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WASHINGTON — Here is this week's roundup of news and policy updates from Washington, D.C. that affect Indian Country. 

Rep. Sharice Davids Wins Prestigious Democracy Award for ‘Transparency & Accountability

On Tuesday, The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) announced that Representative Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) has won a Democracy Award, a distinctive honor recognizing achievement in operations and constituent service by Members of Congress. Davids has been selected for her outstanding accomplishments in Transparency and Accountability, an award given to one Democrat and one Republican for demonstrating exceptional, meaningful, and robust communications to constituents.

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 “I originally ran for Congress because I wanted to help restore our county’s faith in the federal government, and I have made it clear to my team that we should be as accessible and transparent as possible to those we serve. I am proud of them and the work we get to do. It’s truly an honor,” Davids said.

“As a Democracy Award winner, Rep. Davids’ office is clearly one of the best in Congress,” said Bradford Fitch, President and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation. “This designation demonstrates that Rep. Davids has made a significant commitment to being the best public servant for her constituents in Kansas. Rep. Davids and her staff are to be congratulated for not only being a model for her colleagues in Congress, but for helping to restore trust and faith that our democratic institutions can work.”

Tribal Co-Management of Land, Water & Other Resources Urged by Members of Congress in Letter to Biden

Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) on Wednesday sent a letter with 42 other members of Congress to President Joe Biden asking him to seek opportunities to expand tribal co-management of U.S. public lands, waters, and resources. 

Chair Grijalva also sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an examination of existing efforts among land management agencies to implement tribal co-management practices.

The Biden administration recently re-established the Tribal Nations Summit, with the goal of elevating Indigenous voices in federal decision-making and investing in tribal communities. Agencies across the administration have begun implementing various interagency memoranda and agreements to achieve those goals. Expanding tribal co-management is an important next step in furthering these efforts.

In their letter to President Biden, Chair Grijalva and the other lawmakers highlight specific recommended executive actions to advance tribal co-management. Their recommendations are largely based on expert witness testimony shared at a Natural Resources Committee hearing on March 8. The lawmakers’ suggested actions, which are described in more detail in the letter, include:

  • Utilize existing authorities to expand tribal co-management of federal lands and waters.
  • Promote the use of co-management agreements and/or provisions in land management plans consistent with DOI’s and USDA’s obligations under existing law; and use substantive and enforceable plan provisions to protect tribal treaty rights, cultural resources, and subsistence uses on federal public lands.
  • Ensure thorough execution of all relevant guidance and directives, including those formulated during the Tribal Nations Summit.
  • Incentivize agencies to expand co-management opportunities and to engage in co-management with tribal governments.
  • Provide funding for tribal co-management and simplify the process for entering into these agreements.
  • Examine barriers to expanded tribal co-management and propose solutions.
  • Support the dissemination of tribal co-management best practices and convene a forum to discuss these issues.
  • Identify necessary funding and authorities for expanded co-management relationships and relay those needs to Congress.
NTIA to Host Tribal Consultations on Tribal Broadband

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

will begin a series of Tribal Consultations on the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP). The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provided new funding to supplement the TBCP and will further reduce the digital divide across Indian Country.

Please see below for the Zoom registration information.

Monday, September 12, 2022

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT

Please register here

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

10:00am to 2:00 pm

Please register here

Friday, September 16, 2022

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT

Please register here

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