INDIAN AND INDIGENOUS DEVELOPMENTS

Steve Sachs

Environmental Developments

Andrea Germanos, "UN Assessment: Global Destruction of Mother Earth on Fast Track: Without a change in current trends, 'the state of the world's environment will continue to decline'," Common Dreams , May 20, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/20/un-assessment-global-destruction-mother-earth-fast-track,reported, " With no region of the Earth untouched by the ravages of environmental destruction, the state of the world's natural resources is in a rapid downward spiral, a comprehensive assessment by the United Nations has found.

Published Thursday, Global Environmental Outlook from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) involved the expertise of more than 1,200 scientists and over 160 governments, and exposes through reports on each of the world's six regions that the rate of environmental deterioration is occurring faster than previously thought–and can only be halted with swift action.

'It is essential that we understand the pace of environmental change that is upon us,' stated UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

One threat many of the world's inhabitants are facing is that of water scarcity. For North America (pdf), for example, it 'is of increasing concern,' though it's just one of many 'worsening pressures.'

The report points to the recent five-year drought around Texas–a problem exacerbated by climate change. It also notes how the impacts of climate change were vividly felt when Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.

'The 30 centimeters of sea level rise off New York City since 1900 likely expanded Hurricane Sandy's flood area by approximately 65 square kilometers, flooding the homes of more than 80 000 additional people in New York and New Jersey alone,' UNEP states, adding: 'Climate change is generating impacts across the region, and aggressive hydrocarbon extraction methods bring the possibility of increased emissions, water use and induced seismicity. The coastal and marine environment is under increasing threat from nutrient loads, ocean acidification, ocean warming, sea level rise, and new forms of marine debris.'

And even with successful efforts to rein in carbon emissions, the outlook for the region isn't bright, the report notes:

A wide range of potentially catastrophic impacts are built in to the near and medium term climate, so that climate change impacts are highly likely to increase regardless of how fast the region reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and how fast it supports global emissions reductions. The consequences for human lives and livelihoods will depend on measures to adapt to climate change and increase resilience that, while showing signs of promise, are not yet sufficient to meet the threats. The region has been surprised by the emergence of major failures in traditional environmental issues, such as drinking water safety, suggesting that past successes are in jeopardy.

Or take the Latin American and Caribbean region (pdf), where greenhouse gas emissions are growing, a problem fueled in part by agriculture. UNEP notes:

Agriculture has had a strong impact on the emission of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide emissions - from soils, leaching and runoff, direct emissions, and animal manure - increased by about 29 per cent between 2000 and 2010. The abundance of beef and dairy cattle in the region has also increased methane emissions, which grew by 19 per cent between 2000 and 2010.

Andean glaciers, which provide vital water resources for millions of people, are shrinking and an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are affecting economies.

In Asia and the Pacific , meanwhile, increasing unsustainable consumption patterns have led to worsening air pollution, water scarcity and waste generation, threatening human and environmental health. Increased demand for fossil fuels and natural resources - extensive agriculture, palm oil and rubber plantations, aquaculture and the illegal trade in wildlife - are causing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.

Spreading desertification is a key threat for West Asia, while Africa's land degradation, due, in part, to deforestation, are among the environmental challenges for those regions.

And, of course, there's the Arctic region–'a barometer for change in the rest of the world' –with dropping levels of summer sea ice extent and glacier ice loss.

Among the recommendations UNEP calls for are scaling back fossil fuel dependency and increasing sustainable infrastructure investments.

While the UN body said there was still time to address many of the threats, urgent action, it stressed, was key.

'If current trends continue and the world fails to enact solutions that improve current patterns of production and consumption, if we fail to use natural resources sustainably, then the state of the world's environment will continue to decline,' Steiner said, emphasizing the urgency 'to work with nature instead of against it to tackle the array of environmental threats that face us.'"



Emily J. Gertz, "New Study Predicts an Intolerably Hot World: Researchers say that unless fossil fuels are kept in the ground, global temperatures could rise nearly 12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2300," Take Part, May 23, 2016, http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/05/23/high-heat-global-warming-fossil-fuel-renewable-energy, reported, " Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren may live on a planet even hotter than we feared if countries fail to slash carbon emissions now, according to a new study.

'Our key finding is that if we continue to burn our remaining fossil fuel resources , the Earth will encounter a profound degree of global warming, of 6.4 to 9.5 degrees Celsius [about eight to 12 degrees Fahrenheit] over 20th-century averages by 2300,' said Katarzyna Tokarska, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, who led the study . The Arctic's mean temperature could rise 19 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century if such trends continue.

Sea levels, which are on a trajectory to rise one to three feet by the end of the century, would increase catastrophically under such high temperatures, drowning coastlines and low-lying regions that are home to most of the world's population. Food supplies and farming worldwide would be disrupted, potentially throwing tens of millions of people back into poverty .

Based on current climate trends alone, a recent Princeton University study suggested that up to 200 million people, including many children , could become environmental refugees in the next half-century.

Some earlier studies with relatively simple ocean and land vegetation modeling have suggested that climate change–driven heat increases would flatten out over time despite rising carbon emissions. But Tokarska and her colleagues, using more detailed ocean and plant-cover scenarios, found a linear relationship–that is, as long as the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere keeps rising, so will the temperature."

"Tokarska said the research, which was published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, represents 'the worst-case scenario.'

'The results suggest that it would be better to do something now,' she said, 'and now is the time to do it.'

The study appears on the heels of record-setting April heat. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week that global temperatures ran 1.43 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, the 12th consecutive month temperatures hit a record high.

The Arctic saw even stronger warming, with temperatures in Alaska between January and April averaging more than 11 degrees higher than the historic average."

"Her field research has shown, for instance, that land-based emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane from the Arctic will likely increase dramatically as the region continues to heat up.

To have a chance of keeping warming at or below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, said Rooney-Varga, use of coal, oil, and natural gas must end between 2050 and 2070. 'That seems like it might be kind of far off. The reality is it's actually a very pressing deadline,' she said. 'Think of a building built today, expected to remain functional beyond 2065. If it is not built to maximize energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, expensive retrofits or abandonment before the end of its useful life would be needed to meet our climate goals. The same is true for power plants and energy transmission and transportation infrastructure. The faster we act, the less expensive and reckless our transition away from fossil fuels will be.'"

Catrina Rorke, director of energy policy at the R Street Institute, a libertarian think tank, said her organization advocates a universal tax on carbon emissions as the best way to encourage low- and no-carbon development, with the money collected used to lower taxes elsewhere."



Tom Randall, "Climate Records Keep Shattering with Hottest April in 12th Record-Setting Month," Insurance Journal, May 20, 2016, http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2016/05/20/409307.htm, reported, "The number of climate records broken in the last few years is stunning. But here's a new measure of misery: Not only did we just experience the hottest April in 137 years of record keeping, but it was the 12 th consecutive month to set a new record.

It's been relentless. May 2015 was the hottest May in records dating back to 1880. That was followed by the hottest June. Then came a record July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March–and, we learned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday–the hottest April. In an age of rising temperatures, monthly heat records have become all too common. Still, a string of 12 of them is without precedent.

Perhaps even more remarkable is the magnitude of the new records. The extremes of recent months are such that we're only four months into 2016 and already there's a greater than 99 percent likelihood that this year will be the hottest on record, according to Gavin Schmidt, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

If NASA's Schmidt is right, 2016 will be the third consecutive year to set a new global heat record–the first time that's ever happened. So far, 15 of the hottest 16 years ever measured have come in the 21 st century."



Deirdre Fulton, "Hottest March on Record as Earth Keeps Hurtling Past Temperature Milestones: Data from Japan Meteorological Agency 'is a reminder of how perilously close we now are to permanently crossing into dangerous territory'," Common Dreams , April 15, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/04/15/hottest-march-record-earth-keeps-hurtling-past-temperature-milestones, reported, "Earth is on a roll.

Adding . yet another month to a new mountain chain of extreme global temperature peaks,' March 2016 was the warmest since at least 1891, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Not only that, but, as February did, March broke the previous record by the greatest margin yet seen for any month. Compared to the 20th-century average, March was 1.07°C hotter across the globe, according to the JMA figures, while February was 1.04°C higher.

If April also sets a monthly record–and there's no reason to think it won't –'the Earth will have had an astonishing 12 month string of record-shattering months,' writes Andrew Freedman for Mashable.

The JMA's findings are likely to be confirmed by forthcoming reports from the UK Met Office as well as NASA and NOAA, whose satellite data indicates last month was the warmest March in records dating to 1979.

Scientists have pinned the record warmth to a combination of human-caused climate change and this year's strong El Niño event.

Responding to the news, professor Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, told the Guardian: 'Wow. I continue to be shocked by what we are seeing.'

'The [new data] is a reminder of how perilously close we now are to permanently crossing into dangerous territory,' Mann said. 'It underscores the urgency of reducing global carbon emissions.'

As Common Dreams reported, last month's NASA data showed that February 2016 was not only the hottest in recorded history, but it soared past all previous records, prompting scientists to describe the announcement as 'an ominous milestone in our march toward an ever-warmer planet.'

Meanwhile, NOAA said last week that March 2016 was among the warmest on record for the contiguous United States, and that Alaska had seen 'its warmest start to the year on record, while 32 states across the West, Great Plains, Midwest and Northeast were much warmer than average' between January and March.

What's more, pointed out NOAA climatologist Deke Arndt in a blog post this week, 'If you were alive during March 2016, and I'm betting you were, you witnessed U.S. history.'

'One stunning feature from the March 2016 temperature map was just how universally warm the month was,' wrote Arndt. 'Every one of the 357 climate divisions across the contiguous United States and Alaska ended up–at least–in the 'warmer than normal' category."



Justin Gillis, "2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say," The New York Times, January 20, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/science/earth/2015-hottest-year-global-warming.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0, reported, " Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in the historical record by far, breaking a mark set only the year before – a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

In the contiguous United States, the year was the second-warmest on record , punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.

Scientists started predicting a global temperature record months ago, in part because an El Niño weather pattern, one of the largest in a century, is releasing an immense amount of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. But the bulk of the record-setting heat, they say, is a consequence of the long-term planetary warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

' The whole system is warming up, relentlessly,' said Gerald A. Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

It will take a few more years to know for certain, but the back-to-back records of 2014 and 2015 may have put the world back onto a trajectory of rapid global warming , after a period of relatively slow warming dating to the last powerful El Niño, in 1998."



Andrea Germanos, " India Records Highest Temperature Ever As Drought Drives Despair: The city of Phalodi sweltered under 51 degrees Celsius on Thursday," Common Dreams , May 20, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/20/india-records-highest-temperature-ever-drought-drives-despair, reported, " India recorded its hottest day on the books on Thursday amid a scorching heatwave and "staggering" number of farmer suicides.

Sizzling at 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees F), the temperature in the city of Phalodi in the western state of Rajasthan topped the nation's previous record of 50.6 Celsius set in 1956.

CNN reports:

The IMD [India Meteorological Department] has issued a red-level alert for Rajasthan as well as for other states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where temperatures, despite not having crossed the 50-degree mark, are higher than average.

India has recorded higher than normal temperatures throughout 2016.

Many areas are experiencing severe heat waves and state governments estimate more than 370 people killed so far.

And relief isn't coming soon.

'Severe heatwave conditions will prevail in north, west India and central India for the next 10 days,' the IMD warns.

According to Laxman Singh Rathore, director general of the IMD, look to climate change for the cause in the increasing temperatures. 'It has been observed that since 2001, places in northern India, especially in Rajasthan, are witnessing a rising temperature trend every year. The main reason is the excessive use of energy and emission of carbon dioxide. Factors like urbanization and industrialization too have added to the global warming phenomenon," he stated.

Weeks of high temperatures have "also led to acute water shortage in many areas of central and western India which has seen water riots, government-monitored rationing and armed guards at reservoirs," the Hindustan Times reports.

There is a prolonged drought as well, withering crops and sprouting hopelessness in farmers.

'Constant failure of crops. Very low produce. He couldn't recover the investments, could not pay back the bank loans. That's why he killed himself,' said the brother of 41-year-old cotton and sugarcane farmer Srikrishna Pandit Agee who hanged himself this month.

His was among the roughly 400 farmer suicides that have already occurred since the beginning of the year.

Dnyaneshwar Jadhav says his brother Tukaram, a small cotton farmer in the state of Maharashtra, took his own life over the distress of loans and failed crop yields. 'When I look into the well, I feel like dying. Life is such a struggle,' Dnyaneshwar said to NPR. 'We used to earn over $300 for our cotton, we now get less than $100 because the yield is so small.'

Last year offers a grim picture of what could be in store.

In 2015, after a heatwave claimed the lives of some 2,500 people and was followed by low monsoon rains, India's earth sciences minister said, "Let us not fool ourselves that there is no connection between the unusual number of deaths from the ongoing heat wave and the certainty of another failed monsoon."

'It's not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change,' he said at the time."



Jon Queally, "Portending a Very Hot 2016, January Eviscerates Global Temperature Record: With the hottest year in recorded history behind us, new data shows that warming trend–now coupled with powerful El Niño–shows no letup for 2016," Common Dreams, February 17, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/02/17/portending-very-hot-2016-january-eviscerates-global-temperature-record, reported, " Last month was the hottest January the planet has experienced since record-keeping began nearly 140 years ago, new data released by NASA on Tuesday confirmed– and not by just a little .

January's global average surface temperature during was 1.13° Celsius (or 2.3° Fahrenheit) above historical averages, according to the data.

Making the single-month record even more troubling, as Andrew Freedman notes at Mashable, is that January also capped a three-month period of record-shattering warming, making it much harder to claim that the spike in January represents a fluke.

Climate Central took a close look at the new figures:

This January was the warmest January on record by a large margin while also claiming the title of most anomalously warm month in 135 years of record keeping. The month was 1.13°C – or just a smidge more than 2°F – above normal. That tops December's record of being 1.11°C – or just a smidge below 2°F – above average.

It marks the fourth month in a row where the globe has been more than 1°C (1.8°F) above normal. Incidentally, those are the only four months where the globe has topped that mark since record keeping began.

As Phil Plait explains at Slate, the latest temperature data comes from "land and ocean measurements analyzed by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, using NOAA temperature measuring stations across the world. These are extremely high quality and reliable datasets of global temperature measurements – despite the fallacious cries of a few."

According to Sally Elliot writing for The Inquisitr:

The findings emerge amid a series of other studies which have identified similar trends outside of this January – the past three months, in fact, was the hottest three-month period ever – and verified links between human activity and climate change. Scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have pointed out that, while the hottest January and preceding hottest 12 months ever were aided by the heat-intensifying effects of El Niño, the extremity of global warming has now surpassed the capabilities of natural weather phenomena.

Though expert cautions the data sets are still open to analytical refinement, experts and journalists who cover the global warming trends of recent years say the latest figures portend a frightening year ahead as this year's El Niño combines with already elevated atmospheric and ocean temperatures caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

And as Plait reports:

As it happens, we're in the middle of an El Niño, an event in the Pacific Ocean that tends to warm surface temperatures. This is also one of if not the most intense on record. Some of that record-breaking heat in January is due to El Niño for sure, but not all or even a majority of it. As I pointed out recently, climate scientist Gavin Schmidt showed that El Niño only accounts for a fraction of a degree of this heating. Even accounting for El Niño years, things are getting hotter.

The root cause is not El Niño. It's us. We've been pumping tens of billions of tons of CO2 into the air every year for decades. That gas has trapped the Earth's heat, and the planet is warming up.

Several of the months in 2015 were the hottest on record, leading to 2015 overall being the hottest year ever recorded (again, despite the ridiculously transparent claims of deniers ). Will 2016 beat it? We can't say for sure yet, but judging from January, I wouldn't bet against it.

Last month, a joint analysis by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), confirmed that 2015 was by far the hottest year recorded since the Industrial Revolution took hold.

'Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA's vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth,' said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement at the time.

Those findings, Bolden continued, 'not only underscores how critical NASA's Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice - now is the time to act on climate,'"



New Research suggests that the models climate scientists have been using to predict the rate of global warming may be overestimating the cooling effect of clouds. If these findings are correct, warming is occurring faster than previously projected, and this would narrow the range of remaining warming before absolutely horrendous damage occurs to .7 degrees Celsius, and the Paris target to .2 degrees Celsius (John Schwartz, "Climate Paper Says Cloud's Cooling Power May Be Overstated," The New York Times, April 9, 2016).



Justin Gillis, "Climate Chaos, Across the Map," The New York Times, December 30, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/31/science/climate-chaos-across-the-map.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " With tornado outbreaks in the South, Christmas temperatures that sent trees into bloom in Central Park, drought in parts of Africa and historic floods drowning the old industrial cities of England, 2015 is closing with a string of weather anomalies all over the world.

The year, expected to be the hottest on record, may be over at midnight Thursday, but the trouble will not be. Rain in the central United States has been so heavy that major floods are beginning along the Mississippi River and are likely to intensify in coming weeks. California may lurch from drought to flood by late winter. Most serious, millions of people could be threatened by a developing food shortage in southern Africa.

Scientists say the most obvious suspect in the turmoil is the climate pattern called El Niño, in which the Pacific Ocean for the last few months has been dumping immense amounts of heat into the atmosphere. Because atmospheric waves can travel thousands of miles, the added heat and accompanying moisture have been playing havoc with the weather in many parts of the world.

But that natural pattern of variability is not the whole story. This El Niño, one of the strongest on record, comes atop a long-term heating of the planet caused by mankind's emissions of greenhouse gases. A large body of scientific evidence says those emissions are making certain kinds of extremes, such as heavy rainstorms and intense heat waves, more frequent.



Deirdre Fulton, " The Future is Flooded: Seas Rising Faster Than They Have In 28 Centuries: 'With all the greenhouse-gases we already emitted, we cannot stop the seas from rising altogether, but we can substantially limit the rate of the rise by ending the use of fossil fuels,'" Common Dreams, February 23, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/02/23/future-flooded-seas-rising-faster-they-have-28-centuries, reported. "When it comes to swelling oceans that threaten coastal communities around the world, it's bad, and it's going to get worse.

Sea levels are rising faster than they have in the last three millennia, and that rate continues to accelerate due to the burning of fossil fuels, according to new research published Monday.

"Our study is for sea level what the now well-confirmed famous 'hockey stick' diagram was for global temperature." –Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University

One study appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that "almost certainly, more than half of the 20th century rise has been caused by human activity, possibly even all of it."

Employing a database of geological sea-level indicators from marshes, coral atolls, and archaeological sites around the world, the paper shows that global sea levels stayed fairly steady for about 3,000 years. Then, from 1900 to 2000, the seas rose 5.5 inches–a significant increase, especially for low-lying coastal areas. And since 1993, the rate has soared to a foot per century.

"The new sea-level data confirm once again just how unusual the age of modern global warming due to our greenhouse gas emissions is–and they demonstrate that one of the most dangerous impacts of global warming, rising seas, is well underway," said Stefan Rahmstorf, a physics professor at Potsdam University in Germany and one of 10 authors of the paper.

As John Upton explains at Climate Central:

By trapping heat, rising concentrations of atmospheric pollution are causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt into seas, lifting high tides ever higher.

Globally, average temperatures have risen about 1°C (nearly 2°F) since the 1800s. Last year was the hottest recorded , easily surpassing the mark set one year earlier . The expansion of warming ocean water was blamed in a recent study for about half of sea level rise during the past decade.

Changes in sea level vary around the world and over time, because of the effects of ocean cycles, volcanic eruptions and other phenomenon. But the hastening pace of sea level rise is being caused by climate change.

As the Washington Post reports, '[t]he new work is particularly significant because, in effect, the sea level analysis produces a so-called 'hockey stick' graph–showing a long and relatively flat sea level 'handle' for thousands of years, followed by a 'blade' that turns sharply upwards in very recent times.'

Indeed, said Rahmstorf: 'Our study is for sea level what the now well-confirmed famous 'hockey stick' diagram was for global temperature. We can confirm what earlier, more local sea-level data already suggested: during the past millennia sea-level has never risen nearly as fast as during the last century.'

Meanwhile, a separate study also published Monday warns that without a sharp reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, sea levels worldwide will likely rise by one to four feet by the end of this century.

This study, led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, combined the two most important estimation methods for future sea-level rise to show that 'increasingly routine tidal flooding" events, as the New York Times wrote, 'are just an early harbinger of the coming damage.'

Furthermore, it found that ' even if ambitious climate policy follows the 2015 Paris agreement ,' sea levels are still projected to increase by 20 to 60 centimeters by 2100, necessitating coastal adaptation such as building dikes, designing insurance schemes for floodings, or mapping long-term settlement retreat.

But most important will be to follow experts' warnings and 'keep it in the ground.'

' With all the greenhouse-gases we already emitted, we cannot stop the seas from rising altogether, but we can substantially limit the rate of the rise by ending the use of fossil fuels,' said study co-author Anders Levermann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. 'If the world wants to avoid the greatest losses and damages, it now has to rapidly follow the path laid out by the UN climate summit in Paris.'" – but go still further.



The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw of Isle de Jean Charles in southeastern Louisiana are about to become the lower continental 48 states' first climate refugees, as rising oceans will soon make their home uninhabitable because of increasing flooding. A $48 million federal grant has been allocated to resettle its residents inland as a community. That will keep the people together, but with them living in a very different location, and leaving open the question of how the residents will now make a living will be approached, and possibly solved, is likely to bring culture change. A key concern is how holistic the process of relocation will be to appropriately meet economic and cultural concerns (Corall Davenport and Campbell Robertson, "Resettling the First American 'Climate Refugees'," The New York Times, May 2, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/us/resettling-the-first-american-climate-refugees.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0).



Nadia Prupis, " 'Warning for the World': Five Pacific Islands Officially Lost to Rising Seas: The event is the first official confirmation of what the future could be under climate change, researchers say," Common Dreams , May 10, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/10/warning-world-five-pacific-islands-officially-lost-rising-seas, reported, "Five Pacific Islands have been swallowed by rising seas and coastal erosion, in what Australian researchers say is the first confirmation of what climate change will bring.

The submerged region, which was part of the Solomon Islands archipelago and was above water as recently as 2014, was not inhabited by humans.

However , a further six islands are also experiencing 'severe shoreline recession,' which is forcing the populations in those settlements–some of which have existed since at least 1935–to flee, according to a study published last week in Environmental Research Letters.

Researchers used aerial and satellite images dating back to 1947 to track coastal erosion across 33 islands. At least 11 islands across the northern region of the archipelago "have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion," the study found.

'This is the first scientific evidence...that confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people,' the researchers wrote at Scientific American on Monday.

Lead author Dr. Simon Albert, a senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, told Agence France-Presse that rates of sea level rise in the Solomons are almost three times higher than the global average.

The five that sank ranged in size from one to five hectares (roughly two to 12 acres) and supported "dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old," the researchers wrote for Scientific American, calling the event "a warning for the world."

Rates of sea level rise were substantially greater in areas exposed to high wave energy, the researchers found, 'indicating a synergistic interaction between sea-level rise and waves.'

That means islands exposed to higher wave energy in addition to sea level rise face faster and more widespread loss than sheltered islands.

They wrote:

These higher rates are in line with what we can expect across much of the Pacific in the second half of this century as a result of human-induced sea-level rise. Many areas will experience long-term rates of sea-level rise similar to that already experienced in Solomon Islands in all but the very lowest-emission scenarios .

Understanding the factors that put certain regions at greater risk for coastal erosion is vital to help frontline communities adapt, the study concluded.

The families that have already been forced to relocate did so using their own limited resources and received little to no assistance from their government or international climate funds, the researchers noted. The exodus had the additional impact of fragmenting established communities of hundreds of people.

Melchior Mataki, who chairs the Solomon Islands' Natural Disaster Council, told the researchers, 'This ultimately calls for support from development partners and international financial mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund. This support should include nationally driven scientific studies to inform adaptation planning to address the impacts of climate change in Solomon Islands.'

The Solomon Islands were among the 175 nations that signed the Paris climate agreement in New York last month."



Deirdre Fulton, "Surveying Damage on World Oceans Day, Experts Say Worst is Yet to Come: 'We cannot continue to treat our seas as an out-of-sight, out-of-mind dumping ground,'" Common Dreams , June 08, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/08/surveying-damage-world-oceans-day-experts-say-worst-yet-come, reported, " Threatened by climate change, pollution, overfishing, and oil spills, the world's oceans are suffering, scientists warned on Wednesday–the day designated by the United Nations as one to honor the deep blue sea.

From widespread coral bleaching to floundering fish species to garbage stretching across the water's surface and hundreds of feet down, it's clear that human activity is taking its toll on the world's oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface.

Indeed, dead coral reefs 'are perhaps the starkest reminders–like the melting Arctic–that a thickening blanket of greenhouse gases is irrevocably changing the face of the Earth,' Inside Climate News wrote on Wednesday.

'And, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch warned in April, those 'ghostly underwater graveyards'" are only going to grow.

'There's even worse news ahead,' Mark Eakin, coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch, told Inside Climate News. 'There are a lot of places with similar mortality rates. We've got bleaching going on from the east coast of Africa to French Polynesia. Right now, it's basically covering half the Southern Hemisphere."

A separate study published Tuesday in the journal Nature found that overfishing and polluted run-off from farms and lawns made corals more vulnerable to above-average temperatures.

'Although the research showed that controlling pollution and overfishing can help corals survive in a warming world,' John Upton reported on the study for Climate Centeral, "the scientists said curbing pollution from fuel burning, farming and deforestation, which is causing water temperatures to rise, would be the best way to protect them in the long run.'

Deron Burkepile, a University of California-Santa Barbara ecologist involved with the research, told Upton: 'We have to start controlling carbon emissions and start cooling our planet again for coral reefs to really have a chance in the future.'

In fact, Inside Climate News warned that ' [a]t the current rate of emissions, the average global temperature is expected to rise at least 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, a level that would be fatal to nearly all reefs.'

Even a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees by 2050 would put 90 percent of coral reefs at risk, said Michiel Schaeffer, a scientist with the Berlin-based research institution Climate Analytics.

Meanwhile, the ocean conservation group Oceana used World Oceans Day to warn of how 'rubbish dumping and waste pollution'–the impacts of which it has witnessed during its many expeditions at sea–'is hampering global conservation efforts to protect marine habitats and to restore depleted fish stocks.'

'The group says it has seen marine litter far below the water's surface, a 'worrying problem [that] is often overlooked in reports on plastic pollution, which tend to focus on waste floating on the sea surface or in shallow waters.'

'[W]e cannot continue to treat our seas as an out-of-sight, out-of-mind dumping ground,' said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe.

As ocean scientist and explorer Sylvia Earle wrote Wednesday at the Daily Beast: 'If the ocean is in trouble, so are we. It is time to take care of the ocean as if our lives depend on it, because they do.'"



David Wiwchar, "Climate Change Could Devastate First Nation Fisheries in British Columbia: Study," ICTMN, January 18, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/18/climate-change-could-devastate-first-nation-fisheries-british-columbia-study-163112, reported, "The effects of climate change are going to have a devastating effect on coastal British Columbia First Nations within the next few decades, according to a new scientific report.

'First Nations fisheries could decline by nearly 50 percent by 2050, and coastal First Nations communities could suffer economic losses between $6.7 and $12 million," lead researcher Laura Weatherdon told Indian Country Today Media Network.

The study was conducted by an international research team led by University of British Columbia scientists at the Institute for Oceans and Fisheries. The researchers modeled how climate change is likely to affect 98 fish and shellfish species up to the year 2050. Forecasted changes in ocean temperature upwards of one degree Celsius were examined, along with salinity and oxygen levels, and even the best-case scenario results proved frightening.



Democracy Now (and Tom Hartmann on Progressive Radio) reported, February 16, 2016, that the small head birth defects that have been associated with the Zika virus have only been occurred in certain areas of Brazil and Argentina where a highly toxic insecticide has been widely used to combat the mosquitos that carry the virus, and not in Columbia or other places where the same mosquitos carry the virus: "Brazilian State Suspends Larvicide Use After Reports Point to Microcephaly Link, February 16, http://www.democracynow.org/2016/2/16/headlines 2016HEADLINES, reported, "The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has suspended the use of a larvicide after reports pointed to a potential link between the chemical and the devastating birth defect microcephaly. Brazil has seen a spike in microcephaly cases thought to be linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus. But two health advocacy groups say the spike may actually be linked to a larvicide made by a Japanese subsidiary of Monsanto that has been used to stop the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water." However, more recent studies, in March, gave evidence that the Zika virus was a cause of birth defects.

W hat ever harm the larvacide was doing, later reports confirmed that Zika was a cause of birth defects, and the virus has continued to spread via Mosquitos, with some declines from anti mosquito actions. Ezra Kaplan and Donald G. McNril, "Colombia Confirms More Birth Defects Linked to Zika," The New York Times, April 26, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/27/health/zika-virus-haiti.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " Colombian health officials said on Tuesday that they had confirmed two more cases of babies born with brain damage to mothers who had Zika during pregnancy , but said overall cases of the mosquito-borne virus were decreasing in the country."

Norimitsu Onshi, Climate Change Hits Hard in Zambia, an African Success Story," The New York Times, April 12, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/world/africa/zambia-drought-climate-change-economy.html, reported,  " Even as drought and the effects of climate change grew visible across this land, the Kariba Dam was always a steady, and seemingly limitless, source of something rare in Africa: electricity so cheap and plentiful that Zambia could export some to its neighbors.

The power generated from the Kariba – one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams, in one of the world's largest artificial lakes – contributed to Zambia's political stability and helped turn its economy into one of the fastest growing on the continent.

But today, as a severe drought magnified by climate change has cut water levels to record lows, the Kariba is generating so little juice that blackouts have crippled the nation's already hurting businesses. After a decade of being heralded as a vanguard of African growth, Zambia, in a quick, mortifying letdown, is now struggling to pay its own civil servants and has reached out to the International Monetary Fund for help."

Wild fire season in many areas has moved from being just a few month set of events to a year round concern. In early 2016, for example, Alaska suffered its first forest fire in February, while New Mexico, in one of the driest and warmest winters on record, reported 140 wild fires in the year by April 14, double the number for the same period in 2014 ("Year Round Fire Season Alarming Experts," San Francisco Chronicle, April 14, 2016).

Mitch Smith," Record Wildfire Comes to Kansas, as Do Lifesaving Neighbors," The New York Times, March 27, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/28/us/record-wildfire-comes-to-kansas-as-do-lifesaving-neighbors.html?ref=todayspaper, "reported on the Anderson Creek wildfire that burned several homes "on the outskirts of Medicine Lodge is a mere speck in the nearly 400,000 acres of land that have burned since early last week. The blaze, which started on Tuesday across the state line in Oklahoma and by late Sunday had not been fully contained, is said to be the largest recorded wildfire in Kansas history and has prompted a vast mobilization of firefighters rarely seen in this state."

Andrea Germanos, " Mass Evacuation as 'Apocalyptic' Inferno Engulfs Canadian Tar Sands City

'There was smoke everywhere and it was raining ash,' says Fort McMurray evacuee," Common Dreams , May 04, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/04/mass-evacuation-apocalyptic-inferno-engulfs-canadian-tar-sands-city, reported, " A raging wildfire in a Canadian tar sands town has forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed several residential neighborhoods, offering a bleak vision of a fiery future if the fossil fuel era is not brought to an end.

The blaze in Fort McMurray, Alberta, started over the weekend, doubled in size on Monday, and grew into an inferno on Tuesday. It is expected to worsen on Wednesday as strong wind gusts and record high temperatures persist."

Officials estimate 17,000 citizens fled north to industry sites. Another 35,000 headed south, including 18,000 people enroute to Edmonton."

" Fire season came early to Western Canada this year; already there have been 311 fires in Alberta , according to the province's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and approximately 192 fires in British Columbia.

Experts attribute the early onset and extremity of the fires to human-caused climate change, exacerbated by a strong El Niño effect, which led to a drier and warmer winter with lower-than-average snowfall.

'Because spring came about a month early here, we are already in the middle of our prime fire season for the spring,' Mike Flannigan, a wildfire expert at the University of Alberta, told Global News. 'Given the already dry conditions means it's easier for fires, once they sustain themselves, to go underground until it gets windy and they re-appear."

Furthermore, University of Lethbridge professor Judith Kulig told the publication, 'the whole aspect of climate change and global warming...is then interrelated [to] things such as insect infestation, so pine beetle increases because it's not a cold enough winter. The trees are infested and drier and more prone to fire.

At Climate Central on Wednesday, senior science writer Brian Kahn put it succinctly:

The wildfire is the latest in a lengthening lineage of early wildfires in the northern reaches of the globe that are indicative of a changing climate. As the planet continues to warm, these types of fires will likely only become more common and intense as spring snowpack disappears and temperatures warm.

Fort McMurray is home to the Athabasca tar sands, the largest single oil deposit in the world, containing an estimated 174 trillion barrels of bitumen. Tar sands oil production is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada, and greatly increases the country's contribution to global warming."

By 7:47 pm, CDT, May 5, 2016, radio news reports and the Toronto Star, https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/05/05/more-communities-evacuated-as-fort-mcmurray-fire-moves-south.html, indicated that despite over 1100 firefighters doing there best the fire was continuing to spread, having consumed 85,000 hectares, up from 10,000 hectares May 3, some 90,000 people had been, or were in the course of being evacuated (including airlifting out cut off people, especially at tar sands oil facilities, tar sands oil been shut down, and the fire was expected to continue to spread, and for some days continued to expand in low or unpopulated areas. But in passing through Fort McMurray it destroyed virtually all of several neighborhoods.

The Fire continued to burn out of control. On May 17, with a reversal of winds, it was headed back toward Fort McMurry, preventing people from returning, some being reevacuated, as it threatened a previously spared neighborhoods and two major oil producing areas to the north, that had to be evacuated just as they were preparing to restart production (Ian Austin, "Wind Pushes Raging Alberta Blaze Back Toward Fort McMurray," The New York Times, May 16, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/17/world/americas/fort-mcmurray-canada-wildfire.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0).

