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Senate Indian Affairs Committee Advances Bill to Boost Economic Development

WASHINGTON – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) today announced the committee’s passage of S.1116, the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2017, legislation he introduced with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

“Indian businesses and communities have long faced unnecessary barriers to economic development,” said Senator Hoeven. “This bill will stimulate growth by improving access to capital, increasing opportunities for Native businesses, and encouraging investment in our tribal communities. These updates are important for empowering Native entrepreneurs and creating good paying jobs in Indian Country. I am glad the committee acted expeditiously today to advance this measure.”

“Many Indian reservations across my home state of Arizona and the western United States continue to struggle with high unemployment rates and few business opportunities. We must do more to change this,” said Senator McCain. “This legislation addresses these serious challenges by expanding key economic development services for Native Americans who aspire to open a business on their own on tribal lands. I thank the committee for passing our bill today and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to support this effort to ensure the future success of Native American entrepreneurs and tribally owned businesses.”

The bill will spur economic growth and increase access to capital in Indian communities by amending and improving existing law, including:

·         the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000;

·         the Native American Programs Act of 1974; and

·         the Buy Indian Act.

S.1116 amends existing law in the following ways:

Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000:

  • Requires coordination between the Secretaries of Commerce, Interior, and Treasury to develop initiatives encouraging investment in Indian communities.
  • Elevates the Director of Indian programs in the Department of Commerce and authorize the funding for operations.
  • Makes permanent the waiver of the requirement for Native CDFIs to provide a matching cost share for assistance received by the Treasury CDFI.

Native American Programs Act:

  • Reauthorizes the economic development programs.
  • Prioritizes applications and technical assistance for building tribal court systems and code development for economic development, supporting CDFIs, and developing master plans for community and economic development.

Buy Indian Act:

  • Facilitates the use of this Act whereby the BIA and IHS use Indian businesses for procurement and require more accountability in implementing this Act.


A previous iteration of the bill was introduced in the 114th Congress by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). It was considered and passed by the committee. The legislation is based on input from Indian tribes, tribal organizations and businesses.


DOI Secretary Zinke to attend NCAI Mid Year Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. | U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is confirmed to attend the National Congress of American Indians 2017 Mid Year Conference & Marketplace at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., held from Monday, June 12 to Thursday, June 15, 2017.

“We are looking forward to hosting Secretary Zinke during NCAI Mid Year,” said NCAI President Brian Cladoosby. “This year’s theme ‘Sovereign Infrastructure: Building our Communities through our Values’ is an important conversation we will continue to build upon with the Department of the Interior and the Administration in the years to come.”

“It is a great honor to accept the invitation to speak at NCAI’s Mid Year Conference,” said Zinke. “This will give tribal leaders and I an opportunity to discuss ways to empower the front lines of tribal communities.  I am a supporter of building a stronger government-to-government relationship that will reaffirm tribal sovereignty, self-determination and self-governance in Indian Country.”

As the fifty-second U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Zinke leads more than 70,000 employees who supervise 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges and other public lands. The Department of the Interior (DOI) oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters; is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states; and upholds trust responsibilities to the 567 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.

Prior to his position as DOI Secretary, Zinke represented the state of Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2014 to 2016, and in the Montana State Senate from 2009 to 2011. Secretary Zinke is a fifth-generation Montanan and former U.S. Navy SEAL Commander, in which he spent 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer.

Pre-register today for press credentialing using our form here:

On-site press credentialing takes place on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 and Wednesday, June 14, 2017 from 7:30 AM EST – 5:00 PM EST.  Credentialed press will have access to all plenary sessions, as well as those sessions noted for press access on the agenda.

Please note all press are required to wear press badges at all times and are asked to please announce yourself to the moderator of each session you plan on attending.

For additional information, please view NCAI’s 2017 Mid Year Draft Agenda here or contact NCAI Communications Associate Erin Weldon with any questions at


About The National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit

Native American Nutrition conference seeks abstracts, scholarship applications

Native American Nutrition conference seeks abstracts, scholarship applications

Second Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition

September 18-20, 2017

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel


Join us for this annual conference that brings together tribal officials, researchers, practitioners, and others to discuss the current state of Indigenous and academic scientific knowledge about Native nutrition and food science, and identify new areas of work.

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations for the Second Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition must be submitted by 5 p.m. (central) on Friday, June 16, 2017. 


Click here to submit an abstract.


A limited number of registration and lodging scholarships are available for the conference. Priority will be given to people who are or who intend to be in a position to directly improve nutrition and health in Native communities.

Click here to apply for a scholarship.


Conference topic areas include:

  • Decolonizing food and nutrition sciences
  • Sustainable development for Indigenous food systems
  • Indigenous evaluation frameworks
  • Successfully translating research into practice

The conference will also include skill-building workshops for researchers and practitioners on topics such as:

  • How to document the traditional food system in your community
  • What is research and why do we need it?
  • Human subject protection in research
  • Working with vulnerable populations from infancy through old age
  • Practical program and research evaluation methods
  • Best practices in creating appropriate nutrition education materials and sharing of materials

Schedule at a glance

  • Sunday, September 17 | Reception: 7-9 p.m.
  • Monday, September 18 | Conference: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Monday, September 18 | Evening reception: 6-10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 19 | Conference: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (optional tours in the evening)
  • Wednesday, September 20 | Conference: 7:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m.

Register NOW for “So You Think You’re Exempt?” webinar

Many Native American farmers, ranchers, and food operations within tribal jurisdictions conduct business with the assumption that their activities are protected under the sovereign rights of their tribe. While this may be true for some activities, with food safety compliance it certainly may not be the case. This is an individual farm-by-farm, farm business-by-farm business, ranch-by-ranch determination as there are no “overall exemptions” for Tribal farms, ranches, and food businesses. This session will cover the importance of food safety certification in ALL types of tribal food operations and the potential liability that Native farmers and food businesses face if they choose to ignore FSMA compliance or believe incorrectly they are exempt when they are not. Please join us to review the essential information necessary to protect your family, your products, and your business.

“Our farmers and food producers in Indian Country are not exempt from food safety regulations,” IFAI Director Janie Hipp said. “That decision is based on a deep analysis of what you are growing, where it is marketed, where and who is your end consumer of the food, and other factors.  People may not want to hear it, but if your food makes someone sick, and the food is traced back to you, you may be responsible for a series of required events that you aren’t prepared to do.  Tribal sovereignty may not protect you. All these issues and many more will be discussed at this webinar.”


Register NOW for this critical food safety training.


Thursday, June 15, 2 – 4 pm Central

“So You Think You’re Exempt?”



There are more webinars in this series, please visit our website to register for all remaining webinars. All presentations are free and open to the public. Many of the presentations use Produce Safety Alliance approved materials and serve as an important preparation for attending in-person events.

If you you have any questions, please contact Food Safety Coordinator Sandy Martini at



Interior releases FY2018 Budget in Brief

Interior releases FY2018 Budget in Brief

FY2018 Interior Budget in Brief