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 this past week.

$21 Million investment in Tribal Communities

This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)announced a $21 million investment for Tribal transportation safety improvements. 

70 Tribes will be a part of the recipients, and 93 projects are being funded. These projects will help improve road safety on Tribal lands, where traffic accidents occur more frequently. 

The funds come form the FHWA’s Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund. 16 of the Tribes who received funding have not previously participated in the program. 

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BIA  Announces $2.5M in Grants to Develop Tribal Energy Resources

Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland announced this past week that the Tribal Energy Development Capacity Grant Program awarded more than $2.5 million to federally recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native entities to develop Tribal energy resources.

"These grants will assist Tribes in building capacity to manage energy development in their communities. As we look to a sustainable future, it is important that Tribes can regulate and benefit from energy development in their communities,” said Assistant Secretary Newland. “By empowering Tribes to build this capacity, we are supporting Tribal sovereignty and economic development, and helping make lives better for people in Tribal communities.” The Tribal Energy Development Capacity Grant Program is a competitive, discretionary grant program that seeks to develop the Tribal management, organizational, and technical capacity Tribes need to maximize the economic impact of energy resource development on Indian land.

Every year, the program awards funding that provides Tribes with necessary resources to develop or enhance Tribal policies, codes, regulations, or ordinances related to energy resources, including land-lease regulations for energy development purposes in accordance with the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act, also known as the HEARTH Act.

“These important grants provide Tribes with the opportunity to receive financial assistance to evaluate the energy and mineral resource potential of their lands,” said Acting Bureau of Indian Affairs Deputy Bureau Director for Trust Services Trina Lock

The ANA is Accepting Grants to Preserve and Maintain Native Languages

The Administration for Native Americans (ANA) is accepting applications for grant programs supporting Native language preservation, revitalization, and instruction.

The Native American Language P&M Grants focus on Native language assessments, as well as curriculum and educational project planning, design, restoration, and implementation. The Esther Martinez Immersion Grants support immersion-based linguistic instruction provided in either a Native American Language Nest or Native American Survival School. Both grant awards may range from $100,000 to $300,000.

Applications are due March 31, 2023 via www.grants.gov.

Health Resources and Services Administration to Hold Listening Session 

On February 7, HRSA will host a listening session on access barriers that Tribes and Tribal population serving organizations have encountered in relation to the Health Center Program. HRSA is conducting the listening session as part of an equity assessment of the program. 

Tribal leaders are invited to join the virtual session at 4:00pm EST by registering HERE.

HHS Seeking Nominations for the Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee 

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is re-opening the nomination process for select Primary and Alternate positions on the STAC. The STAC meets quarterly with HHS leadership to discuss Department programs, policies, and budget issues impacting Tribes and Indian Country. The vacancies open for nominations are:

  •       Billings Area Alternate
  •       California Area Primary and Alternate
  •       Navajo Area Primary and Alternate
  •       Tucson Area Primary and Alternate

Nominees must be either elected or appointed Tribal officials acting in their official capacity, or be a designee authorized to act on behalf of the Tribal official. Nominations are encouraged no later than February 22, 2023. Please see the attached Dear Tribal Leader Letter for more details. 

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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