Indian Country Blog Posts

Wow! Broadband is a “thing.” I know, I know, it has been for a while now, but the fact that it still is a thing a year later is remarkable. It may sound silly, but it used to be that broadband was such an esoteric topic only discussed in the realm of computer science and IT. Now, broadband is in the top three topics that are important to Tribal communities, Tribal leaders, and pretty much everyone else. After the pandemic and the lockdown, everything has changed. And as someone who specializes in broadband research, it’s still surprising. But then, the world has changed. I am thankful that AIPI was in a...

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a temporary program offered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide affordable access to internet service. The program works with participating internet providers to offer a monthly discount of up to $50 for a single internet connection to qualifying households. This discount may be up to $75 per month for a qualifying household on Tribal lands. Participating internet providers may also offer up to a $100 one-time discount on a laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet through the program.

In order to promote the EBB program, the FCC created the EBB Outreach Toolkit with many helpful resources to assist Tribal organizations, community...

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) granted a total of $31.2 Billion to Indian Country, including the agencies that serve Tribal nations. The bill was signed on March 11, 2021, and federal agencies are still currently working on the disbursement formulas for the ARPA funds.  However, on Friday, April 30, 2021, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) announced their plan to disperse the $900 million appropriated to them in the ARPA.

ARPA funds are intended to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the BIA’s disbursement plan goes to address many of the necessary services that arose during the pandemic. The disbursement plan consists of:

  • $20 million for potable

  • ...

Earlier this year, the AIPI was a partner with the Virginia G. Piper Center For Creative Writing under their prestigious award from the National Institute of the Arts Grant The Big Read.  The goal of this program is to expose communities to diverse books and perspectives they may never have otherwise discovered. So, as a newcomer to Phoenix, when I saw that the Phoenix Indian School was one of the locations and a  part of The NEA Big Read: Phoenix I immediately jumped at the opportunity to view the webinar, and later, tour the school. After listening to the stories from two former students, and...

You may have heard that AIPI is creating an Indigenous Leadership Academy.

Last week on social media, we asked how you say the word, “leader” in your Indigenous language. We heard the word “nongialam” in the Khasi language, “sogemo” in the Abenaki Penobscot language, “nat’aani” in the Navajo language and “tikba’ ishtaya” in Chickasaw . Being from Minnesota where the Dakota and Ojibwe people are, “ogimaa” is leader in the Ojibwe language, and “itancan” is a leader in the Dakota language. As a student of the Dakota language, I encourage Indigenous people to speak their language whenever possible. 

My family and I use “itancan” when hiking. To elaborate, when we start the...

President Biden announced the American Jobs Plan (AJP) on March 31, 2021 to address the longstanding needs facing the U.S. in the areas of infrastructure, jobs, and the economy. These needs existed before the pandemic, but their negative impact was felt much more in the last year. The great and immediate need to solve these issues also presents a unique opportunity to usher society into the future. The ideas that come to mind when one thinks of infrastructure are roads, railways, bridges, and other steel and concrete structures. However, the Biden administration is working to change that notion and expand the idea of infrastructure to include digital connectivity, mitigating...

On April 15 2021, Governor Doug Ducey signed HB2772 into law. The bill, which establishes sports betting, fantasy sports wagering, and other forms of electronic gaming in Arizona, received broad Tribal support. HB2772 also establishes the 2021 Compact Trust Fund -- available to federally-recognized Tribes that are included in the 2021 Gaming Compact Amendment -- to mitigate impacts to Indian Tribes from gaming, and to provide economic benefits to Arizona’s Tribal Nations. The signing of HB2772 coincides with the new 2021 Gaming Compact, also signed by the Governor on Thursday. 

The amended gaming compacts afford Tribes further opportunities to build and operate new gaming properties. At least two...

The American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) is proud to announce the creation of the Indigenous Leadership Academy (ILA) under the leadership of Traci Morris, Ph.D. (Chickasaw Nation). This new initiative is in partnership with the ASU Office of Government & Community Engagement, and with seed funding from Arizona Public Service (APS). The Indigenous Leadership Academy will support emerging Indigenous leaders in expanding their knowledge, skills, and networks to address public policy issues and engagement in the Tribal government, non-profit, and private sectors.

Tribal governments, communities, nonprofits, and enterprises have challenges and objectives that differ from non-Indigenous entities. Today’s emerging leaders must know how to navigate the challenging environments and changing...

This is an exciting time for Indian Country and for AIPI in support of Tribal needs. I’m pleased to announce that we’ve added two more staff members, making AIPI not only Indigenous-led, but also an Indigenous-staffed policy institute.  We’re ramping up our work, and more changes will take place in the future, but for now, please welcome Kristen Talbert (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate), who is running our Indigenous Leadership Academy, and Hannah Trostle (Cherokee Nation), who is AIPI’s Research Professional.  I am extremely excited to have them both on board and with our team.  They’re doing a great job, and are deeply committed to serving Indian Country through their work!  Please read...

P.L. 166-152, or The Great American Outdoors Act, was signed into law on September 4, 2020. The law marks a historic investment of $1.6 Billion into infrastructure projects at National Parks and other Federal facilities. Considering that Secretary Haaland is an outspoken advocate of protecting public lands, it is not surprising that she is in support of this policy, which also includes specific provisions that will impact Indian Country. 

This new law also includes funding for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) by including BIE schools in the list of eligible infrastructure projects. The law is able to fund BIE school projects by creating the National Parks and Public...

Pages