President Obama’s FY 2017 Budget Request for Indian Affairs Increases Funding That Supports Strong, Resilient Tribal Nations for Today & Future Generations

President Barack Obama

President Obama at previous White House Tribal Conference

Published February 9, 2016 

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request for Indian Affairs, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), reflects the Administration’s all-of-government approach to meeting the federal government’s responsibilities to the nation’s 567 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and building on the commitment to promote strong, resilient nations for today and for future generations.

“President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request for Indian Affairs embodies his belief that a federal budget that addresses trust and treaty responsibilities with comprehensive, coordinated federal resources promotes strong, resilient tribal nations,” said acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Lawrence S. Roberts.  “I’m very pleased this budget continues the President’s long-standing commitment to our Nation-to-Nation relationship and to our mission of promoting tribal sovereignty for the prosperity of future generations.”

The budget request of $2.9 billion, a $137.6 million increase above the FY 2016 enacted level, provides funding to foster tribal self-determination and self-governance through investments in education for Native youth, support of Indian families, additional public safety resources in tribal communities, restoration and governance of tribal lands and resources, and by fostering tribal resilience to climate change, and promoting tribal cultures.

Creating Opportunities for Native Youth

The FY 2017 budget request for Indian Affairs makes key investments to support Generation Indigenous (“Gen-I”), an initiative launched in 2014 to address barriers to success for Native American youth.  The request supports President Obama’s vision for a 21st century Indian education system that recognizes high quality education as a prerequisite to success in today’s global economy, and tribal government’s role in building an educated and skilled tribal workforce by delivering world-class and culturally appropriate education to Indian Country’s children, youth and adults.

The requested $1.1 billion investment in Indian education supports the BIE’s multi-year transformation into a capacity builder and service provider and includes increased program investments totaling $49.4 million to:

  • Improve opportunities and outcomes in the classroom;
  • Expand multi-generational programs to advance early childhood development;
  • Provide improved educational instructional services and teacher quality;
  • Promote enhanced language and culture programs;
  • Enhance broadband and digital access; and
  • Support tribal control of student education.

The investment continues the FY 2016 commitment with $138.3 million in FY 2017 for education construction programs to replace, repair, and address deferred maintenance needs at the BIE’s 183 elementary and secondary schools.  This funding will support the next BIE replacement school construction list expected early this year.

In continuing to recognize the important role tribal post-secondary institutions play, the request includes an increase of $2 million for the BIE-operated Haskell Indian Nations University and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, and an additional $500,000 for the two tribal technical colleges funded by BIE: United Tribes Technical College and Navajo Technical University.  It also includes $6.8 million in program increases for tribally controlled, post-secondary education scholarships with a focus on recipients seeking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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