Note: Video feed from Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will start shortly before 2:30pm Eastern.
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hears from Native leaders
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Indianz.Com

UPDATE:
Julie Kitka, President of the Alaska Federation of Natives, based in Anchorage, Alaska, will be testifying at the hearing.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is hearing from leaders of Indian Country, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian organizations at its first hearing of the 117th Congress.

The oversight hearing is titled “A call to action: Native communities’ priorities in focus for the 117th Congress.” Four Native leaders are scheduled to share their views with the committee:

The Honorable Fawn Sharp
President
National Congress of American Indians
Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Leonard Forsman
President
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
Portland, Oregon

The Honorable Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey
Chair, Board of Trustees
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Honolulu, Hawaii

The Honorable Andy Teuber
Chairman and President
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Anchorage, Alaska

Of note on the witness list is Andy Teuber, who resigned from his leadership position at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium on Tuesday, according to news reports from Alaska. No explanation has been publicly given and it’s likely another representative will testify in his place at the hearing.

The committee typically convenes every Wednesday afternoon, Eastern time. During prior sessions of Congress, members took part in oversight hearings, legislative hearings and business meetings almost every week when lawmakers were in Washington, D.C.

For the 117th Congress, the committee is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have the upper hand in the Senate, due to Vice President Kamala Harris’s role as president in the chamber.

On the Democratic side, the committee consists of six members:

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chair
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Former Chair
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), Former Chair and Former Vice Chair
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada)
Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota)
Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico), New member of panel

On the Republican side, the committee consists of six members:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Vice Chair, Former Vice Chair
Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Former Chair, 116th Congress
Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma)
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana)
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), New member of panel
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas)

brianschatz
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, participates in an organizational meeting on February 11, 2021. Photo: SCIA

Notably, no one from the Northeast or the Southeast serves on the committee, though there has been representation from North Carolina in the past. No one from California, which is home to the largest population of American Indians and Alaska Natives and more than 100 tribes, is on the panel either.

The oversight hearing takes place at 2:30pm Eastern in Room 628 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. A livestream will be available on indian.senate.gov.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice
Oversight Hearing – “A call to action: Native communities’ priorities in focus for the 117th Congress.” (February 24, 2021)

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