WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden President Joe Biden signed a $1.7 trillion omnibus package Friday. Contained in the bill that funds the federal government until September 30, 2023, are billions of dollars designated for Indian Country.

As Native News Online published on Friday, the omnibus package is historic because for the first time ever, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will receive funding for more than one year. This gives parity for IHS with other federal agencies and programs, such as the Veterans Administration, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and TRICARE.

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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 this past week..

Rep. Sharice Davids Applauds Advance Appropriations and Other Critical Funding for Indian Country

Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), who is a tribal citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation, on Friday applauded the passage of advance appropriations within the omnibus bill

“I’ve long joined Native health advocates and Tribal leaders to call for increased stability in IHS programs, and today we achieved that. This will ensure that patients are not subject to the uncertainty of the government funding process, saving lives and creating stronger, healthier communities,” Davids said.

 “Along with increased funding for education, housing, and economic development, this bill brings us closer to upholding our federal trust and treaty obligations to American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” Davids continued.

Davids led her bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus colleagues to urge House leadership to include advance appropriations for IHS earlier this year, a change that will create long-needed stability for Tribal health programs and guarantee 2.6 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives access to necessary care. 

Rep, Mary Sattler Peltola Issues Statement on Passage of the Don Young Recognition Act

Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-AK) on Wednesday released the following statement on the final passage of the Don Young Recognition Act:

“Don Young was a force of nature. He was so much to so many people. For Alaskans, he was their sole Congressman for 49 nears, a giant fighting for the land and people he cherished.  49 years for the 49th State. For his family, he was a father, grandfather, and husband with a heart filled with love and stories. For those in this body, he was a colleague quick to say yes to cosponsor legislation and famous for making unexpected friendships.

This bill is a perfect tribute to Don in many ways.  It highlights moments in his career from his service in the Army, to his passing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Bill, to his work crafting the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Act.

I want to thank Chairman Grijalva, Ranking Member Westerman, and leadership on both sides for scheduling this bill.  I would also like to thank Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan for sponsoring it and securing its passage in the Senate.”

The full text of the Don Young Recognition Act can be found here.

Funding Proposal for New To’Hajiilee Community School Part of Omnibus Bill 

Thursday, a funding clause that will provide $90.5 million to the To’Hajiilee Chapter of the Navajo Nation will be included in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Budget passed by the Senate after years of advocacy. 

The funding is for the Chapter to replace the Community School. Originally a U.S.-government run Boarding School, it is now a Tribally-Controlled School, and is the only school in the community that provides education for grades K-12. 

The school has experienced regular flooding because it is built on a flood plain, and the facilities have been deemed unsafe by inspectors, resulting in the closing of the school. 

“We all have been working alongside local government leaders and To’Hajiilee Navajo Community School Board, Inc., and meeting with the Governmental Agency and Delegation advocating for funding for our school. We will continually work together as one team to make this happen. This is the greatest news in a long time for the People of To'Hajiilee, a new school. Thank you so much on behalf of our children, as we know they will be very excited and happy, as we all prayed for our children to be safe and warm in standardized buildings. Our Children deserve a new school, and we appreciate the funding and all your help. Ahéhee',” said Nora J. Morris, Vice President of the Cañoncito Band of Navajos.

Bill Extending the Not Invisible Act Commission Passes Congress 

The bill that would extend the Joint Commission on Reducing Violent Crimes Against Indians termination deadline was signed by President Biden. 

The commission is within the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice, and is part of mass efforts to combat the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls. Unfortunately, the bill was only allotted a short amount of time to do this work which led to efforts to renew the commission.

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

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