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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.

 Legislation Introduced to  Protect Tribal Self-Governance in Meat Processing Operations

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced the bipartisan Promoting Regulatory Independence, Mastery, and Expansion (PRIME) for Meat Processing Act to foster greater tribal control over meat processing operations in Indian Country. If passed, the bill would extend Tribal government’s self-governance authority to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Both senators are members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Mullin is a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

The PRIME Act would amend the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (ISDEAA) to provide tribes with the opportunity to enter self-governance contracts with the FSIS for meat processing inspection, keeping processing local and available and facilities running smoothly and safely.

“Oklahoma is home to four of the twelve Tribal meat processing facilities in the United States,” Mullin said. “Given their operation in rural areas, these facilities are often booked for months, or even years in advance, leaving few processing options for Tribal producers. The extension of self-governance authority to the Food Safety Inspection Service at the USDA will help Tribes expand production, capacity, and support a reliable food supply in their communities. Thank you to Senator Smith for joining me on this important legislation.” 

“Supporting Native farmers and producers helps expand access to healthy Indigenous foods and spur economic development in Minnesota and around the country,” Smith said. “Tribal Nations in Minnesota have been working to restore buffalo herds on their lands, but meat processing options are often limited. This bipartisan legislation would help keep processing options local and available by expanding Tribal control over meat processing operations in Indian Country. This kind of self-governance policy helps federal dollars work more efficiently for the people they serve.”

This legislation is endorsed by the Native Farm Bill Coalition, Inter-Tribal Agriculture Council, and Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council.

Full bill text can be found here.

IHS Awards $1.2 Million in Tribal Management Grants to Support Tribal Self-Determination

 The Indian Health Service has awarded over $1.2 million in tribal management grants to 12 tribes as part of a competitive program to develop and improve tribal capacity to manage health programs under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.

The Tribal Management Grant Program is designed to prepare tribes and tribal organizations for assuming all or part of existing IHS programs, functions, services and activities, and to further develop and improve their health management capabilities. The program consists of four project types with funding amounts and project periods: Feasibility Study; Planning; Evaluation Study; and Health Management Structure.

The following tribes and tribal organizations received funding:

Grant Recipient




Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.




Chemehuevi Indian Tribe

Havasu Lake



Southern Indian Health Council, Inc.




Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

El Cajon



Benewah Medical Center dba Marimn Health




Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

Great Falls



Pueblo of Laguna


New Mexico


Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma




Coquille Indian Tribe

North Bend



Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation




Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians




Sokaogon Chippewa Community




“At the Indian Health Service, we recognize that tribal leaders and members are in the best position to understand the health care needs and priorities of their communities,” said IHS Director Roselyn Tso. “The IHS Tribal Management Grants are a critical component in assisting our tribal partners with building health care management capacity and ensuring the tools are in place for a successful transition of programs and services.”

HHS Issues Consumer Alert on Fraudulent Schemes Targeting Native Americans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued the following consumer alert on fraudulent schemes targeting American Indians and Alaska Natives in relation to behavioral treatment centers:

"Scammers and syndicate groups have been targeting vulnerable AI/ANs to fraudulently bill for addiction treatment services that were never provided, as well as to steal personal and medical information. The schemes have typically involved enrolling AI/ANs in phony treatment centers or substance abuse counseling that are shells for Medicaid billing fraud and even human trafficking. OIG's Consumer Alert highlights the methods used by these scammers, which are suspected of defrauding Medicaid of millions of dollars in the State of Arizona alone."

U.S. Surgeon General Issues Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is calling the attention of America to current evidence on the impacts of social media on children and adolescents. His Advisory discusses the ample evidence that while social media may have certain benefits, it presents profound risks of harm to the mental health and well-being of youth.

According to the report, up to 95% of youth ages 13-17 report using a social media platform, with more than a third saying social media is used "almost constantly." The Surgeon General urges action to create safe and healthy digital environments to minimize harm and safeguard youth mental health. Practical steps that can be taken as a family are presented, as well as recommendations for policymakers and technology companies.




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