Deb Haaland
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland tours the Desert Sunlight solar farm in southern California on December 11, 2021. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior
White House Council on Native American Affairs schedules tribal engagement session
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Indianz.Com

The White House Council on Native American Affairs is holding a tribal engagement session this month to discuss infrastructure and public safety in Indian Country.

The session takes place on January 31. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who chairs the White House Council, said tribal nations will be asked about the best way to implement the funding provided by the new infrastructure law.

Additionally, Haaland said the session will focus on public safety issues in Indian Country. A number of initiatives, including addressing the crisis of missing and murdered people, were announced during the White House Tribal Nations Summit last November.

“The White House Council on Native American Affairs is an important tool in the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach to strengthening Indian Country,” Haaland, who is the first Native person to lead the Department of the Interior, said in a news release on Tuesday.

“As we work to tackle public safety and criminal justice issues impacting Indigenous people or the implementation of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I’m proud to bring tribal leaders and government officials together to further invest in our trust relationship,” added Haaland, who is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna.

President Joe Biden signed H.R.3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, on November 15, 2021. The $1.2 trillion package includes historic investments of more than $13 billion for Indian Country.

The session follows a series of consultations that are also taking place this month. The schedule follows:

January 26, 2022 at 11-2:30 pm (PT) for Pacific and Alaska Time Zone Tribes.
Register: zoomgov.com

January 27, 2022 at 12-3:30 pm (MT) for Mountain Time Zone Tribes.
Register: zoomgov.com

January 28, 2022 at 1-4:30 pm (ET) for Eastern and Central Time Zone Tribes.
Register: zoomgov.com

The White House Council on Native American Affairs was revived by the Biden administration last year to ensure all federal agencies engage with tribes as they fulfill the trust and treaty obligations of the United States. The coordination had come to a halt during the four years of the Donald Trump presidency.

The council includes a Committee on Economic Development, Energy and Infrastructure and a Committee on Public Safety and Justice. Leadership of each committee includes tribal citizens who are serving in political positions within the Biden administration and tribal citizens who work in prominent roles in the U.S. government.

White House Council on Native American Affairs to Engage Tribal Leaders on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Public Safety and Criminal Justice
The following is the text of a January 18, 2022, news release from the Department of the Interior.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Interior today announced the White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) will convene an engagement session on January 31 with Tribal leaders focused on the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and public safety resources across Indian Country. The session will be led by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who serves as co-chair of the WHCNAA.

During the virtual session, Tribal leaders will share their guidance, recommendations and perspectives on the WHCNAA Committees’ all-of-government efforts. The meeting will follow nation-to-nation consultations [PDF] on the Infrastructure Law to be held earlier that same week.

“The White House Council on Native American Affairs is an important tool in the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach to strengthening Indian Country,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “As we work to tackle public safety and criminal justice issues impacting Indigenous people or the implementation of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I’m proud to bring Tribal leaders and government officials together to further invest in our trust relationship.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests more than $13 billion directly in Tribal communities across the country to bolster community resilience, replace aging infrastructure, expand access to clean drinking water and help ensure everyone has access to high-speed internet.

The session will also focus on President Biden’s Executive Order on Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. Within the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration, Secretary Haaland created a new Missing and Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services to pursue justice for missing or murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. Interior is committed to working with Tribal governments, law enforcement agencies, survivors, families of the missing, and all communities impacted to coordinate interagency collaboration to address this crisis.

During the November 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit, Secretary Haaland committed to convening her Cabinet colleagues three times a year to meet with Tribal leaders to share the work of the WHCNAA and listen to feedback, questions and concerns from Tribal communities. January’s session will be the first of these meetings.

For more information, visit the WHCNAA website.


The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.

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