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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 during the past week.

Bill to Reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) Passes Committee

The Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday passed a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA). The bipartisan legislation was introduced last year by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), and John Hoeven (R-ND).

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The bill will be advanced to the full U.S. Senate for consideration.

The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2021 builds on Native American housing programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development authorized by the original NAHASDA. This Act is the main tool to provide housing and housing services to Tribal Communities across the country. 

The National American Indian Housing Council supports the reauthorization of this bill. The original NAHASDA expired in 2013.

Colleen Dushkin, Executive Director of the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities supports the effort to reauthorize this bill.

“We are thankful for the Committee’s work to make NAHASDA Reauthorization a priority and this is a positive step forward to make the elusive reauthorization, a reality. We urge Congress to act to reauthorize NAHASDA,” Dushkin said.

Department of Homeland Security putting on Webinar on the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grants Program

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships is hosting a webinar that will cover a wide overview of the program itself, and also the types of projects funded, and resources that applicants can use.

This  webinar is meant to inform those who may be new to prevention work to inform them of things that may help in designing project proposals for the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program. 

This webinar will take place over three separate dates and times. Interested parties may register for the date and time that works best them.

Dates/Times:

  • Thursday, February 24, 2-3 pm EST
  • Tuesday, March 1, 1-2pm EST
  • Thursday, March 3, 3-4pm EST

Register Here. Any questions can be directed to Hector Tejeda, the Grants Program Analyst, at [email protected]

Vice Chair Murkowski Speaks in Support of Recognizing February 16 as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

On Wednesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, delivered a speech on the Senate floor to recognize Elizabeth Peratrovich and her legacy as an Alaska Native civil rights leader.

Each February 16, the late leader is recognized on Elizabeth Peratrovich Day and Alaskans remember what she stood for. Peratrovich was a champion for seeking a inclusive society. 

Sen. Murkowski tells Elizabeth Peratrovich's story:

“After moving to Juneau in 1941, Elizabeth and her husband, Roy Peratrovich, encountered discrimination against Alaska Natives that paralleled Jim Crow practices in the South, which only strengthened their commitment and resolve. Through their work with the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood, Elizabeth and Roy began advocating for passage of an anti-discrimination bill in the Territorial legislature. They pointed out that Alaska Natives were paying taxes for a public school system that excluded their children. They pointed out that Alaska Native men were fighting in World War II, but upon their return were denied rights that others enjoyed. Those fundamental discriminations—and many others—are what drove their pursuit of equal rights for all people in Alaska. A few years later, Alaska Governor Ernest Gruening, went on to sign the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act—the nation’s first—into law on February 6, 1945, almost two decades before the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

She closes by reminding the Senate of what the day should stand for:

“Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is also a timely reminder for those of us who serve in the United States Senate. We have an obligation to respond to the calls from our constituents who are seeking protection, including through electoral reforms and improvements for voter access.”

To watch Senator Murkowski’s full floor speech click here to watch.

Indigenous Food Insecurity Examined During a House Rules Committee Meeting

On Friday, during a roundtable discussion titled Ending Hunger in America: Indigenous Nutrition and Food Systems, the House Rules Committee discussed the ongoing issue of food insecurity among Indigenous communities. 

Earlier this week the lawmakers of the Committee sent an inquiry request to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). This request detailed the high levels of food insecurity and hunger in Indian Country. They explained how this results in greater reliance on federal nutrition programs. The committee requested that the GAO assess USDA’s implementation of these nutrition programs in tribal communities and whether there are opportunities for more effective implementation through tribal administration. 

During the discussion, the Committee also called on President Biden once again to gather a national White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health. This would work to create an all-government effort to end hunger and reduce nutrition insecurity. This conference would bring together food banks, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, educators, farmers and ranchers, people with lived experiences, and more to create solutions. 

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

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