‘Our shared federal trust and treaty obligations demand nothing less’: Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2021
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Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) speaks in support of increased COVID-19 relief and additional funding for Indian nations, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians on February 3, 2021.

“From Hawaiian homelands to villages, pueblos, rancherias, and other Native communities, our fellow Americans who live on or near these lands need immediate relief. Not half measures, and not more delays,” said Schatz, who is the new chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

“We all need to work together and support Native families and communities across the country. Our shared federal trust and treaty obligations demand nothing less,” said Schatz, who has served on the committee since 2013.

This week, the U.S. Senate will be taking up a resolution to help implement President Joe Biden’s so-called American Rescue Plan. Schatz said it contains more than $28 billion in investments for health care, education, housing and other programs for Indian Country and Native communities.

“As the new chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for this resolution and delivering critical relief to all Native Americans — Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives and American Indians,” said Schatz.

Prior to his first floor speech as chairman of the committee, Schatz was among a group of key Senate Democrats who met with Biden at the White House on Wednesday. All committee leaders in the chamber, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the Senate Majority Leader, took part in the meeting.

“I had a productive meeting with President Biden today,” Schatz said after the meeting. “One thing is clear — this administration understands the real challenges facing Hawaii and Native communities across the country, and is committed to ending the pandemic and rebuilding our economy.”

“We talked about how we can work together to provide more relief to Hawaii and to Native families who have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” he said. “We discussed how to safely reopen our economy, create new jobs, and support small businesses. The president also spoke to me about his commitment to providing robust funding for Native communities.”

“I look forward to continuing to work with the president to give the American people the immediate help they need,” Schatz concluded.

Thumbnail photo from Senate Committee on Indian Affairs