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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.

Department, Hualapai Tribal Leaders Celebrate Historic Indian Water Rights Settlement

Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland joined members of the Hualapai Tribe late yesterday for a celebration of the Tribe’s historic $312 million water rights settlement.

The Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2022, the first Indian water rights settlement enacted during the Biden-Harris administration, settled the Tribe’s water rights claims in Arizona and was the result of over a decade of negotiations between the federal government, Tribal leaders, state of Arizona, and other parties. The law approved a settlement agreement that will provide much needed water to the Tribe and established a $312 million trust fund for the Tribe to develop water infrastructure on its reservation. The settlement’s provisions will help provide certainty to the Tribe and surrounding communities regarding access to water resources, enable Tribal economic growth, and promote Tribal sovereignty and self-sufficiency.

"Water rights have been, and continue to be, a priority for the Biden-Harris administration. This is one of the many areas in which we are working to uphold the federal government’s trust responsibility to Tribes,” Assistant Secretary Newland said. “This investment in and commitment to Indian Country, while long overdue, is unprecedented. It has led to real change on the ground in many Tribal communities, including right here at Hualapai.”

To date the Biden-Harris administration has allocated more than $3.1 billion to fund Indian water rights settlements, more than any other administration in history.

E-Rate 2024 Tribal Library Pilot Program Launch - September 7th Webinar

FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and the Office of Native Affairs and Policy are hosting an informational webinar announcing the launch of the E-Rate Funding Year 2024 Tribal Library Pilot Program.  This webinar will provide an overview of the Tribal Library Pilot Program and explain how you can apply.  You will also hear from two participants from last year’s Pilot Program.  Attendees are encouraged to bring your questions or send them in advance. 

The Tribal Library Pilot Program provides one-on-one technical assistance for Tribal libraries through all phases of the E-Rate application and reimbursement processes.  Based upon the positive responses and feedback received from participants from last year’s Pilot Program, the FCC is continuing the Pilot to provide support for Tribal libraries, including Tribal College and University libraries, that seek to participate in the E-Rate program and receive funding for the upcoming 2024 Funding Year. 

Official registration is not required for this event, but recommended.  To register, please send an email message to [email protected] with “Sept. 7 Tribal Library Webinar” in the subject line.  Prior to this event, questions can be submitted by sending an email to [email protected]

For additional information about the event please contact Lloyd Collier at [email protected].  We encourage all interested attendees to review the event webpage, where you can find the Public Notice announcing this webinar and other useful information: https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2023/09/e-rate-funding-year-2024-tribal-library-pilot-program-launch-webinar

Webinar Information:

Date:  Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023

Time:  2:00pm Eastern (1:00pm Central; 12:00pm Mountain; 11:00am Pacific; 10:00am Alaska)

Duration:  30 minutes (2:00pm-2:30pm Eastern)

How to connect: 

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://fcc-gov.zoomgov.com/j/1602645712?pwd=YkxlaWl5Z1p2RVY3VmVWSkROckdEUT09

Passcode: 860619

Forest Service Announces New Funding Opportunity

The USDA Forest Service is sharing the first competitive funding opportunity through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for Forest Landowner Support programs. This funding opportunity is the first in a series of competitive funding opportunities tied to IRA Forest Landowner Support. 

Tribal lands held in trust are eligible to apply, and an application assistance webinar will be held September 7, 2023, at 3 pm Eastern Time. Tribal leaders, grant departments, and land program managers are encouraged to attend and ask questions. A related funding announcement that will be exclusive to tribes and tribal organizations will be released in the coming months. 

USDA Updates Livestock Disaster Payment Rate to Assist Producers Hard-Hit by Heat and Humidity

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) payment rate is being updated to assist livestock producers in the Midwest who have lost cattle due to the excessive heat and humidity this summer. The 2023 LIP payment rate for beef calves over 800 pounds will rise from $1244 per head to $1618 in order to better compensate ranchers and reflect a trend toward heavier cattle weights in feedlots, an increase of $374.

“The recent heat domes plaguing many parts of the country have proven to be unsurvivable for some animals and temperatures are not expected to let up any time soon. This is one of the latest, many examples of how a changing climate is creating immediate challenges for farmers and ranchers, and we’re finding that our emergency relief programs need to adapt accordingly,” FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said.“

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