Ian Austen, "First Residents Return to Fort McMurray After Wildfire," The New York Times, June 1, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/02/world/americas/fort-mcmurray-fire-return.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " Some residents returned to Fort McMurray , Alberta, on Wednesday for the first time since wildfires forced them out and ravaged their city four weeks ago. But it was hardly a triumphant homecoming, as the city's gradual reopening came amid concerns that it was premature."

"And many of the 88,000 evacuees have been told that it is still not safe for them to return: older people, children under 7, pregnant women and people with any of a variety of medical conditions.

The city's tap water is not drinkable yet, and may not be available for weeks. Other utilities are not back online, either."

"It may be a long wait. Environmental experts say the ash left by the fire is so caustic and full of toxins that many surviving houses in the worst-hit neighborhoods must be sealed off, probably until September."

" Three neighborhoods of Fort McMurray were particularly devastated by the fire. After laboratory analysis of the ash and debris there, some 567 surviving houses and a dozen apartments in or near those neighborhoods have been declared unfit for habitation until a cleanup can be completed.

In all, 1,921 buildings were destroyed and 174 damaged by the fire, about 10 percent of the structures in the city. Judging by what could be seen by reporters on a recent tour, the vast majority of lost structures were houses or apartments."

" The wildfire that scorched the city remains out of control and now covers about 1.4 million acres."

Ian Austin, "Canada Fire Deals Staggering Blow to Oil Sands Industry and Economy," The New York Times, May 11, 2016, , reported, "Oversize transport trailers typically barrel dangerously along Highway 63 as they deliver heavy loads of equipment and even prefabricated metal buildings to the multibillion-dollar oil sands projects that dominate this area. But more than a dozen such trailers, still full, now sit at pull-ins and rest stops, abandoned by drivers who unhitched their tractors and fled south on warnings of a devastating forest fire.

As the fire ripped through Fort McMurray, oil companies severely pulled back or stopped pumping altogether. Production dropped by a million barrels a day, roughly 40 percent of Alberta's output.

While the oil markets have remained relatively stable and production is slowly picking up, the economic blow is significant to a region and a country already battered by weak oil prices and uncertainty over global growth.

Oil companies could take weeks or months to get fully up and running, depriving the province of Alberta of royalty payments. And rebuilding costs will add to the strain on a national government that had only recently, and perhaps not fully, recovered from a mild recession. Ultimately, the financial fallout from the fire could sap what little growth Canada was expected to eke out in the latest quarter.

Many fleeing the fire found refuge in First Nations not too distant from Fort McMurray, and were provided with gas, supplies and shelter (Jim Coyle and Michael Robinson, "Size of Fort McMurray fire grows as fast as losses mount: Insurance experts mused about losses from the wildfire in the range of $9 billion if the town needs to be rebuilt – an amount almost equal to the annual budget of Nova Scotia," Toronto Star, May 6, 2016, https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/05/05/size-of-fort-mcmurray-fire-grows-as-fast-as-losses-mount.html; and Samantha Power ,"First Nations Lend Support to Fort McMurray Fire Victims: Where to Donate," ICTMN, May 13, 2916, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/13/first-nations-lend-support-fort-mcmurray-fire-victims-where-donate-164452).

There is strong evidence that global warming induced climate change is causing the great serge of many and often huge fires across the Boreal forests that stretch the length of Canada and Alaska across Russia to all of Scandinavia. The huge loss of forest and related habitat that is occurring is part of a multiple positive (and for us negative) feedback loop, as the fires increase global warming by directly putting large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which continues as killed trees and other plants rot, while any dark ash falling on ice or snow lowers its ability to reflect light and heat away from the earth, and the lost trees and other green plants can no longer convert carbon dioxide into oxygen (Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain, "Global Warming Cited as Wildfires Increase n Fragile Boreal Forest: Scientists say the near-destruction of Fort McMurray last week by a wildfire is the latest indication that the vital boreal forest is at risk from climate change," The New York Times, May 10, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/11/science/global-warming-cited-as-wildfires-increase-in-fragile-boreal-forest.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0).

With the arrival of winter, it used to be that in the U.S. Midwest and South, tornado season was long over and far from renewing. But that has already changed with climate change. On December 23, 2015 tornadoes developed across the South and Midwest, including what used to be extremely rare a tornado staying on the ground for many miles, in this case for some 130 miles across Mississippi, killing at least 14 people. Two days later, 8 were killed as a group of tornadoes struck the Dallas TX area, destroying homes and throwing cars off freeways Meanwhile, the Northeastern U.S. saw record high temperatures for a number of days up to and over Christmas 2015, as the world's hottest year on record approached an end (Lacy Russell, Alan Blinder and Cynthia Howell, "Tornado Leaves Long Path of Destruction in South," The New York Times, December 24, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/25/us/storms-mississippi-tennessee-arkansas.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0; Daniel E. Slotnik and David Montgomery, "Eight Dead as Tornadoes Strike the Dallas Area," The New York Times, December 26, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/27/us/tornadoes-and-deaths-are-reported-in-dallas-as-storms-continue-in-south.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0, and Sarah Maskin Nir, "On a Tropical Christmas in New York, Traditions Melt Away," The New York Times, December 25, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/nyregion/warm-new-york-christmas.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0).

The same severe weather also brought flooding, including in Missouri, Illinois and Texas (David Montgomery and Ashley Southall, "Tornadoes Leave Paths of Rubble and 11 Dead in the Dallas Area," The New York Times, December 27, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/28/us/dallas-tornadoes-storms-sweep-south.html?ref=todayspaper).

The out of season (but not anymore) weather worsened as the year ended, bringing record high water and flooding along the Mississippi and Meramec Rivers in Missouri and Illinois, causing wide spread evacuations and damage, impacting millions of people (John Eligon and Richard Perez-Pena, "Record Floods Affect Millions in the Midwest," The New York Times, December 30, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/31/us/missouri-flooding-st-louis-mississippi.html?ref=todayspaper).

"Cherokee Citizens Seek Donations for Flood-Ravaged Community," ICTMN, January 14, 2016, reported, "The Chewey Community on the Cherokee Nation suffered greatly in December's record-breaking floods, with many people losing everything they owned. A private initiative is under way to help them recoup and recover."

" While the 18 hardest-hit Oklahoma counties were not in Cherokee territory, the Chewey Community in particular was devastated."

"Winter Storm Selene Strands Hundreds on Snowy Interstates; Wisconsin Declares State of Emergency." The Weather Chanel, March 24 2016, https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/winter-storm-selene-denver-interstates-airport-closed, reported, "A powerful Winter Storm Selene hammered the Rockies, Plains and Midwest Wednesday and Thursday, bringing an entire region to a halt, both on the ground and in the air.

In Colorado, the state's National Guard resources were deployed to assist with rescue missions as every major highway leading out of Denver was closed, making travel nearly impossible Wednesday afternoon. More than 1,300 flights were canceled Wednesday at Denver International Airport, and officials were forced to halt all operations for several hours due to the severe wintry conditions. Once the roadway leading to the airport was cleared, the airport reopened at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

More than 30 inches of snow fell from this storm alone in parts of Colorado; when the snow stopped, DIA officially reported 13.1 inches. Further east, the snow continued to fall Thursday on the Upper Midwest." For a time, all interstates out of Denver were closed. Wisconsin was heavily snowed, and to a lesser extent were Minnesota, Michigan, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

A heat wave across the Southwest in mid-June 2016, brought record 120 degree Fahrenheit temperature to Phoenix, AZ, June 19 (Acuweather.com, http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/phoenix-az/85004/weather-forecast/346935).

Climate change bringing warming oceans appears to have brought one of the strongest el Niño's ever in the Pacific, with warmer waters on the ocean's surface, beginning in winter 2015-16, with serious world wide impacts. While California received some drought relief, in Paraguay's capital city, among other places in the region, exceedingly heavy rains brought damaging flooding and displacements of people, The monsoons in India brought far less rain than normal, severely reducing agricultural production and leading to many suicides by ruined farmers, while in South Africa, and parts of Ethiopia the drought was devastating, while Central America suffered from less rain (Henry Fountain, "El Niño Upsets Seasons and Upends Lives," The New York Times, March 11, 2016).

Despite periods of warmer weather because of el Nino, the East coast of the U.S., was again hit by severe storms in Winter 2016. In late January, while New York City suffered little damage amid near record snow fall, elsewhere along the East Coast, at least 28 people died in storm related events, that in Washington, DC and vicinity included shutting down Congress and federal offices for several days, with power out for thousands in a number of areas. February 2016, continued the pattern of the last several years of having Arctic air pour in, bringing several days with record cold temperatures for the date. On February 15, for example , temperatures in New York City dropped below zero, setting a record for the date.

Meanwhile, severe storms continue to come up the East coast from the south, even spawning tornadoes, which previously was very rare in winter, but has now become common with climate change. (James Barron and Sarrah Maslin Nirjan, "After East Coast Blizzard, the Cleanup and the Workweek Begin," The New York Times, January 24, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/nyregion/east-coast-blizzard-2016.html; Anne Correal, "Parade Raises Spirits During Record Plunge," The New York Times," February 16, 2016; and Alan Blinder, "Storms Move Up the East Coast After a Deadly Assault on the South," February 24, 2016, The New York Times, February 24, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/us/dangerous-storm-moves-up-east-coast-after-hammering-gulf-states.html?ref=todayspaper, reported. " At least seven people were killed as a storm system barreled across the South on Tuesday and lashed states along the East Coast on Wednesday, the authorities said. The system – which spawned tornadoes and heavy rains – flattened homes, tossed vehicles and uprooted trees." The greatest damage by the once out of season tornadoes was in Virginia, following at least three fatalities from strong winds in the deep South, including tornado damage to some 100 homes, injuring at least 30 people in St. James Parish, LA.

Tremendous rains in Louisiana and Mississippi, in some places up to 15 or 20 inches fell in over three days, in mid March 2016 , bringing wide spread serious flooding, in places at record levels, with several thousand people evacuated as many of their homes flooded and hundreds of roads were under water ("Louisiana and Mississippi Check Damage After Heavy Rain and Flooding," The New York Times, March 12, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/13/us/louisiana-and-mississippi-check-damage-after-heavy-rain-and-flooding.html?ref=todayspaper).

By March 16 over 5000 homes in Louisiana had been flooded and as the spreading flood moved downstream areas of Sothern Louisiana began to go under water (Campbell Robinson and Alan Blinder, "Destruction Mounts as Floodwaters Engulf Louisiana," The New York Times, March 14, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/us/destruction-mounts-as-floodwaters-engulf-louisiana.html?ref=todayspaper).

Yet another storm with snow and strong winds cut power for 250,00 people and inflicted other damage across 14 Midwest and Eastern states, at the beginning of April, 2016 ( Andy Newman, "Winds in Eastern States Cut Power to Thousands," The New York Times, April 4, 2016).

As extreme weather continued to periodically hit the U.S. (only some of which is reported here), in mid April heavy rains which had badly hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, became record rains in the Houston area bringing flash floods, killing at least five people as over 100 homes were flooded, roads impassible, schools closed, and power knocked out for thousands of people (Doyle Rice, "Five die as 'historic rainfall, swamps Houston Region," USA Today, April 19, 2016).

Spring 2016 in the Midwest South and East of the United States continued to have more heavy storms than usual. One of the worst, Christine Hauser, "6 Dead in Texas Floods, and More Rain Is Coming," The New York Times, May 30, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/31/us/6-dead-in-texas-floods-and-more-rain-is-coming.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0, reported, " At least six people have died in flooding from torrential rain across large areas of Texas, and emergency workers were searching for an 11-year-old boy who was swept away in a storm-swollen creek in Kansas, the authorities said on Monday.

Rec ord-breaking rain since the middle of last week has swallowed cars, damaged houses and led to the evacuation of 2,600 inmates. Thunderstorms brought more troubles to areas already saturated by other recent storms .

In an area including San Antonio and Austin, Tex., the heavy rain could not soak into the limestone and sandstone that characterize the Hill Country region, leading narrow creeks to brim with fast-running waters.

Since Wednesday, the thunderstorms have dropped pockets of intensely heavy rain, or "rain bombs," as meteorologists call them.

These have circulated through East Texas, Dallas and Corpus Christi, along with Austin and San Antonio, hitting some parts harder than others, said Kurt Van Speybroeck, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

As a result, rainfall has ranged from four inches in parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area to 30 inches in Washington County, the authorities said."

And the rain and flooding in Texas grew worse end of May into June, with Accuweather, reporting, June 2, 2016, "Travel has become nearly impossible in some areas of Texas as substantial rain and rising rivers have led to widespread flooding over the past week.

Some of the worst flooding has occurred from central Texas to the Gulf Coast. Up to 13 inches of rain fell in just 12 hours near Saratoga, Texas, according to radar estimates. Saratoga is located about 60 miles northeast of Houston."

" Flooding has forced road closures all across the state with more than 130 closures as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

The river reached record level on Thursday as the water level climbed above 54 feet, the highest water level ever recorded on the river at the Richmond water gauge.

Over 300 water rescues have been conducted since Sunday due to the rising water, according to the Associated Press . Residents along the river were also forced to evacuate their homes due to the rising water.

The flooding left not only people, but also animals, running to higher ground.

Organizations, such as the SPCA, helped to rescue animals including horses and cattle that were trapped by high water."

" Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for 31 counties in Texas.

The counties include the cities of Lubbock and College Station, as well as areas surrounding Houston and Austin.

More life-threatening flooding is likely with additional rounds of rain expected into the weekend.

Not only can additional rain worsen existent flooding, but it could also cause flooding in new areas."

While the super strong El Nino in the hot Pacific Ocean initially brought a milder winter to the U.S. East Coast, the pattern of major snow of the past 3 winter – though this time in a storm coming up from the tropics and not out of the Arctic, hit in late January. James Barron and Rick Rojas, "Major Cities Grind to a Halt and Face Days of Digging Out Snow," The New York Times, January 23, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/nyregion/east-coast-snowstorm.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, "Making up for a remarkably mild winter, the first major snowstorm of the season charged up the East Coast on Saturday, a blizzard propelled by tropical-storm-force winds that brought much of the Northeast to a standstill and left more than two feet of snow in New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio called it " very likely one of the worst snowstorms in our history."

A travel ban, imposed Saturday afternoon in and around the city to keep drivers off streets, was lifted at 7 a.m. on Sunday.

Four Hudson River crossings – the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges – that were shut down in conjunction with the ban re-opened at 7 a.m. as well. The city's public bus service also began operating again with limited service. But suburban commuter railroads in New York, as its elevated subway lines, remained closed, following the lead of mass transit systems in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Saturday that service to aboveground subways and to Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Railroad could be restored on Sunday, weather permitting. Travelers hoping to fly into or out of New York City's two airports, La Guardia and Kennedy Airports, would not be so lucky. The governor said "the vast majority" of flights would be canceled on Sunday.

From Tennessee to North Carolina and north along the Interstate 95 spine, those who persisted found the going slow and treacherous. In some places, long-haul trucks lined up behind snowplows. In others, cars mistook entrance ramps for exits. Officials throughout the Mid-Atlantic region warned that it could be days before residents finished digging out.

The snowstorm came close to being the biggest in New York City since 1869. The National Weather Service said 26.8 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park by midnight on Saturday, a mere one-tenth of an inch below the record set when 26.9 inches of snow piled up in February 2006." With the Midwest also receiving snow that on the coast extended south at least to to Georgia, the largest snowfall, as of late afternoon, January 24, was 42 inches in West Virginia.

Record snow falls occurred in a number of cities, and while New York City was returning to fairly normal activity on January 26, several cities and many rural areas were not, and it was unclear how long it would take to dig out. In Washington, DC and vicinity, for example, all federal offices and activities – including a congressional meeting – were closed or canceled. At least 38 people died as a result of the storm, which disrupted electric power in some areas, and forced cancelation of a large number of air flights (James Barron and Sarah Maslin Nirjan, "After East Coast Blizzard, the Cleanup and the Workweek Begin," The New York Times, January 24, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/nyregion/east-coast-blizzard-2016.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0).

Despite periods of warmer weather because of el Nino, the East coast of the U.S., in February 206, continued the pattern of the last several years of having Arctic air pour in, bringing several days with record cold temperatures for the date.

As of late January, 2016, "California: Storms Increase Snowpack, but Reservoirs' Levels Remain Low," The New York Times, January 26, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/us/california-storms-increase-snowpack-but-reservoirs-levels-remain-low.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " Recent El Niño storms have increased the Sierra Nevada snowpack to 115 percent of normal, more than drought-stricken California has had in five years, officials said Tuesday. The electronic reading by the State Department of Water Resources was the highest since it reached 129 percent in 2011. The Sierra snowpack contributes nearly one-third of California's water when it melts in the spring. However, officials say the snowpack would have to be at 150 percent of normal by April 1 to ease the four-year drought. Key reservoirs are beginning to rise from the early winter storms but remain low. Lake Oroville in Butte County, the State Water Project's largest reservoir, is at 60 percent of its historical average for this time of year. Officials on Tuesday slightly increased the amount of water the state intends to provide to cities and farms to 15 percent from 10 percent of their contracted supply."

Adam Nagourney, "Storm Water, long a Nuisance, May Be a Parched California's Salvation," The New York Times, February 19, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/us/storm-water-long-a-nuisance-may-be-a-parched-californias-salvation.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0, reported, " After a year in which Californians cut water use by 25 percent, storm water has become the next front in what amounts to a fundamental restructuring of Southern California's relationship with its intricate water network. More than 200 billion gallons of storm water, enough to supply 1.4 million households for a year, could be captured statewide – but instead end up spilling down sewers and drains and into the ocean, as was on display Thursday, in the hours after the rainfall ended, at the spot where the Los Angeles River ends here.

Nowhere is the disparity felt more than in parched Los Angeles, with its short winters and its overwhelming reliance on water imported from Northern California and the Colorado River. For nearly a century, since deadly floods in 1938 killed 97 people, engineers have focused on ways to flush storm water safely out of Los Angeles as quickly as possible. Now, officials want to capture that water."

 "Mr. Garcetti invoked the legacy of William Mulholland, the city engineer who oversaw the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, as he outlined policy intended to press Los Angeles to increase the amount of storm water captured, to 50 billion gallons by 2035 from 8.8 billion gallons now.

'This is a Mulholland moment," he said in an interview. "I intend to re-engineer the water system again to keep water here./

Still, the long-predicted El Niño rains have yet to arrive with the fury that has been promised. While there was heavy rain – and, just as critically, snow – in Northern California through January, Southern California has been baking in record-high temperatures. The rain here on Thursday was the first major precipitation in more than a month.

Potentially more worrisome, the heavy January rains and snows that socked the northern part of the state – home to most of California's reservoirs – have not kept pace into February. A critical measure, the snowpack, which provides water as it melts into the spring, was at 94 percent of normal statewide last week. Still, meteorologists, pointing to the history of El Niño storms, said the heaviest rains could arrive later this month and in March and April."

Henry Fountain, "Sierra Nevada Snow Won't End California's Thirst," The New York Times, April 11, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/12/science/california-snow-drought-sierra-nevada-water.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0, "Thanks in part to El Niño, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is greater than it has been in years. With the winter snowfall season winding down, California officials said that the pack peaked two weeks ago at 87 percent of the long-term average.

That's far better than last year, when it was just 5 percent of normal and Gov. Jerry Brown announced restrictions on water use after four years of severe drought. But the drought is still far from over, especially in Southern California, where El Niño did not bring many major storms.

Despite the better news this year, there are plenty of worrying signs about the Sierra snowpack, which provides about 30 percent of the water Californians use after it melts and flows into rivers and reservoirs, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

Many of those concerns stem from the effects of climate change and the structure of Sierra forests, which can influence how the snowpack accumulates and melts. Because the snow, in effect, serves as a reservoir that is released over time, any changes can affect how much water is available for people, industry and agriculture, and when."

Alaska continued in the new pattern of warmer winters and less snow, again causing the annual Iditarod dog sled race to adapt, bringing in trainloads of snow for the start in Anchorage, and moving the course off a river that did not have thick enough ice (Kirk Johnson, "As Alaska Warms, Iditarod Adapts," The New York Times, March 7, 2016).

"A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates, and With It a Way of Life," The New York Times, January  23, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/world/americas/a-lake-in-bolivia-evaporates-and-with-it-a-way-of-life.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, Overturned fishing skiffs lie abandoned on the shores of what was Bolivia 's second-largest lake. Beetles dine on bird carcasses and gulls fight for scraps under a glaring sun in what marshes remain.

Lake Poopó (pronounced po-oh-PO) was officially declared evaporated last month. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have lost their livelihoods and have left the area.

High on Bolivia's semiarid Andean plains at more than 12,000 feet and subject to climatic whims, the shallow saline lake has dried up before only to rebound to a size twice the area of Los Angeles.

But recovery may no longer be possible, scientists say.

' This is a picture of the future of climate change ,' said Dirk Hoffman, a German glaciologist who studies how rising temperatures from the burning of fossil fuels has accelerated glacial melting in Bolivia.

As Andean glaciers disappear, so do the sources of Poopó's water. But other factors are in play in the demise of Bolivia's second-largest body of water after Lake Titicaca.

Drought caused by the recurrent El Niño meteorological phenomenon is considered the main driver. Officials say another factor is water diverted from Poopó's tributaries, mostly for mining but also for agriculture.

More than 100 families have sold their sheep, llamas and alpaca, set aside their fishing nets and left the former lakeside village of Untavi over the past three years, draining it of well over half of its population. Only the elderly remain."

Stephen Castle, "British Army Is Deployed as Flooding Submerges Northern England, The New York Times, December 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/28/world/europe/british-army-is-deployed-as-flooding-submerges-northern-england.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0. reported, " The British Army stepped in on Sunday to help evacuate hundreds of people from waterlogged homes across the country, as swollen rivers and heavy rainfall brought misery to parts of the north and unleashed a spate of political recriminations.

Accustomed to heavy rainfall, Britain has been hit several times by flooding recently, but the effects of the latest episode have spread beyond rural areas, leaving parts of York, Leeds and Manchester submerged.

Threatened by its two rising rivers, York became the focus for emergency workers over the weekend as floodwaters engulfed many shops and pubs and came close to the ancient city's historical buildings."

Aurelien Breenden and Katarina Johannsen, "From Paris to Bavaria, Heavy Rains Cause Deadly Floods," The New York Times, June 2, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/03/world/europe/france-germany-floods-rain.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0, " Torrential rains have caused deadly flooding in central and northeastern France this week, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people, some on boats or kayaks, and threatening works of art stored in Paris's most celebrated museums.

A man on horseback was swept away by floodwaters on Thursday and found dead in évry-Grégy-sur-Yerre, 30 miles southeast of Paris, the authorities in the Seine-et-Marne administrative department, where the town is located, said. In Germany, heavy rains claimed the lives of nine people.

The heavy rains caused the Seine in Paris to rise to 18 feet by Thursday evening, flooding the lower embankments and shutting several roads but causing no significant damage. The level is still far from the record of 1910, however, when the river rose to 26 feet."

"Officials in France and Germany were bracing for even more rain this week. The Loing River, a tributary of the Seine, has risen to levels not seen since 1910, and the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, got more rainfall last month than in any May since 1960.

President François Hollande said Thursday that the rainfall and floods were "very serious" and linked them to global warming."

"About 19,000 homes in France were still without power on Thursday evening, and the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said that an estimated 20,000 people had been evacuated.

Meteorologists attribute the recent deluge to a dip in the jet stream that has trapped low-pressure air over much of France and Germany, where the air is then warmed by the sun. This occurrence often leads to heat waves, and to thunderstorms as the hot air rises.

The recent thunderstorms have been more intense than usual because the hot air rises to encounter colder air in the upper atmosphere. Generally, the greater the difference between the rising hot air and the colder high air, the bigger the storms.

Forecasters say there could be a few more days of rain before the low-pressure air moves on.

More than 3,000 people were evacuated from Nemours, about 50 miles south of Paris, after the Loing overflowed, flooding businesses and homes. The surrounding Seine-et-Marne area was on high alert for floods on Thursday, and 12 other departments in the Île-de-France and Centre-Val de Loire regions were on the second-highest level of flood alert."

"Thousands of homes in Bavaria were without power, officials said."

Dharisha Bastians, "Floods and Landslides in Sri Lanka Leave Dozens Dead." The New York Times, May 18, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/world/asia/sri-lanka-landslides-flooding.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " At least 37 people were killed in landslides and flash floods and hundreds of thousands were displaced, Sri Lankan officials said on Wednesday, as torrential rains and gusting winds continued to lash the country just days after the beginning of the monsoon season."

"Cyclone Winston: Death toll rises to 29 as clear-up begins," BBC News, February 23, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35633321, reported, " The number of people killed in the cyclone that hit Fiji at the weekend has risen to 29, with officials warning the clear-up could take months. About 8,500 people are still sheltering in evacuation centres.

Cyclone Winston has flattened many buildings in parts of the main Viti Levu island and Koro islands, Fijian officials said.

The category five storm brought winds of over 320km/h (200mph), torrential rain and waves of up to 12m (40ft).

It has been described by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation as the worst to ever hit the country.

Government spokesman Ewan Perrin told Radio New Zealand that the houses of 2,000 families who lived on Koro island had been "pretty much flattened".

Eight bodies were found there on Monday.

Rescue workers warned that the death toll could rise further as some of the worst-hit outlying islands have yet to be reached.

'We're still trying to get people on the ground in these areas," Mr. Perrin was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

'In some places people are going to be displaced for months because they've lost everything,' he added.

The New Zealand Air Force has helped Fijian rescuers carry out aerial inspections across almost all the islands, Mr. Perrin said."

Kevin Conlon, Joshua Berlinger and Ralph Ellis, "In Fiji, 17 dead from 'monster' Cyclone Winston; schools shuttered for a week, CNN, February 22, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/21/asia/fiji-tropical-cyclone-winston/index.html, reported, " Cyclone Winston was reported by the authorities to be the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere."

A serious drought in Vietnam, related to el Nino, had reduced and was threatening to largely destroy the season's rice crop, as of late May, 2016 (Jane Perlez, "Struggling to Farm in a Parched Land," The New York Times, May 29, 2016).

The El Nino in the Pacific, in late 2015 – likely to continue well into 2016, by end of 2015 was causing the worst drought in more than a generation in southern Africa, contributing to economic difficulties (Norimitsu Onshi, "Drought Deepens South Africa's Malaise," The New York Times, December 27, 2015).

The World Food Program, " URGENT: WORST DROUGHT IN 50 YEARS DEVASTATES ETHIOPIA," May 5, 2016, https://support.wfpusa.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=C25054C6817568839ECF130EDBECEB1A.app262a?idb=1388231252&df_id=4423&mfc_pref=T&4423.donation=form1&s_src=UNR1605EMAPPctrle1&autologin=true&utm_campaign=1605EMAPP&idb=0&utm_source=UNR1605EMAPPctrle1&utm_content=UNR1605EMAPPctrle1&utm_medium=email, reported, " A "Godzilla El Niño" has brought about the worst drought in decades. Crops have failed. Livestock are dying. And we've seen a spike in the number of severely malnourished children who require specialized medical care to survive."

Austin Ramzy and Wai Moe, "Landslide at Myanmar Jade Mine Kills at Least 12," The New York Times, May 24, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/25/world/asia/myanmar-hpakant-landslide-jade-mine.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0, reported, " A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar has killed at least 12 people, and dozens more might have been buried by the collapsed hillside, an official said on Tuesday.

The landslide in Kachin State on Monday night came after heavy rainfall in recent days. Twelve bodies were recovered, but as many as 100 people were feared missing."

Exelon announced, in early June 2016, that it is closing its two nuclear power plants in Illinois, the Clinton Power Station and the Quad Cities Generating Station, as both are losing money and the company cannot obtain a bailout for them (Diane Caldwell, "Unable to Win Relief, Exelon Plans to Close 2 Illinois Nuclear Plants." The New York Times, June 3, 2016).

The Turkey Run Nuclear Power Plant in South Florida was found, by a county commissioned study, to be leaking radioactive cooling water into Biscayne Bay, and threatening to contaminate drinking water wells (Lizette Alvarez, "Nuclear Plant Leak Threatens Drinking Wells in Florida," The New York Times, March 23, 2016).

Jonathan Spbrl, "Fukushima Keeps Fighting Radioactive Tide 5 Years After Disaster," The New York Times, March 10, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/11/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-disaster.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " Five years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck , causing three reactors at Fukushima to melt down, that goal is the focus of a colossal effort at once precarious and routine. A veneer of stability at the plant masks a grueling, day-to-day battle to contain hazardous radiation, which involves a small army of workers, complex technical challenges and vexing safety trade-offs.

Fukushima has become a place where employees arrive on company shuttle buses and shop at their own on-site convenience store, but where they struggle to control radiation-contaminated water and must release it into the sea. Many of the most difficult and dangerous cleanup tasks still lie ahead, and crucial decisions remain unsettled."

The Obama Admiration launched a major initiative to involve the private sector in conserving and better managing water in the U.S., in December. The "moonshot for water" is in response to a U.S. Geological Survey report, in November, that 64% of the well's in its data base reported a decline in water level, and many aquifers are in decline, with climate change a major factor. Noting that increasing warming is increasing demand for water, while drought is lessoning its availability in many areas. The administration is concerned about maintaining aquifers and water availability. Efforts will include fixing leaks and developing and applying improved water desalinization (Gregory Korte and Ian Jones, "White House launches water initiative," USA Today, December 16, 2015).

The switching of Flint, MI, a mostly African American community, water to seriously lead polluted water to save money, which state and local officials did nothing about, and tried to cover up, though they were aware of it, has raised questions of environmental racism (John Eligon, "A Question of Environmental Racism in Flint," The New York Times, January 22, 2016).

Rebecca McCray, "Indigenous Americans Have Been Living Flint's Nightmare for Decades: A new report documents the Canadian government's failure to regulate safe water for First Nations communities." Take Part, June 7, 2016, http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/06/07/first-nations-water?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2016-06-07-A

"The Swain family's predicament is common among Canada's indigenous families, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday ["Make it safe: Canada's obligation to end the First Nation Water Crisis," https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/06/07/make-it-safe/canadas-obligation-end-first-nations-water-crisis]. In spite of living in one of the world's most water-rich regions, First Nations people living on reserves depend on water sources that are not regulated or protected by Canada's government. That means the available water is often contaminated, inaccessible, and degraded, leaving communities at risk of cancer, skin infections, and gastrointestinal disorders.

'It's often indigenous groups and communities of color that miss out on access to safe drinking water, even in countries that have a large amount of natural resources,' Amanda Klasing, the report's author, told TakePart. 'First Nations communities not only lack the same level of access to clean water but also the basic legal infrastructure to ensure that they have safe drinking water on the reserve.'

First Nations reserves in Canada do not have the level of sovereignty and control over governance that Native American reservations in the U.S. do, leaving the Canadian government responsible for the regulatory gap that has inhibited potable water access in these communities, according to Klasing. Recognizing that responsibility, candidate Justin Trudeau made a campaign promise to end boil-water advisories in First Nations communities within five years of being elected prime minister. His administration has since earmarked $1.8 million to address water access on indigenous reserves.

Now, advocates like Klasing are waiting for that plan to be put into action–and to see whether indigenous stakeholders will be involved in the process. "Funding commitments by the government in the past haven't led to progress or change in the communities," said Klasing.

The tainted water, in which contaminants such as E. coli, coliform, uranium, and cancer-causing disinfectant byproducts have been found, has led to negative health consequences for many of the households surveyed by Human Rights Watch. The lack of access to drinkable water recalls that experienced by members of the Navajo Nation in the U.S. throughout New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Contaminated wells and groundwater in this region, along with limited resources necessary to build infrastructure to bring safer water from the San Juan and Colorado rivers to the Navajo people, has left many unable to access water that runs through their lands."

The Passaic River in New Jersey, which became highly polluted from dumping by many industrial plants along it, is to have its lower 8 miles, the most polluted section, cleaned under a $1.38 billion federal Super Fund Project (Noah Remnick and Rick Rojas, "Passaic River, Long Marred by Toxic Dumping, Will be Cleaned," The New York Times, March 5, 2016).

"Oils spills in Peruvian Amazon devastate indigenous communities," Survival International, February 22, 2016, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11144, reported, " Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon have suffered from two oil spills in two months.

The spills are all attributed to State oil company PetroPerú, which has failed to conduct routine maintenance on its pipelines. One spill released at least 2,000 barrels of oil, which spread into the local rivers, affecting indigenous communities that include the Achuar, Shapra, Wampis and Awajún.

The spills have destroyed the ecosystem, compromising the health, food and safety of local communities. Locals have lost their livelihoods and are no longer able to drink water from the rivers or fish for food.

Whilst the cleanup is the responsibility of PetroPerú, both the company and the government have been slow to react. Communities have resorted to trying to clean up the toxic oil themselves. Shocking images reveal that children, without protection, have been involved in this dangerous process.

This environmental disaster is just the latest in a long history of oil and gas leaks in the area. More than 70% of the Peruvian Amazon has been leased by the government to oil companies. Many of these leases are inhabited by indigenous people. These projects not only open up previously remote areas to outsiders, such as loggers and colonists, but destroy the ecosystem for indigenous peoples.

The national indigenous peoples' organization, AIDESEP, has denounced the oil spills. Criticizing the slow action of the government, the organization called on 'international public opinion, the media, NGOs and civil society to pay attention to this serious event that puts in danger the lives of thousands of people living in the area who have traditionally been neglected."

