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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.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Leaders Praise Selection of Cynthia Chavez Lamar to Lead Museum of the American Indian

The chairman and vice chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs congratulated the incoming director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo) was named  on Wednesday the director of the museum effective Feb.14, 2022.

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Chavaz Lamar previously worked as acting associate director for collections and operations at the NMAI.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, congratulated the new director in the following statement:

“Congratulations to Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar on her new directorship of the National Museum of the American Indian. Dr. Chavez Lamar’s experience, leadership, and historic status as the first Native woman named to head a Smithsonian museum make her a great fit for this important role. I look forward to working together on our shared commitments to Native Americans.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), vice chairwoman of the committee, also expressed her congratulations in a statement: 

“I applaud the selection of Cynthia Chavez Lamar to be the next Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, and for being the first Native woman to hold the position. The NMAI plays a vital role in educating and sharing the knowledge and culture of many Indigenous peoples from across the country for all. It is through dedicated leadership that NMAI can continue its mission. Dr. Chavez Lamar provides years of experience and practice as a curator, scholar, and leader of museum collections and boards which will contribute to her success overseeing NMAI’s collections and facilities.”

Information regarding Chavez Lamar’s career and the description of her new position can be found here.

Offers Sent to Landowners on Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation Through the Buy-Back Program

The Department of Interior announced on Tuesday that close to 1300 landowners with fractional interests at the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation have been sent purchase offers. More than $13 million in purchase offers have been sent through the Land Buy-Back Program for tribal nations. 

Those who have received offers have until March 4, 2022 to respond. If accepted, the offers must be returned in the pre-paid postage envelope provided. 

Interests that are consolidated through the Program are immediately restored to Tribal trust ownership. Buying back these lands can unify reservation lands for Tribal benefit and use. 

There are informational tools available for landowners who were given purchase offers. This information can be found here. Frequently asked questions can be found here. For further inquiries and questions, landowners can contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 or at [email protected]

Census of Agriculture Seeking Native American Involved in Agriculture to Participate

Every five years, the Census of Agriculture counts the number of US farms and ranches, as well as the people who operated them.

The data that the Census of Agriculture collects is absolutely vital to Indian Country. This year, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) wants as many of our Native American farmers, ranchers, gatherers, fishers, and foresters to participate as possible. 

The threshold is low to be considered part of the agriculture industry. Those who have raised or sold $1,000 or more of fruits, vegetables, or livestock can be counted. The Census looks at land use, ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenditures.

Click here to sign up to be counted in the 2022 Census of Agriculture. If you know someone involved in agriculture, make sure that they sign up, too.

To read the 2017 Census of Agriculture, click here. To read the 2017 Census of Agriculture on American Indian Reservations (a subset of the Census of Agriculture) click here.


FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration Launches a New Podcast

On Friday, the U.S. Fire Administration launched its new podcast, “The USFA Podcast”, with the first episode. Each episode will air on a monthly basis and will allow listeners to join our nation’s fire and EMS experts in discussions. 

During these podcasts, fire and EMS experts will discuss things like ISFA programs and other emergency related issues. During Friday’s podcast, Dr. Moore-Merrell and Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover discussed agency programs and their vision for the future. 

The podcast can be subscribed to on Apple or Google Podcasts. To find USFA’s first episode in your feed or visit usfa.fema.gov/podcasts for more information.

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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