Indian Country Blog Posts

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...

Indian Country has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, largely due to existing inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. Inadequate healthcare, a lack of housing, and underdeveloped infrastructure increased the severity of COVID-19 in Tribal communities. This resulted in an infection rate four times higher, and tragically, mortality rates twice that of other populations. The pandemic’s disproportionate impact emphasizes the importance of addressing underlying systemic inequality as the threat of COVID-19 slowly dissipates and we attempt a return to a ‘new normal’.  

Despite the pandemic’s severity, Indian Country has risen to meet every challenge head-on. Over the past year, Tribal Nations worked tirelessly to efficiently utilize available resources and find innovative ways to...

Phoenix, Ariz. — The American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) is excited to share that Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) (Laguna Pueblo) has been confirmed as the 54th Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. Rep. Haaland makes history as the first Native American to serve as Interior Secretary--the department that most directly impacts Indian Country. 

Today’s confirmation of Deb Haaland to serve as Secretary of the Interior is a day all of Indian Country will celebrate and remember.  Today is the first day in the history of these United States that a Native American will serve in a Presidential Cabinet and lead the Department of the Interior – the...

February was a busy and chaotic month, but in the best way possible. Whether our team attended legislative sessions and conferences, or participated in town hall meetings and committees, it became obvious that a particular theme permeated the atmosphere: hope, or in the Chickasaw language, anhi

Anhi (Hope). That is how I feel when I see the phenomenal vaccination programs organized in Tribal communities; simultaneously working to eradicate COVID-19, and also the perception that we are not capable of managing our own affairs. It’s a feeling of comfort in knowing that we are taking care of our elders, the cultural caretakers and language guardians of our traditions. It is the same hope our...

Who can believe it’s already February 2021?  January was an extraordinarily busy policy month with changes that would give anyone whiplash. As our new crew gets up to speed, we look to onboard another this month as we continue to grow.  Watch for an announcement at the end of the month with introductions and a program launch.

In the coming days and weeks, look for our 116th Congressional Report Card for the 2nd Session to be published on Thursday, February 4, 2021.  Our 2021 Policy Priorities Document is forthcoming as well as our 2020 Annual Report.

Right now we’re hunkered down reading, researching, attending webinars, consulting with Tribal leaders, and watching the news as we learn what...

The AIPI are saddened to hear of the loss of Arizona state lawmaker and former Navajo Nation President, Albert Hale. Hale’s dedication to public service is an inspiration to all of us and will continue to influence our work. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time. We join those who mourn his loss, and we want to take a moment to recognize a few of Hale’s many significant accomplishments.

 Hale was born in 1950 on the Navajo Nation in Ganado, AZ. He graduated from Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) boarding school at the time. He went on to...

Arizona State Representative Arlando Teller (D-7) has resigned to take a position with the Biden administration. Teller is the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs with the Department of Transportation. “It has been a privilege to represent my constituents in District 7,” wrote Rep. Teller (Navajo) in his resignation letter (see below). “I am honored and humbled to have been selected by President Biden to work for his administration,” added Teller, a member of the State Legislature since 2019. 

During his tenure in the State Legislature, Rep. Teller served as a member of the Study Committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and sponsored numerous Bills aimed...

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