Nika Knight, " Repeat Oil Spills Turning Peruvian Amazon into 'Sacrifice Zone' for Big Oil: 'The situation is criminal'," Common Dreams , June 28, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/28/repeat-oil-spills-turning-peruvian-amazon-sacrifice-zone-big-oil, reported, " Less than six months after two horrific oil spills in the Peruvian Amazon devastated Indigenous communities and the local ecosystem, yet another spill in the region has been reported.

'Somehow virtually none of the profits generated by the oil industry over decades is available to ensure that Amazonian communities don't have to watch their primary sources of livelihoods–the river, the forest–become irrevocably polluted by spills.' –Andrew Miller, Amazon Watch

On Friday afternoon, a leak was discovered in the Northern Peruvian Pipeline–the same pipeline responsible for the earlier spills–that eventually coated over 16,000 square meters of Amazon rainforest in Peru's northeast Loreto region with crude oil, according to OEFA, the country's environmental regulator.

The pipeline is operated by the state-run corporation PetroPeru.

'Upon initial reports of the spill on June 24th, PetroPeru went into crisis response mode, issuing statements via Twitter to national and international journalists. PetroPeru claimed that the Northern Peruvian Pipeline still isn't pumping oil following the disastrous spills in early 2016, but the OEFA report belies that, stating that they found 'indicators that PetroPeru is pumping hydrocarbons through the pipeline,'' said Andrew Miller, advocacy director of Amazon Watch, in an email to Common Dreams.

'So it appears that PetroPeru is currently pumping oil, though they publicly deny it," Miller added, 'without having carried out the proper reparation and replacement of deteriorated pipeline sections ordered by the OEFA after the prior spills.'

As with previous spills, local Indigenous residents have been employed to help with the cleanup–but health officials on Tuesday reported (pdf) a lack of proper safety equipment, which puts those people at risk for "poisoning and burns" from direct contact with the crude.

Moreover, while PetroPeru 'personnel arrived at the spill site at 10 pm [on Friday] and tried to contain the spill using makeshift barriers of leaves and branches," Mongabay writes, the health officials' report states that this 'did not help much, because the oil continued to leak and affect lower areas.'

Miller wrote that at least 430 people are affected by this latest spill.

The health officials found that the 'community of Barranca, which is close to the spill site, is most directly threatened,' observes Mongabay. 'The community of about 725 people lacks basic services, such as safe drinking water and electricity, making it even more vulnerable. If the oil should reach the stream known as Barranca Caño, it would pose a serious risk, because the stream is the community's main source of drinking water.'

Amidst this current scandal, 'OEFA announced yesterday that they are fining PetroPeru some 10 million soles (a little over $3 million) for improper clean-up of the Cuninico oil spill in mid-2014,' Miller reported. 'This follows a recent report that Kukama indigenous villagers in Cuninico have high levels of mercury and cadmium in their urine. There's no reason to assume the fate of the at least 430 people impacted by the most recent spill will be much different.'

Miller roundly condemned the situation as "criminal":

Overall at play here is a system of environmental racism in which indigenous villages along the pipeline route become de facto 'sacrifice zones.' Somehow virtually none of the profits generated by the oil industry over decades is available to ensure that Amazonian communities don't have to watch their primary sources of livelihoods–the river, the forest–become irrevocably polluted by spills.

The situation is criminal, and responsibility extends through PetroPeru to national politicians who weakened environmental regulations in recent years and the international oil companies that benefit from the pipeline.

'The third oil spill in the Amazon [this year] and still no preventive actions," lamented Henderson Rengifo of local Indigenous rights group AIDESEP.'"

Nika Knight, "'Devastated Lives': Shell Sued Again over Catastrophic Spills in Nigeria: Two new lawsuits say Shell is liable for oil spills that have destroyed livelihoods, contaminated water supplies, and rendered some wetlands 'lifeless' in the fragile ecosystem," Common Dreams, March 2, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/03/02/devastated-lives-shell-sued-again-over-catastrophic-spills-nigeria, reported, " Royal Dutch Shell must pay for the lives and livelihoods destroyed by the decades-long deluge of oil spilled from its pipelines in the Niger Delta, two lawsuits filed in London on Tuesday charged.

'Shell has an appalling record of obfuscation and misinformation with regard to its dealings in the Niger Delta,' said Peter Frankental, director of Amnesty International's UK Economic Affairs Program.

Shell's pipelines traverse the fragile Niger Delta ecosystem–and humanitarian groups last year drew attention to the company's decades-long efforts to cover up, rather than fix, its myriad pipeline failures.

The two latest cases were filed on behalf of the Bille and Ogale communities in the Ogoniland region. The British firm behind the lawsuits, Leigh Day, charged that Shell's pipeline infrastructure is in such bad shape that continual oil spills 'caused, and continue to cause, long-term contamination of the land, swamps, groundwater and waterways' in the Ogale community.

It also claimed that pipeline breakages have destroyed the livelihood of the 13,000 residents of Bille, who traditionally fish to sustain themselves, and that the spills have grown so extensive that residents 'have even been forced to stack sandbags outside their homes to try to prevent oil entering their properties.'

http://www.commondreams.org/donate This week's lawsuits follow an unprecedented £55 million ($77.4 million) settlement paid out by Shell in 2015 to residents of the region's Bodo community for spills that happened in 2008.

'In papers filed in the UK court prior to [the 2015] settlement," Amnesty International wrote in a recent briefing (pdf), 'Shell admitted that its previous and often repeated assertions regarding the volume of oil spilt and area affected were substantially incorrect.'

'Court documents also revealed that internal emails and reports showed that senior Shell employees had expressed concern as far back as in 2001 of the need to replace oil pipelines in the Niger Delta,' the humanitarian group wrote, 'describing some sections as containing 'major risk and hazard.' '

Amnesty International's briefing warns investors of the UN-declared 'public health emergency' created in the region by decades of spills and negligence, pointing out the company's liability in claims such as the suits filed this week and laying out a case for divestment from Shell.

The Niger Delta 'has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless,' the New York Times reported back in 2010.

A Times editorial from 2014 details the darkest moments of Shell's 60-year presence in the region, a legacy the newspaper's editorial board characterizes as 'devastating':

Shell discovered oil in Nigeria in 1956, and, ever since then, the people of Ogoniland have suffered from air, land and water pollution. The United Nations study found cancer-causing benzene present in drinking water at 900 times the World Health Organization guidelines. Shell stopped drilling in Ogoniland in 1993 after local protests, but its pipelines still cross the region. The 1995 sham trial and execution of celebrated activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others who had protested oil exploitation in Ogoniland remains one of the darkest blots on Nigeria's history.

'We hope that the Bodo case and this new lawsuit will spur Shell on to accept its responsibilities by cleaning up the oil spills,' Frankental said, 'and compensating those in the Niger Delta whose lives have been devastated by them'."



Lauren McCauley, "Drilling-Induced 'Frackquakes' Threatening Millions Across Central US: For the first time, USGS includes human caused seismicity in predictive map," Common Dreams, March 28, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/03/28/drilling-induced-frackquakes-threatening-millions-across-central-us, reported, "Oil and gas drilling has made parts of the central United States as dangerous as the most earthquake-prone regions of California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), exposing millions of people to the risk of human-induced earthquakes, known as 'frackquakes.'

According to new maps released on Monday by the USGS, roughly 7 million people who live and work in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arkansas face 'potential for damaging shaking from induced seismicity,' which the USGS notes is triggered primarily by wastewater disposal from oil and gas drilling activities.

'Within a few portions of the [Central and Eastern U.S.], the chance of damage from all types of earthquakes is similar to that of natural earthquakes in high-hazard areas of California,' the USGS states, with Oklahoma being the most prone to induced earthquakes and having the largest at-risk population.

Oklahoma has seen a rapid increase in earthquakes registering at or above a 3.0 magnitude per year, surging from 109 in 2013 to over 900 in 2015.

Last year, the state's oil and gas industry regulator said that Oklahoma now experiences more earthquakes than anywhere else in the world, which scientists and officials have linked to the proliferation of disposal wells, which inject the toxic byproduct of oil and gas production deep underground.

'Today's report once again highlights the dangers the fracking cycle poses to our communities,' declared Dan Chu, director of Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign, on Monday.

Connecting the rise of human-induced earthquakes to the other threats posed by the continued use of fossil fuels, Chu added, 'The world is already experiencing deadly storms, droughts, and erratic climate and weather extremes due to climate change, and the rapid increase in earthquakes caused by wastewater injections from the oil and gas industry only raises the threat to communities across the country.'

The USGS' one-year seismic hazard forecast for the Central and Eastern U.S. is the first predictive map to include human-induced earthquakes, in addition to natural earthquakes. Last spring, the government agency released another landmark map which highlighted the location and frequency of earthquakes thought to be caused by human activities.

Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, said that 'by including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.'"

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered oil and gas well operators to reduce the amount of waste eater they pump into deep wells, in early January 2016, to reduce the number and magnitude of earthquakes this is causing ("Oklahoma: Well Operators Ordered to Reduce Wastewater," The New York Times, January 5, 2016).

Margie Alt, Environment America Executive Director, stated in an anti Fracking drive, June 16, 2016, https://environmentamerica.webaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16881&utm_source=Salsa&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=AME4-FFRK-0616&utm_content=EM5:01A:0GH-OOP&uid=1385161, "A new study from Duke University confirms what we knew all along: Fracking is an environmental nightmare.

The key finding: Thousands of fracking waste spills have left a legacy of radioactive contamination in North Dakota.

The study examined the Bakken shale region -- one of the most fracked places in the country -- and found 3,900 spills since 2007. 1 This contamination, which has leaked into rivers and streams, will remain for thousands of years, according to researchers.

Wherever fracking takes place, it opens the door to radioactive contamination that threatens our health. Add your name in support of a fracking ban.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of fracking's impacts on health, the oil and gas industry continues to make bogus claims that fracking is safe. 2

Meanwhile, radioactive waste from fracking is elevating cancer risks for nearby communities. 3

This radioactive threat adds to the many other health risks linked to fracking, like hormone disruption, respiratory issues, and higher hospitalization rates. 4

Despite these widespread health threats, fracking remains nearly unchecked at every step of the process. In fact, North Dakota recently loosened radioactive waste disposal regulations even further. 1 This is unacceptable."

Michael Wines, "Colorado Court Strikes Down Local Bans on Fracking," The New York Times, May 2, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/us/colorado-court-strikes-down-local-bans-on-fracking.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " Colorado's Supreme Court on Monday struck down local government prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, handing oil and gas companies a victory in a lengthy battle over energy production in the environmentally conscious state.

In separate rulings, the court said a moratorium in Fort Collins and a ban in Longmont were invalid because state law pre-empted them. A lower court had reached the same conclusion earlier.

Two other cities and Boulder County have prohibitions on fracking that presumably are affected by the decisions. With oil and gas exploration in a slump nationwide, the short-term effect of the rulings in Colorado will be small, industry officials said."

Efforts by anti-fracking people are beginning to change Colorado state law on the matter.

Deirdre Fulton, " Passing Ban, Scottish Parliament Declares: 'No Ifs, No Buts, No Fracking': Non-binding fracking ban signals 'growing consensus that stopping climate change means we have to say no to new fossil fuels like fracked gas,'" Common Dreams, June 1, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/01/passing-ban-scottish-parliament-declares-no-ifs-no-buts-no-fracking, reported, " The Scottish Parliament on Wednesday narrowly passed a motion in support of an outright fracking ban, setting up a potential showdown over the controversial fossil fuels extraction method.

The motion put forth by Labor stated: 'This parliament recognizes that, to meet Scotland's climate change goals and protect the environment, there must be an outright ban on fracking in Scotland.'

After Scottish National Party (SNP) members abstained, the motion was passed by 32 votes to 29. The SNP announced a moratorium on fracking in Scotland last January, but has stopped short of an outright ban to allow for further research.

The Guardian reports:

Scottish Labor's environment spokesperson, Claudia Beamish, who tabled the amendment, immediately called on the SNP government to clarify its position after the vote, which does not create binding policy, but represents a significant defeat for the SNP so soon into this new parliamentary term.

Beamish said: 'The SNP government must now clarify whether or not they will respect the will of parliament and introduce an outright ban on fracking. It would be outrageous for this important vote to be ignored.'"

Ian Lovett, "Governor Declares Emergency Over Los Angeles Gas Leak," The New York Times, January, 6, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/07/us/california-governor-declares-emergency-over-los-angeles-gas-leak.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " Natural gas has been spewing into the air in the Porter Ranch neighborhood here since late October, sickening residents, prompting thousands to evacuate their homes and pouring greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

Gov. Jerry Brown, faced with mounting public anger and no end in sight to the leak, declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for the neighborhood of about 30,000 at the edge of the San Fernando Valley. And residents – who have been demanding to know why the Southern California Gas Company cannot fix the leak to its natural gas storage well, and whether the company will compensate them for their lost property values and health problems – want to know why it has taken so long."

"California Gas Blowout Now Spewing Longer Than the BP Gulf Oil Spill: Declare the Porter Ranch Blowout a National Emergency." Food and Water Watch, January 18, 2015, https://secure.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=2469&autologin=true, commented, " FACT: The SoCalGas Porter Ranch blowout in California has now lasted longer than the BP Gulf spill.

The 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico was plugged after 87 days. Today is the 88th day of the SoCalGas Porter Ranch blowout.

We need national action: Ask President Obama to declare a State of Emergency in Porter Ranch and to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to shut down the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility!

Over 12,000 people have evacuated their homes in Porter Ranch to avoid the noxious plume of methane spreading across the San Fernando Valley and causing headaches, nose bleeds and rashes.

Two weeks ago Governor Brown finally declared a state of emergency, but as the crisis continues this must be raised to a national level. We need President Obama to sound the alarm so that every resource necessary is going toward shutting down this massive blowout!

As time passes, the situation only gets worse:

Each day the Porter Ranch blowout accounts for a staggeringly large amount of climate pollution – accounting for up to a quarter of California's daily greenhouse gas emissions.

SoCal gas has finally acknowledged that its readings of benzene – a cancer-causing chemical – have been higher than normal at least 14 times since the leak started (after previously saying they'd only spotted higher than normal readings twice).

Now, as the company continues attempts to plug the leaking well, there are serious concerns about a major explosion. This risk is so high that workers aren't allowed to bring cell phones or watches onto the site to avoid causing a spark.

Had there been a State of the Union during the BP spill, it's hard to imagine the spill not getting a mention. Amazingly, that's exactly what happened last week on Porter Ranch – Obama was silent on the blowout in his State of the Union a week ago and has yet to use his authority to help Porter Ranch. President Obama: We need you to help stop the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history.

Over the weekend, President Obama declared a national emergency to help residents of Flint, Michigan who are being poisoned by their lead-contaminated drinking water. Food & Water Watch delivered more than 27,000 petitions to President Obama last week, calling on him to make sure the people of Flint are getting the help they deserve. Now, he must help California too.

When oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, it took President Obama 10 days to pledge national resources to contain the spill. It's been 88 days in Porter Ranch. President Obama: It's way past time to Shut It Down!"

"California: Blackouts Possible After Leak Hobbles Gas Facility," The New York Times, April 5, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/us/california-blackouts-possible-after-leak-hobbles-gas-facility.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, A huge natural gas well blowout last year that crippled a major energy supply for Southern California could lead to blackouts in the region over 14 days this summer, state officials said Tuesday."

A 2013 National Academy of Sciences study of methane leaks at gas wells in the U.S. that use new technology to remove fracking liquids from wells found that they emit around 18,000 tons of methane a year, about 97% of EPA's 2011 estimate for oil and gas well methane leaks. But this did not include about 150 wells not using the new technology that are responsible for most of the methane leaking from wells in the U.S. Moreover, this only considers leaking from wells, not from pipes and storage. EPA has begun regulating methane emissions, but only on new wells and storage facilities. There is also a voluntary EPA program for limiting methane leaks ("Stopping methane gas leak: Technology exists to cap emissions, but regulations on oil and gas industry are weak," Christian Science Monitor, February 1, 2016).

Andrea Germanos, " Methane-Spewing U.S. Linked to Global Surge in Potent Greenhouse Gas: New study shows U.S. may be responsible for up to '60% of the global growth of atmospheric methane seen in the past decade'," Common Dreams , February 17, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/02/17/methane-spewing-us-linked-global-surge-potent-greenhouse-gas, reported, "New research has linked the United States to the massive rise in global methane emissions.

Bobby Magill reported on the Harvard University study at Climate Central on Tuesday.

Using satellite data, the researchers found that methane emissions in the country rose over 30% over the 2002–2014 period, and that increase 'could account for 30–60% of the global growth of atmospheric methane seen in the past decade,' the study's abstract states.

Though the study does not attribute the increase in the U.S. to a particular source, Magill notes that the rise coincided with the fracking boom.

'I'd say the biggest takeaway is that there is more we–the U.S.–could be doing to reduce our methane emissions to combat climate change,' study lead author Alex Turner told Climate Central.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that methane, which the IPCC says is 84 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, was responsible for about 10% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in 2013. But previous studies have also found far higher levels of methane emissions than the agency's estimates, including a 2015 study by Robert Howarth, Cornell's David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology.

' Methane emissions make it a disastrous idea to consider shale gas as a bridge fuel, letting society continue to use fossil fuels over the next few decades,' Howarth said at the time. 'Rather, we must move as quickly as possible away from all fossil fuels–shale gas, conventional natural gas, coal and oil–and toward a truly sustainable energy future using 21st-century technologies and wind and solar power.'

The new study comes as the Obama administration continues to target methane emissions, with the Interior Department last month unveiling a new proposal to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas from fossil fuel extraction on public lands."

Nadia Prupis "'Incredible News' as Obama Pulls Plug on Offshore Drilling Plans: New five-year plan expected to end lease sales in Arctic and much of the Atlantic," Common Dreams, March 15, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/03/15/incredible-news-obama-pulls-plug-offshore-drilling-plans, reported, "The Obama administration is poised to ban offshore drilling in the Arctic and much of the Atlantic until 2022, with the announcement set to come as early as Tuesday.

The decision reverses course on President Barack Obama's plan a year ago to sell oil and gas leases to fossil fuel companies to drill in the waters off much of the southeastern Atlantic–a measure that led to widespread outcry from coastal communities–and follows his more recent move that ended new lease sales for drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in the Arctic.

This is incredible news for our beaches, for our family vacations, and for sea turtles and whales," said Maggie Alt, executive director of Environment America. 'Atlantic coastal communities spoke up loudly and clearly against drilling and spilling, and today the president is standing with them.

Jamie Henn, communications director of the climate action group 350.org, tweeted in response to the news, "Yes! Now it's time to protect the Arctic, Gulf Coast, and all public lands."

The five-year plan was widely expected following Obama's meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week, which included a significant environmental focus. In a joint statement, the leaders said they would use a science-based approach to make decisions on Arctic extraction.

Green groups welcomed the news, but cautioned that the administration must expand its protection to all federal land and water to meet its Paris climate goal of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C. That includes other wide swaths of the Atlantic that may not be included in the plan, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where the disastrous BP oil spill took place in 2010.

'Business as usual in the Gulf has to change,' said Amanda Starbuck, program director at the Rainforest Action Network. 'We call on President Obama to heed the people's demand in the Gulf, and across all coasts to end destructive offshore leases and keep all fossil fuels in the ground.'

Alt added, 'We applaud the president for protecting our Atlantic beaches and coastal way of life. And to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we must keep the vast majority of oil, coal, and gas beneath the sea and in the ground. That's why we urge the president to meet the Paris climate accord and his new agreement with Canada, and also reject new drilling in the Arctic and the Gulf.'"



Lizette Alvarez, "Unlikely Battle Over Fracking Intensifies in Florida," The New York Times, February 23, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/24/us/in-florida-an-unlikely-battle-over-fracking-intensifies.html?ref=todayspaper, " With geology akin to a wet sponge and fragile underground aquifers that supply almost all its drinking water, Florida has never been considered part of the agitated battle over fracking as a technology for extracting oil and gas.

But that began to change two years ago when a Texas-based oil and gas company was found to have been using hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking , and matrix acidizing, a fracking-like method that dissolves rocks with acid instead of fracturing them with pressurized liquid. Neither residents nor local governments knew about it because well stimulation, the catch-all term for both techniques, does not require a separate permit and is not regulated.

The result has been an unlikely battle over fracking in Florida that is picking up steam across the state. The discovery outraged local government officials and environmentalists, who said they were worried about the effects of toxic chemicals and acids on Florida's soil and water. Nearly 80 counties and cities have passed ordinances to ban or oppose the methods, in part because of their dissatisfaction with the State Legislature's proposals.

Meteor Blades , " Keystone I pipeline springs a leak in remote SD; Lakota protesters ride against another pipeline," Daily Kos , April 4, 2016, http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/4/4/1510205/-Keystone-I-pipeline-springs-a-leak-in-remote-SD-Lakota-protesters-ride-against-another-pipeline, reported, " A leak was detected Saturday in the 30-inch Keystone I pipeline. Calgary-based owner TransCanada shut the pipeline down and sent a clean-up crew to carry out remediation work. So far, there's been no estimate of how much oil was spilled.

While flow from the pipeline has been stopped from the tar sands depot in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, to Wood River, Illinois, and from Steele City, Nebraska, to Cushing, Oklahoma, the 36-inch Gulf Coast line, the southern segment of the Keystone XL. which runs from Cushing to Nederland, Texas, is still in operation. An application to build the northern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline was rejected by President Obama in November. Caroline Lalley reports from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader"

The leak is the fifth in South Dakota for Keystone I, which was approved in by the Public Utilities Commission in 2008. The DENR's spill map shows three releases of petroleum in 2010 and one in 2011. One spill in 2010 took place at the same pump station, with a release of less than five gallons because of a fitting leak."

A spokeswoman for Dakota Rural Action, a grassroots organization focused on family agriculture and conservation, issued a statement of complaint about the lag-time in TransCanada's notification of authorities after the leak was detected.

Dakota Rural Action opposes the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP), an 1,168-mile conduit through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois to connect the Bakken shale formation to a giant tank farm in Patoka, Illinois. The Bakken shale is source of about 1.1 million barrels of fracked oil a day.

The project has drawn considerable opposition. On Friday, some 200 people from several of the region's Lakota (Sioux) tribes rode horseback in protest of the DAP. Their concern is that the pipeline could leak onto lands sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux, including burial grounds, and contaminate the Missouri River just a few feet from the tribe's reservation.

'Because we are going to be fighting this giant, all the rest of the nations came on horseback to say 'we support you'," said [Ladonna] Allard. "That is why this horse ride is so important to us. Because we're not alone in this fight. All of our nations are coming to stand with us, and all our allies and partners. This pipeline is illegal.'

The pipeline is currently waiting on a decision from a colonel in the army corps of engineers, who oversees such projects, on whether Dakota Access will be granted a permit to proceed, according to Dallas Goldtooth, a Keep It In The Ground campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. The tribes are petitioning for an environmental impact study, which has not at this point been done, into the pipeline.

Lakota and other Indians have been in the forefront of climate action and opposition to pipelines, including the Keystone XL."

One of those opponents is Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux. Iron Eyes, 38, was on Sunday unanimously endorsed by delegates of the Democratic-NPL Party for his candidacy for Congress. He'll be running for the seat now held by Republican Kevin Kramer."

"Dakota Access Pipeline: Three Federal Agencies Side With Standing Rock Sioux, Demand Review," ICTMN, April 27, 2016,   http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/27/dakota-access-pipeline-three-federal-agencies-side-standing-rock-sioux-demand-review," reported, " The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation have stepped into the public fray over the $3.4 billion, 1,134-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline that conglomerate Energy Transfer wants to run through four states.

The agencies each weighed in during March and early April with separate letters exhorting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is about to make a decision about the pipeline, to conduct a formal Environmental Impact Assessment and issue an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Each of them cited potential effects on and lack of consultation with tribes, most notably the Standing Rock Sioux."

Edward Wong, "Report Ties Coal Plants to Water Shortage in Northern China," The New York Times,

March 22, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/world/asia/china-coal-power-water-shortage-greenpeace.html?ref=todayspaper, "China's consumption of coal, a major contributor to climate change and the country's horrific air pollution, is worsening a severe water shortage in the northern part of the country, Greenpeace said in a report released Tuesday.

China 's coal-fired power plants consume more water where water is scarce than plants in any other country, according to the report, which assessed global water depletion from coal use.

A decades-long drought in northern China – home to the bulk of the country's coal production and consumption – is worsening, and the central and local governments are grappling with widespread desertification. Officials have relocated millions of people. Beijing, the capital, where more than 20 million people live, has extremely low water levels."

A number of the largest banks in the United States announced in the first quarter of 2016 that they ae no longer funding coal fired electric generating plants and are generally backing away from funding projects involving coal (Michael Corkery, "Banks Pull Back on Funding Coal." The New York Times, March 21, 2106).

Liz Alverez, Nuclear Plant Leak Threatens Drinking Water Wells in Florida," The New York Times, March 22, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/us/nuclear-plant-leak-threatens-drinking-water-wells-in-florida.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, "When Florida's largest power company added two nuclear reactors to an existing plant that sat between two national parks – Biscayne Bay and the Everglades – the decision raised the concerns of environmentalists and some government officials about the possible effects on water quality and marine life.

Now more than four decades later, Florida Power & Light's reactors at Turkey Point , built to satisfy the power needs of a booming Miami, are facing their greatest crisis. A recent study commissioned by the county concluded that Turkey Point's old cooling canal system was leaking polluted water into Biscayne Bay.

This has raised alarm among county officials and environmentalists that the plant, which sits on the coastline, is polluting the bay's surface waters and its fragile ecosystem. In the past two years, bay waters near the plant have had a large saltwater plume that is slowly moving toward wells several miles away that supply drinking water to millions of residents in Miami and the Florida Keys.

Samples of the water at various depths and sites around the power plant showed elevated levels of salt, ammonia, phosphorous and tritium, a radioactive isotope that is found in nature but also frequently associated with nuclear power plants. The tritium, which was found in doses far too low to harm people, serves as a marker for scientists, enabling them to track the flow of canal water out from under the plant and into the bay. The tritium levels in December and January were much higher than they should be in ocean water.

Environmentalists, who have waged a longtime battle over water quality with the power company, among the largest in the country, said Tuesday that they planned to sue Florida Power & Light in 60 days for violating the federal Clean Water Act unless it addressed the problem."

Nida Najar and Sushasni Raj, "Taj Mahal Under Attack by Bugs and Their Green Slime," The New York Times, May 17, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/18/world/asia/india-taj-mahal-pollution-yamuna-river.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, ""Over the centuries, the Taj Mahal has endured its share of attacks – plundered by the Jats of northern India and looted by British soldiers, among other indignities. In recent years, officials have worried that growing air pollution could permanently darken the tomb's brilliant white exterior.

But few people anticipated the latest affront – millions of mosquito-like insects, their numbers supercharged by nutritious algae blooming profusely along the banks of the polluted Yamuna River nearby. Like generations of romance-driven human couples before them, the bugs have swarmed the Taj Mahal on a mating flight, excreting a green substance on parts of its marble walls.

The Yamuna has suffered mightily in recent years from the dumping of solid waste in its waters, said an environmental activist in Agra, India, the site of the Taj Mahal."

Lauren McCauley, " As EU Weighs Approval, More Evidence Industry is Rigging the Glyphosate Game: Suspicious donation from Monsanto emerges after WHO seemingly flipped in its assessment of the dangers posed by the chemical," Common Dreams , May 18, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/18/eu-weighs-approval-more-evidence-industry-rigging-glyphosate-game, reported, " As European officials on Wednesday weigh whether or not to re-approve the use of Monsanto's glyphosate, a storm has erupted after the World Health Organization (WHO) seemingly flipped in its assessment of the dangers posed by the chemical.

Ahead of this week's European Commission meeting, which could approve the use of glyphosate for up to nine years, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO released a joint summary report concluding that the chemical, a favored ingredient of agrochemical producers like Monsanto and Dow, was "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet."

These findings were widely (and inaccurately) reported as a 'clean bill of health' for a pesticide once declared to be 'probably carcinogenic' for humans by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

What's more, documents obtained by the anti-GMO watchdog group U.S. Right to Know found that one of the chairs of the UN's Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) had, in another capacity, received a six-figure donation from Monsanto.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday:

Professor Alan Boobis, who chaired the UN's joint FAO/WHO meeting on glyphosate, also works as the vice-president of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) Europe. The co-chair of the sessions was Professor Angelo Moretto, a board member of ILSI's Health and Environmental Services Institute, and of its Risk21 steering group too, which Boobis also co-chairs.

In 2012, the ILSI group took a $500,000 (£344,234) donation from Monsanto and a $528,500 donation from the industry group Croplife International, which represents Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and others, according to documents obtained by the US right to know campaign.

Those opposed to the chemical's re-approval in Europe said the exposed 'conflict of interest' in the FAO/WHO report should disqualify it from consideration. The EU's deliberations, which are expected to last two days, were postponed in March after a wave of public opposition forced lawmakers to renege on their approval.

'The timing of the release of this report by the FAO/WHO could be described as cynical if it weren't such a blatantly political and ham-fisted attempt to influence the EU decision later this week on the approval of glyphosate,' said Green MEP Bart Staes.

'Any decision affecting millions of people should be based on fully transparent and independent science that isn't tied to corporate interests,' said Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg.   'It would be irresponsible to ignore the warnings on glyphosate and to re-license this pesticide without any restrictions to protect the public and the environment.'

Pointing to the discrepancy between the various reports on the toxicity of glyphosate, The Intercept's Sharon Lerner noted Tuesday that what distinguished the WHO's March 2015 study, which concluded with a cancer warning, is that it used research "on both glyphosate alone as well as the complete formations of Roundup and other herbicides," which included the impact of supposedly "inert" ingredients.

'Research on these chemicals seems to have played a role in the stark disagreement over glyphosate's safety that has played out on the international stage over the last year,' she writes.

As Lerner noted in the in-depth report , scientific study of these other ingredients has been hampered by biochemical giants claiming industry secrets, though there is increasing evidence that the combination of chemicals could be very harmful to human health.

Lerner reports:

Independent scientists have been reporting since at least 1991 that pesticides containing glyphosate along with other ingredients were more dangerous than glyphosate on its own. More recently, two papers – one published in 2002, the other in 2004 – showed that Roundup and other glyphosate-containing weed formulations were more likely to cause cell-cycle dysregulation, a hallmark of cancer, than glyphosate alone. In 2005, researchers showed that Roundup was more harmful to rats' livers than its 'active ingredient' by itself. And a 2009 study showed that four formulations of Roundup were more toxic to human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cells than glyphosate by itself.

But because manufacturers of weed killers are required to disclose only the chemical structures of their 'active' ingredients – and can hide the identity of the rest as confidential business information – for many years no one knew exactly what other chemicals were in these products, let alone how they affected health.

As for the European Commission's negotiations, an early draft report proposed banning at least one potentially toxic co-formulant (polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA) though many other unknown chemicals remain in the glyphosate-based pesticides.

'The decision on glyphosate is a critical test of who's interests the EU is acting on,' said Aisha Dodwell, a food campaigner with Global Justice Now.

'On one side,' Dodwell continued, 'there are powerful agribusiness companies like Monsanto, whose Roundup weed killer contains glyphosate and accounts for a third of its total sales. And on the other side you have over a million citizens from across the EU who have signed petitions saying that they don't want to be exposed to chemicals that are probably causing cancer.'"

With the support of the chemical industry, the U.S. Senate, in early June 2016, approved legislation updating the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act, authorizing the EPA to begin slowly testing 64,000 chemicals, 20 at a time within 7 years per chemical. The bill would allow EPA chemical regulations to preempt stronger state regulations. Numerous health and environmental advocates criticized the bill as only a slight step forward, when much more regulation is needed (Coral Davenport, "Senate Approves Updating Of Rules on Toxic Chemicals," The New York Times, June 8, 2016),

Frank Hopper, "Is It Safe? Mercury Found in Subsistence Seal Meat, Alaskan Mine Suspected," ICTMN, April 19, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/19/it-safe-mercury-found-subsistence-seal-meat-alaskan-mine-suspected-164185, reported, "There is no Walmart in Angoon, Alaska. A ferry brings in food to stock the town's only store, where a gallon of milk will run you about $10. As high as that is, traditional Native food carries an even heavier price these days. Mercury, arsenic, lead and other toxic metals suspected of coming from the nearby Greens Creek Mine are showing up in locally harvested seafood, potentially costing you your health.

The rural village of approximately 400 people on the west side of Admiralty Island sits about 60 miles southwest of Juneau in the Tongass National Forest. The population of mostly Tlingit people are 80 percent unemployed, yet they don't consider themselves poverty-stricken.

'You ask anyone here, we're not living in poverty. We don't consider it poverty as long as we have our resources. And now those resources are in question,' tribal president Albert Howard told ICTMN. 'Everyone here assumed that our food was safer than anything we can buy at the store. And now it makes you wonder.'"



Nadia Prupis, " GMOs Safe to Eat, Says Research Group That Takes Millions From Monsanto: 'We won't have good public policy on new technologies like GMOs until these rampant conflicts of interest are exposed,' says Food & Water Watch," Common Dreams, May 18, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/18/gmos-safe-eat-says-research-group-takes-millions-monsanto, reported, " Public skepticism is growing over a new report that claims genetically modified (GE or GMO) foods are safe for consumption, particularly as information emerges that the organization that produced the report has ties to the biotechnology industry.

Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (pdf), released Tuesday by the federally-supported National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, states not only that GMO crops are safe to eat, but that they have no adverse environmental impacts and have cut down on pesticide use. Its publication comes as U.S. Congress–which founded the institution–considers making GMO labeling mandatory on consumer products.

'There clearly are strong non-safety arguments and considerable public support for mandatory labeling of products containing GE material. The committee does not believe that mandatory labeling of foods with GE content is justified to protect public health,' the report states.

