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News Release

Office of U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS-03)

Yesterday, two tribal leaders testified in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s hearing on the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA): Peter Yucupicio, Chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and Darrell G. Seki, Sr., Chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. Their valuable testimony highlighted Representative Sharice Davids’ ongoing efforts to include voices and perspectives from Indian Country in the policymaking process.

In 2019, Davids encouraged Chair Peter DeFazio to invite more tribal leaders to testify and to devote more of the Committee’s attention to programs such as the Tribal Transportation Program. Now serving as the Vice Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Davids again named greater inclusion of tribal policy and voices in national infrastructure issues as one of her priorities this Congress. Yesterday’s hearing is the latest example of those efforts, as Chairman Yucupicio and Chairman Seki offered their thoughts on the development of the Water Resources Development Act of 2022, a significant priority of the Committee this year.

“Transportation and infrastructure are vital to the economic success and wellbeing of tribal nations. We must continue to include their perspective in our daily work on the Committee to create responsible, robust transportation policy,” said Davids. “I thank Chairman Yucupicio and Chairman Seki for their time and thoughts today as we draft the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act, and I look forward to continuing our engagement on this and other national infrastructure issues.”

“The Water Resources Development Act invests in our ports, harbors, and inland waterways, and is critical to all 50 states, territories, and tribal communities. Tribes must have a seat at the table as Congress crafts this bipartisan legislation, which will expand coordination with tribal and Indigenous groups while also increasing funding for the Tribal Partnership Program. I appreciate the work of Vice Chair Davids to uplift tribal voices and help the committee consider a broad array of perspectives in this critical bill,” said Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

"Our committee was particularly honored to hear from two respected Tribal Chairmen today, and learn of their challenging experiences in working with the Corps over generations. We are glad the Biden administration has incorporated tribal voices directly in the leadership of the Army Corps with the confirmation of Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Mike Connor, and the appointment of his Principal Deputy, Jamie Pinkham. We will work through the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 to formally engrain a new culture of cooperation between the Corps and Native Americans in the formulation of water resources projects and other Corps regulatory actions," said Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chair Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA).

Watch the hearing below.

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