Policy Solution

At this time, the United States government will likely shut down due to Congress not coming together to pass needed legislation through a continuing resolution or the required appropriations bills.  Given this situation, each federal agency has created agency contingency plans.  As Tribal Government relationships with the Federal Government are intertwined, there will be many impacts on Tribal communities.  One area of impact is communications and telecommunications.  The shutdown will affect all agencies and programs in some capacity. This alert addresses programs administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act
S. 1948 and H.R. 4214 (identical)

To promote the academic achievement of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children with the establishment of a Native American language grant program.
Introduced: January 16, 2014
Reported: August 26, 2014 by Mr. Tester with amendment
Reported by Senate Indian Affairs Committee: July 30, 2014

Impending FCC ruling on: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet
GN Docket No. 14-28
FCC 14-61

Adopted: May 15, 2014         Released May, 15, 2014
Comment Date: July 15, 2014
Reply Comment Date: September 10, 2014

By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Clyburn issuing separate statements; Commissioner Rosenworcel concurring and issuing a statement. Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly dissenting and issuing separate statements.

Background Summary:

WC Docket No. 13-184
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) E-Rate Modernization Proposal
 7th Report and Order Modernizing the E-Rate Program for Schools and Libraries
Adopted: July 11, 2014          Released: July 23, 2014
Comment Date: September 15, 2014 
 Reply Comment Date: September 30, 2014

High-speed Internet service is viewed as a critical component of the nation’s infrastructure and an economic driver, particularly to remote tribal communities. However, in 2015, FCC reported that the lack of service in tribal areas presents impediments. GAO was asked to review the status of high-speed Internet on tribal lands.

According to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, an estimated 35 percent of residents of Tribal landsi lacked access to broadband speeds at 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25 Mbps/3 Mbps)ii, which is the U.S. standard. Comparatively, the majority of the U.S. population has access to high-speed broadband at or above the standard with just 8 percent without a broadband connectioniii. Since the early 2000’s, Tribes have lagged behind the rest of the U.S.

The Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA) became Public Law 115-264 on October 11, 2018.  Title II of the MMA carries important Tribal implications for recordings pre-dating 1972, which could potentially increase public access to sound recordings for noncommercial purposes.  This raises serious concerns regarding public access and use of collections of sound recordings made of Tribal ceremonies, songs, oral histories, and languages. 

The Akimel O’otham (Pima) are well-known for their innovation and industriousness when it comes to water management in the desert. Prior to European contact, they – and their Huhugam ancestors before them – constructed hundreds of miles of canals to control water flow and multiply the production capacity of their farmlands. Today, the Gila River Indian Community is building on that legacy, using wireless technology to conserve water and harness the full potential of its canal system.  

Subscribe to Policy Solution