However, one day before publication, the environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch (FWW) reported in an issue brief (pdf) that the National Research Council (NRC)–the National Academy of Sciences' research arm–has deep ties to the biotech and agricultural industries, which FWW says have 'created conflicts of interests at every level of the organization.'

The NRC and the National Academy of Science take millions of dollars in funding from corporations like Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow Chemical, FWW reported in its issue brief, Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs (pdf).

Representatives from those companies–along with Cargill, General Mills, and Nestlé Purina, among other GMO-friendly businesses–also sit on the NRC's board that oversees GMO projects. NRC has not publicly disclosed those ties, FWW said. In fact, more than half of the invited authors of the new report have ties to the industry.

According to the issue brief, not only does the NRC have a history of bias toward the industry, it has also worked to silence critics of GMOs and of the companies that sit on its board.

'While companies like Monsanto and its academic partners are heavily involved in the NRC's work on GMOs, critics have long been marginalized,' said Wenonah Hauter, FWW executive director. 'Many groups have called on the NRC many times to reduce industry influence, noting how conflicts of interest clearly diminish its independence and scientific integrity.'

The issue brief states:

Weak, watered-down or biased findings from the NRC have a very real impact on our food system. Policy makers develop 'science-based' rules and regulations on GMOs based on what the science says–especially what the NRC says, because it is part of the National Academy of Sciences, chartered by Congress to provide scientific advice to the federal government.

And this is where science can become politicized. Companies like Monsanto need favorable science and academic allies to push their controversial products through regulatory approval and on to American farms. Corporate agribusinesses pour millions of dollars into our public universities, play a heavy hand in peer-reviewed scientific journals and seek to influence prestigious scientific bodies like the National Research Council.

Despite these criticisms, the NRC has continued to cover up its connections to agribusiness and the true influence the industry wields over its research.

'Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the NRC is required to form balanced committees of scientists to carry out its research–and to disclose any conflicts of interest,' Hauter continued. 'Yet the NRC failed to disclose even the conflicts of the members of this deeply unbalanced committee.'

In its issue brief, FWW called for specific changes to combat industry influence:

Congress should expand and enforce the Federal Advisory Committee Act to ensure that the scientific advice the NRC produces for the government is free of conflicts of interest and bias;

Congress should immediately halt all taxpayer funding for agricultural projects at the NRC until meaningful conflicts-of-interest policies are enforced;

The NRC should no longer engage funders, directors, authors or reviewers that have a financial interest in the outcome of any of the NRC's work; and

The NRC should prohibit the citation of science funded or authored by industry, given the obvious potential for bias.

'Agribusiness companies like Monsanto have an outsized role at our public universities, at peer-reviewed journals, and the NRC," Hauter concluded. "We won't have good public policy on new technologies like GMOs until these rampant conflicts of interest are exposed."



Sabrina Taverna, "Environmental Factors Like Pollution Cause a Quarter of Deaths, W.H.O. Says," The New York Times, March 15, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/health/environmental-factors-like-pollution-cause-a-quarter-of-deaths-who-says.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " About a quarter of all deaths globally are attributable to preventable environmental factors, such as air and water pollution, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.

The report, based on data from 2012, found that environmental risk factors accounted for about 12.6 million deaths out of a total of 55.6 million. One of the biggest scourges was air pollution, which caused not only lung and respiratory infections but also heart disease and cancer . Water pollution and poor sanitation contributed significantly to diarrheal diseases and infant mortality .



Nadia Prupis, " Air Pollution Killing Millions, Threatening Global Health Systems: 'We are storing up problems. These are chronic diseases that require hospital beds. The cost will be enormous'," Common Dreams , January 18, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/01/18/air-pollution-killing-millions-threatening-global-health-systems, reported, " The World Health Organization (WHO) over the weekend warned that skyrocketing air pollution levels are killing millions of people in thousands of cities and are poised to take an "enormous" toll on public health services worldwide.

"We have a public health emergency in many countries from pollution. It's dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with horrible future costs to society," said Dr. Maria Neira, head of public health at WHO.

"Air pollution leads to chronic diseases which require hospital space. Before, we knew that pollution was responsible for diseases like pneumonia and asthma," Neira said. "Now we know that it leads to bloodstream, heart and cardiovascular diseases, too–even dementia."

The latest figures come from pollution data in 2,000 cities, where growing populations have led to a surge in traffic, construction, and power generation–leaving huge areas to grapple with toxic smog and rising greenhouse gases that cannot be resolved without an overhaul of infrastructure. The WHO next month will issue more in-depth statistics showing the steady rise of pollution in urban areas since 2014.

"We are storing up problems," Neira said Saturday. "These are chronic diseases that require hospital beds. The cost will be enormous."

The announcement comes as activists around the world call on governments to do more to tackle the crisis.

In China last month, the government issued its most severe air pollution warning for the second time in as many years, requiring a reduction in cars on the road and a halt in production at certain factories. Recent research there has found that pollution kills more than 1.5 million people in China annually, or 4,400 per day–comprising 17 percent of the country's total deaths every year.

Lord Stern, a leading British economist, told the Guardian on Saturday, '" Air pollution is of fundamental importance. We are only just learning about the scale of the toxicity of coal and diesel. We know that in China, 4,000 people a day die of air pollution. In India it is far worse. This is a deep, deep problem.'"



A study by the International Energy Agency, released in April 2016, found that air pollution - much of it from burning coal and vehicle exhaust - kills some 6.5 million people world wide each year. The agency called for closing coal plants and putting stricter emissions standards in place to counter the problem (Stanley Reed, "Study Links Air Pollution To Over 6 Million Deaths," The New York Times, April 27, 2-016).



Mexico City, which had greatly reduced its serious air pollution some years ago by closing area oil refiners, has returned to being a toxically air polluted city as the metropolitan area population has grown to 20 million, with a great many driving cars in slow heavy traffic (Elisabeth Malkin, "Pollution Returns to a City Where Driving Is Hardly an Option," The New York Times, June 14, 2016).



 Researchers at Carnegie Melon University, in a study reported in the Journal of Energy Policy, found that air pollution in the United States in 2011 $131 billion in damages, mostly in health related costs, down from $176 million in 2002 because of more stringent regulation. The costs reported in the Carnegie Melon study are considerably higher than the U.S. air pollution costs earlier estimated by thin a National Academy of Sciences paper (Chelsea Harvey, "Air pollution's staggering economic toll: Analysis finds energy production caused $131B in damages in 2011, mostly in health related costs, Albuquerque Journal, January 31, 2016).



Erica Goode, "Europe Trails U.S. in Cutting Air Pollution, W.H.O. Says," The New York Times, May 12, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/science/who-says-europe-trails-us-in-reducing-air-pollution.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " European countries, which rely heavily on diesel-fueled vehicles, remain far behind the United States in their efforts to reduce harmful air pollution, according to a report to be issued Thursday by the World Health Organization.

The report, which compiled air quality readings from 3,000 cities in 103 countries, found that more than 80 percent of people in those cities were exposed to pollution exceeding the limits set by W.H.O. guidelines, above which air quality is considered to be unhealthy. And in poorer countries, 98 percent of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants were out of compliance with the health organization's guidelines.

Lower levels of pollution were far more prevalent in North America and higher-income European countries than in most other places, especially countries like India , Pakistan and China .

But in Europe, a higher percentage of cities exceeded the limits set by the W.H.O. than in North America."



Normitsu Onshi, "Africa's Charcoal Economy Is Cooking. The Trees Are Paying," The New York Times, June 25, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/world/africa/africas-charcoal-economy-is-cooking-the-trees-are-paying.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, " Charcoal – cleaner and easier to use than firewood, cheaper and more readily available than gas or electricity – has become one of the biggest engines of Africa's informal economy. But it has also become one of the greatest threats to its environment.

In Madagascar, an island nation off the eastern African coast and one of the world's richest nations in biodiversity, the booming charcoal business is contributing to deforestation. It is expected to exacerbate the effects of climate change , which has already disrupted farming, fueled a migration to cities, and pushed many rural residents into the one thriving business left: charcoal." There are similar developments elsewhere in Africa.

Tehran Iran suffered its worst air pollution in many months, in mid-December 2015, causing authorizes to warn the 14 million people in the area to stay indoors ("Iran: Smog Envelops Tehran," The New York Times, December 15, 2015).



India's Supreme Court ordered several traffic restrictions in New Delhi in the face of extreme air pollution, in Mid-December 2015 (Nida Nadar, "India: Pollution Prompts Vehicle Limits," The New York Times, December 17, 2015).



Elisiabet Malkin, "Prosperous Mexican Farms Suck Up Water, Leaving Villages High and Dry ," The New York Times, May 19, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/world/americas/mexico-water-farms-drought.html?ref=todayspaperh, reported, "But the well in San Antonio de Lourdes, a village in Guanajuato State in central Mexico , went dry years ago. The village itself, depleted by poverty and migration, seems to be drying up, too, and only 29 children are left in the primary school. But a half-hour's drive away, fertile farms pump water from deep underground to irrigate fields that grow broccoli and lettuce for American supermarkets."



The president of the Samarco mining company and six other peo ple were charged by Brazilian authorities with aggravated homicide over the deaths of at least 17 people after the Fundão dam burst, at an iron mine, November 5, 2015, causing a flood and polluting drinking water ("Brazil: 7 Charged Over Dam Disaster," The New York Times, February 23, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/24/world/americas/brazil-7-charged-over-dam-disaster.html?ref=todayspaper).



The U.S Congress passed a ban on on the use of microbeads in a wide variety of products, that get into the food chain, especially in the oceans, damaging to many species, and which once ingested, work their way up the food chain to what people eat (John Schwartz, "Ban on Microbeads Proves Easy to Pass Through Pipeline," The New York Times, December 23, 2015).



Lauren McCauley,  " About Time! FDA Will Begin Testing Foods for Toxic Weedkiller Residue: The agency has never tested for glyphosate, despite its status as the most heavily-used herbicide ever and a 'probable carcinogen'," Common Dreams , February 17, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/02/17/about-time-fda-will-begin-testing-foods-toxic-weedkiller-residue, reported, " Amid growing international concern over the health risks posed by Monsanto weedkiller glyphosate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will reportedly begin testing for the herbicide this year.

After speaking with FDA officials, Civil Eats reported Wednesday that the agency will begin testing for residues of glyphosate in certain foods, marking the first time in FDA history that it has tested for the chemical, despite its status as the most heavily-used herbicide ever, and having been declared "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the World Health Organization (WHO).

'FDA officials dubbed the issue 'sensitive' and declined to provide details of the plans,' according to Civil Eats, but FDA spokeswoman Lauren Sucher confirmed that the agency "is now considering assignments for Fiscal Year 2016 to measure glyphosate in soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs, among other potential foods.'

As reporter Carey Gilliam notes, both soybeans and corn are 'common ingredients in an array of food products and genetically engineered (or GMO) varieties are commonly sprayed with glyphosate,' which is the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup spray.

Independent studies have found glyphosate residues in honey and soy products, as well as in breastmilk and infant formula samples.

Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO's research arm, published a groundbreaking report connecting glyphosate, among other insecticides, with various human cancers. The IARC concluded that 'limited evidence' shows the herbicide can cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma in humans and cited additional 'convincing evidence' that it can cause other forms of cancer in both rats and mice.

'In the wake of intense scrutiny, the Food and Drug Administration has finally committed to taking this basic step of testing our food for the most commonly used pesticide. It's shocking that it's taken so long, but we're glad it's finally going to happen,' said Dr. Nathan Donley, a scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement on Wednesday.

'More and more scientists are raising concerns about the effects of glyphosate on human health and the environment,' Donley continued. 'With about 1.7 billion pounds of this pesticide used each year worldwide, the FDA's data is badly needed to facilitate long-overdue conversations about how much of this chemical we should tolerate in our food.'

Food industry transparency group U.S. Right to Know issued a statement Wednesday calling the FDA's plan a "good first step," but added that "testing must be thorough and widespread." The group's co-founder Gary Ruskin also advocated for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to "get on board," and increase glyphosate monitoring in its own pesticide testing program.

Only once, in 2011, has the USDA conducted a test for glyphosate and reportedly found residues in 271 of the 300 soybean samples.

'The alarm bell is ringing loud and clear," Donley declared. "The current cavalier use of glyphosate, and lax regulation, cannot remain in place. It's long past time to start reining in the out-of-control use of this dangerous pesticide in the United States and around the world.'"



"EPA Study: 97 Percent of Endangered Species at Risk From Pesticides," Endangered Earth On-Line, April 14, 2016, http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/publications/earthonline/endangered-earth-online-no822.html, reported, A settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity pushed the Environmental Protection Agency last week to release a far-reaching study -- the first rigorous nationwide analysis of the effects of pesticides on endangered species. The resulting news was dire but didn't surprise us: 97 percent of the nation's 1,700 protected endangered species are likely to be hurt by two common pesticides, malathion and chlorpyrifos. Another 79 percent are likely to be hurt by a third toxin, diazinon.

'For the first time in history, we finally have data showing just how catastrophically bad these pesticides are for endangered species -- from birds and frogs to fish and plants," said the Center's Lori Ann Burd. "The EPA has allowed chemical companies to register more than 16,000 pesticides without properly considering their impacts. We need to take this new information and create common-sense measures to protect plants, animals and people from these chemicals.'

This week's study is the first in a series the EPA must complete under its settlement with the Center.

Read more in The Guardian [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/07/endangered-species-protection-animals-plants-pesticides-epa-insecticides]and then read Lori Ann's piece on this in Medium https://medium.com/center-for-biological-diversity/sick-and-wrong-96cd57f576ad#.6k4tyawcp]."



In the aftermath of a spill of toxic water from an abandoned mine into the Animus River in Colorado, EPA has proposed adding the Bonita Peak Mining District, with many abandoned mines including the source of the spill, to the National Priorities List (NPL) or Superfund, for clean up, which would still take considerable time (Damon Toledo, "EPA proposes adding Bonita Peak to NPL list." Southern Ute Drum, April 29, 2016).



An environmental and financial feasibility assessment by the Department of the Interior caused the Department, on November 23, 2015, to add conditions to an agreement to allow a diversion of the Gila River, in New Mexico, which make it unlikely that the diversion will be constructed, due to the high costs and the complexity of the compliance process that would be involved, providing that the department carries out honest and rigorous oversight. Environmentalists have been concerned that the diversion would be damaging to an ecologically sensitive area (Allyson Siwik, "Feds OK Fila diversiob, with conditions," Rio Grande Sierran, January/February/March 2016).



Congressman Beto O'Rourke introduced the Castner Range National Monument Act in the U.S. House, December 16, 2015, that would create a 7081 acre national monument for the Range, which is surrounded by the Franklin Mountains State Park in North East El Passo, TX. The range has the highest concentration of springs in the Franklin Mountains, and to date has remained a pristine area (Janae' Reneaud Field, "Bill would protect Castner Range," Rio Grande Sierran, January/February/March 2016).



At least 10 gold mining operation in British Columbia are either in the exploration stage or under review. If fully started up, their likely and potential pollution on rivers that flow to South East Alaska poses a serious threat to Salmon that spawn there, and to the Alaska and vicinity Alaska fishing industry (Brendan Jones, "A Canadian Threat to Alaska
Fishing," The New York Times, January 24, 2016}.



Terri Hansen, "Saving the Salmon: Feds, States, Tribes Ink Plan to Demolish Four Klamath River Dams," ICTMN, April 14, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/14/saving-salmon-feds-states-tribes-sign-new-plan-demolish-four-klamath-river-dams-164139, reported, " The nation's largest dam removal project is back on track under a new agreement that will decommission four dams and open hundreds of miles of the hotly contested Klamath River in Oregon and California to endangered salmon, blocked for nearly a century."

"U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell , Yurok Tribal Chair Thomas P. O'Rourke Sr., Karuk Tribal Chair Russell "Buster" Attebery, Klamath Tribal Chair Don Gentry, the governors of Oregon and California, and dam owner PacificCorp signed the landmark agreements , set out on two long fish tables, on the Yurok Indian Reservation in northern California on April 6."

"O'Rourke said the agreement means the Klamath River can begin to heal.

'Dam removal is a key element of large-scale fish restoration efforts on the Klamath, and we believe it puts the people of the Klamath Basin back on a path toward lasting prosperity,' O'Rourke said in a statement.

The dam demolitions are slated to begin by 2020, but the agreement still needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). That shouldn't pose a problem, said Craig Tucker, Natural Resources Policy Advocate for the Karuk Tribe, since dam owner PacificCorp is a willing seller."



The Pew Charitable Trust, Amanda Nickson, "New Science Puts Decline of Pacific Bluefin at 97.4 Percent

Current fishery measures cannot rebuild numbers sufficiently in next 20 years," April 28, 2016, http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/analysis/2016/04/25/new-science-puts-decline-of-pacific-bluefin-at-974-percent?img&utm_campaign=2016-04-28+Latest&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew," reported, " The outlook just got worse for the world's most endangered tuna. A new assessment shows that the Pacific Bluefin tuna population, estimated a few years ago to have declined by 96.4 percent from its historic, unfished size, has continued to drop.

The latest stock assessment, released April 18 by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC), shows that overfishing has now driven the stock down by 97.4 percent. To put it another way, the Pacific bluefin population is just 2.6 percent of its original size. Adding to the bad news, projections show that unless fishery managers take swift action, Pacific bluefin has less than a 1 percent chance of rebuilding to healthy levels within two decades."



The 18 marine police officers of PalAu have been doing very well in preventing illegal fishing in a protected area the size of France, offering lessons for others ("Sea Sweepers," The New York Times Magazine, February 21, 2016).



The U.S. National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, finding that many oceanic species, especially whales, suffer from the noise of the now large number of ocean vessels, in early June 2016, released a draft 10-year Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap, to reduce human caused noise at sea (Tatiana Schlossberg, "An Effort to Give Ocean Life Some Peace and Quiet," The New York Times, June 5, 2016).



Climate change continues to make it very hard on Walrus, with 35,000 crowding ashore on northwest Alaska coast beaches, in September 2015, as there is no longer enough sea ice for them to rest on ("Alaska: Walrus Again Crowd onto Shore," The New York Times, September 11, 2015).

Carl Zimmer, "Climate Change and the Case of the Shrinking Red Knots," The New York Times, May 12, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/17/science/climate-change-bird-red-knots.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, "Animal migrations combine staggering endurance and exquisite timing.

Consider the odyssey of a bird known as the red knot. Each spring, flocks of the intrepid shorebirds fly up to 9,300 miles from the tropics to the Arctic. As the snow melts, they mate and produce a new generation of chicks. The chicks gorge themselves on insects, and then all the red knots head back south."

" The precipitous decline of the red knots that winter in West Africa may provide a small but telling parable of the perils of climate change .

In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Dr. van Gils and his colleagues present evidence that indicates climate change is putting pressure on the birds along their entire journey, possibly helping to drive down the birds' population and making them yet another of many species around the world being affected by climate change.

The new study shows how climate change can create ecological ripples that can threaten a species in unexpected ways."

"Looking at satellite images of their Arctic summer habitat, the scientists found a clue to this trend. The Arctic has been warming up earlier because of climate change. Today, the snow is melting two weeks earlier than in 1985.

The insects in the Arctic are responding to the shift by hatching earlier. But the red knots are not adjusting their schedule. By the time their chicks hatch, the insects are far past their peak, and the birds can't find as much food as they could 30 years ago.

When the birds arrive in Mauritania in July, the smaller juveniles with shorter beaks cannot dig deep enough to eat their regular diet of clams. Instead, they are eating more sea grass. This new diet appears to be taking a toll: Dr. van Gils and his colleagues have found that juvenile red knots with short bills are more likely to die than birds with long bills.

"Dr. van Gils said that climate change might be a factor behind the decline of the red knots that winter in Mauritania. They have decreased from about half a million birds to a quarter of a million.

'If that continues, they're going to go extinct,' he said."



"Oklahoma Tribes Collaborate to Protect Monarch Butterflies," ICTMN, May 25, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/25/oklahoma-tribes-collaborate-protect-monarch-butterflies-164590, reported, "The Citizen Potawatomi, Chickasaw and five other tribes in Oklahoma are using grant money to create and enhance monarch butterfly habitat, in conjunction with two other groups dedicated to saving the species.

The seven tribes announced the collaboration earlier this month, but several of them have been planting milkweed and other monarch-friendly plants for years. On this project they are working with the Monarch Watch program out of the University of Kansas and the Euchee Butterfly Farm in Oklahoma on a collaboration funded by a $248,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that was matched by a number of other donors for a total of $527,154. The other participating tribes are the Eastern Shawnee, Miami Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Osage Nation and Seminole Tribe, according to Native Times . They plan to plant a total of 5,000 milkweed plants on tribal lands over the next two years, Native Times reported."



"Chinese Demand for Ivory Alternative Threatens Rare Hornbill Bird," The New York Times, March 22, 2016 , http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/world/asia/china-hornbill-helmeted-ivory-indonesia.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, "Even as China , the world's leading market for illegal ivory, promises to help safeguard elephants in Africa, a rare bird in Southeast Asia is in danger because its skull is being sold in China as an ivory alternative, conservationists say.



The bird, the helmeted hornbill, is already threatened by habitat loss in the lowland forests of Malaysia and western Indonesia, but now poaching is rising sharply, according to conservation groups.

The number of tigers estimated to be living in the world rose for the first time, this year, in more than a century (Christine Hauseer, "Number of Tigers in Wild Rises for First Time in a Century. Conservationists Say," The New York Times, April 12, 2016).

Erica Goode, "Leopards Are More Vulnerable Than Believed, Study Finds," The New York Times, May 4, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/05/science/leopards-are-more-vulnerable-than-believed-study-finds.html?ref=todayspaper, reported, "A study  published Wednesday suggests that leopards have lost as much as 75 percent of their historical range since 1750. At that time, the big cats roamed over about 13.5 million square miles in Africa, Asia and parts of the Middle East. But that has shrunk to about 3.3 million square miles, according to the study, conducted by a team of 14 scientists representing 15 universities and organizations, including the Zoological Society of London, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Iranian Cheetah Society, National Geographic and Panthera, a global wild cat conservation organization.

The study, which appears in the journal PeerJ, is believed to be the first to assess the leopard's status globally across nine subspecies and won immediate praise from other scientists for its scope and detail."

Greenpeace reported March 22, 2016, https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Donation2;jsessionid=DBE59F3ABB965D4F90A356F60A1BC29C.app360b?df_id=4301&4301.donation=form1&autologin=true, At the current rate of deforestation, the orangutans' habitat could be completely wiped out in just 25 years – and with it, we'll lose these beautiful, intelligent creatures forever.

Luckily, the movement to protect forests is growing. But we can't wait. We need to act now to stop this. We're stepping up our campaign to force palm oil suppliers to end this appalling destruction, but we need your help raising the funds to do it."



" The Redwoods' Last Stand," Fight for the Forests, April 16, 2016, http://www.takepart.com/feature/2016/04/18/racing-save-ancient-redwood-forests-climate-change?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2016-04-21, reported," The giant trees have endured for millennia, but rapidly rising temperatures and years-long drought are threatening their survival."

"Coastal redwoods and their even bigger and longer-lived inland cousins, the giant sequoias, are not just trees that inspire awe in the most nature-averse city dweller. The largest organisms on Earth, redwoods and sequoias absorb more planet-warming carbon dioxide than any other trees. As scientists have recently discovered, the giant trees continue to grow and sequester carbon even after a thousand years. Their branches and house-size canopies shelter a host of endangered animals, from the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet–a rare seabird–to the Pacific fisher and the Humboldt marten, two weasel-like critters.

Redwoods are built for survival. Their foot-plus-thick bark shields the trees from fatal fires, and a red-tinged chemical responsible for giving the trees their namesake color protects them against insects and fungus. They are the fastest-growing conifers in the world, reaching heights of 379 feet, with trunks 30 feet in diameter, leaving would-be competitors in the shade. Giant Sequoias grow on the western slopes of California's Sierra Nevada and can live as long as 3,000 years. Coastal redwoods, which can live to be more than 2,000 years old, sprout along a 20-mile-wide, 470-mile-long ribbon on the continent's edge, where ever-present fog supplies the trees with life-giving moisture and nutrients.

Now that fog is fast fading away. Rising temperatures brought on by global warming are resulting in more fog-free days on the coast, while record drought deprives both redwoods and sequoias of water. The rapidity of the change in their environment wrought by the burning of fossil fuels threatens to overwhelm the giant trees.

'The climate changes that redwoods have seen in the past, they were taking place over millennia,' says Todd Dawson, a redwood expert and a professor at UC Berkeley. "It would take a thousand years for temperatures to change over two degrees. Now it's taking three years."

If the biggest, most formidable trees on the planet can't survive climate change, can any?"

"A die-off of redwoods could have global implications. A 2012 study found that large trees older than 100 years store the bulk of a forest's carbon, provide habitat for a third of wildlife species, and play a key role in the health of larger ecosystems. Disturbingly, the researchers discovered that big trees were dying at 10 times the rate of smaller trees around the world."

"He selected four plots–two zones where ground surveys had shown trees were dealing with severe water stress and two zones where sequoias were faring better–in Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest.

'The trees in the stressed areas were showing higher levels of dieback–where they drop branches and foliage–than we'd ever seen,' Ambrose says. 'No one has documented or recorded dieback levels like we observed in the 125-year history of Sequoia National Park.' Some of the trees dropped nearly half their foliage between the summers of 2013 and 2014. An average summer sees sequoias drop around 5 percent of their foliage. With the dramatic leaf loss, the trees conserve water in their trunks and survive. It's much easier for a tree to regrow branches, leaves, and cones than it is for it to try to regrow a stump.

'This method of shedding foliage is a really effective way the trees have of minimizing how much water stress they experience,' Ambrose says. 'It's basically like a safety valve to make sure the main trunk doesn't die.'

In comparing the plots, the researchers found that trees with record dieback were no more water-stressed than trees showing lower foliage loss.

'These trees are remarkably resilient to drought; they've survived thousands of years going through extreme weather events, and overall, we're not seeing the mortality events in sequoias we're seeing in other tree species," Ambrose says.

So have the sequoias averted disaster, especially as El Niño soaks the Sierra after four years of record drought? At his Berkeley lab, Dawson isn't so sure.

'With this most recent drought, I think we've hit a tipping point,' he says. "The trees may have been able to cope with the water stress, but the canopy loss recorded in these 2,000- and 3,000-year-old trees–we've never seen a four-year period like this.'

Now Dawson fears the remaining 75 giant sequoia groves scattered across the mountainous 250-mile Sierra Nevada range won't have enough time to recover. The higher temperatures and drought that have sapped California for the past four years could be the new normal.

'All of the records we have go back millions of years, from ocean sedimentary cores, and all of the really long-term records allow us to measure how climate has changed on the earth over time, but we have never recorded any changes with the velocity that we're seeing today,' Dawson says.'"



Mark Wedel, Second Wave Media, "Can Wasps Save the Ash Tree? Native Americans Are Giving It a Try," ICTMN, December 28, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/28/can-wasps-save-ash-tree-native-americans-are-giving-it-try-162889, reported, "The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi are fighting emerald ash borers the natural way and hope to preserve a part of their heritage in the process."

"They're fighting an enemy of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, the emerald ash borer, an invasive species from China that has been wiping out an important part of Michigan's Native American culture, the ash tree."

"The wasps, also from China, are tiny in size, ranging from fruit fly to mosquito, and stingless, but they have a powerful ability to hunt out borer larvae burrowing under ash bark. The wasps work as 'parasitoids.' The wasps lay their eggs on the emerald ash borer offspring in the late summer to fall. Over the winter, something out of the movie Alien happens, but on a much smaller scale.

Only one facility, in Brighton, north of Ann Arbor, raises the wasps for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). As the borer has spread, so has demand for the wasps."



A number of nations, including the U.S., China, Russia, Chile, South Korea, Brazil and Germany Germany are active in Antarctica, some with permanent colonies or research stations, as many nations seek access to its mineral wealth as its ice melts (Simon Romero, "Array of Players Join Race for Space at the Bottom of the World," The New York Times, December 30, 2015).



A report by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee found that allowing regulated hunting and charging fees used for conservation, does not actually help conservation of threatened species, because of rampant corruption and poorly managed game preserves in some countries (Jada E. Smith, "Report Finds Fees Do Not Help Conservation," The New York Times, June 15, 2016).

"Park guards arrested for poaching in "shoot to kill" wildlife reserve," Survival International, May 6, 2016, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11260, reported, "Four staff members at the Indian National Park that recently hosted Prince William and Katherine have been arrested for alleged involvement in rhino poaching.

An investigation has been launched into links between Kaziranga park guards – who carry guns and are encouraged to shoot poachers on sight – and poaching networks. The news comes just weeks after Survival International revealed that 62 people have been shot dead in the park by wildlife guards in just nine years, under a brutal "shoot to kill" policy.

The arrests raise questions over the advisability of a militarized approach to wildlife conservation, which can lead to guards' involvement in poaching, and human rights abuses .

Locals, many of them tribespeople who were illegally evicted from their land to create the reserve, report that people have been killed while entering the park in search of stray cattle, or to collect firewood. Others allege that some are murdered as scapegoats to cover up the failure of the park guards to catch the real poachers – criminals conspiring with corrupt officials.

Kaziranga is notorious for its hard-line anti-poaching policies. A 2014 report by the park's director stated that nine dead poachers in one year was "not enough" and also included an acrostic which appears to encourage park guards to commit extrajudicial executions. It included the maxims "must obey or get killed" and" never allow any unauthorized entry (Kill the unwanted)."

Not all national parks in India employ violence and evict tribal peoples as a matter of course. In BRT tiger reserve in southern India , the Soliga tribe was the first to have their right to stay on their ancestral land recognized. In their tiger reserve, the number of tigers has increased at a rate significantly above the national average.

This policy was recently praised by India's "Save our Tigers" campaign, which claimed that BRT had turned conservation logic "on its head" and demonstrated that militarized conservation and tribal evictions are not necessary to protect tigers.

One Soliga man, speaking out against shoot to kill policies and illegal tribal evictions, said: 'Most of the forest officials don't understand the relationship between the forest and tribal people, they need to understand tribal culture and how tribal people live in the forest. We are the indigenous people of this country, we are the human beings of this country and we have been involved in forest conservation for centuries. Wildlife and tribes can live together and the Forest Department should involve the tribes and local communities together in tiger conservation.'"



The National Parks Conservation Association, https://secure.npca.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=30F4C9F2C5C97E702BCF0E058D366AA5.app322b?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1606&autologin=true&AddInterest=1084, reported, February 12, 2016, "Joshua tree forests, sites of historic and cultural significance, areas rich with wildlife, soaring mountain ranges, and precious desert water resources will be forever preserved--and our newest national park site will be created."

"Castle Mountains National Monument, surrounded on three sides by Mojave National Preserve, is America's newest national park site during this centennial year of our country's "best idea."



"Forest Service Nixes Massive Commercial Development at Grand Canyon's Edge," ICTMN, March 14, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/14/forest-service-nixes-massive-housing-development-grand-canyons-edge-163749, reported, "Nearly 200,000 comments, letters, petition signatures and other opposition to a controversial attempt to build a massive commercial development just a mile from the south entrance of the Grand Canyon have helped lead the U.S. Forest Service to reject the proposal.

The project would have paved the way–literally–for 2,000 units of multi-family and single-family housing, thousands of hotel rooms for visitors to the South Rim, two visitor-education foci–the Insight campus and the Native American Cultural Center–three million square feet of retail space, a spa, a conference center and community facilities, to be developed by Gruppo Stilo, an Italian development firm. The 600-population town of Tusayan had requested permission to expand roads and utilities in Kaibab National Forest in order to enable the development, and it's that request that was denied even a review."

The massive size of the project raised major environmental issues.



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U.S. Developments



Many of the reports in this issue of U.S. government legislation, agency action, and court decisions are informed by electronic flyers from Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker, LLP, 2120 L Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037, http://www.hobbsstraus.com. Reports from Indian Country Today Media Network, from the web, are listed as from ICTMN.



U.S. Government Developments



Congressional Developments

"Older Americans Act, including Native American Programs, Reauthorized," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-029. April 22, 2016 http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-029, reported,

On April 19, 2016, President Obama signed as PL 114-144, S 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization of 2016 (Act). It reauthorizes Older Americans Act programs though FY 2019, including Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services and Native American Caregiver Support. The authorization for the Older Americans Act expired in 2011 but Congress has continued to fund it.

Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services. The Act provides authorization levels which would allow modest increases over the current appropriation for the Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services program. The program provides funds for congregate and home-delivered meals, transportation, health screening (including oral health), and other services. A new provision encourages the use of locally-grown food when feasible.

The Native American program is authorized separately from the formula-funded state nutrition and supportive services programs. The Act continues language that the Older Americans Act services under the Native American programs are to be comparable to those provided under the state programs. It also continues the Sense of Congress provision that Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians are "a vital resource entitled to all benefits and services available and that such services and benefits should be provided in a manner that preserves and restores their respective dignity, self-respect, and cultural identities."

Currently, there are 264 tribal organizations representing 400 tribes and one Native Hawaiian organization receiving formula-based funds from this program. Funds are distributed based on their share of the Native population age 60 and over. Grantees must represent at least 50 Native Americans who are age 60 or over, although may they deem as "elder" and provide services to persons under age 60.

The FY 2016 appropriation for this program is $31.5 million. The Act provides the following authorization levels:

FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019

$31.9 million $32.6 million $33.6 million

Native American Caregiver Support. The FY 2016 appropriation for this program is

$7.5 million. As with the Services program, the authorization levels would allow for modest funding increases. The Act provides the following authorization levels:

FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019

$7.7 million $7.9 million $8.0 million

Currently, there are 231 tribal organizations receiving formula-based funds from this program. Funds are distributed based on their share of the Native population age 60 and over. Grantees must represent at least 50 Native Americans age 60 or over, and must be receiving a Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services award. Funds are for the purpose of assisting tribes in providing support services for family caregivers as well as for grandparents caring for grandchildren. Services include respite, caregiver training, information and outreach, counseling and support groups. The Act clarifies that older adults caring for older children with disabilities are eligible to participate in the program.

