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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.

Legislation Introduced to Protect Bison

Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-AK), the first Alaska Native ever elected to Congress, with Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA), have introduced H.R.6368, a bill to assist tribal governments in the management of buffalo and buffalo habitat and the re-establishment of buffalo on Indian land.

A similar version of the bill, sponsored by the late U.S. Representative Don Young (R-AK), passed the House of Representatives in late 2021.

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“This is a pivotal moment for Indigenous people and a true testament to the hard work and determination of countless Native advocates. For hundreds of years, the American buffalo was central to the culture, spiritual wellbeing, and livelihoods of our nation’s Indigenous peoples,” Rep. Peltola said. “Alaska proudly hosts a thriving buffalo herd on Sitkalidak Island, managed by the Alutiiq people. The ruthless decimation of buffalo herds that occurred in the mid-19th century dealt a devasting blow to Native communities that have long relied on these animals. We must reverse the damage done to the American buffalo and to the ways of life of Native peoples across our country. This bill is an important step toward restoring once-flourishing buffalo herds, which have been vital to the cultural, spiritual, and subsistence traditions of Native Americans throughout many states. I now call on my colleagues to help us get this vital bill across the finish line.” 

Almost $2 Million Awarded to 10 Tribal Organization to Help Native Families & Communities
Indian Affairs announced on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. the award of nearly $2 million in Indian Child Welfare Act grants to 10 tribal organizations to help support off-reservation Indian child and family service programs. The programs selected are to provide services intended to stabilize American Indian and Alaska Native families and Tribes, prevent the breakup of families, and ensure that the permanent removal of an American Indian or Alaska Native child from the custody of parent or custodian is a last resort.

“The Indian Child Welfare Act represents a national promise to fulfill our moral and legal obligations to protect American Indian and Alaska Native children and families and respect Tribal sovereignty,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said. “These grants will expand access to child and family services to help protect Native children and keep Native families together.”

The grant recipients and funding amounts are:

  • Southern Indian Health Council, Inc., Alpine, Calif., $200,000
  • American Indian Child Resource Center, Oakland, Calif.$200,000
  • Indian Child and Family Preservation Program, Santa Rosa, Calif., $200,000
  • Denver Indian Family Resource Center, Denver, Colo., $200,000
  • The ICWA Law Center, Minneapolis, Minn., $200,000
  • Minneapolis American Indian Center, Minneapolis, Minn., $200,000
  • Rocky Mountain Tribal Leadership Council, Billings, Mont., $200,000
  • Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition, Inc., Bloomfield, Neb., $200,000
  • The American Indian Community Center, Spokane, Wash., $200,000
  • Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, $170,788

Off-reservation Indian child and family service programs are authorized under the Indian Child Welfare Act, enabling Tribal organizations to provide services which may include, but are not limited to, supporting Indian foster and adoptive homes; providing counseling to families and foster and adoptive children; family assistance, including homemaker and home counselors, day care, afterschool care, and employment, recreational activities, and respite care; and guidance, legal representation, and advice to Indian families involved in child custody proceedings.

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