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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.

Call for Indigenous Knowledge Student Research Projects

The application period is now open for the Indigenous Knowledge Research Track Program developed by AISES - Advancing Indigenous People in STEM, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Tribal Relations.

This endeavor stems from a cooperative agreement between USDA and AISES to elevate projects that focus on the intersection of Indigenous knowledge (IK) and western science and engineering. Indigenous knowledge is a body of observations, oral and written knowledge, innovations, practices, and beliefs developed by Tribes and Indigenous peoples through interaction and experience with the environment. Today’s announcement encourages high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to develop and conduct Indigenous knowledge research projects. Currently, year one students are conducting research projects on topics such as ethnobotany, mental health, and traditional medicine.

Selected applicants will be supported in their project and skill development journey through a $300 stipend to support IK research project activities, monthly webinars on IK topics from leaders in the field, and access to IK resources and Indian Country and USDA mentors. Additionally, participating students will be encouraged to present their research at the 2024 AISES National Conference in the Indigenous Knowledge Research Track and other events. 

Up to 20 students will be selected this application cycle. Eligible applicants include current high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in the United States. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 8, 2024. Awardees will be notified by the end of March. If interested, please complete the Indigenous Knowledge Track Research Program Application.

For questions and comments regarding the application or program, contact Sky Wildcat at [email protected].

Reo. Peltola applauds passage of the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which provides a three-year expansion to multiple tax credit programs, including the Child Tax Credit. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), the first elected Native Alaskan to serve in Congress, issued the following statement regarding the bill's passage:

“This bill is a major win for families all across Alaska, and I’m glad that the House was able to come together in a bipartisan way to pass this important legislation. As a mother of seven, the Child Tax Credit was extremely helpful to me during the pandemic, as it was for many other parents. The expanded credit in this bill will help nearly 32,000 Alaskan children and lift many families out of poverty. This bill also provides important credits to incentivize research and development for businesses to create jobs and grow our economy, and I will continue to push for the reinstatement of credits for our fishing fleets and processors to provide meals and worker housing, as well as clarifying tax exemptions for fishing-related investments from Alaskan CDQ (Community Development Quota) groups. Alaska is a big place with unique needs, and this tax bill is a step in the right direction. With this vote, Congress has shown once again that when we put partisanship aside, we can make real change.”  

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 text can be found here.

FCC Seeks Comment on the Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program

On November 13, 2023, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on its proposal to establish a pilot program to learn more about cybersecurity and advanced firewall services that could help K-12 schools and libraries protect their broadband networks and data, while also ensuring that limited Universal Service funds are utilized in the most effective manner. 

The pilot program proposes to provide funding to eligible K-12 schools and libraries to defray the costs of qualifying cybersecurity and advanced firewall services to protect their broadband networks and data from the growing number of school and library-focused cyber events.  As proposed, this pilot program would provide up to $200 million over three years, and would be funded through the Universal Service Fund (USF), but budgeted separately from the Commission’s other USF programs.

The reply comment deadline is February 27, 2024.

If you would like to file comments, you may file them using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), under proceeding WC Docket No. 23-234.

 

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