Other . There are additional programs in the Older Americans Act including the Ombudsman Program, Resource Centers, and Community Service Employment. We attach a brief summary of the Act prepared by the House Education and the Workforce Committee."

"Bill Introduced in Senate to Affirm Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction over Child Violence and Drug-related Offenses by Non-Indian Offenders," Hobss-Straus General Memorandum 16-028, April 22, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-028, reported, "On April 12, 2016, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced S 2785, the Tribal Youth and Community Protection Act of 2016, to expand tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians for certain child abuse and drug-related offenses committed in Indian Country, as well as crimes committed against tribal police officers exercising tribal criminal jurisdiction. The bill, which is cosponsored by Senator Al Franken (D-MN), has been referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. This bill is intended to implement recommendations of the Indian Law and Order Commission, established under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, to restore inherent authority of tribal courts and the inherent authority of tribes to protect Native children from violence and communities from illegal drugs.



S 2785 builds considerably on the expansion of tribal criminal jurisdiction under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), which amended the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) to affirm the inherent right of tribes to exercise limited "special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction" over non-Indian defendants in their territory for certain dating and domestic violence crimes, provided the tribes meet certain requirements to protect the due process rights of those criminal defendants. S 2785 would replace references to "special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction" in the ICRA (as amended by the VAWA) with "special tribal criminal jurisdiction," and would define such jurisdiction to include child violence, drug-related felonies or misdemeanors, and other "related conduct" committed in connection with the tribe's exercise of special tribal criminal jurisdiction over the defendant. As with special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under the VAWA, the special tribal criminal jurisdiction under S 2785 would not extend to any criminal offense where both the victim and defendant are non-Indians, with the exception of drug offenses.

S 2785 defines "child violence" to include felony or misdemeanor violations of tribal criminal law that are committed against a child by a caregiver or by a person that would be subject to tribal criminal jurisdiction if the crime was committed against the parent, legal custodian, or guardian of the child under tribal law. This latter category appears to be intended to ensure that individuals who are already subject to tribal jurisdiction for dating and domestic violence offenses against a spouse or romantic partner under the VAWA are also subject to tribal jurisdiction for violence they commit against any child in the custody of that spouse or romantic partner. "Caregiver" is defined as a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child; any relative of the child; a person who resides or has resided regularly or intermittently in the same dwelling as the child; a person who provides or has provided care for the child; any person who exercises or has exercised temporary or permanent control over the child; or any person who temporarily or permanently supervises or has supervised the child.

Significantly, the bill would affirm tribal criminal jurisdiction to all persons who commit a drug offense, which is defined as a drug-related felony or misdemeanor of the tribe, if the offence occurs in the Indian Country of the participating tribe. For drug offenses the participating tribe would not have to show that the person maintained any connection to the tribe except to commit the offense in the tribe's Indian Country. The bill would also affirm tribal criminal jurisdiction over defendants who engage in "related conduct," which is defined as violations of tribal criminal laws or contempt authority that occur in the tribe's Indian Country and in connection with a tribe's exercise of special tribal criminal jurisdiction.

Like the VAWA, S 2785 would recognize and affirm inherent tribal authority to exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians that tribes are currently precluded from exercising under the Supreme Court's 1978 decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe. The bill would not delegate federal criminal jurisdiction to tribes nor would it impact existing federal or state jurisdiction. During consideration of the VAWA, several members of Congress vigorously debated the constitutionality of affirming inherent tribal authority to exercise jurisdiction over non-Indians outside the protection of the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights. The question has not yet been addressed by the federal courts, though a limited number of tribes began exercising expanded jurisdiction under the VAWA as early as 2014. Similar concerns and objections are likely to be voiced in connection with consideration of S 2785. However, Senator Tester stated in a press release, "Tribal communities must have every tool they need to protect themselves from folks who traffic illegal drugs and harm children in Indian Country."

S 2785 would also extend the authorization of appropriations for certain grants under the Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to support Tribal Action Plans and law enforcement training (25 U.S.C. §§ 2412 and 2451(b), respectively) through 2020, and would require the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to submit a report to Congress within four years 'describing the degree of effectiveness of Federal programs that are intended to build the capacity of criminal justice systems of Indian tribes to investigate and prosecute offenses relating to illegal drugs'."

House Resolution 3911, introduced by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), would, in part, create a "sovereignty empowerment zone" in the Bennett Freeze Area (former Hop-Navaho joint use area, still, seven years after settlement, not allowing development, including simple property maintanance and improvement that would require a permit) to allow the Navajo Nation's environmental review process to replace federal environmental review for basic community development projects such water, power lines and housing infrastructure, in order to allow badly needed work to finally begin ( Anne Minard , "Bennett Freeze Thaw Finally Underway; Flurry of Activity To Improve Living Conditions," ICTMN, May 3, 2016,   http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/03/bennett-freeze-thaw-finally-underway-flurry-activity-improve-living-conditions-164273).

Tanya H. Lee, "Tribal Law and Order Act Five Years Later: What Works and What Doesn't," ICTMN, March 8, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/08/tribal-law-and-order-act-five-years-later-what-works-and-what-doesnt-163670, reported, " Judge William A. Thorne Jr., Pomo Coast Miwok, moderated a roundtable discussion by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010."

"The wide-ranging discussion on February 25 was aimed at finding out what is working, and what isn't, five years after TLOA was signed into law. Also, SCIA Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., explained in his opening statement that some provisions of the Act have sunset and the committee wanted to get feedback on whether or not those should be reauthorized."

"Recurring topics included funding, the need for prevention and treatment of substance and alcohol abuse, jurisdictional complexity, and a seeming universal commitment to keeping kids out of the justice system.

Funding

Many of TLOA's provisions cannot be implemented, said several panelists, for lack of funding. Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, said TLOA has not made things better on his reservation. He has too few police officers for want of enough training opportunities at approved police academies and funding. The jail is a mess–the juvenile facility had no lights for five months. Court personnel cannot be hired at salaries that are one-third what they can earn in other sectors. "Grants are not the solution," he said, because when the grant money is gone, he has no way to replace it.

TLOA has been more helpful in communities where the tribe has more resources, but overall, as Jason Thompson, assistant director for the BIA's Office of Justice Services, summarized, 'Lots of things in TLOA require we find resources to make them happen.'

Substance Abuse and Alcohol Prevention

Thompson also spoke about the lack of treatment facilities for drug and alcohol abusers. ' The only place to put substance and alcohol abusers is jail. Eighty percent of [those incarcerated] are substance abuse offenders; only 20 percent [have committed] violent crimes. We see this across Indian country, with the exception of tribes who have created their own programs.'"

" One aspect of TLOA that worked well was the Bureau of Prisons Tribal Law and Order Pilot Program, largely because the federal BOP has services for substance abusers and sexual offenders, as well as education and vocational training. The pilot program, which expired in 2014, allowed tribes to request that the BOP incarcerate people convicted by tribal courts. The programs both created access to rehabilitation programs tribes could not provide and allowed tribes to exercise the enhanced sentencing authority in TLOA.

Jurisdiction

Despite TLOA, jurisdictional complexity persists in Indian country, as federal, state, county and tribal law enforcement agencies struggle to stretch resources and prosecute cases that can be won.

Several panelists called for an Oliphant fix. Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, decided by the Supreme Court in 1978, removed tribes' authority to prosecute non-Indians for crimes committed on tribal lands."

" Multidisciplinary Teams have worked well for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, according to Attorney General Alfred Urbina. These are teams of tribal, state and federal law enforcement personnel who coordinate their efforts to prosecute child abuse cases, making sure that everyone has access to the same information and can plan how to move cases from one venue to another when appropriate.

TLOA's Tribal Liaison program, under which U.S. Attorneys in Indian country appoint an assistant U.S. Attorney to work with tribes, has also been a success, and Urbina suggested that a state district attorney with the same brief could help keep cases from getting dropped for lack of communication between tribal and state courts.

Cross-deputization has worked well for some tribes, but depends heavily on a state's willingness to work with tribal law enforcement, a matter that can be particularly fraught in PL280 states. Loretta Tuell, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig who spoke on behalf of the Association of Village Council Presidents, pointed out that just between California and Alaska, half of the tribes in the U.S. are in PL 280 states and thus embroiled in what she called a 'jurisdictional quagmire.'

She asked, 'What is the responsibility of the U.S. if they have delegated authority [under PL280] and the state does not act? In [Alaska] villages, the public safety officers are funded by the state. If the state wants to pull that funding, a vacuum is created [and] you [can] end up with places where there is no law enforcement at all.' Tribes in PL280 states, she said, are not able to take full advantage of the provisions in TLOA because they are not eligible to receive the funding that would support those provisions.

Under TLOA, the Department of Justice may accept concurrent federal jurisdiction to prosecute violations of the General Crimes Act and the Major Crimes Act for tribes subject to PL280. So far, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Reservation have availed themselves of the provision. This is not the same as retrocession; it is merely a clarification of the federal government's role in prosecuting serious crimes on reservations. Two other tribes' requests were denied, and one request is pending.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile justice was a main focus of the Indian Law and Order Commission's 2013 assessment of public safety in Indian country, " A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer."

The deplorable condition of many juvenile detention centers, lack of educational and rehabilitation programs in those facilities and the incarceration of AIAN children in adult jails led the commission to recommend that authority over children in the justice system be returned to tribes.

The tribal representatives who participated in this roundtable want their kids out of the justice system altogether. Thorne told ICTMN that keeping kids out of courts and jails has been shown to be the best course. Most teenagers are not developmentally capable of predicting the consequences of their behavior without help. Instead of punishment, they need guidance, which is more in keeping with traditional tribal practices. He said he believes the punishment paradigm is a holdover from the boarding school era.

Teton said, 'We need to deal with problems [of substance abuse] a lot sooner before kids get into the system. The end of the problem is arresting them. We need education in elementary school before they have a problem. We need to combat it before they get involved with law enforcement.'

Brunelle said his tribe has instituted a successful pilot program for alternatives to incarceration where they are keeping track of kids and working with them one on one. And The Hon. Kami D. Hart, children's court judge for the Gila River Indian Community, said her tribe's kids always have the alternative of going into treatment instead of being incarcerated, but the problem is that Medicaid decides when they can go into treatment. The tribe, she said, needs access to the same funding streams for kids that the state has.

National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby addressed the panelists briefly. He emphasized that American Indian and Alaska Native children are disproportionately exposed to poverty and violence. Rather than incarcerate them, he said, we should try to put in culturally appropriate interventions, otherwise, 'youth [are] placed in unsafe, abusive, expensive situations that push them further into a life of crime.'"



Federal Agency Developments



"DOI Publishes List of Non-BIA Programs Eligible for Inclusion in Self-Governance Funding Agreements," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-031, May 2, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-031, reported, "On April 29, 2016, in the FEDERAL REGISTER, the Department of the Interior (DOI) published the attached notice which lists non-Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) programs, services, functions, and activities (or portions thereof) eligible to be included in self-governance funding agreements and lists the FY 2016 programmatic targets for these non-BIA bureaus. DOI annually publishes this notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER. These programs are eligible for inclusion in Funding Agreements until September 30, 2016.

Determining Eligible Programs, Services, Functions, and Activities (PSFAs). There are two categories of PSFAs (or portions thereof) eligible to be included in self-governance funding agreements:

1) Any non-BIA PSFA that is administered by DOI that is "otherwise available to Indian tribes or Indians;" and

2) Any non-BIA PSFA that is of "special geographic, historical, or cultural significance" to a tribe.

Funding agreements cannot include PSFAs that are "inherently Federal" or where the statute establishing the existing program does not authorize the type of participation sought by the tribe. However, a tribe need not be identified in the authorizing statutes in order for a PSFA or element of such PSFA to be included in a self-governance funding agreement. While general legal and policy guidance regarding what constitutes an inherently federal function exists, the non-BIA bureaus will determine whether a specific function is "inherently Federal" on a case-by-case basis considering the totality of circumstances. In those instances where a tribe disagrees with a bureau's determination, the tribe may request reconsideration from the Secretary of Interior.

Non-BIA Bureaus. Tribes may include PSFAs from the following non-BIA bureaus in self-governance funding agreements: Bureau of Land Management; Bureau of Reclamation; Office of Natural Resources Revenue; National Park Service; Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Geological Survey; and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians. The attached notice lists the FY 2016 tribal self-governance agreements with non-BIA agencies at the Department of the Interior."



"Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations,"Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 16-006, January 14, 2916, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-006, reported, "The Department of Interior published in the January 13, 2016, FEDERAL REGISTER the attached notice concerning the next implementation phase for the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations established pursuant to the Cobell settlement. The Secretarially-established Buy-Back Program is intended to reduce through purchase the number of fractional interest properties owned by individuals. The properties are then consolidated into tribal land bases for the beneficial use of tribal communities.

Thus far, the Buy-Back Program has paid out $715 million to individuals from the $1.9 billion Trust land Consolidation Fund, resulting in 1.5 million acres for tribes. The Interior Department is requesting:

• Tribal governments not already scheduled for implementation under the Buy-Back Program are asked to indicate their interest in participating in the Buy-Back Program by March 11, 2016. Tribal staff should contact buybackprogram@ios.doi.gov.

• Individual landowners are asked to contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 by March 11, 2016 to register their interest in the Buy-Back program and to confirm contact information. The Department says this will help in developing the next implementation schedule. Registration with the Call Center does not commit a landowner to sell their land and is not a guarantee that a purchase offer will be made. The Department is working to educate landowners about the program and its procedures.

In addition, Deputy Secretary Michael Connor will host a listing session regarding the Land Buy-Back Program on March 3, 2016 at the Albuquerque, NM Convention Center, from 1-5 p.m. Mountain Time."

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) gave initial approval to the joint, collaborative, application by the Crow Creek, Standing Rock, Mdewakonton Shakopee and Rosebud Sioux Tribes to take 2100 acres in the He Sapa, the Black Hills, into federal trust. The land, traditioanlly know as Pe' Sla, was purched from private owners by the tribes with the aid of donations. The Governor of South Dakota has opposed the BIA decision, as the land has an estimated annual tax vcaluation of $80,000 which would no longer be available to the county where it is located. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard traveled to the Rosebud Reservation atthe end of April to discuss the matter with the Sicangu Nation's tribal council. The tribes' plans include obraining federal recognition of Pe' Sla as a sacred site.(David Rooks, "Pe' Sla Brings SD Governor to Rosebud, Sparks Outrage," ICTMN, May 2, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/02/pe-sla-brings-sd-governor-rosebud-sparks-outrage-164326).



Mary Annette Pember. "Isleta Pueblo Score Largest Parcel of Trust Land in Single Application, ICTMN, January 20, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/20/isleta-pueblo-score-largest-parcel-trust-land-single-application-163128, reported on Isleta Pueblo having the largest single application parcel of land taken into tr5ust by the Department of the Interior, "The event marked the placement of 90,151 acres of land. 140 square miles, into federal trust for the Pueblo and the culmination of over 20 years of work by Pueblo leaders who purchased the land that was once part of the tribes' aboriginal homeland.

'The cost of the land was considerable, slightly more than $7.3 million,' noted Torres.



The land is known as the Comanche Ranch, which the tribe operates with over 1 thousand head of cattle. The operation represents a significant source of income for the tribe according to Torres."

Mark Fogarty, "Tribes Left Hanging: 26 Land-Acquired-in-Trust Applications Pending," ICTMN, April 1, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/01/tribes-left-hanging-26-land-acquired-trust-applications-pending-163986, reported, " Twenty-six applications for American Indian gaming on lands acquired in trust, some of them dating back to 2005, remain pending.

Data in the 2016 Casino City Indian Gaming Industry Report show that the pace of applications increased rapidly in 2015, with 13 applications for gaming operations on land acquired in trust by tribes.

The longest outstanding request is by the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, which was made in 2005. It made its request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Office of Indian Gaming Management on the basis of getting an exception because the land was on or contiguous to its existing reservation.

Others have been filed by the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Puyallup Tribe of Washington, the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming, and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.

Of the 26 applications for so-called "section 20 exceptions," seven were classified as off reservation, while six were for restored tribes and six for on or contiguous to reservation, according to the almanac, written by Dr. Alan Meister.

Since the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, 67 applications have been approved, meaning more than a quarter remain pending. And six of those approvals were never finalized."



"Christmas Comes Early to Arizona; Tonto Apache Receive Land Into Trust," ICTMN, December 25, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/25/christmas-comes-early-arizona-tonto-apache-receive-land-trust-162876, reported, "The Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona received an early Christmas gift this week as Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn signed a reservation proclamation quadrupling the tribe's land into trust.

On December 22 Washburn announced that approximately 292 acres of trust land in the city of Payson, Gila County, Arizona belonging to the tribe would be added to the tribe's existing reservation under the authority of the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984: 25 U.S.C. 467)."



"Bureau of Indian Affairs Deadline for 2017 Self-Governance Applications," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-001, January 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-001, reported, "On December 21, 2015, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published the attached notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER regarding the deadline for submission of applications by tribes and tribal consortia to begin participation in the tribal self-governance program in Fiscal Year 2017 or Calendar Year 2017. Applications are to be submitted to the BIA Office of Self-Governance. The deadline for submission of applications is March 1, 2016.

Tribes and tribal consortia do not need to submit an application under this announcement if they are currently involved in negotiations with the Department of Interior or are one of the 115 tribal entities with signed Self-Governance agreements.

The BIA Office of Self-Governance may select up to 50 additional tribes/tribal consortia per year to participate in the program. The BIA estimates that the negotiations for such agreements could be expected to take two months. Signed agreements are to be submitted to Congress and to each tribe at least 90 days prior to its effective date."



"Ohkay Owingeh Receives HEARTH Act Approval," ICTMN, January 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/06/ohkay-owingeh-receives-hearth-act-approval-162974, reported, " The Ohkay Owingeh became the 23rd tribe to move further towards tribal self-governance as acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Lawrence S. Roberts announced it has the sovereign authority to lease tribal lands.

The federally recognized tribe in north-central New Mexico is the latest to be granted this authority consistent with the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (or HEARTH) Act and is another example of President Barack Obama's commitment to tribal self-governance and strengthening tribal economies.

Roberts made the announcement at a signing ceremony January 5 while accompanied by tribal Governor Earl N. Salazar and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

'I congratulate Governor Salazar and the Ohkay Owingeh council for their leadership in using the HEARTH Act to end the paternalistic policy of federal approval of tribal leasing decisions," Roberts said in an ASIA release following the announcement. 'Ohkay Owingeh joins a growing number of tribes that are exercising sovereignty over the leasing of their lands to promote the health, welfare and prosperity of their people. By this action, decision-making over the use of tribal land is now squarely in the hands of the tribal government. I am very pleased that Ohkay Owingeh has exercised this power to use its own judgment for its own lands.'"



"ACF Proposes Rule to Require State Title IV-E Foster Care/Adoption Agencies to Collect Indian Child Welfare Act Implementation Data," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-027, April 19, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-027, reported "The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has proposed in the attached April 7, 2016, FEDERAL REGISTER notice, that state Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption agencies begin collecting and reporting data specific to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). This proposed rule would modify the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) under which state Title IV-E agencies gather and report data with respect to adoption and foster care. Even though ICWA was enacted 37 years ago and applies to state child custody proceedings involving an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe, there had been no requirement that ICWA-related data be held in AFCARS. The proposed rule is a significant development. Comments are due by May 9, 2016.

We also attach a letter to tribal leaders dated April 15, 2016, announcing two consultation and listening sessions on the proposed rule and providing an overview of the rule. The sessions are Friday, April 22 and Monday, April 25 and can be accessed via call-in or by joining a webinar. The attached letter contains detailed information on how to join the meetings.

The proposed rule would require state Title IV-E agencies to collect and report on information concerning efforts to identify whether a child is an Indian child as defined in ICWA. For children for whom ICWA applies, information is requested on actions taken to prevent breakup of the family; notification to tribes and parents of child custody hearings; active efforts to reunify families; foster care and adoptive placement preferences; information regarding cases where parental rights were terminated; and transfers of ICWA cases from state court to tribal court.

The National Indian Child Welfare Association has long-advocated for collection of data by state child welfare systems relating to implementation of ICWA and is urging tribes and tribal organizations to file comments on the proposed rule. In addition, the Justice Department's Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence report and the HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee recommended development of an ICWA-related data collection system through AFCARS. American Indian and Alaska Native children nationally are placed in state foster care at a rate over two times their populations (in some states the disproportionality is much higher) yet there is no comprehensive data on children in state child welfare systems for whom the Indian Child Welfare Act applies."



"Tribal Title IV-E Foster Care/Adoption Assistance Plan Development Grants," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-032, May 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-032, reported, " The Children's Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services is soliciting applications from tribes, tribal organizations and tribal consortia for grants to assist in the development of plans which would enable them to directly administer the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, and at tribal option, Guardianship Assistance program. There is $1.5 million available for these planning grants in FY 2016; the deadline for receipt of applications is July 28, 2016.

Under the Title IV-E program, states provide adoption and foster care services for income-eligible children and, at state option, for kinship guardianship assistance payments. This is an open-ended entitlement program which has some match requirements; the federal share is approximately $7 billion annually. The authority for tribes to also administer the Title IV-E program was enacted in 2008 as part of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (Act), PL 110-351 and went into effect October 1, 2009.

Section 302 of the Act appropriates $3 million annually for three purposes:

1) information services concerning the types of services, administrative functions, data collection, program management and reporting requirements necessary for tribal administration of the Title IV-E program; 2) technical assistance for tribes seeking to operate a tribal Title IV-E program directly or seeking to develop a cooperative agreement with a state concerning administration of the program; and 3) grants for tribes to help defray the costs of developing a plan to directly administer the Title IV-E program. The Act does not direct how the $3 million is to be divided among the three activities listed above. The Children's Bureau has decided to provide $1.5 million for item number 3) tribal Title IV-E development grants) which is the subject of the grant announcement described in this Memorandum.

The Act limits the amount of funding for each tribal development grant to $300,000 and allows only one grant per tribe. A grant recipient is to have its plan for administration of the Title IV-E program ready to submit to the Children's Bureau within 24 months. The Act requires a tribe to return the development grant money if such a plan is not completed within 24 months, although the Secretary is authorized to waive this requirement if she determines that failure to complete the development of the plan was beyond the control of the tribe.

Grants may be used for any costs attributable to meeting the requirements for approval of a tribally-operated Title IV-E plan including development of a data collection system and a cost allocation plan, and establishment of tribal, agency and court procedures necessary to meet the case review requirements in the law.

The full grant announcement (CFDA # 93.658), which covers FYs 2016, 2017 and 2018, may be downloaded at:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/index.cfm?switch=foa&fon=HHS-2016...

You may request an application package from:

CB Operations Center, c/o LCG, Inc., 1400 Key Boulevard, Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22209, Phone: 888-203-6161, Email: CB@grantreview.org.

The electronic application submission package is available in the FOA's (Funding Opportunity Announcement) listing at www.Grants.gov."

Mark Fogarty, "Natives Dying Because IHS Can't Assure Timely Access to Health Care." ICTMN, May 12, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/12/natives-dying-because-ihs-cant-assure-timely-access-health-care-164456, reported, " The federal Government Accountability Office has rapped the Indian Health Service for not setting national standards or overseeing waiting times at its facilities, meaning it cannot assure timely access to health care.

IHS 'has not conducted any systematic, agency-wide oversight of the timeliness of primary care,' GAO found in its report to Congress. Instead, it has delegated the responsibility to its area offices and has not set any nationwide standards for waiting times."

A major concern in the reort is that "American Indian/Alaska Native people die at higher rates than other Americans from conditions that could be mitigated by access to preventative primary care," while "'longstanding problems accessing healthcare services.' They also have a four year shorter life span than Americans do over all.

GAO recommended IHS establish and monitor nationwide wait time goals in its federally-operated facilities. But there isn't much chance the agency will comply anytime soon, so Congressional waiting time may be lengthy. GAO reported that IHS said it wants to track patient wait times "eventually" but for now has higher priorities, such as making sure their facilities are accredited."

A major problem is inadequate funding - dispite recent significant increases. This means, as the report found, that staffing is often inadequate, infrastructure and equipment are often old and not up-to-date or in good condition. Thus, the steps various IHS facilities have taken to insure patients receive timely care are not sufficnent. These measures include some facilities implimenting modified open-access appointment schedulingleaving times open for same-day service; and increasing outreach to tribal communities to reduce missed appointments.

One IHS facility reported that because of a shortage of health care providers, some patients have had to wait three or four months to receive an initial appointment.."

GAO noted that because of a lack of nation wide monotoring, it was not possible to determine if IHS has made any progress in delivering timely access to health services.

" The federal Department of Health and Human Services, which administers IHS, said it is in the process of setting up an Office of Quality Management in its Washington, D.C. headquarters.

It said it would boost recruitment and retention efforts in an attempt to cut waiting times in IHS facilities.

As of October 2015 IHS operated 27 federal and 18 tribal hospitals, according to the GAO. It also ran 59 federal and 284 tribal health centers as well as 163 Alaska Native clinics. In addition, there are 32 federal health stations and 79 tribally-operated ones."



"IHS FY 2016 Self-Governance Program Negotiation Cooperative Agreements," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-02, March 24, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-022, reported, "On March 23, 2016, the Indian Health Service (IHS) published in the FEDERAL REGISTER a notice of the availability of FY 2016 cooperative agreements for negotiation under the Tribal Self-Governance Program (TSGP). This competitive grant program is authorized by Title V, Tribal Self-Governance Amendments of 2000, of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, PL 93-638, as amended. The TSGP is designed to promote self-determination by allowing tribes to assume more control of IHS programs and services through compacts negotiated with the IHS. Applications are due by June 3,2016.A copy of the notice is available here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-03-23/pdf/2016-06556.pdf.

The purpose of the negotiation cooperative agreement is to defray some of the costs tribes incur in preparing for and negotiating compacts and funding agreements. A tribe is not required to have had a negotiation agreement in order to enter the TSGP.

There is $240,000 available to fund approximately five tribes to enter the TSGP negotiation process for compacts. Awards are expected to be $48,000 each for a 12-month project period.

To be eligible for a negotiation cooperative agreement, the applicant must be a tribe, tribal organization or inter-tribal consortium; and demonstrate financial stability and management capability by having had no significant and material audit exceptions for three previous fiscal years. Alaska Native Villages or Village Corporations are not eligible to apply for this funding if they are located within an area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity (including the Native Village of Eyak, the Eastern Aleutian Tribes, and the Council for Athabascan Tribal Governments which are deemed Alaska Native regional health entities) already participating in the Alaska Tribal Health Compact in 1998.

With regard to the submission of resolutions the IHS states:

An Indian Tribe or Tribal organization that is proposing a project affecting another Indian Tribe must include resolutions from all affected tribes to be served. Applications by Tribal organizations will not require a specific Tribal resolution if the current Tribal resolution(s) under which they operate would encompass the proposed grant activities.

The solicitation also provides that 'an official signed Tribal resolution must be received by the Division of Grants Management prior to a Notice of Award being issued to any applicant selected for funding'.

Applications are to be submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov. If a tribe/organization needs to submit a hardcopy/paper application, they must obtain a waiver from the IHS. Detailed eligibility, application criteria and contact information are contained in the notice."



"IHS FY 2016 Tribal Self-Governance Program Planning Cooperative Agreements," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-021, March 242014, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-021m reported, "On March 23, 2016, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced in the FEDERAL REGISTER the availability of FY 2016 cooperative agreements for planning purposes under the Tribal Self-Governance Program (TSGP). This competitive grant program is authorized by Title V, Tribal Self-Governance Amendments of 2000, of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, PL 93-638, as amended. The TSGP is designed to promote self-determination by allowing tribes to assume more control of IHS programs and services through compacts negotiated with the IHS. Applications are due by June 3, 2016. A copy of the notice is available here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-03-23/pdf/2016-06559.pdf.

The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to provide planning resources to tribes interested in participating in the TSGP. Under the agreements tribes may undertake planning such as legal and budget research that leads to a greater understanding of which programs, functions, activities, and services they may want to assume and any organizational changes that may be necessary to do so. They may also be used to help identify programmatic alternatives that will better meet tribal needs. Receipt of a planning grant is not a pre-requisite to enter the TSGP.

There is $600,000 available to fund up to five tribes to enter the TSGP planning process. Accepted tribes would be awarded up to $120,000 for a 12-month project period.

To be eligible for the planning agreement, the applicant must be a tribe, tribal organization or inter-tribal consortium; and demonstrate financial stability and management capability by having had no significant and material audit exceptions for three previous fiscal years. Alaska Native Villages or Village Corporations are not eligible to apply for this funding if they are located within an area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity (including the Native Village of Eyak, the Eastern Aleutian Tribes, and the Council for Athabascan Tribal Governments which have been deemed Alaska Native regional health entities) already participating in the Alaska Tribal Health Compact in 1998.

With regard to the submission of resolution the IHS states:

An Indian Tribe or Tribal organization that is proposing a project affecting another Indian Tribe must include resolutions from all affected tribes to be served. Applications by Tribal organizations will not require a specific Tribal resolution if the current Tribal resolution(s) under which they operate would encompass the proposed grant activities.

The solicitation also provides that "an official signed Tribal resolution must be received by the Division of Grants Management prior to a Notice of Award being issued to any applicant selected for funding".

Applications are to be submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov. If a tribe/organization needs to submit a hardcopy/paper application, they must obtain a waiver from the IHS. Detailed eligibility, application criteria and contact information are contained in the announcement."



"Indian Health Service Tribal Management Grants," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-025, April 15, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-025, reported, "The Indian Health Service (IHS) has announced in the attached April 7, 2016, FEDERAL REGISTER notice the availability of $2.4 million in expected FY 2016 funds for Tribal Management Grants (TMG). The TMG program provides funding to federally-recognized tribes and tribal organizations to assume all or part of existing IHS programs, services, and functions and activities under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination Act. Grants may also be used for technical assistance and planning. The deadline for receipt of applications is June 8, 2016.

Applications must be for one of the following four projects: 1) feasibility studies (maximum funding $70,000; 12-month period); 2) planning (maximum funding $50,000, 12-month period); 3) evaluation studies (maximum funding $50,000, 12-month period); or 4) health management structure (average funding $100,000 for 12 months; maximum funding $300,000 for 36 months). The IHS expects to make 16-18 new and continuation awards. A signed resolution must accompany the application.

The IHS will fund applications according to a priority system, beginning with the Priority I applications. Priority I applications are those from tribes who have received federal recognition within the past five years (March 2011). Priority II applications are those from all other eligible federally-recognized tribes or tribal organizations whose new or competing continuation applications are for the sole purpose of addressing audit material weaknesses; Priority II applications are available only for health management structure projects. Priority III applications are from eligible Direct Service and Title I federally-recognized Indian tribes or tribal organizations submitting a competing continuation application or a new application. Priority IV applications are from eligible Title V Self Governance federally-recognized tribes or tribal organizations submitting a competing continuation or a new application.

The funding of approved Priority I applicants will occur before the funding of approved Priority II applicants; funding of approved Priority II applicants will occur before the funding of approved Priority III applicants; and funding of approved Priority III applicants will occur before the funding of approved Priority IV applicants."

"Deadline Extended to June 17, 2016 for IHS Tribal Management Grants. Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-036, June 10, 2016, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-036, reported, "The Indian Health Service (IHS) has extended the deadline for application to its Tribal Management Grants (TMG) program to Friday, June 17, 2016. The TMG program provides funding to federally-recognized tribes and tribal organizations to assume all or part of existing IHS programs, services, and functions and activities under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination Act. Grants may also be used for technical assistance and planning. The TMG application package can be found here: https://www.ihs.gov/dmg/funding.

As we stated in our General Memorandum 16-025 of April 15, 2016, applications must be for one of the following four projects: 1) feasibility studies (maximum funding $70,000; 12-month period); 2) planning (maximum funding $50,000; 12-month period); 3) evaluation studies (maximum funding $50,000; 12-month period); or 4) health management structure (average funding $100,000 for 12 months; maximum funding $300,000 for 36 months). The IHS expects to make 16-18 new and continuation awards. A signed resolution must accompany the application.

Approximately 16-18 awards will be issued to assist tribes and tribal organizations to establish goals and performance measures; assess current management capacity; analyze programs to determine if management is practicable; and develop infrastructure systems to manage or organize the programs, services, functions, and activities of the current health programs.

Tribes seeking to apply for this grant should act as soon as possible, as the new deadline is one week away."



"Indian Health Service Issues Reimbursement Rates for Calendar Year 2016," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-020, March 11, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-020, reported, "The Indian Health Service (IHS) has issued in the attached March 9, 2016, FEDERAL REGISTER notice its Calendar Year (CY) 2016 reimbursement rates applicable to Medicare and Medicaid services provided by IHS-funded health programs (operated by IHS and tribes/tribal organizations). These rates are set annually by IHS, with the concurrence of the Office of Management and Budget, and are based on cost reports compiled by IHS.

Medicare Part A (Inpatient Services) rates are not included in the notice as they are paid based on the prospective payment system. A comparison of the 2015 and 2016 rates follows:

Inpatient Hospital Per Diem Rate (Excludes Physician Services) for MEDICAID
CY 2015 CY 2016
Lower 48 $2,443 $2,655
Alaska $2,926 $3,335
Outpatient Per Visit Rate (Excluding Medicare) for MEDICAID
CY 2015 CY 2016
Lower 48 $350 $368
Alaska $601 $603
Outpatient Per Visit Rate for MEDICARE
CY 2015 CY 2016
Lower 48 $307 $324
Alaska $564 $582
MEDICARE Part B Inpatient Ancillary Per Diem Rate
CY 2015 CY 2016
Lower 48 $516 $ 637
Alaska $956 $1,082

The Outpatient Surgery Rates for Medicare are the established Medicare rates for freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Centers."



