Native American leaders meet with President Barack Obama back in 2010 in Washington, D.C. COURTESY PHOTO

2013 Indian Affairs budget request maintains prior levels

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/22/2012 08:43 AM
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget request for Indian Affairs, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, is $2.5 billion – a $4.6 million decrease below the FY 2012 level.

Officials said the proposed budget maintains the president’s commitment to meeting the government’s responsibilities to the 566 American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, while toeing fiscal responsibility line and improving government efficiency.

“The budget request maintains President Obama’s commitment to strengthening tribal nations by making targeted increases in Indian Affairs programs that support tribal self-determination in managing BIA-funded programs, increase public safety in tribal communities by strengthening police capabilities, improve the administration of tribal land, mineral, timber and other trust resources and advance Indian education,” Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk said. “Indian Affairs is sensitive to the need for achieving greater results at a lower cost, and the proposed budget reflects the tough choices that will make us more cost efficient in carrying out our missions.”

The request includes $43.8 million in nation-to-nation relationships (up $12.3 million), protecting Indian Country (up $11 million), improving trust land management (up $15.4 million) and advancing Indian education (up $5.2 million).

Under nation-to-nation relationships, the budget request for Contract Support is $228.0 million – an $8.8 million increase – which enables a tribe operating BIA-funded programs to meet administrative costs without decreasing program funds. It also includes an increase of $3.5 million for land and water claim settlements.

The request for BIA Law Enforcement is $353.9 million with targeted increases of $11 million for law enforcement operations, detention center operations and tribal courts. The request for law enforcement operations builds on increases from previous years – for a total of $189.7 million – for criminal investigations and police services to enable the BIA to improve its recruitment and hiring for law enforcement officers and detention center staff, including veterans.

The request includes $88.2 million for detention center operations – an increase of $6.5 million – for staffing, training and equipment to increase capacity to hold and process detainees and to fund operations at newly constructed detention facilities.

The request includes $24.6 million for tribal courts to support the enhanced capabilities given to them in the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009.

The funding also supports the expansion of a 2010 program launched to reduce crime on four reservations with high violent crime rates. The program resulted in a 35 percent combined reduction in violent crime. Two additional reservations with high crime rates will be added to this initiative.
The DOI has also undertaken an overhaul of the federal fee-to-trust process. As a result, between 2009 and 2011 the DOI processed 697 applications. The 2013 budget request supports improving trust land management through a program increase of $15.4 million for:

  • Rights Protection Implementation (up $3.5 million) to support implementing federal court orders resulting from decisions in off-reservation treaty rights litigation,

  • Tribal Management Development Program (up $2.0 million) to support tribes in the management of their on-reservation fish and game programs,

  • Cooperative Landscape Development (up $800,000) to support participation for the bureau and tribes in the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives,

  • Invasive Species (up $500,000) to support tribal programs that control, manage and eradicate harmful plant and animal species from reservations,

  • Forestry Programs (up $1 million) that develop, maintain and enhance tribal forest resources,

  • Trust Services (up $5.5 million) to support the BIA’s responsibilities of trust services, probate and land titles and records, and

  • Litigation Support/Attorney Fees (up $1.5 million) to assist tribes in protecting trust resources.
    The budget also addresses educational needs from elementary through post secondary and adult education, including security issues at school facilities to ensure environments are safe for students and an educational reform to increase student academic achievement in BIE schools.


  • The request for the BIE is $796.1 million, an increase of $653,000 above the 2012 level, with increases for:

  • Tribal Grant Support Costs (up $2.0 million) to help tribes operating BIE schools cover administrative and indirect costs,

  • Tribal Colleges and Universities (up $2.5 million) to assist in the economic development of tribal communities as they offer resources and facilities to teach community members workplace skills and to support tribal plans for development, and

  • Scholarships (up $710,000) for the BIE’s Scholarships and Adult Education and Special Higher Education Scholarships programs to help adults obtain a GED, provide job skills training and provide financial aid for post secondary and graduate students pursuing degrees in professions that meet tribal communities’ needs.


  • The budget also requests $36.3 million for BIA Land and Water Claim Settlements to fund settlements that help deliver clean drinking water to Indian communities and provide certainty to water users across the West.

