Tribal leaders and representatives are in Washington, D.C. this week to attend the National Congress of American Indians 2015 Executive Council Winter Session that wraps up today, February 26.
On Monday NCAI led discussions on the Affordable Care Act, a Contract Support Costs listening session, tribal marijuana, federal acknowledgment, Violence Against Women Act, and more.
Today’s agenda includes the annual FCC dialogue session with FCC representatives on topics such as Positive Train Control; an E-rate update; tribal priority for broadband spectrum allocation; an FCC Office of Native Affairs and Policy update on tribal consultation; and more.
The dialogue session will also feature the introduction of Gila River Broadcasting Corporation – Indian country’s first low power digital television network.
At 9:30 a.m. Bureau of Indian Education representatives will meet with tribal leadership to provide an update on the BIE’s transformation implementation plan, and answer any questions tribal leadership may have in regards to Indian education.
The Department of Interior will follow its BIE session with a 1 p.m. discussion on Housing Improvement Program Consultation. In a letter from Interior’s Kevin K. Washburn, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, the session is for the department and tribal leaders “to discuss proposed amendments to its regulations governing its Housing Improvement Program (HIP): a safety net program that provides grants for the cost of services to repair, renovate, or replace existing housing and/or provide new housing for eligible members of federally recognized Indian tribes.”
HIP personnel will be presenting revisions that are currently under consideration while gathering input from tribes on these and any other revisions that may be appropriate.
There will be a session with the U.S. Department of Agriculture focusing on a variety of topics; and a consultation with the Small Business Administration. All the sessions are working towards continued consultation with the federal government while strengthening the government-to-government relationship.
Such tribal consultation and collaboration is important to the Obama administration’s “commitment to informed decision making and to honoring the United States’ trust relationship with tribal nations,” Washburn said.