"Indian Health Service FY 2016 Scholarships," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-003, January 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-003, reported, "The Indian Health Service (IHS) is soliciting applications, via the attached December 24, 2015, FEDERAL REGISTER notice for FY 2016 full- and part-time scholarships. American Indians and Alaska Natives are invited to apply under the three programs described below. The funding is $13.7 million for continuation and new awards combined. No more than five percent of funds may be used for scholarships for part-time students. The deadline for applications for continuation awards is February 28, 2016 and the deadline for applications for new awards is March 28, 2016.

• Health Professions Preparatory Scholarships and Health Professions Pregraduate Scholarships. Up to $3.6 million will be allocated for approximately 80 awards. Eligible applicants are members of federally (including those from tribes terminated since 1940) or state recognized tribes and first and second degree descendants of federal or state recognized tribal members and Alaska Natives. Applicants for the Preparatory program must have been accepted for enrollment in a compensatory, pre-professional general education course or curriculum. Applicants for the Pregraduate program must have been accepted for enrollment in an accredited pregraduate program leading to a baccalaureate degree in pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-optometry or

pre-podiatry.

• Indian Health Professions. Approximately $10 million will be allocated for an estimated 245 awards. This scholarship is available only to members of federally recognized tribes who are enrolled in an accredited school and pursuing a course of study in a health profession as defined by section 1603(10) of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

The attached notice provides IHS contact information for questions regarding the scholarship programs. It also describes the eligibility requirements and lists the health profession priority areas. The IHS provides the following instruction for obtaining and filling out applications:

Applicants must go online to:

www.ihs.gov/scholarship/online_application/index.cfm to apply for an IHS scholarship and access the Application Handbook instructions and forms for submitting a properly completed application for review and funding consideration. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek consultation from their Area Scholarship Coordinator (ASC) in preparing their scholarship application for award consideration. ACS's are listed on the IHS Web site at:

http://www.ihs.gov/scholarship/contact/areascholarshipcoordinators/.

The attached notice also includes contact information for IHS Area Scholarship Coordinators."



"Indian Health Service Soliciting Applications for FY 2016 Loan Repayment Program," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-002, January 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-002, reported, "The Indian Health Service (IHS) is soliciting applications, via the attached December 24, 2015, FEDERAL REGISTER notice, for the repayment of health professions educational loans. Under the Loan Repayment Program (LRP), authorized under Section 108 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the IHS may make awards to persons for the repayment of health professions educational loans in return for full-time clinical service in Indian health programs.

The IHS estimates that it will provide $19.75 million in FY 2016 funds for the LRP, which will support "approximately 437 competing awards averaging $45,208 per award for a two-year contract." Applications for the FY 2016 LRP will be evaluated monthly beginning January 15, 2016, and will continue to be accepted each month thereafter until all funds are exhausted for FY 2016. Subsequent monthly deadline dates are scheduled for Friday of the second full week of each month until August 19, 2016.

In addition, $9.18 million is estimated to be available for approximately 395 competing awards averaging $23,253 for a one-year extension for those participants who have completed their two-year contract.

The attached notice contains a list of priority health professions that will be considered in making awards under the LRP. The IHS does not establish percentages of awards for specific professions. Loan repayment awards will be made "only to those individuals serving at facilities which have a site score of 70 or above through March 1, 2016, if funding is available." In addition to the level of need for specific disciplines, factors that will be taken into consideration are: 1) an applicant's length of current employment in the IHS, tribal, or urban program; 2) availability for service earlier than other applicants; and   3) date of receipt of the individual's application. Tribally and urban-administered program staffing needs are to be considered on an equal basis with those of the IHS-administered programs.

The IHS Area Offices and Service Units are authorized to provide supplemental funds for LRP participants for use in their areas, but the total amount cannot exceed $36 million when combined with the other funds made available in the notice.

Application materials may be obtained here: http://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment.

Additional information regarding this program may be obtained from:

Jacqueline Santiago
Chief, IHS Loan Repayment Program
5600 Fishers Lane
Mail Stop: OHR (11E53A)
Rockville, Maryland 20857
301-443-3396

We remind potential applicants that because of the great demand for the IHS loan repayment funds, persons intending to apply should do so early."



"U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Briefing on Updating its 2003 Report on Unmet Need in Indian Country; Comments Requested," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-018, February 26, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-018, reported, "On February 19, 2016, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing with representatives of Indian organizations and federal agencies as part its plan to update its 2003 report, A Quiet Crisis: Federal Funding and Unmet Needs in Indian Country (Quiet Crisis report). The Quiet Crisis report evaluated the budgets and expenditures of six major federal agencies which fund Indian programs and found that federal funding for these programs was inadequate to meet the needs. The Quiet Crisis report looked at health care, education, public safety, housing and rural development and found that 'significant disparities in federal funding exist between Native American and other groups in our nation, as well as the general population.' The Commission is accepting further comments through March 20, 2016. Comments should be submitted to: qcomments@usccr.gov.

There has been tribal advocacy for an update of the Quiet Crisis report, and that effort was helped by a letter to the Commission in May 2015 from Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. The letter requested the Commission to update the report "[i]n order to help ensure that the federal government is making progress in fulfilling its trust and treaty responsibilities."

The Commission heard from two panels during the February 19 briefing: one of tribal advocates and others and another from federal agencies. In his opening remarks, Commission Chairman Martin Castro noted while there has been some improvement since the Quiet Crisis report there are still "clear needs and challenges" which need to be addressed.

The first panel consisted of: Jackie Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI); Stacey Bohlen, Executive Director, National Indian Health Board (NIHB); Dante Desiderio, Executive Director, Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA); Sarah Deer, Professor of Law, Mitchell Hamline School of Law; and Terry Anders, Property and Environment Research Center.

The second panel consisted of : William Mendoza, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education; Randy Akers, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Elizabeth Fowler, Deputy Director for Management Operations, Office of the Director, Indian Health Service; Michael Black, Director, Office of the Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); and Vicki Forrest, Deputy Director of School Operations, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

Indian organizations praised the 2003 report, with NCAI calling it a "pivotal report for advocacy efforts" and NIHB terming it "monumental" in explaining what was going on in Indian Country regarding health care. NAFOA spoke of progress that has been made since 2003 but said that tribes are a long way from having parity with other governments in terms of in access to public and private capital and federal programs. All advocated for increased resources and equitable access to opportunities.

We reported on the Quiet Crisis report in our General Memorandum 03-108 of August 1, 2003. Among the recommendations of the Commission at that time was that the six federal agencies, Congress, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) implement a series of reforms to better ensure that federal funds go to Native American populations in need. The recommendations included: (1) urging each agency to conduct internal monitoring of its spending and budgeting for Native programs and to ensure better cooperation with other agencies; (2) urging Congress to ensure that needed funds are appropriated for Native programs and to require agencies to monitor unmet needs; and (3) that OMB should develop uniform standards for tracking spending on Native American programs.

The Commission is expected to complete its update of the report this calendar year."



Mark Fogarty, "Ending All Native Homelessness Next Federal Target," ICTMN, February 4, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/04/ending-all-native-homelessness-next-federal-target-163302, reported, " The multi-agency effort just announced by the federal government to alleviate Native American veteran homelessness may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Last fall, eight federal agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on an effort to end all Native American homelessness, not just Native veteran homelessness. The MOU specifically recognizes tribal sovereignty.

In November, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness signed an MOU with seven more federal agencies, the Departments of Interior, Labor, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development, "to work together on several key actions that will begin to address homelessness both on and off tribal lands," according to Lindsay Knotts, policy advisor for USICH.

USICH is in charge of an even larger strategic program, "Opening Doors," that seeks to end all homelessness anywhere in the country. Started in 2010, the program has been amended in both 2012 and 2015.

The November MOU, worked out after a report to USICH by the Interagency Working Group on Homelessness among American Indians and Alaska Natives has been informed by input from tribal leaders and urban Indian experts, according to Knotts in a posting on the USICH website.

Two of the agencies, HUD and VA, have just announced a joint effort (HUD-VASH) to alleviate homelessness among Native vets. The $5.9 million effort envisions HUD providing vouchers for rental housing and the VA providing supportive services for the vets. This represents an extension to rural and reservation areas of a program that had formerly only been available through Public Housing Authorities, which are mainly urban." The funds still needed to be appropriated by Congress.

"The Council heard testimony that " while only 1.2 percent of the national population self-identifies as AI/AN, 2.3 percent of all people experiencing sheltered homelessness, 2 percent of all sheltered individuals, and 2.9 percent of all sheltered families self-identify as AI/AN. These data are primarily limited to Native Americans experiencing homelessness off tribal lands.

Also, 'at least 8.8 percent of households in Native American communities are overcrowded compared with 3 percent nationwide. By some estimates, as many as one in five people (19 percent) living on tribal lands are living in overcrowded housing situations.'"

"The group's plan centers around four strategies:

– Improving access to housing and services through Administrative action, and providing guidance and technical assistance; and to increase the availability of housing options for Native Americans experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness both on and off tribal lands.

– Improving data collection on homelessness among Native Americans both on and off tribal lands.

– Ensuring that Federal strategies and actions to set a path to end Native American homelessness are informed by consultation and engagement with tribal leaders, urban native communities, and experts in the field.

– Elevating awareness of the crisis of homelessness and housing instability among Native Americans, both on and off tribal lands."



Mark Fogarty. "Ho-Chunk Homeless Vets Project Beats Federal Effort," ICTMN, February 16, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/02/ho-chunk-homeless-vets-project-beats-federal-effort-163280, reported, "The federal government recently announced grants of about $6 million for supportive housing for homeless Native veterans, touting an unusual collaboration between two federal agencies, the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs. However, it seems as if at least one American Indian nation has already made a project like this happen and it already is housing Native vets.

The Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin last spring opened a $1.5 million facility to aid homeless Ho-Chunk veterans, according to a VA newsletter and a presentation on the project made at last month's National American Indian Housing Council legal symposium in Las Vegas."



"Cherokee Nation Receives Almost $400k As Lone Tribe in DOJ Pilot Program," ICTMN, Janaury 14, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/14/cherokee-nation-receives-almost-400k-lone-tribe-doj-pilot-program-163041, The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced $2.7 million in grants to be dispersed across seven agencies throughout the country as part of the Office on Violence Against Women's Sexual Assault Justice Initiative. The Cherokee Nation is the lone tribe to receive a grant – worth almost $400,000.

The funds will go towards implementing a pilot program aimed at improving how the justice system, particularly prosecutors, handles sexual assault cases according to a Cherokee Nation press release."

"Over the next two years the Cherokee Nation will receive $390,544. With the funds, the 'tribe's Attorney General's office, Cherokee Nation marshals and ONE FIRE will work together to improve prosecution processes and increase safety for victims of sexual assault,' the release stated.

Funding will also go towards specialized training for Cherokee Nation employees who work with sexual assault victims."



The U.S. Department of Education published a proposed rule in the Federal Register Mach 2, 2016, intended to improve equity in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), by making it easier for states to ensure that the 1990 IDEA Act's goals of creating fairness in the identification, placement, and discipline of students with disabilities. The rule was proposed in response to two studies.

A 2014 report, " School Discipline, Restraint, & Seclusion," published by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, found that in U.S. public schools, more than twice as many students with disabilities received out-of-school suspensions (13 percent) than did non-disabled students (6 percent). Moreover, the report revealed that 29 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) boys with disabilities received out-of-school suspensions, compared with 12 percent of white boys with disabilities, while Twenty percent of AI/AN girls with disabilities received out-of-school suspensions, compared with 6 percent of white girls with disabilities.

A new report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California, Los Angeles, found even more extreme inequities in charter schools, stating, " 1,093 charter schools suspended students with disabilities at a rate that was 10 or more percentage points higher than for students without disabilities. Perhaps the most alarming finding is that 235 charter schools suspended more than 50 percent of their enrolled students with disabilities."

The rule aimed, among other things, at correcting the too common occurrence of placing AI/AN students in special education classes, misidentified as needing special education or because they are not getting the early intervention services that IDEA mandates to keep them out of special education classes and in regular classrooms ( Tanya H. Lee, "Too Many Native Kids Dumped in Special Ed," ICTMN, April 4, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/04/too-many-native-kids-dumped-special-ed-163995).



"FEMA Seeks Tribal Comments on Draft Pilot Guidance for Implementation of Stafford Act Amendment," Hobbs-StraussGeneral Memorandum 16-015, February 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-015, reported, "On January 8, 2016, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER initiating tribal consultation on the second iteration of the Draft Tribal Declarations Pilot Guidance for implementation of the amendments made to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) which empower tribes to directly petition the President for a declaration of an emergency or major disaster. Comments are due April 7, 2016.

• The FEDERAL REGISTER notice is here:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/01/08/2016-173/tribal-decl...

• The Draft Tribal Declaration Pilot Guidance is here:

https://www.fema.gov/second-draft-tribal-declaration-pilot-guidance-reso...

Background. On January 29, 2013, the President signed as PL 113-2 amendments to the Stafford Act which empower tribes, just like states, to directly petition the President for a declaration of an emergency or major disaster. (See our General Memorandum 13-026 of March 13, 2013.) FEMA is consulting with tribes in order to establish a pilot program for managing these requests. Information learned from the pilot program and future consultations will be used to eventually develop implementing regulations.

Draft Pilot Guidance. FEMA provides detailed descriptions of the process to submit a request for a Presidential Declaration for either a major disaster or an emergency along with requirements for how to apply for assistance. The Draft Pilot Guidance also provides detailed instructions on the how a tribe may apply for a Hazard Mitigation Grant while requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration. FEMA writes that it will consider assistance under the Stafford Act only if all other potential resources have been explored and there is still a significant unmet need that other federal or state agencies cannot address.

The first iteration of the Draft Pilot Guidance had a number of features on which it received comments. One of the most significant issues in the first iteration was how it defined the community to be served by a tribe's declaration. The definition of "Tribal Land" failed to incorporate the meaning of "Indian country" by excluding lands within a reservation not owned by the Tribal government or individual Indians. FEMA also was urged to clarify the eligibility to serve enrolled tribal members who live outside of a reservation. Unfortunately, this second iteration of the Draft Pilot Guidance continues to limit the term of "Tribal Lands" to apply to lands held in trust for tribal governments and individual Indians within reservations, as well as to lands owned by tribal governments.

A another significant aspect of the first iteration of the Draft Pilot Guidance was its failure to clearly describe the Tribal cost share, and failure to describe the Stafford Act amendments as authorizing the President, in instances when it is "necessary and appropriate" to adjust or waive the non-federal share for public assistance for tribes. Subsection 401(c) of the Stafford Act provides:

(c) Cost share adjustments for Indian tribal governments

(1) In general In providing assistance to an Indian tribal government under this subchapter, the President may waive or adjust any payment of a non-Federal contribution with respect to the assistance if–

(A) the President has the authority to waive or adjust the payment under another provision of this subchapter; and

(B) the President determines that the waiver or adjustment is necessary and appropriate.

(2) Criteria for making determinations The President shall establish criteria for making determinations under paragraph (1)(B).

There remains some confusion about what flexibility this subsection provides for the federal government to consider requests from tribal governments for waivers or adjustments. The amendments to Stafford Act simply authorized tribal governments, if they so choose, to request major disaster and emergency Presidential Declarations in the same manner as a state and to be treated like a state. We understand that within this context, this subsection on cost share adjustments is being interpreted to mean that: when a tribal government submits a request for the President to waive or adjust a cost share, the President does not have any expanded authority to do so for that tribal government, rather, the President is bound by the same authority he is given elsewhere in the statute to waive or adjust a state cost share for a state government that requests it. However, to make such an adjustment for a tribal government the President must also make the determination whether the waiver or adjustment is "necessary and appropriate" and the statute instructs FEMA to establish criteria for determining what constitutes "necessary and appropriate." Tribes will want to submit comments on the development of these criteria.

This draft Tribal Declarations Pilot Guidance is an important step towards implementing the legislation that amended the Stafford Act. Tribal input to improve the Pilot Guidance will be important when FEMA is developing final regulations. Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding FEMA's plans for the interim implementation of the Stafford Act or assistance in preparing comments."



"EPA Issues Proposed Rule for Far Reaching Energy Regulations With Tribal Implications; Tribal Comments and More Time Needed Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-007, January 14, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-007, reported, "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued two final rules and one proposed rule which will accelerate dramatic changes in our nation's interconnected energy economy for decades to come. While each of the rulemaking documents includes discussion of EPA's efforts to seek input from tribes, there are implications for Indian Country that do not appear to have received sufficient consideration. The deadline for filing comments on the proposed rule is January 21, 2016 and tribes may want to ask for an extension of the comment period.

This is a complex set of rulemaking documents, and the proposed rule, which is still open for comment, builds on the two final rules. These rules are intended to help bring about a transition away from coal-fired power plants and toward much greater use of renewable energy. According to EPA's analysis, this transition will result in benefits that greatly exceed the costs, benefits that include reducing the adverse impacts of climate change, public health benefits from reduced air pollution, and a net increase in jobs. The proposed rule lays out the contours for what model emission reduction plans can look like and has far reaching financial and legal implications for our national economy, including Indian Country. EPA did seek input from tribes during the rulemaking process, but the proposed rule nevertheless raises issues regarding the extent to which Indian tribes and Indian people will be able to reap their fair share of the benefits from the changes that this proposed rule could bring about. There are also implications for tribal sovereignty that are not addressed in the rulemaking documents, particularly with respect to tribes that do not have electric utility power plants within their reservations.

Understanding the Regulatory Framework that the Final Rules Create

One final rule implements the "Clean Power Plan," the Obama Administration's regulatory initiative to use EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric utility power plants to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 (with interim targets in effect from 2022 to 2029). The other final rule sets CO2 emission standards for new electric utility power plants. Under the first rule, each state in which there is an existing electric utility power plant is required to submit a plan for reducing CO2 emissions. EPA has calculated the CO2 emission reduction goals for each state. In developing the guidelines for existing power plants, EPA treated the electric grid as a single interconnected entity and designed the guidelines to achieve reductions in CO2 emissions by creating incentives for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, thus meeting demands for electricity while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. These reductions in emissions can be achieved through a combination of increasing the efficiency of current power plants; replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas generating units (which emit less CO2) or with renewable energy such as wind and solar (which emit zero CO2); or by making investments in energy efficiency which reduce the total demand for electricity. The design of the plan is up to each particular state. As one way to achieve these reductions, states may initiate market-based emission trading programs, i.e. mechanisms to account for and give financial credit for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency that offset reductions in electricity generated from sources that emit larger amounts of CO2. In addition, states may join forces and adopt multi-state or regional plans.

In instances where a state fails to submit a plan or does not submit an acceptable plan, EPA will develop a federal plan for that state. States have until September 6, 2016 to submit their plans to EPA. However, some 27 states have filed suit challenging EPA's authority to promulgate rules for the Clean Power Plan.

Tribes With Electric Utility Power Plants. There are four electric utility power plants in Indian Country on three reservations. EPA has calculated the CO2 emission reduction goals for each of these three tribes. Each of these tribes has the option to be treated as a state (TAS) and develop a plan. If any of these tribes do not submit an acceptable plan to EPA, and if EPA determines that a federal plan is necessary for that tribe's reservation, EPA will develop a plan.

Tribes Without Electric Utility Power Plants. The vast majority of tribes do not have electric utility power plants within their reservations. What about those tribes? Can they participate in emissions trading and otherwise benefit from the incentives in the Clean Power Plan to meet energy demands with renewable energy and energy efficiency? To a large extent, the answers depend on policy decisions made by the states. The states choose whether to adopt a state plan and, if so, how to structure that plan. Except for the three tribes that do have electric utility power plants, the rulemaking documents generally overlook the fact that tribes are separate sovereigns, distinct from the states. While some states have developed constructive relationships with tribes within their borders, this is far from a universal condition. Relying on state plans to provide incentives for implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency in Indian Country is likely to be less than optimally effective. One reason is that the transition to clean power raises policy issues on which state officials and tribal officials may not agree, and tribal officials may want to decide for themselves.

Another reason is the general lack of authority on the part of states to implement governmental programs on Indian trust land. In submitting its plan to EPA, each state must demonstrate that it has legal authority to implement and enforce each component of the state plan. Tribes may see any assertion of state authority as a threat to tribal sovereignty. EPA should not implicitly require tribes to accept state authority in order to share in the benefits of the Clean Power Plan.

The Proposed Rule for Model Plans–Comments Due January 21, 2016

The proposed rule spells out two types of model market-based plans that states and the three tribes with covered electric utility power plants can customize if they choose to design their own plans. Both models include extensive provisions for evaluation, measurement, and verification of electricity produced by renewable energy sources or saved by demand-side energy efficiency. In instances when a state does not submit an acceptable plan, the EPA will develop, implement, and enforce a federal plan tailored for that state instead. In that instance, the EPA will look to the two proposed models to design a federal plan specific to that state. However, one key difference is that EPA is proposing to leave credits for energy efficiency out of any federal plan. The stated reason is that, for a federal plan there is a unique need to be able to implement the credit issuance process "in a streamlined manner across many jurisdictions … while still assuring a rigorous EM&V [evaluation, measurement, and verification] process." This means that the tribe may be able to obtain credits for an energy efficiency project through a state plan, but not if the tribe's reservation is covered by a federal plan. EPA has asked for comments on this point, i.e., whether various types of energy efficiency components should be included as eligible measures under a federal plan. Examples suggested include "state and utility energy efficiency programs, project-based demand-side energy efficiency, state building codes, state appliance standards, and conservation voltage reduction."

A Federal Plan for Indian Country? While the electric utility power plants are the sources of the carbon pollution from which the Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce CO2 emissions, EPA treats the entire power grid as a single, interconnected entity. The parts of the grid that are located within Indian Country are part of that single entity. Renewable energy resources in Indian Country that put power into the grid and energy efficiency resources that reduce the demands for power from the grid help to reduce emissions from electric utility power plants that are connected to the grid. EPA should find a way for the Clean Power Plan to incentivize such investments in Indian Country, a way that also supports tribal sovereignty.

One option would be for EPA to use its authority under Clean Air Act section 301(d)(4) and promulgate a federal plan for Indian Country. Such a federal plan could offer the practical advantage of connecting Indian Country to all parts of the grid that will be using the federally-administered emission trading system. Such a federal plan should leave open the option for a tribe to be included in a state or multi-state plan where that would be preferable.

Federal Incentive and Assistance Programs–Comments Requested But No Deadline Specified

Clean Energy Incentive Program. The interim compliance period for the Clean Power Plan begins in 2022. In order to create incentives for investments before then in wind and solar renewable energy, and in demand-side energy efficiency in low-income communities, the Clean Power Plan establishes the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). State participation in the CEIP is optional, and states that choose to participate are to inform EPA of their intent by September 6, 2016.

In the Clean Power Plan final rule, EPA says that it will address the design and implementation of the CEIP "in a subsequent action" after engaging with "states, utilities, and other stakeholders." One of the fact sheets, "Clean Energy Incentive Program Next Steps", raises some of the issues on which EPA seeks input. A few of the issues that may be of particular interest to tribes include:

• Criteria for eligible projects, including those for energy efficiency projects implemented in low-income communities;

• Definition of "low-income community" for eligible energy efficiency projects; and

• How states, tribes, and territories for whom goals have not been established in the final emission guidelines may be able to participate in the CEIP.

Other Federal Assistance Programs. We note the Clean Power Plan final rule states that EPA will be working with "federal partners and others to ensure that states and vulnerable communities have access to information" on federal programs relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency. This exercise should include examining such federal programs and resources to determine whether and, if so, the extent to which, they reach into Indian Country. Programs and resources that do not reach Indian Country should be candidates to be redesigned.

Conclusion

If EPA's analysis of the benefits of the Clean Power Plan is even relatively accurate, the benefits will be substantial, including a net increase in jobs. The families of Indian Country deserve to share in those benefits. Moreover, the Clean Power Plan is intended to help bring about a fundamental transition in the ways our economic order uses energy, a transition that the scientific consensus tells us must happen soon if we are to have a reasonable chance of avoiding some of the more severe and irreversible effects of global climate change. Tribal governments can help bring about this transition.

In addition to the rulemaking documents, EPA has released a number of fact sheets and other explanatory materials, a Regulatory Impact Analysis, and technical and legal documents, available at: http://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan."



"Energy Department Announces Funding for Inter-Tribal Technical Assistance Energy Providers Network," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 16-017, February 22, 2916, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-017, reported, "On February 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will be taking applications from regional and intertribal Indian organizations as well as the thirteen Alaska Native regional corporations for grants of between $300,000 to $1 million each to provide technical assistance to their member tribes. This is a competitive grant program and the total amount available for all grants is between $4 million and $7 million. DOE's Office of Indian Energy will provide training during the first year of the grant, including five weeks of intensive training. The Office of Indian Energy will also provide access to DOE resources and energy experts throughout the grant period. This grant has a 10 percent cost share. A link to the application and further information about the funding opportunity is here: https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/#FoaId47df7cd5-5f75-4e14-954b-bce53b93cdca The deadline for applications for the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is 5:00 PM EST, April 14, 2016.

The FOA limits participation to the thirteen Alaska Native regional corporations as well as an eligible Inter-tribal Organization which is "an organization comprised of two or more Indian tribes, established under Congressional, State, or Tribal law to act on behalf of the participating Indian tribes" such as "inter-tribal councils, regional tribal organizations or associations, Alaska Regional Development Organizations, and tribal federations." The overall mission of this grant opportunity is to maximize the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives on a regional, rather than an individual Indian tribe or village, basis.

Grant award winners will be expected to:

1. Coordinate energy solutions among participating Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages within the region.

2. Deliver technical assistance to participating Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages within the region.

3. Build the human capacity of participating Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages by providing information to tribal leaders and staff through workshops or Webinars.

4. Serve as an information clearinghouse for participating Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages.

5. Network with regional and national energy organizations.

6. Advise DOE's Office of Indian Energy on the energy goals and needs within their region.

7. Enhance DOE's technical assistance network across Indian Country.

DOE will host a webinar for potential applicants on March 1. Those interested can register for the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1340168707350748930."

"Environmental Protection Agency Publishes Final Interpretive Rule on Tribal Eligibility for "Treatment as a State" under the Clean Water Act," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-033, May 16, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-033, reported, "On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final interpretive rule in the FEDERAL REGISTER to streamline how tribes can apply for "Treatment as a State" (TAS) for the water quality standards (WQS) program and other Clean Water Act regulatory programs. 81 Fed. Reg. 30183 (copy attached). This interpretative rule finds that Section 518 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is an express delegation of authority by Congress, and eliminates the requirement that tribes show inherent authority over nonmembers on fee lands under the so-called Montana test, a requirement which has been a major impediment to tribes attaining TAS status and adopting WQS. The interpretive rule explains EPA's revised interpretation of the statutory requirements in the CWA and does not make any changes in the existing regulatory language relating to applications for TAS. As we reported in General Memorandum 15-059 (August 12, 2015), EPA invited comments on this rule even though, as an interpretive rule, it is not subject to notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. The final rule includes EPA's responses to comments received.

In this final rule, EPA reinterprets Section 518 of the CWA as a delegation of authority by Congress to eligible tribes to administer CWA regulatory programs over their entire reservations. Tribes and tribal organizations have been seeking this proposed reinterpretation for many years. This reinterpretation is a very significant shift away from the approach EPA adopted in 1991 when it promulgated final regulations for the WQS program, which required each applicant tribe to include a statement describing the basis for its assertion of authority. EPA's interpretation of this regulatory requirement, as explained in the preamble of the 1991 rulemaking document, required that a tribe seeking TAS to administer the WQS on lands owned by nonmembers of the tribe demonstrate inherent authority to regulate non-tribal members under principles of federal Indian common law, especially Montana v. United States, 450 U.S. 544 (1981). In Montana, the Supreme Court had announced a proposition that, absent a delegation of federal authority, tribes generally lack inherent sovereignty over nonmembers on fee lands, but the Court also formulated two exceptions in which tribes may retain inherent civil jurisdiction over nonmembers. The second exception, which EPA considered relevant for tribal authority for CWA regulatory programs, provides that tribes may retain inherent civil authority where nonmember "conduct threatens or has some direct effect on the political integrity, the economic security, or the health and welfare of the tribe."

In the final interpretive rule, EPA recognizes that the requirement for "the demonstration of inherent authority over nonmember activities on the reservation under the so-called Montana test has created the most significant and widespread burden" to tribes attaining TAS status for the WQS program. Only 53 of the more than 300 tribes with reservations have been approved for TAS to adopt WQS.

In explaining its reinterpretation, EPA recalls that, in the 1991 rulemaking, it had considered the question of whether CWA Section 518 was a delegation of authority to tribes. After noting that an opinion by four Supreme Court justices cited Section 518 as an example of delegation and that some legislative history supported a finding of such congressional intent, EPA had found that the support for delegation was not sufficiently definitive. EPA wrote that it considered the question "not resolved" and that EPA would be willing to revisit the issue if further congressional or judicial guidance indicates that Section 518 is properly interpreted as an express congressional delegation of authority.

EPA's approvals of TAS for CWA regulatory programs have been challenged several times, and in each case the reviewing court upheld EPA's determination. In its reinterpretation, EPA notes that the first federal court to rule on a challenge to a CWA TAS determination analyzed CWA Section 518 and concluded that it does provide tribes with delegated regulatory authority over their entire reservations, although that question was not an issue to be decided in the case. EPA also cites the TAS provisions in Section 301(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) as additional relevant insight into congressional intent, with language that was enacted in 1990, only three years after Congress enacted CWA Section 518. When EPA finalized its TAS regulations implementing CAA Section 301(d) in 1998, it concluded that Congress had intended to delegate regulatory authority to eligible tribes "over all air resources within the exterior boundaries of a reservation." That interpretation rendered the Montana test inapplicable. When EPA's TAS rule under the CAA was challenged, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that EPA's interpretation was consistent with congressional intent. In its reinterpretation, EPA notes that (similar to the CAA) CWA Section 518 provides eligibility for tribal programs covering water resources "within the borders of an Indian reservation" and cites the definition of "federal Indian reservation" in Section 518(h) of the CWA as including all land within the limits of a reservation.

In light of the legal developments since 1991 and the experience to date in which the Treatment as a State application process has become much more burdensome than EPA anticipated in 1991, EPA has now finalized its reinterpretation of Clean Water Act Section 518."



"Department of Transportation to Establish Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program; Nominations and Comments Requested," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-030, April 22, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-030, reported, "On April 25, 2016, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will publish a notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER announcing its intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to develop a proposed rule to carry out the Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program (TTSGP). The inclusion of the TTSGP in the recent transportation reauthorization act (the FAST Act, PL 114-94) represents a landmark expansion of self-governance to a federal agency beyond the Department of the Interior and the Indian Health Service. The FAST Act requires the use of the negotiated rulemaking process to create implementing regulations for the TTSGP. We attach the pre-print of the FEDERAL REGISTER notice. Nominations for individuals to serve on the Committee and comments on the formation of the Committee are due by June 9, 2016.

Background. Under the TTSGP, tribes will be able to obtain all of their transportation funds (including not only their Tribal Transportation Program funds, but also transit, Federal-aid and other DOT funds) under one self-governance agreement.   This will greatly streamline administrative procedures and help tribes to place safe and reliable transportation infrastructure on the ground and into operation faster and more cost effectively. (See our General Memorandum 15-082 of December 11, 2015.) The fact that the FAST Act requires the use of the negotiated rulemaking process to create implementing regulations for the TTSGP is key: negotiated rulemaking is a process by which a committee of representatives of the interests most affected by the rulemaking directly participates with the federal agency and negotiates the provisions of the proposed regulations.

Committee Composition and Formation. The Committee will be composed of federal and tribal officials with a Designated Federal Official, and may also include a neutral professional facilitator. The FHWA states that tribal Committee membership must be tribal government representatives (elected officials of tribal governments or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf), a majority of whom shall be nominated by and be a representative of Indian tribes with existing Title 23 U.S.C. funding agreements with the DOT. FHWA expects that the Committee will be composed of one tribal representative from each of the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs Regions, along with a lesser number of federal representatives. To the maximum extent possible, FHWA will consider geographical location, size, and existing transportation and self-governance experience, in selecting tribal committee representatives. Additional tribal representatives will be considered if the Secretary believes that it would result in better serving tribal interests. In order to achieve as much tribal diversity and representation as possible, the Secretary also invites nominations from intertribal consortia and tribal organizations. The total Committee membership is expected to be no more than 25 members.

Committee Responsibilities. The Committee is to develop proposed regulations to carry out the TTSGP. The regulations will include details on: eligibility criteria; the contents of program compacts and annual funding agreements including funding types; roles and responsibilities of tribes and the federal government; length of terms; redesign and consolidation; retrocession; and termination. In addition, the Committee will review and include cost principles, monitoring, waivers, and the applicability of the Indian Self-determination and Education Assistance Act. The FHWA estimates that the Committee will meet approximately 10 times over the course of 10-12 months, with the majority of the meetings to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The meetings are expected to last three to four days each. Committee members will not receive pay for their membership, but will be compensated for travel and per diem expenses while performing official committee business. Because of the scope and complexity of the tasks at hand, Committee members must be able to invest considerable time and effort in the negotiated rulemaking process. Committee members must be able to attend Committee meetings, work on Committee work groups, consult with their constituencies between Committee meetings, and negotiate in good faith toward a consensus recommendation on issues before the Committee.

Conclusion . The enactment of the FAST Act represents a significant step forward for tribal self-determination. We will be closely following the negotiated rulemaking process for the Department of Transportation Tribal Self-Governance Program. Please let us know if you are interested in participating in that rulemaking or if you would like to be included in our shared-cost advocacy and reporting related to that rulemaking process."



