House Committee on Natural Resource: Organizing Meeting – February 18, 2021
House Committee on Natural Resources sets first meeting
Monday, February 15, 2021
Indianz.Com

The House Committee on Natural Resources is convening for the first time in the 117th Congress.

The legislative panel, which has jurisdiction over Indian issues in the U.S. House of Representatives, will hold an organizing meeting at 11am Eastern on Thursday morning. The proceeding will be live-streamed on YouTube and on Facebook.

The committee is chaired by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona). He took over the panel during the 116th Congress, when Democrats gained control of the House.

“With Democrats in charge, we spent the 116th Congress listening to the American people and turning their ideas into law, especially on climate change and protecting our environment,” Grijalva said in a report outlining the committee’s achievements.

“We’ve helped build a public movement behind environmental justice and other issues that desperately need to be elevated, and we’ve changed the tone of Congress by focusing on impacted communities, economic justice, and the perspective of Native American tribes, residents of the U.S. territories, and other typically marginalized people,” added Grijalva.

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The achievements include the enactment of Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act. The two bills, which became law last October, address the crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans, especially women and girls.

“In the 116th Congress, the committee held the first ever House hearing to address the silent crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and review the historic failure on this issue by the Trump administration,” the Resources at Work report, released on Friday, stated.

“The hearing featured four Native American women as expert witnesses, who testified that Congress and federal agencies have not honored their trust responsibilities to Native communities and that stopping the epidemic of violence against Native women will take time and resources not currently being offered,” the report continued.

During the prior session of Congress, Democrats created the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States to focus on issues affecting tribes, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. The subcommittee is being led by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) and counts two citizens of the Tohono O’odham Nation in leadership and policy staffing roles.

Additionally, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico), a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and one of the first two Native women to serve in Congress, served as vice chair of the full committee in the 116th Congress. She has since been nominated to be Secretary of the Interior in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Over in the U.S. Senate, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs met for the first time last Thursday. The organizational meeting saw Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) selected as chair and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) selected as vice chair.

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