for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) ages 1–44, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Roadway to Safer Tribal CommunitiesToolkit,as quoted in Federal Highway Administration’s Tribal Government Safety Data.  

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In attempt to arrest thses tragic numbers, the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) announced a Communicating and Connecting Safety Messages to Native American Communities webinar for August 10, 2023. The NTSB recognizes one size does not fit all. Native American communities are diverse, and tribal areas are spread out throughout the United States.

This webinar is part three in our “Communicating and Connecting Safety Messages with Underserved Communities” series," which supports Executive Order 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. Panelists will discuss what challenges these communities have in common and ways to authentically engage these communities with safety messaging. 

Board Treasury Department Announces Listening Session with Native CDFIs

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced it will host a Listening Session for Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) on Friday, August 18, 2023, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Treasury’s decision to hold the Listening Session comes after repeated formal requests from the Native CDFI Network and Native CDFIs from across the country for such a session to discuss critical issues impacting Native CDFIs, including CDFI Certification reform and proposed changes to the Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance applications.

In conjunction with the Listening Session, Treasury is accepting written comments, with a comment deadline of September 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. Alaska time. Written comments can be submitted at [email protected].

FCC Gives Tribal Libraries Greater Access to E-Rate Program Funding

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Order) that provides Tribal communities and other E-Rate participants with greater access to the E-Rate program to provide high-speed internet to schools and libraries.  

The Order is available here:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-bolsters-tribal-libraries-access-e-rate-program-funding.  A few of the major changes include:

  • Allowing Tribal college and university libraries that also serve as the Tribal community’s public library to be eligible for E-Rate support.
  • Adopting a formal definition of “Tribal” within the E-Rate program to better identify Tribal applicants seeking E-Rate funding.
  • Adding a Tribal community representative to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Board of Directors, which administers the program for the FCC.
  • Directing USAC to provide increased outreach and training to Tribal applicants.

The Order builds upon the ongoing efforts to encourage increased Tribal library access to affordable broadband connectivity through the E-Rate program.  The Order accompanies a Further Notice which seeks comment on additional ways to simplify the application process and other aspects of the E-Rate program. 

Please also note that on Thursday, August 10 at 2 pm EST, FCC staff will join a webinar hosted by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) and the American Library Association (ALA) to discuss these rule changes and how your library may be able to participate in the E-Rate program.  Here is the link to register:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIpduGurT4qEtYXGN_kNAQDeVhBeQybFT8O#/registration  



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