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Sen. Tester, new chairman of SCIA, asks tribes about priorities

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the new chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, visited two reservations in Montana on Wednesday to learn more about tribal concerns.

Tester, a former teacher, has already said education will be one of his top priorities. His first hearing, on early education in Indian Country, will take place next week.

But Tester also wants to know what tribes think. He met with leaders of the Crow Tribe and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe as part of the effort.

"I started with the Montana tribes because I'm a Montanan," Tester said on the Crow Reservation, The Billings Gazette reported. "But we'll be talking to all of the tribes around the country about what their priorities are."

According to the Gazette, Tester said he wanted to implement a technical fix to the S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. Details weren't reported but tribal leaders are asking Congress to include Alaska Natives in a section of the law that recognizes tribal authority over non-Indians.

Get the Story:
Tester, Walsh visit Crow Agency during tour of tribes (The Billings Gazette 2/20)
Indian Affairs chairman: Education key for tribes (AP 2/19)

Committee Notice:
Oversight Hearing to receive testimony on "Early Childhood Development and Education in Indian Country: Building a Foundation for Academic Success." (February 26, 2014)

Related Stories:
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules hearing on education (2/19)
Sen. Jon Tester: Education builds foundation for Indian Country (2/18)
Sen. Tester slated to lead Senate Indian Affairs Committee (1/29)

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