"Webinar on the New Department of Transportation Tribal Self-Governance Program and Other Tribal Transposition Provisions in the FAST Act,: Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 16-004, January 8, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-004, reported, "On Monday, January 11, 2016, at 3:00 PM EST the Self-Governance Communication & Education Consortium staff along with Geoff Strommer and Michael Willis of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP will co-host a webinar on the new Department of Transportation (DOT) Tribal Self-Governance Program. Through this extension of self-governance to the DOT, tribes will be able to obtain all of their transportation funds (including not only their Tribal Transportation Program funds, but also transit, Federal-aid and other DOT funds) directly through DOT under one self-governance agreement. The new transportation authorization law (the FAST Act) also provides funding increases for the Tribal Transportation Program and the Tribal Transit program as well as a number of technical changes to these programs.

Sign up for the webinar here: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=c9sk2qxtzffb to learn more about these important changes and what new opportunities they create for your tribe.

For further information on the FAST Act, see our General Memorandum 15-082 of December 11, 2015."



"Department of Labor Updates Salary Basis Test for Overtime Determination," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-035, May 24, 2016, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-035, reported, "on May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) pre-published a final rule that will expand the definition of salaried employees who are eligible to receive overtime pay. The final rule and related documents can be accessed here: https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/. The new rule more than doubles the minimum amount of salary that is used as one prong of the exemption test for employees in executive, administrative, and professional positions, from a level of $23,660 per year, to $47,476 per year. "White collar" employees–even those previously "exempt" from overtime–who make less than this amount will soon be eligible for overtime. We believe this may affect the employees of many tribes and tribal entities.

The overtime rules are authorized by the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA), which generally requires that workers who work more than 40 hours in a workweek receive time-and-a-half as overtime pay. There is an exemption from this rule for 'bona fide executive, administrative, or professional' employees. This is generally referred to as the 'white-collar' exemption from overtime rules. We note that these changes do not apply to employees paid by the hour or piece, independent contractors, or outside sales employees.

Previously, an employee in one of these positions would be "exempt" from overtime if he or she was paid a salary of at least $23,660 per year, the salary was fixed and not subject to reduction because of the amount or quality of work, and who met the DOL tests and standards showing their duties were sufficiently executive, administrative or professional. Effective December 1, 2016, the new salary level will increase to $47,476 (the other two criteria are unchanged). All factors of this test must be met, meaning that even if an employee is paid by salary and does primarily these white-collar duties, he or she will still be eligible for overtime if making less than $47,476 per year.

The salary threshold was last updated in 2004, and is officially based on a weekly wage. The new rule is officially based on the lowest-wage region (the South) of four large national Census regions, and is set so that the lowest-paid 40 percent of salaried workers would be caught by the new rule. While the rule more than doubles the floor for the salary basis test, it does state that an employer may count up to ten percent of the salary level in non-discretionary bonuses, incentives, or commissions that are paid at least quarterly. Governmental employers (though not specifically tribes, see below) may use "comp time" (1.5 hours for each overtime hour worked) instead of overtime payment in some circumstances.

The rule also updates the salary level for exemption of 'Highly Compensated Employees' (HCEs). HCEs exempt from overtime are those employees whose work is not primarily executive, administrative, or professional in nature (but who perform duties at least minimally so), and make over a certain salary. This level was previously $100,000 a year, but will now be $134,004 a year.

Finally, the rule provides that these levels will update automatically every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020, based on the same criteria.

While several tribal governments and intertribal organizations commented on this rule and its potential impact for tribes in their capacity as employers, it is worth considering whether the FLSA is applicable to tribes. Though it is not a settled question whether the FLSA applies to tribes, we know that many tribes and tribal organizations follow the overtime rules.

The FLSA and the rules do not make specific mention of tribes, nor do they explicitly abrogate tribal sovereign immunity. As such, the FLSA is a 'statute of general applicability,' and there is an open question as to whether such statutes apply to tribal governments and arms of tribes. Some federal courts have held that the statute does not apply to tribes, but for differing reasons ranging from the fact Congress did not waive tribal sovereign immunity to a closer consideration of whether an employee's work was sufficiently related to tribal self-government. The Seventh and Ninth Circuits have held that the FLSA does not apply if the employee's work is sufficiently related to tribal self-government. In contrast, the Eleventh Circuit has held that the statute is not enforceable against tribes, finding that Congress did not intend to abrogate tribal sovereign immunity. The Ninth Circuit has held that the FLSA applies to on-reservation businesses owned by individual tribal members. No court has determined whether tribes are 'governments' for the purposes of using comp time allowed under these rules.

Several tribal commenters requested an exemption or special rules for tribal employers, noting the law does not address tribes, but DOL stated that since 'the Department did not propose any different treatment for [governmental employees] or ask any questions in the NPRM [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] about such a change, [DOL] believe[s] the special provisions sought are beyond the scope of this rulemaking.'"



"Treasury Announces Appointments To Tribal Advisory Committee," ICTMN, January 11, 2016,   http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/11/treasury-announces-appointments-tribal-advisory-committee-163035, reportes, The U .S. Department of the Treasury announced the appointments of Marilynn "Lynn" Malerba, W. Ron Allen and Lacy Horn to serve on the Department's Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC) in late December."



"Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Seeks Suggestions for Improving the National Historic Preservation Program; Tribal Perspectives Needed," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-034, May 18, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-034, reported, " In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has launched an initiative to seek creative suggestions for improving the National Historic Preservation Program. The ACHP plans to develop a set of policy recommendations and implementation strategies to be formally submitted to the next Administration and the incoming Congress at the end of this year. To provide a framework for dialogue, on May 10, the ACHP released a three-page statement captioned "The National Historic Preservation Act at 50: Challenges, Opportunities, and Priorities" ("NHPA at 50") (copy attached, also at www.achp.gov/historicpreservation.html). Suggestions and comments are invited by email to NHPA50@achp.gov. The deadline is June 10, 2016, noon EDT.



As noted in NHPA at 50, there have been many changes in the United States since 1966, and more changes must be expected in the future. The historic preservation program has evolved over the decades and the ACHP believes it must continue to evolve as we deal with the basic issues of why preservation matters, what should be preserved, and how to make preservation work.

Tribal government involvement in the national program has grown substantially since the enactment of the NHPA Amendments of 1992, which authorize Tribal Historic Preservation Officer programs. NHPA at 50 notes that there is an unmet need for "adequate support for tribal preservation programs.' The 1992 Amendments also added a requirement that, in conducting the review process under NHPA section 106, each federal agency must consult with any tribe that attaches religious and cultural significance to a historic property that would be affected by a proposed federal undertaking. NHPA at 50 says that, despite this requirement to consult with tribes, 'in practice they are often overlooked or excluded.'"

Richard Walker, "Army Corps Finally Agrees The Ancient One Is Native American, Will Return Home," ICTMN, May 2, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/02/army-corps-finally-agrees-ancient-one-native-american-will-return-home-164319, reported, "For years, the Colville, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Wanapum and Yakama peoples told the world who the Ancient One is: an ancestor."

"And in the end, the Ancient One's descendants were proven right by the science employed by those who had wanted to prove the Ancient One–also known as Kennewick Man for the area where he was found–was perhaps related to other Pacific peoples, was part of another early human migration to the Americas.

On April 26, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ruled that the Ancient One is indeed Native American and most closely related to the people of the Colville Tribes. The ruling sets the stage for the return, under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, of the Ancient One's remains to the place where his loved ones first interred him some 9,000 years ago."



Following a discussion with leaders from several plains Indian Tribes and officials at the Department of Defense, in spring of 2016, it was agreed that the Army would cover the costs of returning the remains of Plains Indian students initially buried at the Carlisle Indian School, which later became the Army War College, whose remains were later moved during construction at the college ( David Rooks , "US Army Pledges to Bear Full Cost of Returning Carlisle Remains," ICTMN, May 12, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/12/us-army-pledges-bear-full-cost-returning-carlisle-remains-164458).



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Federal Indian Budgets



Indian Affairs FY 2016 Appropriations; Includes Indefinite Appropriation for Contract Support Costs and Full Funding for Schools' Tribal Grant Support Costs

Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 16-008, January 22, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-008

"On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 as PL 114-113 ("the Act"). The Act contains funding for all federal agencies, combining what under regular procedures would be 12 separate bills. In this Memorandum we report on FY 2016 funding for Indian Affairs (which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)) which is in Division G (Interior, Environment and Related Agencies) of the Act. In addition to the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Act, House and Senate Interior Appropriations report language (H. Rept. 114-170; S. Rept. 114-70) is to be complied with unless specifically contradicted by the bill language or the Explanatory Statement. (See our General Memorandum 15-048 of July 7, 2015 comparing the House and Senate Committees' and the Administration's recommendations regarding the FY 2016 Indian Affairs budget.) Attached is the FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart. We describe in narrative only those subactivities and line items which differ significantly from FY 2015 enacted amounts and terms or the Administration's FY 2016 request.

INDIAN AFFAIRS (IA) OVERVIEW

For FY 2016, the Act provides $2.7 billion for Indian Affairs. This is slightly lower than the Administration's request ($2.9 billion) but higher than the FY 2015 enacted level ($2.6 billion). This overall funding level reflects the fact that Congress and the Administration reached a deal to slightly increase the budget caps for FYs 2016 and 2017 in exchange for targeted cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. The Administration had originally requested greater increases for FY 2016 while Congress had initially proposed lower spending levels in line with the budget caps set forth in the Budget Control Act.

The FY 2016 enacted amount reflects "indefinite appropriations" for Contract Support Costs and what for the first time is estimated to be full funding for tribally-controlled schools' Tribal Grant Support Costs. Notably, this overall amount for Indian Affairs also reflects substantial increases for school construction as well as significant increases for tribal court improvement (especially in PL 280 states) and implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and support for the Tiwahe initiative. The Act also provides funding to establish the Indian Energy Service Center that was requested by the Administration. These bipartisan investments in tribal self-determination, education, safety, justice, and economic development are significant not only for their dollar amount but also for the sheer fact that they exist when many federal programs are being cut, flat funded, or receiving only nominal increases.

Also of note, Congress provided a significant increase for the Office of Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation. This Office is also funded under Division G of the Act but is separate from the INDIAN AFFAIRS budget. It is located under the OTHER RELATED AGENCIES section.

Contract Support Costs. M ost notable is the moving of Contract Support Costs (CSC) into its own account and the instructions in the Act that it is to be funded at "such sums as may be necessary." The Explanatory Statement assumes a need of $277 million ($26 million over FY 2015). Should the need for CSC exceed the amount listed in the budget chart, additional CSC funds would be made available and the agencies' program funding will not be reduced. This provision is applicable to only the FY 2016 Appropriations Act and so discussion will continue on the issue of providing permanent mandatory funding for CSC. See the CSC section elsewhere in this Memorandum for additional information.

Fixed Costs. The Administration's request for the Indian Affairs budget included $18.3 million to fully fund increases attributed to fixed costs. The Explanatory Statement concurs, stating that fixed costs and transfers are included in the amounts provided for OPERATION OF INDIAN PROGRAMS. The Senate report specifies that fixed costs and transfers are also included in the amounts provided for CONSTRUCTION.

Indirect Costs. The House Report states:

The Committee is concerned that a recent Administration policy change with regard to indirect cost reimbursement may not fairly apply to Indian Tribes and tribal organizations. The Secretary is directed to report to the Committee justifying this policy change and in particular its application to tribal enrollment activities. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 40)

Tribal Grant Support Costs. For the first time, Tribal Grant Support Costs (which are essentially Contract Support Costs for tribally-controlled schools) are fully funded. This is a significant step. The next step will be to ensure that they receive permanent, mandatory funding–just as tribes are advocating for Contract Support Costs.

Tiwahe (Family)Initiative. For FY 2016, the Administration requested increases to the Human Services activity and Public Safety and Justice activity to continue and expand the Tiwahe initiative which is designed to strengthen Indian families, reduce recidivism, and strengthen tribal justice systems. Congress largely agreed to these requested increases for the Tiwahe initiative.

Indian Reorganization Act – Carcieri Fix Not Included. Congress continues to not provide language which would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009 decision that the Secretary of the Interior does not have authority to take land into trust for tribes recognized after 1934. The Carcieri-Fix language that the Administration requested for FY 2016 is the same as what was requested in FYs 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Restriction on Implementation of New Federal Recognition Rule Not Included. The Act omits language from the House bill which would have restricted the Secretary of Interior from implementing, administering, or enforcing the new Federal Acknowledgment rule. Instead, the Explanatory Statement merely states:

The Committees acknowledge concerns expressed by certain tribes, States, and bipartisan members of Congress regarding recent changes in tribal recognition policy on standards that have been applied to new applicants since 1978. Federal acknowledgement of a tribe impacts the Federal budget, other tribes, State and local jurisdictions, and individual rights. The Committees expect the Administration to maintain rigorous recognition standards while implementing a more transparent, efficient, and workable process.

OPERATION OF INDIAN PROGRAMS

FY 2015 Enacted $2,429,236,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $2,660,591,000

FY 2016 Enacted $2,267,924,000

Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) budget includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS

FY 2015 Enacted $1,618,705,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1,756,127,000

FY 2016 Enacted $1,415,557,000

Activities within the Bureau of Indian Affairs are: Tribal Government; Human Services; Trust-Natural Resources Management; Trust-Real Estate Services; Public Safety and Justice; Community and Economic Development; and Executive Direction and Administrative Services.

TRIBAL GOVERNMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $547,679,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $583,767,000

FY 2016 Enacted $301,517,000*

*This lower FY 2016 enacted amount reflects the transfer of Contract Support and the Indian Self-Determination Fund from within the Tribal Government activity to a new account which is separate from the OIP budget. The Tribal Government subactivities are now: Aid to Tribal Government; Consolidated Tribal Government Program; Self-Governance Compacts; New Tribes; Small and Needy Tribes; Road Maintenance; and Tribal Government Program Oversight. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 1)

Congress rejected the Administration's requested increases for the Small and Needy Tribes and Tribal Government Program Oversight subactivities.

New Tribes. The Senate Report states:

[The Committee] notes the challenge of reconciling the timing of the tribal recognition process with the annual budget formulation process. If additional tribes are recognized during fiscal year 2016 beyond those contemplated in the budget request, the Bureau is urged to support their capacity building efforts to the extent feasible. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 37)

Road Maintenance. The House Report states:

The Committee recognizes that too many roads on Indian reservations are in poor condition and are a significant safety concern. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 37)

HUMAN SERVICES

FY 2015 Enacted $142,634,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $149,004,000

FY 2016 Enacted $147,004,000

The Human Services subactivities are:

Social Services; Welfare Assistance; Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); Housing Improvement Program (HIP); Human Services Tribal Design; and Human Services Program Oversight. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 1-2)

Social Services-Tiwahe Initiative. Congress provided $4 million of the Administration's $6 million requested increase to continue the work of the Tiwahe initiative. "The Tiwahe initiative supports the White House's cross-agency Generation Indigenous initiative, which takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to help improve the lives and opportunities for Native Youth. Tiwahe, specifically, is a plan to strengthen Indian families and promote family stability in order to fortify tribal communities." (Admin. Request, p. IA-HS-1)

TRUST–NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $184,852,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $232,796,000

FY 2016 Enacted $191,846,000

The Trust–Natural Resources Management subactivities are:

Natural Resources; Irrigation Operation and Maintenance; Rights Protection Implementation; Tribal Management/Development Programs; Endangered Species; Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation; Integrated Resource Information; Agriculture and Range; Forestry; Water Resources; Fish/Wildlife & Parks; and Resource Management Oversight. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 2)

Congress provided just $6.9 million of the Administration's requested $46.9 million increase. Of this $6.9 million, $2 million was allocated for the Rights Protection Implementation subactivity and $4 million was allocated for the Forestry subactivity (with $2 million for forest thinning and $2 million for fire recovery). The $20.4 million increase requested by the Administration for the Tribal Climate Resilience subactivity went unfunded; however, the House Report states:

The Committee is concerned about tribal communities that face severe challenges to their long-term resilience because of risks associated with climate, geography, and extreme weather conditions. The Bureau is encouraged to work with at-risk Tribes to identify and expedite the necessary resources to support mitigation and, where necessary, relocation. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 37)

TRUST–REAL ESTATE SERVICES

FY 2015 Enacted $127,002,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $143,000,000

FY 2016 Enacted $127,486,000

The Trust–Real Estate Services subactivities are:

Trust Services; Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program; Land Title and Records Offices; Real Estate Services; Land Records Improvement; Environmental Quality; Alaskan Native Programs; Rights Protection; and Trust-Real Estate Services Oversight.(See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 2)

Congress provided a nominal increase for Trust Real-Estate Services, but far less than the $16.2 million in increases sought by the Administration for the Probate; Land Title and Record Office; Land Records Improvement; Water Rights Negotiations/Litigation; Litigation Support/Attorney Fees and Regional Oversight subactivitites. The House and Senate weighed in on the fee-to-trust process and the process for approving of rights-of-way.

The House Report states:

The Committee is concerned about the Department's goal of placing more than 500,000 acres of land into trust by the end of fiscal year 2016. Such a goal incentivizes haste and leads to situations such as in Clark County, Washington. On March 9, 2015, the Department took into trust approximately 152 acres in Clark County on behalf of the Cowlitz Indian tribe, notwithstanding ongoing litigation in the matter. The Committee directs the Department to: (1) report to the Committee within 30 days of enactment of this Act on (a) the process it has established for taking the land out of trust should the court order the Department to do so; and (b) the cost to the Department of taking the land out of trust; and (2) focus not on an acre goal but on reducing the current backlog of fee-to-trust applications. It is entirely appropriate for the government's goal to be to process those applications as efficiently and fairly as possible. The Committee recommends cuts to central and regional oversight in light of the program's current goal." (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 37-38)

The Senate Report states:

The Committee recognizes natural gas flaring has been an ongoing issue in places of energy development, including on tribal lands. The Committee also recognizes the challenge of attracting investment and building infrastructure and understands that rights-of-way approvals are an important component to reduce natural gas flaring. The Committee is aware there are significant delays in getting rights-of-way approvals and encourages the Department to move forward with reservation-wide fair market appraisals that provide fair market values to all parties affected for future rights-of-way applications on energy-affected tribal lands with natural gas flaring. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 37-38)

PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE

FY 2015 Enacted $352,850,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $364,423,000

FY 2016 Enacted $377,423,000

The Public Safety and Justice subactivities are: Law Enforcement; Tribal Courts; and Fire Protection. (See attached FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 3)

Notably, Congress provided $24.5 million in increases above FY 2015 for Public Safety and Justice, outstripping even the Administration's requested increases by $13 million.

Criminal Investigations and Police Services. The Act provides the $3 million increase requested by the Administration. "The Committees encourage BIA to continue to look for opportunities to improve public safety resources, especially child foster care services, on Spirit Lake Reservation." (Explanatory Statement)

Law Enforcement Special Initiatives. The Act provides the $3 million increase requested by the Administration to expand the BIA's efforts to reduce recidivism at additional Tiwahe initiative sites.

Tribal Courts. The Act provides the $5 million increase requested by the Administration to provide targeted base funding to tribal courts at each Tiwahe initiative site.

Office of Tribal Justice Support. The Act provides $11 million above FY 2015 and the Administration's request for flat funding "of which $1 million is to help implement the Violence Against Women Reauthorization of Act of 2013, and of which $10 million is to work with Indian tribes and tribal organizations to assess needs, consider options, and design, develop, and pilot tribal court systems for tribal communities including those communities subject to full or partial State jurisdiction under Public Law 83-280." (Explanatory Statement)

Educational and Health-Related Services for Youth in Tribal Detention Centers Considered Allowable Costs.

The House Report states:

For the purpose of addressing the needs of American Indian youth in custody at tribal detention centers operated or administered by the BIA, the Committee considers educational and health-related services to juveniles in custody to be allowable costs for detention/corrections program funding." (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 38)

COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $35,996,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $40,619,000

FY 2016 Enacted $40,619,000

The Community and Economic Development subactivities are: Job Placement and Training; Economic Development; Minerals and Mining; and Community Development Oversight. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 3)

Minerals & Mining Central Oversight. Congress provided the requested $4.5 million in new funding to "establish an Indian Energy Service Center staffed by BIA, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, the Bureau of Land Management and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians to facilitate energy development in Indian Country… The Center will expedite leasing, permitting, and reporting for conventional and renewable energy on Indian lands." (Admin. Request, p. IA-CED-1-2)

The House Report states:

The Bureau is directed to consult with affected tribes regarding staffing and related functions of the new office. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 38)

The Explanatory Statement adds:

Energy development holds much promise for Indian communities and it is the Committees' expectation that the new center will reduce much of the bureaucracy so that tribes may begin energy development without delay.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

FY 2015 Enacted $227,692,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $241,832,000

FY 2016 Enacted $229,662,000

The Executive Direction and Administrative Services subactivities are:

Assistant Secretary Support; Executive Direction; Administrative Services; Safety and Risk Management; Information Resources Technology; Human Capital Management; Facilities Management, Intra-Governmental Payments; and Rentals. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 3)

Congress provided just $2 million of the Administration's $12 million in requested increases for Assistant Secretary Support to "help address long-standing concerns tribes have expressed with the quality of data in Indian Country" (Admin. Request, p. IA-ADM-2)

BUREAU OF INDIAN EDUCATION

FY 2015 Enacted $810,531,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $904,464,000

FY 2016 Enacted $852,367,000

The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) category displays funds for the BIE-funded elementary and secondary school systems as well as other education programs including higher education and scholarships. The Bureau of Indian Education subactivities are: Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); and Education Management.

BIE Oversight and Reform.

The Explanatory Statement states:

The Committees remain concerned about recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports detailing problems within the K-12 Indian education system at the Department of Interior, in particular as they pertain to organizational structure, accountability, finance, health and safety, and ultimately student performance. As the Department takes steps to reform the system, the Secretary is reminded that future support from Congress will continue to be based in large part upon successful implementation of GAO report recommendations. In particular, consistent with GAO report 13-774, the Secretary is urged to reorganize Indian Affairs so that control and accountability of the BIE system is consolidated within the BIE, to present such reorganization proposal in the fiscal year 2017 budget request, and to submit to the Committees a corresponding updated workforce plan. Consistent with GAO testimonies 15-389T, 15-539T, 15-597T, and any subsequent reports, the Secretary is urged to personally oversee immediate actions necessary to ensure the continued health and safety of students and employees at BIE schools and facilities. (Explanatory Statement, Section G, p. 26)

The House Report states:

Indian education remains among the Committee's top priorities because it is a fundamental trust responsibility and because elementary and secondary students in particular have fallen far behind their peers for reasons now well documented by the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Education, and others." (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 38)

And:

The Committee remains concerned that control of BIE's budget, procurement, hiring, and facilities maintenance and construction reside not within BIE but within the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Deputy Assistant Secretary–Management (see Government Accountability Office report GAO–13–774). The Secretary is urged to reorganize Indian Affairs so as to improve leadership stability and accountability within the BIE. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 39-40)

The Senate Report states:

The administration is commended for its continued focus on tribal education programs, including efforts to improve collaboration between the Departments of the Interior and Education and to implement Executive Order 13592 to improve educational outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native students. It is noted that the administration is proposing significant reforms to the Bureau of Indian Education [BIE] to improve the quality of education offered and address the persistent performance gap of students educated at BIE-funded schools. These proposed changes will require a restructuring of the Bureau that is not currently reflected in the fiscal year 2016 budget request and will necessitate continued consultation with tribes, as well as the Committees on Appropriations and the authorizing committees of jurisdiction.

The Committee is concerned the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, which includes the Bureau of Indian Education [BIE], has not addressed the findings or implemented the recommendations in recent Government Accountability Office [GAO] reports and testimonies (GAO–13–774, GAO–14–121, GAO– 15–389T, and GAO–15–539T). These reports outline systemic problems with management of BIE schools, such as lack of oversight over school spending and facilities, including construction, operation, maintenance, and basic repair and upgrades needed to improve the condition of schools that serve Indian Country. The Committee stands ready to work with the administration on the appropriate steps forward and directs the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to report back within 60 days after enactment of this act on how this Office is implementing the GAO recommendations. As part of this report, the Committee expects a detailed description of the administrative functions of each entity that has or will have a decision making role in supporting and overseeing school facilities, including construction, maintenance, operation, and relevant activities for BIE schools. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 38)

Juvenile Detention Education Grants. The Act provides $500,000 to restore juvenile detention education program grants.

Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)

FY 2015 Enacted $536,897,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $565,517,000

FY 2016 Enacted $553,458,000

The Elementary and Secondary forward funded programs include all components for operating an elementary and secondary school system. For schools operated by tribes through grants, the program also includes funding to cover the tribe's administrative costs. The forward-funded programs are: the ISEP Formula Funding, ISEP Program Adjustments, Education Program Enhancements, Student Transportation, Early Childhood Development, and Tribal Grant Support Costs (formerly titled Administrative Cost Grants.) Funds appropriated for FY 2016 for these programs will become available for obligation on July 1, 2016, for SY 2016-2017. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 2)

Education Enhancements. The Act provides flat funding relative to FY 2015 levels for this program. The Explanatory Statement suggests "The Bureau should consider transferring this line item to educational program management in the fiscal year 2017 budget request to more accurately account for personnel." The Administration had requested $10 million above FY 2015 in order to "improve student achievement through the adoption of school improvement measures. The enhancement funding is to assist in the development and improvement of education departments that are administered by tribes, while seeking to expand the curriculum for areas like Native language immersion. School improvement efforts that could be adopted include establishing a tribally managed school reform plan." (Admin. Request, p. IA-BIE-2)

Tribal Grant Support Costs. Notably, the Act provides $73.2 million for Tribal Grant Support Costs ($10.8 million above the FY 2015 level). The Explanatory Statement states that this increase is sufficient "to fully fund estimated tribal grant support costs." The Administration's request and the earlier House Report 114-170 had estimated that $75.3 million would fully fund tribal grant support costs for FY 2016. We assume that Congress must have received updated information since that time which lead them to determine that this lower number would provide full funding.

Tribal Education Department Grants. The Act provides $2 million for Tribal Education Departments. This is consistent with the Administration's request and the House Report:

The recommendation includes $2,000,000 as requested for the development and operation of tribal departments or divisions of education as authorized in 25 U.S.C. 2020. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 39)

Early Child and Family Development.

The Explanatory Statement states:

Within the funding provided for the Early Child and Family Development Program, the Bureau shall not reduce funding for currently operating Family and Child Education programs. The Bureau is directed to publish its report on the 2013-2014 school year internal review of early child and family development programs in order to improve program direction and transparency.

The House Report states:

The Committee recommends $15,520,000 for early child and family development, equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The Committee strongly supports early childhood development models that address the achievement gap of Indian children primarily located on rural reservations by teaching preschool Indian children the skills they need to begin school and offering developmental opportunities for parents. The BIE is directed to publish its report on the 2013–14 school year internal review of early childhood education programs in order to improve program direction and transparency. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 38)

The Senate Report states:

The administration's emphasis on education must be complemented by efforts to improve interagency coordination for the multiplicity of programs that affect the wellbeing of Native children. In addition to education, these include healthcare, social service, child welfare and juvenile justice programs. The Committee would like to note the recent Senate passage of S24, the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children.

The Committee encourages the Bureau to work with other relevant Federal, State, local, and tribal organizations to begin the process of identifying ways to make programs more effective in serving Native Children. Within the funding provided for the Early Child and Family Development Program, the Bureau shall not reduce funding for currently operating Family and Child Education programs. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 39)

Early Childhood Caries.

The House Report states:

The Bureau is encouraged to coordinate with the Indian Health Service to establish a pilot program integrating preventive dental care at schools within the Bureau system. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 39)

The Senate Report concurs:

The Bureau, working with the Indian Health Service as appropriate, is also urged to consider integrating school-based preventative health services such as dental care into elementary schools in order to improve health outcomes of tribal students. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 39)

Language Immersion. The House Report states:

The Committee is supportive of standards and curricula that emphasize tribal history, language and culture. As alternative proposals are considered, language immersion should be carefully considered as a serious option for improved language development and student outcomes. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 39)

Restriction on Funding for Satellite Locations. The Act continues language restricting funding for satellite locations while providing the Secretary the ability to waive this restriction in certain instances. The House Report provides the following clarification regarding the intent of the provision:

The recommendation continues bill language providing the Secretary with the authority to approve satellite locations of existing BIE schools if a Tribe can demonstrate that the establishment of such locations would provide comparable levels of education as are being offered at such existing BIE schools, and would not significantly increase costs to the Federal Government. The intent is for this authority to be exercised only in extraordinary circumstances to provide Tribes with additional flexibility regarding where students are educated without compromising how they are educated, and to significantly reduce the hardship and expense of transporting students over long distances, all without unduly increasing costs that would otherwise unfairly come at the expense of other schools in the BIE system. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 39)

Restriction on Funding for Elementary or Secondary Schools in Alaska. The Act continues language restricting funding for the establishment of elementary or secondary schools in Alaska.

Restriction on Funding for Expanded Grades. The Act continues language restricting funding for the expansion of grades and schools within the BIE system.

Restriction on Funding for Charter Schools. The Act continues language restricting funding for the establishment of charter schools. The House Report provides the following clarification regarding the intent of the provision:

The Committee continues language limiting the expansion of grades and schools in the BIE system, including charter schools. The intent of the language is to prevent already limited funds from being spread further to additional schools and grades. The intent is not to limit tribal flexibility at existing schools. Nothing in the bill is intended to prohibit a Tribe from converting a tribally-controlled school already in the BIE system to a charter school in accordance with State and Federal law. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 39)

Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)

FY 2015 Enacted $119,195,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $142,361,000

FY 2016 Enacted $134,263,000

The non-forward funded programs are:

Facilities Operations, Facilities Maintenance and Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants. Funds for Facilities Operations and Facilities Maintenance are distributed by formula to schools in the BIE school system. (See attached: FY 2016 Budget Request, p. 3)

Facilities Operations. The Act provides $7 million of the Administration's $10 million requested increase to "allow BIE to fund schools at 61 percent of calculated need to augment escalating utility and operations costs for an aging school system, based on the FY 2014-2015 calculated need of $107,736,000." (Admin. Request, p. IA-BIE-2)

Facilities Maintenance. The Act provides $7 million of the Administration's $10 million requested increase to "allow schools to complete additional cyclic preventive maintenance repairs under the $2,500 maintenance fund limit before the required repairs deteriorate further, requiring additional funds from the minor or major improvement and repair account when repair costs exceed $2,500." (Admin. Request, p. IA-BIE-3)

Johnson-O'Malley. Congress rejected the Administration's proposed $2.6 million increase above the FY 2015 level and instead would provide nearly flat funding.

The Explanatory Statement states:

Johnson O'Malley Assistance Grants are funded at $14,778,000. The Committees remain concerned about the accuracy of student counts. The Bureau is directed to consult with tribes and Congress before proposing any changes in the distribution of future funds or in the frequency or method of future counts.

Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)

FY 2015 Enacted $69,793,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $69,793,000

FY 2016 Enacted $74,893,000

This subactivity funds forward funded Tribal Colleges and Universities (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 2)

Forward funding for non-forward funded tribal colleges. The Act provides $5.1 million in new funding as a one-time appropriation to facilitate the transition of the two non-forward funded tribal technical colleges (United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and Navajo Technical University (NTU)) to forward funding. This proposal was not in the Administration's request. The Explanatory Statement urges:

This one-time increase provides a transition to forward funding, consistent with funding practices for most other tribal colleges. The Bureau is encouraged to include a proposal in the fiscal year 2017 budget request to transition the remaining tribal colleges and universities to forward funding.

The House Report states:

The Committee acknowledges the inconsistency that not all tribal colleges and universities are forward-funded so as to align with academic calendars instead of fiscal calendars. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 39)

The Senate Report states:

This funding addresses the long-standing concerns of tribal college leaders by providing greater financial security to plan for the academic year through forward funding. The Committee believes there should be parity on the way all tribal colleges that receive assistance throughout the bill are funded and encourages the administration to look for ways for all the tribal colleges to be put on the same funding schedule. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 38)

Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)

FY 2015 Enacted $64,182,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $69,412,000

FY 2016 Enacted $64,602,000

The two post-secondary schools in the BIE's education system are Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell), and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). BIE also provides grants to two tribal technical colleges: United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and Navajo Technical University (NTU) and makes available a variety of higher education scholarships, fellowships, and loans to eligible Indian students. The non-forward funded programs are: Haskell and SIPI; Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements; Tribal Technical Colleges; Scholarships and Adult Education; Special Higher Education Scholarships; Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 3)

Scholarships and Adult Education. Congress did not provide the $4.5 million increase the Administration had requested to "prioritize a third objective of the scholarship fund which is to increase students' engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related initiatives." (Admin. Request, p. IA-BIE-3).

Education Management

FY 2015 Enacted $20,464,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $57,381,000

FY 2016 Enacted $25,151,000

The Education Management subactivity consists of Education Program Management and Information Technology. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 3)

Congress largely differed from the $36.7 million increases requested by the Administration.

Education Program Management. The Act provides the $2.5 million increase requested by the Administration to "support the goals identified in the Blueprint." (Admin. Request, p. IA-BIE-3-4)

Education IT. The Act provides a $2 million increase above FY 2015 but rejects the $34.2 million increase the Administration had requested: "(1) to procure computers and software necessary to administer online assessments; (2) in concert with funding from other sources (such as the E-Rate program) to increase bandwidth in schools to ensure digital delivery of these assessments; (3) to provide the resources and training that staff need to administer these online assessments effectively and efficiently." (Admin. Request, p. IA-BIE-4)

CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS

Contract Support

FY 2015 Enacted $246,000,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $272,000,000

FY 2016 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary

Indian Self-Determination Fund

FY 2015 Enacted $5,000,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $5,000,000

FY 2016 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary

The conferees adopted the Senate Committee-recommended approach to Contract Support Costs funding, creating a separate account for it and making it an indefinite appropriation at "such sums as may be necessary." These provisions are specific to FY 2016.

