Welcome to FCNL’s Native American Legislative Update! The NALU is a monthly newsletter about FCNL’s Native American policy advocacy and ways for you to engage your members of Congress. FCNL’s Congressional Advocates for Native American policy are Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco (Shinnecock/Kiowa) and Kerri Colfer (Tlingit).
Committee Holds Advance Appropriations Hearing
On Sept. 25, the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States held a hearing,“Advance Appropriations: Protecting Tribal Communities from the Effects of a Government Shutdown.” The shutdown last winter heavily impacted Indian country, with several Indian Health Services (IHS) centers shutting their doors or offering only limited medical services.
Now, advocates are pushing for advanced funding for these programs through two bills: the Indian Programs Advanced Appropriations Act (H.R. 1128/S. 229) and the Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act of 2019 (H.R. 1135/S. 2541). Both await committee decisions.
Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day
On Oct. 23, FCNL hosted its latest Quaker Change Maker series event, “Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day: The Long Arc of FCNL Advocacy.” FCNL’s Native American lobbyists Kerri Colfer and Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco were joined by Ruth Flower, former FCNL legislative director. They spoke about their work on Native American policy at FCNL and their hopes for the future of the program. You can watch the video here.
Building Relationships with Alaskan Natives
Kerri Colfer recently returned from a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she represented FCNL at the Statewide Elders and Youth Conference and the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. The Elders and Youth Conference focused on the power of language in Native communities, and the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention focused on what good government means to Alaskan Natives, with a focus on education, healthcare, public safety, infrastructure, and economic development. She also met with Alaska Native leaders and advocates and built relationships for FCNL.
VAWA Negotiations Continue
The Senate is still negotiating its own version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). We continue to ask that the final bill includes tribal provisions to restore tribal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators for all violent crimes. Please reach out to your senator and ask them to include strong tribal provisions that will keep Native women safe.
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 1585):
Currently being negotiated in the Senate and awaiting introduction.
Tribal Set-Aside in the Crime Victims Fund:
Included in both the Senate and House Commerce, Justice, and Science spending bills.
What We’re Reading:
- Approximately 6,000 people expected to attend the state’s two largest Alaska Native events.
- Nagi Nunpa Hocaka, the Two Spirit Ciricle, is Pine Ridge’s first official safe place for the LGBTQ community.
- Columbus Did Not Discover America. Several local municipalities are making the switch from observing Columbus Day in favor of honoring Indigenous communities and their resiliency in the face of violence by European explorers.
- Canoe journey marks 50th anniversary of Indian occupation of Alcatraz.