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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.

Two Women Senators Applaud Release of Not Invisible Act Commission Recommendations

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV),  who sits on the Committee on Indian Affaris, applauded the release of the Not Invisible Act Commission's report on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. 

The report contains dozens of recommendations for the federal government to immediately address the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). The report is a statutory requirement of her Not Invisible Act, bipartisan legislation Cortez Masto wrote with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to combat the MMIW crisis that was signed into law along with their Savanna’s Act. It calls for action to improve safety for American Indian and Alaska Natives through prevention, coordination, justice, victim support and law enforcement.

“All Native people deserve safety and access to justice, but for too long Native communities have faced a reality of violence and victimization,” Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. “I was honored to work with advocates to help usher into law the Not Invisible Act, and thank all of the commissioners for their hard work and the extraordinary amount of time and energy involved in developing these recommendations. I look forward to reviewing the Commission’s recommendations and continuing our work to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous people.”

“Protecting Tribal communities in Nevada is one of my top priorities in the Senate, and I am grateful to see the Not Invisible Act Commission recommending a comprehensive and sustained response to address the MMIW epidemic,” Senator Cortez Masto said “There’s so much more to be done to address this crisis, and I look forward to continue working to ensure these recommendations are implemented to deliver justice and resources to Native communities.”  

IHS & EPS Engage with SWANA & ITEP to Improve Tribal Solid Waste

The Indian Health Service (IHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have engaged with Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) to improve the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of tribal solid waste programs in the United States.

The government recognizes that tribal environmental program staff need exposure to a diverse range of training to develop competencies to safely operate, maintain, and manage solid waste facilities and programs.

In the first phase of this work, SWANA and ITEP are developing the foundational framework for two certificate programs – one for solid waste operators, another for solid waste managers. Our collaboration includes meeting with tribal solid waste professionals to identify the basic competencies needed by operators and managers in a variety of solid waste management areas.

From there, SWANA and ITEP will identify the appropriate number of trainings and development hours for ideal exposure to core competency concepts and create a list of trainings currently in existing SWANA, ITEP, or other catalogs that support the development of the core competencies.

This special project furthers SWANA’s ongoing commitment to improving tribal solid waste practices and programs. Past efforts have included providing technical support to the Oglala Sioux Tribe; building an integrated solid waste management systems course for tribal nations; and, most recently, delivering zero waste training to the Owens Valley Indian Water Commission.

SAMSHA Sets Tribal Consultation on Tribal Opioid Response

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) Consultation: SAMHSA is consulting with Tribes on the TOR grant funding methodology. Specifically, SAMHSA is seeking Tribal input on alternate funding methodologies for the program. The agency has prepared a series of guiding questions to facilitate the consultation, which are reviewable in this Federal Register announcement. The virtual consultation will take place on November 9 at 2:00pm EST. Written comments may also be submitted until 5:00pm EST on November 23 to otap@samhsa.hhs.gov. 

IHS to Host Virtual Summit on Health Information Technology

IHS Health Information Technology (HIT) Modernization Virtual Summit: IHS is convening a virtual summit on its HIT Modernization initiative on December 13, beginning at 11:00am EST. The summit will discuss the status of the Resource and Patient Management System modernization effort, including a new Electronic Health Record. More information is forthcoming. Zoom registration is available here.

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