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News Roundup for Native Americans, September

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Here is a rundown of recent Native American news in the United States: The first Native American to hold this position in the United States is Mohegan Chief Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba.

We are all aware that the indigenous peoples of this country have traditionally been the recipients of numerous broken promises. But we can and will improve,” Malerba said at the White House swearing-in ceremony on Monday. I maintained my commitment, therefore my appointment.

The Biden administration’s “respect for and dedication toward” its nation-to-nation connections, trust and treaty obligations, and tribal sovereignty and self-determination, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s prepared remarks, were demonstrated by Malerba’s nomination.’

Alongside Yellen’s, Malerba’s signature will now be seen on US currency.

Malerba was chosen as the nation’s treasurer by President Joe Biden in June, and she now has control over the Treasury Department’s newly established Office of Tribal and Native Affairs, which aims to boost the economies of Native American tribes.

According to Yellen, “This office will act as a focal point for Treasury’s portfolio of concerns relating to Indian Country.” It will oversee Treasury’s diplomacy between states on matters pertaining to the economic security of tribal nations. It will support enhanced interagency coordination and cooperation on tribal economic development and provide knowledge internally across policy offices and bureaus.

The Treasury Department “had problems” disbursing more over $8 billion in specific COVID-19 relief monies for tribes, the Government Accountability Office determined in October 2021. The GAO recommended that Treasury change its tribal consultation policy after finding that Treasury had relied on erroneous demographic statistics to make payments and had neglected to engage tribes beforehand.

Jonathan Nez, the president of the Navajo Nation, delivered a message in Diné and English to all of the country’s residents congratulating Malerba on her selection as treasurer.

At the White House on Tuesday, Obama celebrated the approval of the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which provides $720 million to tribes to support their efforts to combat the consequences of climate change. He was there together with members of the Cabinet, congressmen, and other officials.

According to Nez, quoted on the Indian Gaming website, “The Navajo Nation has a place at the table with President Biden and his administration.” “The American Rescue Plan Act gave the Navajo Nation over $2 billion, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is giving millions more, and now the Inflation Reduction Act will help our people with drought mitigation, clean energy initiatives, lower prescription costs, and much more,” said the representative of the Navajo Nation.

Nez met with representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency while in Washington and urged them to step up efforts to clean up trash from the several closed uranium mines that are located on Navajo soil. Nearly 30 million tonnes of uranium ore were removed from Navajo lands by the federal government and its contractors between 1944 and 1986, leaving radioactive waste and other hazardous substances including arsenic, copper, nickel, and selenium behind.

The Walker River Paiute Tribe in Schurz, Nevada, will receive a $5.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce to assist spur economic growth by upgrading the tribe’s water infrastructure, according to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

The money will be used to install 45 fire hydrants and replace and enlarge four water mains, both of which were previously obstructions to commercial expansion. With a $156,674 local match, this EDA investment is projected to result in the retention or creation of 25 employment.

According to Raimondo, “President Biden is dedicated to helping indigenous communities recover from the coronavirus outbreak.” “This EDA investment will give the Walker River Indian Reservation a more secure water system infrastructure, enhancing economic resilience and opening up opportunities for company development and expansion.”

A collaborative research evaluating the water security of Native American houses and communities in Nevada was recently released by the Desert Research Institute and the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, both situated in Nevada.

Researchers found that between 1990 and 2019, an average of 0.67 percent of Native American households in Nevada lacked complete indoor plumbing, which was higher than the national average of 0.4 percent. This finding was based on analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau on the accessibility of safe, hot and cold running water, flush toilets, baths and/or showers.

According to research authors, more than 20,000 Native Americans lived in “plumbing poverty” in Nevada in 2019.

“Our data reflect a similar tendency here in Nevada,” said research author Erick Bandala.Previous research has shown that Native American families are more likely than other American homes to lack comprehensive indoor plumbing. “This can lead to difficulties with quality of life, for instance during the COVID-19 pandemic when a lack of indoor plumbing could have precluded simple health precautions like hand washing.”

On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, a significant piece of land may soon return to Native control.

At Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the Oglala Lakota and Cheyenne River tribes have agreed to buy 16 hectares of property. It is adjacent to the location where the 7th U.S. Cavalry massacred several Lakota men, women, and children in 1890. It has long been held by non-Native people.

Of the $500,000 purchase price, the Oglala Lakota tribe indicated it would contribute $250,000, while the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, whose Miniconjou ancestors under Chief Spotted Tail made up the majority of the murder victims, would contribute $245,000.

As a lasting tribute to those who passed away, the tribes will ask the U.S. Department of the Interior to hold the property in trust and permit it to stay undeveloped.

 

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