    In accordance with a 2011 Obama’s memo, the 2013 budget request includes reductions and identifies efficiencies that can be achieved through consolidation, cost cutting, realignments and program decreases such as:

  • Improved Management (down $19.7 million) includes measures taken and those anticipated to ensure that tribal needs and priorities are addressed to reduce Indian Affairs administrative costs,

  • Realignment (up $1.3 million) includes an increase to reflect the transfer of the Indian Arts and
    Crafts Board from the Office of the Secretary to Indian Affairs, which would oversee the implementation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, as amended,

  • Law Enforcement Special Initiatives (down $2.6 million) reflecting reduced participation on activities such as intelligence sharing,

  • Information Resources Technology (down $6.1 million) due to standardization and consolidation of IT infrastructure,

  • The Indian Student Equalization Program (down $4.5 million) to reflect a decline in student population,

  • Replacement School Construction (down $17.8 million) as it focuses on improving conditions of existing school facilities, and

  • The Indian Guaranteed Loan Program (down $2.1 million) for evaluating of effectiveness.



  • News

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    BY WILL CHAVEZ
    Senior Reporter
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We’ve tried everything in the world. It’s not working. What are we going to do?” he said. “We are at a crisis folks. I would say 90 percent of our speakers are over 50. We are not replacing speakers as our elders die.” David Scott grew up in Rocky Mountain speaking Cherokee at home along with everyone in his family. English stopped when he got home from school, he said. He said the CN needs fluent speakers to teach Cherokee in the communities and share it when they can. “It’s up to the speakers to open their mouths and start teaching. I think that’s where it’s at. If they really want to save the language, they’re the ones who are going to have to start speaking up,” Scott said. “If they would start teaching their own children and the people around them, I think we would go far. The more you hear it, the more you are able to converse with somebody and ask questions whenever you need to.” Scott said speakers should wear buttons that read, “I’m a speaker. Speak to me or ask me questions.” He added that Cherokee should be spoken at Tribal Council meetings even it’s just a prayer or someone summarizing information. “You have to have the language out front. Anything the Cherokee Nation does, the language ought to be in the forefront,” he said. He said Tribal Councilors and the principal chief should promote Cherokee everywhere they go in the CN. “If that’s one of the goals of the Cherokee Nation, that’s what they ought to be doing – encouraging people to learn and encouraging people to teach,” he said. He said the tribe’s language programs have been “hit and miss” and efforts to save the language need to be organized. “We’ve got to have a goal. I don’t think everyone’s on board for a common goal. What are we trying to do? The direction we need to go, I don’t think, has ever been discussed.” Jimmy Carey of Hulbert taught Cherokee at Sequoyah High School for 14 years before retiring in 2014. 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It was always Cherokee because she didn’t really understand it (English),” he said. “I wish that we could converse it more often what we do. We are prolonging its (language) stay on the earth by teaching words. That’s not wrong; I’m not against that at all. I told my kids when they left my class they could get as fluent in it or knowledgeable in it as they wanted to.” Growing up in Delaware County, Helena McCoy said she didn’t fully learn English until the fourth grade because Cherokee was her first language and it was spoken at home. “I was spoken to in Cherokee by my siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all my cousins. Everyone at church spoke Cherokee,” she said. “I never saw anything different because everybody in my world spoke Cherokee.” Now living in Sequoyah County, she retired in December from teaching at the CN Immersion Charter School. Before that she taught at the Marble City School for 20 years. She said the immersion school is not producing students who can speak Cherokee as well as when fluent, first-language teachers taught there. She taught kindergarten through fifth grade in her 6-1/2 years there. “In order for immersion to be successful, in my opinion, fluent speakers need to be teaching in every class and it should go back to being a private school. What I saw was, once students leave kindergarten and first grade, teachers have to teach in English because students are being tested in English because it is a chartered school,” she said. “Computers are not being used towards learning the language. Teachers speak English more than Cherokee in classrooms. Cherokee is not heard in the hallways, on the playground, on the bus, and in the classrooms.” Scott said the school should bring in speakers from communities to interact with students. Immersion students are learning Cherokee, but he said they don’t know enough to carry it forward. “Anybody below my generation, when we’re all gone we’re going to lose it,” he said.
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    BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
    04/24/2015 12:00 PM
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