Native News Weekly (January 9, 2022): DC Briefs

WASHINGTON – In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a look at other articles published in Washington, DC that have impacted the Indian country over the past week.

Senator Tina Smith leads Senate hearing on expanding economic development in underserved communities

Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), who sits on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, led the Senate Subcommittee’s hearing on Housing, Transportation and Community Development on Friday to discuss two bills that deal with economic disparities in struggling communities and the expansion of financial services and capital investments in tribal lands, rural communities and among people of color.

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Many witnesses testified in favor of this bill, including a few:

  • Lakota Vogel – Executive Director, Four Band Community Fund
  • Frank Altman – Founder and CEO, Community Reinvestment Fund
  • John Holdsclaw – President, Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions

The bills would strengthen and expand Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) that include indigenous CDFIs, which play an important role in providing capital and financial services to a wide range of underserved communities. These communities include everything from urban areas to small towns and rural communities to tribal lands.

The first bill, the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Improvement Act, if passed, will enhance, expand and make permanent an effective program that will allow CDFIs to access stable and long-term funding.

The second, the Native American Rural Homeownership Improvement Act, will help Indigenous families living in rural areas access homeownership by developing a program that supports access to mortgages for Native Americans.

The Federal Communications Commission launched the Affordable Connectivity Program

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a $ 14.2 billion program, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), as created by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This replaces the emergency broadband benefit program.

The CPA will offer eligible households a basic rebate of up to $ 30 from the monthly cost of Internet service purchased from a participating provider. This will also keep the rebate of up to $ 75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying tribal lands. Eligible households may also be eligible to receive a one-time discount of up to $ 100 towards the purchase of a laptop, desktop or tablet from participating vendors; may be subject to a modest user fee.

However, unlike the EBB program, those who qualified solely on the basis of the impact of their income from the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer be eligible on that basis alone.

CPA enrollment is now open and those who were previously enrolled in the EBB as of December 31, 2021 will continue to receive their current monthly allowance until March 1, 2022.

Declaration of major disaster for Washington endorsed by President Biden

On Thursday, FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to Washington State to complement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by floods and lava flows. mud from November 13 to 15, 2021.

Three tribes based in Washington State are eligible for funds under this declaration. These are the Lummi Nation, the Nooksack Indian Tribe, and the Quileute Tribe. Federal assistance includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, loans to cover loss of property. In addition to tribal lands, affected people in Clallam, Skagit and Whatcom counties are eligible for assistance.

Toney Raines has been appointed federal coordinator of federal recovery operations in affected areas.

Residents and business owners who have experienced losses in designated areas can begin seeking assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-3362. If you are using a relay service, such as Video Relay Service (VRS), Closed Captioning, or the like, give FEMA the number for that service.

Welcome to the new director of the Office of Native American Affairs

Ira Matt, a tribal citizen of the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation, has been appointed the new Director of the Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) for the Historic Preservation Advisory Council.

Previously, Matt held the position of Senior Program Analyst at ONAA. He has over 22 years of experience in the historic preservation and management of cultural resources at the tribal and federal levels. In 2015, he started working on the Historic Preservation Advisory Council (ACHP), then joined ONAA in 2018.

He has also served on various committees of the White House Council on Native American Affairs. On top of that, he worked for the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes for 16 years before working for the ACHA. It is in this work that Matt has generated positive results in the management of cultural resources by implementing historic preservation as a tool to effect cultural perpetuation.

Ira Matt also has a variety of federal experiences, most notably as a Federal Preservation Officer / National Archaeologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. In addition to this, he also worked as a tribal affairs specialist for the Department of Energy.

CAF looking for additional candidates for two working groups

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking candidates to fill the task force to examine connectivity and technology needs for precision agriculture.

The two working groups of the working group are: “Examine the current and future connectivity demand for precision agriculture” and “Encourage the adoption of precision agriculture and the availability of high-quality jobs in the regions. connected farms ”.

This working group provides advice and recommendations to the FCC on how to assess and advance the deployment of broadband Internet access service on unserved farmland.

Each of these groups meets several times a year, each candidate must be willing to serve for a two-year term. Specifically, the FCC invites applications from agricultural producers representing tribal agriculture.

Applications must be submitted by January 17, 2022. Applications can be submitted by email to [email protected].

More information about the working group can be found here. Information on nominations and candidate obligations can be found here.

Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Odawa Indian Bands of Little Traverse Bay), a Michigan State University student interning with Native News Online, contributed to these briefs.

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The Truth About Residential Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $ 10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative titled “The Indian Residential School Project: A Dark Chapter in History”. Our mission is to shed light on the dark era of the forced assimilation of Native American children by the US government and churches. You will be able to read stories each week and join us for Livestream events to understand what the residential school era meant for Native Americans – and what it still means today.

This news will be provided free of charge for anyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help us support our efforts. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better and stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

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