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WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, President Joe Biden declared Thursday, May 5, 2022 through a proclamation to be Missing Or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, 2022. The next day, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, along with U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, announced the establishment of the Not Invisible Act Commission that will focus on addressing violent crime within Indian lands and against American Indians and Alaska Natives.

 

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.

Chair of Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Releases MMIP Statement

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Brian Schatz (D-HI), released the following statement on Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. 

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“The public safety crisis of Native persons is a stain on our nation’s collective conscience. Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act was a first step, but we have more work to do to restore justice for Native communities. I remain committed to making sure all American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities have strong resources to keep their families safe.”

He also signed on to a Senate resolution that designated May 5, 2022 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The full resolution can be found here

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the Community Reinvestment Act Released

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), signed into law in 1977, is meant to address inequalities in access to credit for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. On Thursday, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued the notice after receiving substantial feedback from stakeholders. 

The purpose is to amend the regulations in implementing the CRA in order to strengthen the achievement of the core purpose of the CRA, and adapt to changes in the banking industry. 

This notice also includes the proposed change to the definition of qualifying activities in “Native Land Areas”. The new definition can be found here on pages 96-103.

A webinar about the notice will be held next week, Wednesday, May 11th at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. The link to register can be found here

The deadline to submit comments on the rulemaking is August 5th, 2022. Any questions or concerns can be sent to Nicholas Lovesee, Senior Policy Advisor, at [email protected]

Indian Health Service Announces New Deputy Director

Benjamin Smith, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, has been named the Indian Health Service’s new Deputy Director at IHS headquarters. He will lead IHS operations to ensure the delivery of quality comprehensive health services. 

IHS Acting Director, Elizabeth Fowler, released says: 

“We are excited that Mr. Smith will be serving in this important new role as deputy director of the Indian Health Service. He has been a consistent leader at IHS headquarters for several years. He has a wealth of experience providing leadership on tribal and urban Indian health issues, and I look forward to working with Mr. Smith on improving quality health care services throughout Indian Country.”  

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Holds Hearing Federal Infrastructure Programs for Native Communities

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing titled, “Setting New Foundations: Implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for Native Communities.” The Committee heard from the administration and experts from Native communities. 

Senator Schatz opened the hearing saying: 

“Federal funding for infrastructure in Native communities across the country has long lagged behind need,” said Chairman Schatz. “[But] thanks to the bipartisan leadership of many on this committee, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains over $11 billion in dedicated resources for Native communities to improve crumbling roads and bridges throughout Indian Country, provide Tribes with access to adequate water and sanitation, enhance broadband service for Native communities and strengthen Tribal climate resiliency, among other critical infrastructure priorities.”

Witness like Wizipan Garriott, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, and The Honorable Mark Mitchell, Chairman, All Pueblo Council of Governors, Albuquerque, NM, and others participated in the hearing. 

To view the full recording of the hearing click here.

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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