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In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is an overview of other released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country during the past week.

Interior Department to Host Tribal Consultations on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The Department of the Interior announced on Tuesday that it would begin nation-to-nation consultations with tribes as it implements the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law invests more than $13 billion directly in tribal communities across the country to bolster community resilience, replace aging infrastructure, expand access to clean drinking water and help ensure that everyone has access to high-speed internet.

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“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an unprecedented investment in Indian Country that will ensure that future generations have clean air, drinkable water, fertile soil and an overall quality of life that is currently threatened by the worsening climate crisis,” Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) said “Tribal leaders know best the needs of their people. It is critical that Tribes continue to be at the decision-making table as we implement this historic opportunity.”

“The funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is central to the Biden-Harris Administration’s all-of-government approach to strengthening Indian Country,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland (Bay Mills Indian Community) said. “I look forward to these conversations providing a roadmap as the Department begins implementing the law.”

The Interior Department invites tibes to offer input and provide feedback to help inform early planning decisions related to the various programs and initiatives outlined in the law.

These sessions will focus on the implementation of:

  • Tribal Climate Resilience programs;
  • Water infrastructure and drought resilience programs;
  • Indian water right settlement investments;
  • Wildfire resilience programs;
  • Ecosystem restoration programs;
  • Legacy pollution programs; and
  • U.S. Geological Survey infrastructure law programs.

The consultations will take place Jan. 26-28 and are closed to the public. Tribes are also invited to submit written comments to [email protected] by Feb. 4, 2022.

Indian Health Service (IHS) Update:

A message from the IHS Chief Medical Officer on Omicron and gathering during the holidays: This past week, President Biden announced new actions to protect the country and help communities and hospitals battle Omicron, building on the robust plan he announced earlier this month to get people maximum protection ahead of the winter and prepare for rising cases driven by the new variant. We must all continue to stress how critical it is to be vaccinated and to get booster shots before gathering with our family and friends over the holidays.

The recent emergence of the Omicron variant has further emphasized the importance of primary vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts to protect against COVID-19. These are important because we know that COVID has disproportionately impacted the American Indian and Alaska Native population.

Jackson S. Brossy Named Assistant Administrator of SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs

Jackson S. Brossy has been selected to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Native American Affairs, at the U.S. Small Business Administration. In this role, Brossy serves as a senior executive providing executive oversight, management, leadership, and championship of Native American entrepreneurship.

Before SBA, Mr. Brossy served as executive director for both the Native CDFI Network and the Navajo Nation Washington Office, the official intergovernmental affairs office for the largest tribe in the nation. An advocate of access to capital and technical assistance for Native entrepreneurs, Mr. Brossy also serves on the board of Prosperity Now, Change Labs, and the Federal Reserve Bank’s Center for the Indian Country Development Leadership Council.

He is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and attended Stanford University and Harvard University. 

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