The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) on Friday praised President Biden’s new executive order that addresses racial inequity in underserved communities. 

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a new executive order, “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

The executive order is intended to address systemic barriers that hold communities of color back from prospering. 

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

“The President’s decision to sign the Executive Order to Strengthen Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Across the Federal Government builds upon a number of initiatives in recent years to help improve Native peoples’ access to the programs, opportunities, and services that many take for granted,” NCAI President Fawn Sharp (Quinault Indian Nation) said in a statement to Native News Online on Friday.

“NCAI stands ready and willing to continue working with both the Administration and Congress to maximize these opportunities—and others like them—to bring about meaningful and lasting positive change for our people,” Sharp said.

Thursday’s executive order is the second directive by the President to address racial inequity. Biden on his first day in office signed Executive Order 13985, which directed funding to places like tribes and historically Black colleges and universities and programs to close the racial disparity gaps in employment and housing opportunities.

While limited successes, Biden feels the federal government needs to better address the racial inequity issue.

“Members of underserved communities — many of whom have endured generations of discrimination and disinvestment — still confront significant barriers to realizing the full promise of our great Nation, and the Federal Government has a responsibility to remove these barriers,” Biden said in a statement.

The new executive order asks federal agencies to create annual plans that explain what steps they’ll take to "address the barriers underserved communities may face in accessing and benefiting from the agency’s policies.”

The executive order says “achieving racial equity and support for underserved communities is not a one-time project. It must be a multi-generational commitment, and it must remain the responsibility of agencies across the Federal Government.” 

The order defines underserved communities to include: Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; women and girls; LGBTQI+ persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; persons who live in United States Territories; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. 

“It is imperative to reject the narrow, cramped view of American opportunity as a zero-sum game,” Biden said. “When any person or community is denied freedom, dignity, and prosperity, our entire Nation is held back.  But when we lift each other up, we are all lifted up.”

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (March 26, 2023): D.C. Briefs
State-Funded Charter School Says Native 1st-Grader's Traditional Hair Violates Dress Code
Rep. Peltola, Sen. Mullin Introduce Legislation to Protect 2nd Amendment Rights of Native Americans
Navajo Nation Mourns Loss of Former President Ben Shelly
Native American Church Chapter Sues Bank for Racial and Religious Discrimination

12 years of Native News

This month, we celebrate our 12th year of delivering Native News to readers throughout Indian Country and beyond. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]