WASHINGTON — The biggest welcome news in Indian Country came on Tuesday morning when President Joe Biden named Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba, who is chief of the Mohegan Tribe, as treasurer of the United States. Chief Malerba is the first ever Native American to hold this postion. Soon her signature will be on the country's currency. 

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.

Rescheduled Joint Hearing on the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to be held on Tuesday

The Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States will hold a joint oversight hearing with the Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. This hearing is titled Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). 

Originally, this hearing was scheduled for May 24, 2022, but there were technical issues that led to it being postponed. It is now being live streamed June 28, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. 

The Government Accountability Office has issued reports on significant concerns at BIE schools since 2013. In 2017 BIE schools were placed on the High-Risk list. In 2016, major facility deficiencies and health and safety concerns–structural and electrical problems, asbestos, radon, mold–were cited in a 2016 U.S. Dept. of the Interior (DOI) report. 

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The purpose of this hearing is to examine how BIE has since responded to these findings and how the COVID-19 pandemic has increased these issues. 

It can be accessed here

Virtual Tribal Consultation Session to Take Place on Tuesday 

The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, and the White House, are inviting tribal leaders to participate in a Virtual Tribal Consultation Session. It will take place June 28, 2022 from 1:30 to 3:30 Eastern Time. 

To register, visit this link. Written feedback is encouraged and can be submitted to [email protected]

These departments are seeking input on strategies to successfully develop and implement a national strategy on hunger, nutrition and health. Specifically, they are seeking input on how to best 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.
Bill Introduced to Transfer Sacred Land from the Forest Service to the Karuk Tribe

Wednesday, Senators Padilla and Feinstein introduced the Katimiîn and Ameekyáaraam Sacred Lands Act.

 If passed, this bill will transfer ownership of sacred lands from the U.S. Forest Service to the Interior Department. The Interior Department will then place those lands into trust for the Karuk Tribe. 

Roughly 1,000 acres of federal land located in Humboldt and Siskiyou counties will be placed into trust. This allows the Karuk to have unrestricted access to these sites which have been used by them for ceremonial purposes for centuries. 

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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