February 2018 was a fast-paced month with a week spent in Washington D.C. participating in NCAI's Executive Winter Session and the ancillary associated meetings. We invite you to read on about our social embeddeness and policy work. If you would to go even deeper into policy, please contact us about receiving our monthly Legislative Newsletter.
AIPI Staff Attends NCAI Executive Council Winter Session
The National Congress of American Indians hosted its 2018 Executive Council Winter Session meeting in Washington, DC on February 12-15. NCAI President Jefferson Keel (Lt. Governor, Chickasaw Nation) provided the annual State of Indian Nations, which highlighted the economic impact Tribes have on local and state economies while also focusing on policy changes needed to support Tribal infrastructure, agriculture, and workforce development.
Following the State of Indian Nations Address, the 2018 Executive Council Winter Session meeting commenced and AIPI staff attended a session focused on the upcoming Farm Bill Reauthorization for discussions on the legislative priorities for Tribal agriculture and rural development. Throughout the week, leadership from Congress and the Administration addressed Tribal leaders and others in attendance on a variety of issues, which included Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman, Senator John Hoeven, and House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Chairman, Representative Don Young. Specifically highlighted by Members of Congress included the need to pass the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, Tribal parity in taxes, Tribal inclusion in any upcoming infrastructure bill, reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, support for Native Veterans housing, the preservation of the Bears Ears National Monument, and many more issues.
AIPI Staff Attends FCC Listening Session on Tribal Telecommunications Issues
Following the NCAI Executive Council Winter Session meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hosted a Listening Session to provide updates on bureau actions and rulemakings relevant to Tribes. The meeting was assembled by the FCC's Office of Native Affairs and Policy and included an introduction of the Office's new Chief, Matthew Duchesne, followed by remarks from Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioner Michael O'Reilly, Commissioner Brendan Carr, and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. Bureau Chiefs from the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Wireline Competition Bureau, and the Media Bureau, all provided updates on issues ranging from Section 106, National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) review of cell tower placements affecting Tribal sacred sites, access to commercial wireless and radio spectrum licenses, and upcoming auctions for the Connect America Fund.
Tribal leadership and technical experts in attendance stressed the continued need of a "Tribal Broadband Factor" adopted in the High Cost Fund to reinstate vital subsidies that support modern communications deployment in high cost, rural, insular, and Tribal lands--an issue that has remained unresolved for over a year. Additionally, Tribal attendees contended that industry efforts to reform the Sec. 106 NHPA review process for cell tower placement on lands holding cultural and religious significance to Tribes would severely undermine Tribal efforts to protect sacred places and, if needed, repatriate cultural items or remains. The Lifeline program was also heavily discussed as Tribes are concerned that recent efforts to reform the Tribal portion of the program would deprive many low-income residents of Tribal lands from accessing the enhanced subsidy that provides a monthly discount for phone or cell phone access.
National RES Las Vegas | Las Vegas, NV | March 5-8, 2018
Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market | Phoenix, AZ | March 3-4, 2018
NAFOA 2018 Wells Fargo Sophomore Leaders Conference | Chandler, AZ | March 7-8, 2018
NAFOA 2018 Wells Fargo Sophomore Leaders Conference | Charlotte, NC | March 15-16, 2018
NCAI Tribal Interior Budget Council Meeting | Washington, DC | March 20-22, 2018
Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Conference | Scottsdale, AZ | April 5-6, 2018
Phoenix Indian Center's Annual Silver & Turquoise Ball | Scottsdale, AZ | April 14, 2018
National Indian Child Welfare Association Annual Conference | Anchorage, AK | April 15-18, 2018
NAFOA 36th Annual Conference | New Orleans, LA | April 23-24, 2018
NIGA - Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention | Albuquerque, NM | April 22-26, 2018
Native American & Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) Conference | UCLA | May 17-19, 2018
AMERIND Risk & NAIHC Convention & Tradeshow | San Diego, CA | May 30-June 1, 2018