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 last week.

President Approves Major Disaster Declaration for the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians

FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians to supplement tribal recovery efforts in the areas affected by the severe storm and flooding March 11-16, 2023.

Public assistance federal funding is available to tribal governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storm and flooding on tribal lands.

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Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures.

Benigno Bern Ruiz has been named Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas. Additional designations may be made if warranted by the results of further assessments.

Indian Affairs Announces $2.7 Million in Tribal Broadband Grants

The Indian Affairs Office of Indian Economic Development announced $2.7 million on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in National Tribal Broadband Grants to 18 tribes and tribal organizations.

The National Tribal Broadband Grant Program provides the opportunity for Tribes to receive funding to explore developing or extending broadband services in their communities to spur economic development and commercial activity, create opportunities for self-employment, enhance educational resources and remote learning opportunities, and meet emergency and law enforcement needs.

“Indian Affairs recognizes internet access is essential to Tribal sovereignty, economic development, education, public safety, and cultural preservation,” Office of Indian Economic Development Director Onna LeBeau said. “This funding will promote economic development in Indian Country as we work to close the digital divide.”

The grants, ranging in value from $120,000 to $175,000, will provide funding for two years to perform feasibility studies for the installation or expansion of high-speed internet. The feasibility study may be used to assess the current broadband services, if any, that are available to an applicant's community; an engineering assessment of new or expanded broadband services; an estimate of the cost of building or expanding a broadband network; a determination of the transmission media that will be employed; identification of potential funding or financing for the network; and consideration of financial and practical risks associated with developing a broadband network.

All awarded grantees can be viewed at https://www.bia.gov/service/grants/ntbg.  Questions about this award may be addressed to Mr. Dennis Wilson, Grant Management Specialist, at 505-917-3235 or [email protected].

The U.S. Treasury to Host Tribal Consultation on the Tax Status of Tribally Chartered Corporations

The U.S. Trearsury announced it will host a tribal consultation on the tax status of Tribally chartered corporations on Wednesday, June 21, and Thursday, June 22, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm - EDT.

In consultations, Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee meetings, and engagements with Treasury, tribal governments have requested guidance on the tax status of tribally chartered corporations to provide certainty for tribal economic development to support the generation of tribal government revenue.

These requests for guidance have increased as tribal governments have become eligible for tax credits via the elective pay mechanism under the Inflation Reduction Act. During the November 2022 tribal consultations on the Inflation Reduction Act, many tribes requested that their enterprises be able to access these tax credits bringing into question the underlying status of the Federal tax status of Tribally chartered corporations.  

Please see the Dear Tribal Leader Letter for more information, the registration link, and framing questions.

The deadline to submit written comments is Friday, August 18, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.

Tribal Leaders to Meet in a White House Council on Native American Affairs Engagement Session on the Inflation Reduction Act 

The White House and White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) invites tribal leaders to a virtual engagement session with WHCNAA leadership on May 30, 2023, 12:00 noon – 1:30pm EDT, to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act (P.L.117 – 169) and its expansive scope of benefits to Tribal Nations and Native communities. The Inflation Reduction Act is the most significant piece of clean energy and climate legislation in U.S. history with hundreds of millions of dollars exclusively for Tribal Nations and Native communities.

Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Time: 12:00 PM ET- 1:30 PM ET

Registration link: https://pitc.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_27Q7kXEuRqypmcIg-G4YIw

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