Skip to main content

Welcome to FCNL’s Native American Legislative Update! NALU is a monthly newsletter about FCNL’s Native American policy advocacy and ways for you to engage members of Congress.

Energy Department Hosts Tribal Clean Energy Summit

Tribal leaders joined Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Office of Indian Energy Director Wahleah Johns for a nation-to-nation summit on Oct. 4 and 5. They discussed how tribes can harness clean energy to enhance sovereignty, address climate resilience, and build stronger economies.

Tribal leaders hope that their participation and continued consultation will help strengthen tribal energy sovereignty.

Many tribal nations have been struggling with the impacts of climate change on infrastructure and food supplies. Recently passed legislation,like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58) and the Inflation Reduction Act (P.L. 117-169), will boost tribal access to funding for energy projects and assist in their transition to clean energy. Tribal leaders hope that their participation and continued consultation in national energy infrastructure decision-making will help strengthen tribal energy sovereignty.

“As the United States moves towards a cleaner future, it’s so important to continue these government-to-government conversations with tribal nations to ensure that we strike an equitable balance on energy resources that preserves our ability to maintain our tribal sovereignty and protects our natural and cultural resources,” said Bobby Gonzalez, principal executive officer and chairman of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.

“Tribal lands hold so much potential to produce energy – from both traditional and renewable resources – and it’s been very positive to see the Department of Energy, along with the entire Biden administration, acknowledge that,” he added.

White House Native Women Symposium Focuses on Missing and Murdered Crisis

On Oct. 28, the Biden administration hosted the third session of the White House Native Women Symposium, this time focusing on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) crisis.

A panel of Native women working on MMIP issues shared their experiences, including establishing taskforces and lobbying for state legislation to address the crisis holistically.

Administration officials, including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, also shared updates on the Bureau of Indian Affairs Justice Services Missing and Murdered Unit (MMU), which was created in April 2021. There is now at least one agent at each of the 17 Indian Affairs bureaus around the country, a new website that allows for tip sharing, and strategic partnerships have been developed for broader communication and coordination across agencies and jurisdictions.

So far, the MMU has investigated 503 cases, solved 68 missing cases, and solved 5 murder cases.

“It is not my goal to put a band aid on this crisis, but rather resolve cases, bring justice and closure to families, and…address the lingering impacts of colonialism, objectification, and marginalization that have contributed to violence in Indian Country, and the missing and murdered indigenous people’s crisis. That takes time,” said Secretary Haaland.

Bill Tracker

Lumbee Recognition Act (H.R. 2758)

On Oct. 11, this bill was placed on the calendar for full Senate consideration. H.R. 2758 would extend federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. On Nov. 1, 2021, the House passed this bill by a 357 – 59 vote.

What We’re Reading

People: Portia Skenandore-Wheelock

Portia Kay^nthos Skenandore-Wheelock

Congressional Advocate, Native American Advocacy Program (2021-2023)

Portia managed the Native American Advocacy Program, lobbying on legislation that affects Native communities.