Legislation Blog Posts

During this year's Native American Heritage Month, Tribal leaders and high-level White House Officials constructed discourse with respect to issues important in Indian Country.  The 2021 Tribal Nations Summit (the Summit), hosted by the White House, was held on November 15th and 16th. This is the first time the Summit has taken place since 2016. The Summit presented a unique opportunity for nation-to-nation dialogue on support to Tribal communities to create opportunities, advance equity, and address new and long-standing challenges. Topics addressed included Infrastructure, Native languages, climate change and COVID-19. Several members of the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) attended the Summit.

The Summit commenced by releasing the “White House Tribal...

Coming from Minnesota, I never gave a second thought to wearing traditional regalia and an eagle feather at my graduation ceremony. In fact, it was encouraged. It wasn’t until I moved to Arizona that I learned, until recently, students were barred from wearing both. This made me deeply sad and frustrated for the students who were so proud to graduate but were unable to express their pride by wearing their traditional regalia and eagle feathers. However, with the passing of HB2705 in Arizona, students can now wear traditional regalia to their graduation. 

For Arizona Indigenous graduates, HB2705 represents more than the ability to wear traditional regalia during a graduation ceremony....

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 directed the U.S. Treasury to distribute $20 billion directly to Tribal governments through the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund. The legislation gave broad discretion to the Treasury by stating that, “(i) $1 billion is to be allocated equally among eligible Tribal governments and (ii) $19 billion is to be allocated to Tribal governments in a manner determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.”

The Treasury held five Tribal consultations on the distribution of ARP funding throughout March and...

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...

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...

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...

In the fight against COVID-19, tribal nations face many of the same health, education, and economic public policy challenges as non-Native state and local governments. However, they are further hindered by an obstacle course of red tape and administrative misapplications from the federal government that prevents tribes from fully utilizing their sovereign authority and hamper their pandemic defense and recovery strategies. This is an area that some U.S. representatives feel deserves the full attention of Congress and the Administration. 

The House Natural Resources Committee Democrats hosted a virtual roundtable discussion this morning in which members of The House of Representatives listened to leading experts from Indian Country about how federal relief...

 Arizona tribes to get $37 million for COVID-19 affordable housing (April 9, 2020) 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is issuing $37 million to Arizona’s tribes to fund housing needs during the pandemic. In total, the Indian Housing Block Grant, an addition to the CARES Act stimulus package, will provide $200 million to tribes in 35 states. The grants can be used for housing development, operation, and maintenance, modernization of existing housing and housing services to eligible individuals and families. The Navajo Nation will receive the bulk of money in Arizona, with $22.3 million allocated to Window Rock. Other tribes in Arizona that were allocated a larger portion...

Pages