Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee
The Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States, led by Chair Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.), will hold a joint oversight hearing with the Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, titled, Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Bureau of Indian Education.
The federal government’s trust responsibility to maintain the health and well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) includes the provision of education. American Indians and Alaska Natives children can receive education through either a Bureau of Indian Education-funded school or a traditional public school that receives Department of Education (ED) funding. Funding for Bureau of Indian Education schools comes from both the Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) but has consistently been insufficient to cover many basic needs for schools. The President’s FY 2023 Budget request includes $1.6 billion for Bureau of Indian Education, a $500 million increase above the FY 2022 enacted level.
Since 2013, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued reports on significant concerns at Bureau of Indian Education schools and placed them on the High-Risk list in 2017. Recent Government Accountability Office reports show that while the Bureau of Indian Education has improved on some long-standing issues, much more work needs to be done. In addition, a 2016 report from U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found major facility deficiencies and health and safety concerns, including structural and electrical problems, asbestos, radon, mold, fire safety problems, and reliance on temporary structures. The joint hearing will examine how Bureau of Indian Education has responded to report findings and how the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated issues for the Bureau of Indian Education and American Indian and Alaska Native students.
- Mr. Tony L. Dearman, Director, Bureau of Indian Education, U.S. Department of the Interior
- Ms. Beth Sirois, Assistant Director, Government Accountability Office
When: 11:00 a.m. Eastern time