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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.

President Biden Extends the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act for Two Years

President Joe Biden extended the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) on Tuesday. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer applauded the extension.

The current Act was set to expire in July 2022.

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The two-year extension provides more time to work with congressional members on a long-term solution that would extend the Act until 2040, expand downwinder eligibility based on geographic residency and expand the range of years that can be used for calculating exposure for certain individuals working in uranium mines, mills, or transporting uranium ore. 

In March, President Nez met with members of both political parties in Washington, D.C., to advocate and speak in support of the affected Navajo families and the Navajo Uranium Radiation Victims Committee. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act was first enacted in 1990, then amended in 2000, and is set to expire in July of this year. 

Grand Canyon Protection Act discussed at the Senate Public Lands, Forests, & Mining Subcommittee Hearing

The bill, introduced by Senator Sinema and Senator Mark Kelly, would permanently withdraw from development more than one million acres of federal land near the Grand Canyon. It will also require a study that will assess the availability of domestically sourced uranium for national security purposes. Overall, this bill prioritizes the protection of Arizona’s water supply, outdoor recreation and tourism industries, and tribal communities. 

The Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee is now considering the legislation. Senator Sinema worked alongside the Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, and local stakeholders to develop this organization. 

Senator Sinema’s full statement stating the importance of her bill can be found here.

Tribal leaders invited to consultation with the Department of Homeland Security

 A virtual consultation is being held to discuss the implementation of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments of November 6, 2000; and Executive Order 14053, Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People of November 15, 2021.

Tribal leaders are being invited to attend in order to provide input and recommendations. The agenda for consultation sessions are as follows:

SCHEDULED CONSULTATION SESSIONS

Monday, June 18, 2022, 2:00 ET, 1:00 CT, 12:00 MT, 11:00 PT, 10:00 AK

Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 3:00 ET, 2:00 CT, 1:00 MT, 12:00 PT, 11:00 AK 

  • Phone only - 855-852-7677    Pin: 6889430

Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 3:00 ET, 2:00 CT, 1:00 MT, 12:00 PT, 11:00 AK

Wednesday, July 27, 2022, 12:00 ET, 11:00 CT, 10:00 MT, 9:00 PT, :00 AK

Thursday, July 28, 2022, 4:00 ET, 3:00 CT, 2:00 MT, 1:00 PT, 12:00 AK 

  • Phone only - 855-852-7677    Pin: 6889430

Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 12:00 ET, 11:00 CT, 10:00 MT, 9:00 PT, :00 AK

Virtual Listening Session on “Cannabis in Indian Country” to be Held 

On June 17 at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will be holding a virtual listen session to discuss national cannabis reform legislation. 

The SCIA is seeking comments from Tribal leaders, their designees, and other experts from Native communities in Tribal cannabis commerce and related equities. 

To register for this session, please click here. The link to submit written comments can be found here. Registration for this session is encouraged to be done as soon as possible. Additional written comments will be accepted until July 8. Submit comments can be submitted to [email protected]

Tribal Consultation on Hunger, Nutrition and Health Set

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with the White House, please see the attached invitation from Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine, inviting you to participate in a virtual Tribal Consultation Session on June 28, 2022 (1:30-3:30pm EDT) to seek your input on strategies to successfully develop and implement a national strategy on hunger, nutrition, and health.

Purpose. The Biden-Harris Administration has launched an effort to end hunger by 2030 and to increase healthy eating and physical activity so that fewer Americans get chronic diseases — like heart disease and diabetes. This effort will include a White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to find solutions to these challenges. At the conference, scheduled for September, the Biden-Harris Administration will announce a Plan encouraging the public and private sectors to work together to transform the food and physical activity environments in the United States. The goal is to help end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity, and eliminate disparities.

Framing Paper. In advance of the Tribal Consultation, federal officials will share a Framing Paper that incorporates the concerns, challenges, and recommendations we have already heard from Indian Country to date related to indigenous nutrition, foodways, and food insecurity and discuss how we can build off your previous comments to do the following:

  1. Improve food access and affordability: End hunger by making it easier for everyone — including urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities — to access and afford food. For example, expand eligibility for and increase participation in food assistance programs and improve transportation to places where food is available.
  2. Integrate nutrition and health: Prioritize the role of nutrition and food security in overall health, including disease prevention and management, and ensure our health care system addresses the nutrition-related needs of all people.
  3. Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices: Foster environments that enable all people to easily make informed healthy choices ¾ increase access to healthy food, encourage healthy workplace and school policies, and invest in public messaging and education campaigns that are culturally appropriate and resonate with specific communities.
  4. Support physical activity for all: Make it easier for people to be more physically active ¾ in part by ensuring everyone has access to safe places to get active ¾ increase awareness of the benefits of physical activity, and conduct research on and measure physical activity.
  5. Enhance nutrition and food security research: Improve nutrition metrics, data collection, and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity, access, and disparities.

We look forward to your feedback on the important next steps that we can take achieve the five pillars listed above. The Tribal Consultation date, time, and virtual platform are included below.

TRIBAL CONSULTATION (VIRTUAL)

June 28, 2022 at 1:30-3:30 PM EDT

Zoom Registration: https://roseliassociates.zoomgov.com/j/1612811428?pwd=UlMrV3dRQWZvWlhEbEJGMzl2MUk4UT09

We also invite tribes to share written feedback and recommendations to us at [email protected] by July 15, 2022. Thank you for your support and partnership as we work to develop a national strategy on hunger, nutrition, and health. I look forward to our discussion.

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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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