The Act states:

For payments to tribes and tribal organizations for contract support costs associated with Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act agreements with the Bureau of Indian Affairs for fiscal year 2016, such sums as may be necessary, which shall be available for obligation through September 30, 2017: Provided, That amounts obligated but not expended by a tribe or tribal organization for contract support costs for such agreements for the current fiscal year shall be applied to contract support costs otherwise due for such agreements for subsequent fiscal years: Provided further, That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, no amounts made available under this heading shall be available for transfer to another budget account. (Division G, p.737)

The Explanatory Statement notes:

The agreement includes new language establishing an indefinite appropriation for contract support costs estimated to be $277,000,000, which is an increase of $26,000,000 above the fiscal year 2015 level. The budget request proposed to fund these costs within the "Operation of Indian Programs" account through Contract Support and the Indian Self-Determination Fund budget lines. Under the new budget structure, the full amount tribes are entitled to will be paid and other programs will not be reduced in cases where the agency may have underestimated these payments when submitting its budget. Additional funds may be provided by the agency if its budget estimate proves to be lower than necessary to meet the legal obligation to pay the full amount due to tribes, but this account is solely for the purposes of paying contract support costs and no transfers from this account are permitted for other purposes. Similar to the President's request for calculating contract support costs, this provision also applies to new and expanded Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act agreements funded through the Indian Self-Determination Fund activity.

Fiscal Year 2016 Limitation. Section 406 of Division G of the Act provides that no FY 2016 funds may be used by the IHS or the BIA to pay prior year CSC or to repay the Judgement Fund for payment of judgments or settlements related to past year CSC claims.

The Act states:

SEC. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2016 under the headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2016 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payments of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayments of payments for settlements or judgements awarding contract support costs for prior years.

Prior Year Fiscal Limitations. Section 405 of Division G of the Act continues by reference to Sections 405 and 406 of Division F of Public Law 113-235 (Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015) the comparable limitation as noted for FY 2016 above.

CONSTRUCTION

FY 2015 Enacted $128,876,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $188,973,000

FY 2016 Enacted $193,973,000

The Construction budget includes: Education Construction; Public Safety and Justice Construction; Resources Management Construction; and Other Program Construction/ General Administration.

Maintenance Shortfalls. The House Report states:

The Bureau is encouraged to request full funding for facilities maintenance needs in future budget requests." (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 40)

EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION

FY 2015 Enacted $74,501,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $133,245,000

FY 2016 Enacted $138,000,000

The Education Construction subactivities are: Replacement School Construction; Employee Housing Repair; and Facilities Improvement and Repair. The Administration had proposed to bring back the Replacement Facility Construction line item and the Act did so. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 4)

The amount the Act provides exceeds the Administration's request for substantial increases above FY 2015 for all Education Construction subactivities. The amount provided for the Replacement School Construction subactivity is enough to finally complete the construction of the final two schools on the 2004 replacement priority list. In addition, Congress urges the Administration to create a new replacement priority list and engage in long range planning with regard to facilities replacement, repair and financing.

The Explanatory Statement states:

This appropriation completes the 2004 replacement school construction list and provides $8,000,000 towards planning and design of schools on the next list, as requested. The Committees encourage the Administration to continue work to work with tribal leaders in a transparent manner to complete the next list in time for fiscal year 2017 budget consideration.

This appropriation also restores the replacement facilities construction line item, as requested. Serious health and safety hazards exist at BIE facilities across the country, including the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The Secretary is directed to develop a comprehensive plan to work with tribes to repair and replace all substandard educational facilities, especially facilities being used for purposes other than those for which they were built.

Combined, these appropriations begin to restore the education construction budget which has declined significantly in recent years. Regardless of whether tribes choose to exercise their self-determination rights to run schools in the BIE system, the federal government retains ownership pf the schools and the responsibility to ensure that the schools are properly maintained, repaired, improved, and ultimately replaced at the end of their lifespan, according to best practices across education systems nationwide. That is why the Committees are concerned that the current approach to construction, which focuses on a subset of schools in the worst condition and requires those schools to submit applications and compete for funding. Going forward, the Committees believe that the Bureau should conduct comprehensive, long-term facilities planning and expect the Bureau to model its efforts on the process used by the Department of Defense to produce its 2009 report to Congress on modernizing and improving all DOD schools.

The Committees strongly support efforts to identify innovative alternative financing options to accelerate the pace of repair and replacement of the Bureau of Indian Education schools, including the use of bonding authority. The Committees urge the Department to explore, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, the best available approach to meet repayment obligations and to fund the construction, rehabilitation, and repair of Bureau of Indian Education schools.

This agreement includes a one-time funding amount of $5,000,000 above the President's request for BIE facilities and improvement repair projects that can be completed promptly and to address the backlog of critical deferred maintenance projects.

The House Report states:

Serious health and safety hazards exist at BIE facilities across the country, including the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The Secretary is directed to develop a comprehensive plan to work with Tribes to repair and replace all substandard educational facilities. The Secretary is urged to consider alternative funding mechanisms to supplement appropriations for replacing schools and facilities, including the use of bonds." (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 40)

The Senate Report states:

The Committee understands the significant infrastructure needs and strongly urges the administration to work with tribal leaders in a transparent manner on developing the new school construction list. Further, the Committee stands ready to work with the administration and tribes to develop a strategy that provides safe, functional, and accessible facilities for schools. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 40)

R  eplacement School Construction. The Act provides the $25.3 million above FY 2015 that was requested by the Administration to "replace both Little Singer Community School and Cove Day School on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and for planning and design for future schools. This funding will allow BIA to bring to good condition all of the 14 schools on the Education Facilities Replacement Construction Priorities List as published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2004. (Admin. Request, p. IA-CON-ED-1).

Employee Housing Repair. The Act provides the $3.7 million above FY 2015 that was requested by the Administration to "correct priority deficiencies at education employee housing, beginning with critical safety work items. Correction of these items is critical for IA's compliance with American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements; National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA); and other Life Safety code requirements …This increase is complemented by a $10.0 million request in the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget for a set aside to address teacher housing needs near schools in the BIE school system." (Admin. Request, p. IA-CON-ED-3).

Replacement Facility Construction. The Act provides the $11.9 million in new funding that was requested by the Administration to "reconstitute the Facilities Component Replacement Program (FCRP) after several years. This program is an important part of BIA's plan to bring schools into good condition. The FCRP funds replacement of individual buildings when it is more cost effective to replace rather than repair a building on school campuses but other buildings can be brought to or maintained in good condition with improvement and repair projects. Projects for use of the FCRP are in the process of being identified." (Admin. Request, p. IA-CON-ED-3).

Facilities Improvement and Repair. The Act provides a total of $73.2 million. This is $5 million above the Administration's $17.7 million increase requested by the Administration. The Administration requested that these funds be directed to "schools that rank highest in a ranking of schools with critical health and safety deficiencies. The BIE school system buildings currently have a $377 million deferred maintenance backlog." (Admin. Request, p. IA-CON-ED-3)

PUBLIC SAFETY & JUSTICE (PS&J) CONSTRUCTION

FY 2015 Enacted $11,306,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $11,306,000

FY 2016 Enacted $11,306,000

The Public Safety & Justice Construction subactivities are: Facilities Replacement/New Construction; Employee Housing; Facilities Improvement and Repair; Fire Safety Coordination; Fire Protection. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 4)

Regional Detention Centers. The House Report states:

The Bureau is encouraged to consider establishing regional detention centers at new or existing facilities, such as the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Justice Center, as it works to combat the crime problem in Indian Country. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 40)

RESOURCES MANAGEMENT CONSTRUCTION

FY 2015 Enacted $34,427,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $34,488,000

FY 2016 Enacted $34,488,000

The Resources Management Construction subactivities are: Irrigation Project Construction; Engineering and Supervision; Survey and Design; Federal Power and Compliance; and Dam Projects. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 4)

OTHER PROGRAM CONSTRUCTION/ GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

FY 2015 Enacted $8,642,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $9,934,000

FY 2016 Enacted $9,934,000

The Other Program Construction subactivities are: Telecommunications Improvement and Repair; Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair; and Construction Program Management. (See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 4)

Construction Program Management. The Act provides the $1.2 million above FY 2015 that was requested by the Administration for "the completed portions of the Fort Peck Reservation Rural Water System construction project requiring Operations and Maintenance (O&M), as authorized by the Congress. As construction by the Bureau of Reclamation progresses, completed portions will require O&M on an annual basis." ( Admin. Request, p. IA-CON-OTH-1)

INDIAN LAND AND WATER CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS PAYMENTS TO INDIANS

FY 2015 Enacted $35,655,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $67,656,000

FY 2016 Enacted $49,475,000

( See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 4)

The Explanatory Statement provides "The Committees appreciate the importance of settling the numerous land and water settlements, and direct the Department to submit a spending plan to the Committees within 90 days of enactment of this Act for how it plans to allocate the funds provided by this bill for the specific settlements."

INDIAN GUARANTEED LOAN PROGRAM

FY 2015 Enacted $7,731,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $7,748,000

FY 2016 Enacted $7,748,000

(See attached: FY 2016 Enacted Budget Chart, p. 4)

The Act provides the slight increase that was requested by the Administration. Regarding the total funding level requested, the Administration explained "FY 2016 funding will support approximately $113.8 million in new loans in Indian Country, issued under the Loan Guarantee, Insurance and Interest Subsidy program, part of the Indian Financing Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-262), as amended. This program addresses the historic reluctance of private lenders to make business financing available to Indian borrowers on commercially reasonable terms, due to real or perceived concerns with inadequate collateral, poor or minimal credit history, and unclear jurisdiction." (Admin. Request, p. IA-LOAN-4)

OTHER RELATED AGENCIES

OFFICE OF NAVAJO-HOPI INDIAN RELOCATION

FY 2015 Enacted $ 7,341,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $ 8,400,000

FY 2016 Enacted $15,000,000

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

TRIBAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION

FY 2015 Enacted $8,900,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $9,900,000

FY 2016 Enacted $9,900,000"



Indian Health Service Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations; Includes FY 2016 Indefinite Appropriation for Contract Support Costs



Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-005, January 12, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-005



On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 as PL 114-113. The Act contains funding for all federal agencies, combining what under regular procedures would be 12 separate bills. In this Memorandum we report on FY 2016 funding for the Indian Health Service (IHS) which is in Division G (Interior, Environment and Related Agencies) of the Act. In addition to the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Act, House and Senate Interior Appropriations report language (H. Rept. 114-170; S. Rept. 114-70) is to be complied with unless specifically contradicted by the bill language or the Explanatory Statement. (See our General Memorandum 15-049 of July 7, 2015 comparing the House and Senate Committees' and the Administration's recommendations regarding the FY 2016 IHS budget.)

While the ink is barely dry on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, we are ready to begin a new appropriations season with President Obama submitting his FY 2017 proposed budget to Congress on February 9, 2016.

FUNDING OVERVIEW

The Act provides $4.8 billion for the IHS, a 3.6 percent increase over FY 2015, but $295 million below the Administration's request. As with FY 2015, no funding is provided for medical inflation or population growth although the Administration had requested $71 million and the House had proposed $53 million for medical inflation. The Act does include $19.4 million for a 1.3 percent pay cost increase.

Also included are the higher Senate recommendations for the Facilities account, Immunization, and $2 million in new funding for health clinic operating costs. The Act includes the higher House recommendation for Self-Governance and splits the difference between the Committees' recommendations for Hospitals and Clinics, Mental Health, Dental Health, Health Education, Community Heath Representatives, and Facilities and Environmental Health Support. However, the following accounts ended up with higher funding than had originally been recommended by the House and Senate Committees: Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Public Health Nursing and Urban Indian Health. Funding for Purchased and Referred Care remained flat.

Contract Support Costs. Most notable is the moving of Contract Support Costs (CSC) into its own account and the instructions in the Act that it is to be funded at "such sums as may be necessary." The Explanatory Statement assumes a need of $717.9 million ($55 million over FY 2015). Should the need for CSC exceed the amount listed in the budget chart, additional CSC funds would be made available and the agencies' program funding will not be reduced. This provision is applicable to only the FY 2016 Appropriations Act and so discussion will continue on the issue of providing permanent mandatory funding for CSC. See the CSC section elsewhere in this Memorandum for additional information.

New Funding. New funding of $2 million is provided for operating shortfalls at community health clinics, and $2 million for use in ensuring the accreditation status of IHS-operated facilities.

Staffing of New Facilities. The Act provides $14.1 million in the Services and Facilities account combined for the staffing of new facilities at the Southern California Youth Treatment Center ($2.8 million Services, $311,000 Facilities) and the Choctaw (MS) Alternative Rural Health Care Center ($10 million Services, $930,000 Facilities). The Explanatory Statement notes: "Funds are limited to facilities funded through the Health Care Facilities Construction Priority System or the Joint Venture Construction Program that have opened in fiscal year 2015 or will open in fiscal year 2016. None of these funds may be allocated to a facility until such facility has achieved beneficial occupancy status."

CONTINUING BILL LANGUAGE

The Act continues bill language from previous bills, including the following:

Contract Support Costs. See CSC section below.

IDEA Data Collection Language. The Act continues to authorize the BIA to collect data from the IHS and tribes regarding disabled children in order to assist with the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):

Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may collect from the Indian Health Service and tribes and tribal organizations operating health facilities pursuant to Public Law 93-638 such individually identifiable health information relating to disabled children as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out its functions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (20 U.S.C. 1400, et. seq.)

Prohibition on Implementing Eligibility Regulations. The Act continues the prohibition on the implementation of the eligibility regulations, published September 16, 1987.

Services for Non-Indians. The Act continues the provision that allows the IHS and tribal facilities to extend health care services to non-Indians, subject to charges. The provision states:

Provided, That in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, non-Indian patients may be extended health care at all tribally administered or Indian Health Service facilities, subject to charges, and the proceeds along with funds recovered under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 2651-2653) shall be credited to the account of the facility providing the service and shall be available without fiscal year limitation.

Assessments by DHHS. The Act continues the provision that has been in Interior appropriations acts for a number of years which provides that no IHS funds may be used for any assessments or charges by the Department of Health and Human Services "unless identified in the budget justification and provided in this Act, or approved by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations through the reprogramming process."

Limitation on No-Bid Contracts. The Act continues the provision regarding the use of no-bid contracts. The provision specifically exempts Indian Self-Determination agreements:

Sec. 411. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to executive branch agencies may be used to enter into any Federal contract unless such contract is entered into in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 33 of title 41 United States Code or chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, unless:

(1) Federal law specifically authorizes a contract to be entered into without regard for these requirements, including formula grants for States, or federally recognized Indian tribes; or

(2) such contract is authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education and Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638, 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) or by any other Federal laws that specifically authorize a contract within an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of that Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); or

(3) Such contract was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS

FY 2015 Enacted $662,970,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $717,970,000

FY 2016 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary

The conferees adopted the Senate Committee-recommended approach to Contract Support Costs funding, creating a separate account for it and making it an indefinite appropriation at "such sums as may be necessary." These provisions are specific to FY 2016.

The Act states:

For payments to tribes and tribal organizations for contract support costs associated with Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act agreements with the Indian Health Service for fiscal year 2016, such sums as may be necessary: Provided, That amounts obligated but not expended by a tribe or tribal organization for contract support costs for such agreements for the current fiscal year shall be applied to contract support costs otherwise due for such agreements for subsequent fiscal years: Provided further, That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, no amounts made available under this hearing shall be available for transfer to another budget account.

The Explanatory Statement notes:

CONTRACT SUPPPORT COSTS. The agreement provides an indefinite appropriation for contract support costs estimated to be $717,970,000, which is an increase of $55,000,000 above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The budget request proposed to fund this program within the "Indian Health Services" account. Under this heading the Committees have provided the full amount of the request for contract support costs. By virtue of the indefinite appropriation, additional funds may be provided by the agency if its budget estimate proves to be lower than necessary to meet the legal obligation to pay the full amount due to tribes. This account is solely for the purpose of paying contract support costs and no transfers from this account are permitted for other purposes.

Fiscal Year 2016 Limitation. Section 406 of Division G of the Act provides that no FY 2016 funds may be used by the IHS or the BIA to pay prior year CSC or to repay for Judgement Fund for payment of judgments or settlements related to past year CSC claims.

The Act states:

SEC. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2016 under the headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2016 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payments of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayments of payments for settlements or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.

Prior Year Fiscal Limitations. Section 405 of Division G of the Act continues by reference to Sections 405 and 406 of Division F of Public Law 113-235 (Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015) the comparable limitation as noted for FY 2016 above.

FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES

FY 2015 Enacted $3,519,177,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $4,463,260,000

FY 2016 Enacted $3,566,387,000

Definition of Indian. The House Committee repeats language from FY 2015 which notes the problems caused by various definitions of "Indian" referenced in various federal health programs and urges the Department of Health and Human Services, the IHS, and the Treasury Department to work together to establish a consistent definition of "Indian" with regard to health care.

The Committee recognizes the Federal government's trust responsibility for providing healthcare for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Committee is aware that the definition of who is an "Indian" is inconsistent across various Federal health programs, which has led to confusion, increased paperwork and even differing determinations of health benefits within Indian families themselves. The Committee therefore directs the Department of Health and Human Services, the Indian Health Service, and the Department of the Treasury to work together to establish a consistent definition of an "Indian" for purposes of providing health benefits. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 76)

HOSPITALS AND CLINICS

FY 2015 Enacted $1,836,789,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1,936,323,000

FY 2016 Enacted $1,861,225,000

The Act includes $12.8 million for a pay cost increase, $7.6 million for staffing of new facilities, $2 million for operational shortfalls of tribal clinics, and $2 million to address accreditation emergencies.

Initiatives Funding Distribution. The Act includes language proposed by the Administration providing that the funds for methamphetamine and suicide prevention and treatment, the domestic violence prevention initiative, and efforts to improve collections from public and private insurance at IHS and tribally-operated facilities are to be allocated at the discretion of the Director. The conferees also added funds used for accreditation emergencies to this category. (The Administration has announced that it will not allocate contract support costs for the meth/suicide and domestic violence prevention initiatives, and in the budget request allocated $10 million for use in improving third party collections.)

Health Clinics. As mentioned above, the Act includes a $2 million increase for operational funds for health clinics:

Provided further, That, of the funds provided, $2,000,000 shall be used to supplement funds available for operational costs at tribal clinics operated under an Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance compact or contract where health care is delivered in space acquired through a full service lease, which is not eligible for maintenance and improvement and equipment funds from the Indian Health Service Accreditation. The Explanatory Statement includes the following regarding accreditation issues at some IHS-operated facilities:

The Committees are concerned about loss and potential loss of CMS accreditation status at multiple IHS-operated facilities. These facilities are all located within the same Service Area, suggesting that the problems are systemic. Whatever the causes, the Committees consider the loss of accreditation to be an emergency. The agreement therefore includes $2,000,000 in new, flexible funding so that the Director may take actions necessary to ensure that CMS accreditation status is reinstated and retained, and, once accreditation has been reinstated, to restore third-party insurance reimbursement shortfalls.

Health Care Provider Shortage. The House Report repeats language from FY 2015, encouraging IHS "to work with Tribes and health care organizations to find creative ways to address the Service's health care provider shortage, including improvements to the credentialing process." (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 77)

DENTAL SERVICES

FY 2015 Enacted $173,982,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $181,459,000

FY 2016 Enacted $178,286,000

The Act includes a $1.4 million program increase, $1.4 million for a pay cost increase, and $1.5 million for staffing of new facilities. As it did in FY 2015, the House Report encourages the IHS to work with the BIE to establish a pilot program integrating preventive dental care at schools within the Bureau system. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 76)

MENTAL HEALTH

FY 2015 Enacted $81,145,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $84,485,000

FY 2016 Enacted $82,100,000

The Act includes $616,000 for a pay cost increase and $339,000 for staffing of new facilities.

ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

FY 2015 Enacted $190,981,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $227,062,000

FY 2016 Enacted $205,305,000

Included is a $10 million increase for programs focusing on tribal youth. The Administration's proposal requested an expansion of the methamphetamine/youth suicide prevention initiative by $25 million. Also provided is $1.3 million for a pay cost increase and $3 million for staffing of new facilities.

PURCHASED/REFERRED CARE

FY 2015 Enacted $914,139,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $984,475,000

FY 2016 Enacted $914,139,000

The Act includes within the total $51.5 million for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund, the same as in FY 2015.

Medicare-Like Rates Legislation Encouraged. While the Act does not include legislative language addressing the Medicare-Like Rates issue, the House and Senate Committees commented on it. In addition, the Administration included in its budget recommendation a proposal supporting enactment of legislation to provide Medicare-like rates for non-hospital services, thus stretching the funding for Purchased/Referred Care. The House Committee agreed, stating:

The Committee urges the Service to work expeditiously with the relevant Congressional authorizing committees to enact authorization for the Service to cap payment rates for non-hospital services, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office (GAO 13-272). Failure to do so costs the program an estimated $30 million annually that could be used to purchase more services. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 76)

The House Committee also referenced a GAO report (GAO 12-446) critical of the program:

The Committee urges the Service, Tribes, and the congressional authorizing committees to make reasonable and expeditious progress to address the concerns and recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), most notably with regard to unfair allocations, third-party overbilling and under-enrollment in other qualifying Federal programs. (H. Rept. 114-170, p. 76)

The Senate Committee, on the other hand, addressed a Purchased/Referred Care issue specific to Indian people in Oregon:

The Committee is aware that certain Indian people in Oregon have not been counted for purposes of purchased and referred care under current Service policies and that the Service is currently considering options to address the situation, including the potential expansion of service delivery areas. The Committee believes that it is important that this issue be resolved without impacting existing purchased and referred care allocations to California and Oregon. Within 60 days of enactment of this act, the Service is directed to provide a report to the Committee detailing its proposed management actions to address the situation. (S. Rept. 114-70, p. 70)

PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING

FY 2015 Enacted $75,640,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $79,576,000

FY 2016 Enacted $76,623,000

The Act includes $605,000 for a pay cost increase and $378,000 for staffing of new facilities.

HEALTH EDUCATION

FY 2015 Enacted $18,026,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $19,136,000

FY 2016 Enacted $18,255,000

The Act includes $133,000 for a pay cost increase and $96,000 for staffing of new facilities.

COMMUNITY HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES

FY 2015 Enacted $58,469,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $62,363,000

FY2016 Enacted $58,906,000

The Act includes $437,000 for a pay cost increase.

HEPATITIS B and HAEMOPHILUS

IMMUNIZATION (Hib) PROGRAMS IN ALASKA

FY 2015 Enacted $1,826,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1,950,000

FY 2016 Enacted $1,950,000

The Act includes a $109,000 program increase and $15,000 for a pay cost increase.

URBAN INDIAN HEALTH

FY 2015 Enacted $43,604,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $43,604,000

FY 2016 Enacted $44,741,000

The Act includes a $1,137,000 program increase for Urban Indian Health which is higher than the amount initially recommended by the House or Senate. The Act includes new bill language instructing IHS to "develop a strategic plan for the Urban Indian Health program in consultation with urban Indians and the National Academy of Public Administration…"

The Explanatory Statement directs:

The agency is directed to include current services estimates for Urban Indian Health in future budget requests. The Committees note the agency's failure to report the results of the needs assessment directed by House Report 111-180. Therefore, the recommendation includes bill language requiring a program strategic plan developed in consultation with urban Indians and the National Academy of Public Administration.

INDIAN HEALTH PROFESSIONS

FY 2015 Enacted $48,342,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $48,342,000

FY 2016 Enacted $48,342,000

Programs funded under Indian Health Professions are: Health Professions Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Scholarships; Health Professions Scholarships; Extern Program; Loan Repayment Program; Quentin N. Burdick American Indians Into Nursing Program; Indians Into Medicine Program; and American Indians into Psychology. Consistent with the Administration's request, bill language provides $36 million for the loan repayment program.

Use of Defaulted Funds. The Act continues the provision that allows funds collected on defaults from the Loan Repayment and Health Professions Scholarship programs to be used to recruit health professionals for Indian communities:

Provided further, That the amounts collected by the Federal Government as authorized by sections 104 and 108 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1613a and 1616a) during the preceding fiscal year for breach of contracts shall be deposited to the Fund authorized by section 108A of the Act (25 U.S.C. 1616a-1) and shall remain available until expended and, notwithstanding section 108A(c) of the Act (25 U.S.C. 1616a-1(c)), funds shall be available to make new awards under the loan repayment and scholarship programs under sections 104 and 108 of the Act (25 U.S.C. 1613a and 1616a).

TRIBAL MANAGEMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $2,442,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $2,442,000

FY 2016 Enacted $2,442,000

Funding is for new and continuation grants for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of contracting IHS programs, developing tribal management capabilities, and evaluating health services. Funding priorities are, in order: 1) tribes that have received federal recognition or restoration within the past five years; 2) tribes/tribal organizations that are addressing audit material weaknesses; and 3) all other tribes/tribal organizations.

DIRECT OPERATIONS

FY 2015 Enacted $68,065,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $68,338,000

FY 2016 Enacted $68,338,000

The Act includes $273,000 for a pay cost increase. The IHS noted in its budget submission that 58.7 percent of the Direct Operations budget would go to Headquarters and 41.3 percent to the 12 Area Offices. Tribal Shares funding for Title I contracts and Title V compacts are also included.

SELF-GOVERNANCE

FY 2015 Enacted $5,727,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $5,735,000

FY 2016 Enacted $5,735,000

The Act includes $8,000 for a pay cost increase. The Self-Governance budget supports implementation of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program including funding required for Tribal Shares; oversight of the IHS Director's Agency Lead Negotiators; technical assistance on tribal consultation activities; analysis of Indian Health Care Improvement Act new authorities; and funding to support the activities of the IHS Director's Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee.

The IHS estimated in its budget justification that in FY 2015, $1.8 billion will be transferred to tribes to support 89 ISDEAA Title V compacts and 114 funding agreements.

SPECIAL DIABETES PROGRAM FOR INDIANS

While the entitlement funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is not part of the IHS appropriations process, those funds are administered through the IHS. SDPI is currently funded through FY 2017 at $150 million (see our General Memorandum 15-032 of April 17, 2015).

FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH FACILITIES

FY 2015 Enacted $460,234,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $639,725,000

FY 2016 Enacted $523,232,000

MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $53,614,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $89,097,000

FY 2016 Enacted $73,614,000

The Act includes a $20 million program increase. Maintenance and Improvement (M&I) funds are provided to Area Offices for distribution to projects in their regions. Funding is for the following purposes: 1) routine maintenance; 2) M&I Projects to reduce the backlog of maintenance; 3) environmental compliance; and 4) demolition of vacant or obsolete health care facilities. The Act provides that up to $500,000 may be deposited in a Demolition Fund to be used for the demolition of vacant and obsolete federal buildings.

FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

FY 2015 Enacted $219,612,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $226,870,000

FY 2016 Enacted $222,610,000

The Act includes $1.7 million for a pay cost increase and $1.2 million for staffing of new facilities.

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $22,537,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $23,572,000

FY 2016 Enacted $22,537,000

The Act continues language to provide up to $500,000 to purchase TRANSAM equipment from the Department of Defense and up to $2.7 million for the purchase of ambulances. The Administration's request was to distribute the FY 2016 requested funds as follows: $18 million for new and routine replacement medical equipment at over 1,500 federally- and tribally-operated health care facilities; $5 million for new medical equipment in tribally-constructed health care facilities; and $500,000 each for the TRANSAM and ambulance programs.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction of Sanitation Facilities

FY 2015 Enacted $ 79,423,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $115,138,000

FY 2016 Enacted $ 99,423,000

The Act includes a $20 million program increase. Four types of sanitation facilities projects are funded by the IHS: 1) projects to serve new or like-new housing; 2) projects to serve existing homes; 3) special projects such as studies, training, or other needs related to sanitation facilities construction; and 4) emergency projects. The IHS sanitation facilities construction funds cannot be used to provide sanitation facilities for HUD-built homes.

Most of the Administration's requested increase was for $30 million to service new and like-new homes, some of which could be used for sanitation facilities for individual homes of disabled or ill persons with a physician referral, with priority for BIA Housing Improvement Projects.

Construction of Health Care Facilities

FY 2015 Enacted $ 85,048,000

FY 2016 Admin. Request $185,048,000

FY 2016 Enacted $105,048,000

While the Act includes a $20 million increase over FY 2015, this is $80 million less than the Administration's request. We do not have a breakdown on the distribution of the funds, but the Administration's request of $185 million would have provided funds for the Gila River Southeast Health Center (Chandler, AZ); Salt River Northeast Health Center (Scottsdale, AZ); Rapid City Health Center; and New Dilkon (AZ) Alternative Rural Health Center."



Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies FY 2016 Appropriations



Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 16-010, January 25, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-010.



"On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 as PL 114-113. The Act contains funding for all federal agencies, combining what under regular procedures would be 12 separate bills. In this Memorandum we report on FY 2016 funding matters of specific tribal interest in the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education portion of the Act (Division H). In addition to the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Act, House and Senate Interior Appropriations report language (H. Rept. 114-195; S. Rept. 114-74) is to be complied with unless specifically contradicted by the bill language or the Explanatory Statement.

Highlights. A few highlights of the Labor-HHS-Education bill include:

• Tribal Behavioral Health Grants - $30 million in SAMHSA funds for this purpose, a $25 million increase over FY 2015. The funding is evenly divided between Mental Health Programs of Regional and National Significant and Substance Abuse Programs of Regional and National Significance.

• Child Care and Development Block Grant – a $326 million increase, an amount which triggers the authority of the Secretary to provide tribes with more than a two percent allocation.

• Head Start – a $570 million increase, allowing for cost of living adjustments, more funding for Early Head Start and funding for training and technical assistance, among other things.

• Pell Grants – funding to allow the maximum 2016-2017 academic year grant to reach $5,915, a $140 increase.

• Workforce Investment Act – a $4 million increase for the Tribal Section 166 Workforce Investment Act program which has been flat funded for years.

• Indian Education Act's Special Program for Indian Children – a $20 million increase for grants to improve college- and career-readiness of Native youth.

• Administration for Native Americans – a $3 million increase for a Generation Indigenous initiative focused on Native language instruction.

• National Institutes of Health - a $2 billion increase.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – a $300 million increase, including $70 million to continue work in combatting prescription drug/opioid abuse.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Section 166 Program for Indian Tribes, Urban Indians, Hawaiians, and Samoans

FY 2015 Enacted $46.1 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $50.0 million

FY 2016 Enacted $50.0 million

This program, authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), provides formula grant funding to tribes and other Native American groups for employment, training, and related services activities. See our General Memorandum 14-053 of July 11, 2014, regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (PL 113-128) which reauthorized the WIA. The program year begins on July 1, 2016, and ends on June 30, 2017. One percent of funding is reserved for technical assistance.

Supplemental Youth Services

FY 2015 Enacted $831.8 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $873.4 million

FY 2016 Enacted $873.4 million

Increased funds are one-time funds designed to implement the newly enacted Workforce Innovation and Training Act. Tribes receive 1.5 percent of the funds (which in FY 2015 equaled approximately $12.3 million).

YouthBuild

FY 2015 Enacted $79.7 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $84.5 million

FY 2016 Enacted $84.5 million

Tribal NEW (Native Employment Works) Program

Tribes receive $7.6 million annually under the NEW program as a capped entitlement program. The NEW program replaced the JOBS authorization in the welfare reform law (PL 104-193).

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Definition of Indian. The House Committee report for Labor-HHS-Education includes language very similar to that in the House Committee report for the Indian Health Service (IHS) appropriations bill which notes the problems caused by various definitions of "Indian" referenced in federal health programs and urges the Department of Health and Human Services, the IHS, and the Treasury Department to work together to establish a consistent definition of "Indian" with regard to health care.

The Committee recognizes the Federal government's trust responsibility for providing healthcare for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Committee is aware that the definition of who is an "Indian" is inconsistent across various Federal health programs, which has led to confusion, increased paperwork and even differing determinations of health benefits within Indian families themselves. The Committee therefore encourages the Department of Health and Human Services, the Indian Health Service, and the Department of the Treasury to work together to establish a consistent definition of an "Indian" for purposes of providing health benefits. (H. Rept. 114-195, pp. 107-108)

The Interior Appropriations report "directs" the agencies to take this action, while the   Labor-HHS-Education report "encourages" them to do so.

PPH Fund. The Affordable Care Act provides $17.7 billion over ten years in mandatory funding for a Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPH). Congress, through the appropriations process, transfers these funds to health prevention and public health programs. For FY 2016 the Act transfers $932 million of the PPH funds to several agencies, most of which will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Included in the transfer of funds to the CDC is $73 million for diabetes prevention efforts; $51 million for the REACH program (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health); $160 million for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant; and $126 million for the Office of Smoking and Health. There will be a $12 million transfer to SAMHSA for the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention program.

Administration for Children and Families

FY 2015 Enacted $30.6 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $33.7 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $32.8 billion

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Act extends the authorization of the TANF program through September 30, 2016. As of January 1, 2015, there are 70 tribal TANF grantees administering $192 million. Of the 70 tribal grantees, 15 are administering the program in PL 102-477 (Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act) projects.

Administration for Native Americans (ANA)

FY 2015 Enacted $46.5 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $50.0 million

FY 2016 Enacted $50.0 million

The Explanatory Statement provides that $3 million of the amount is "for the Generation Indigenous initiative focused on improving Native American language instruction across the education continuum."

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

FY 2015 Enacted $3.39 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $3.39 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $3.39 billion

Tribes received $38.7 million in formula grants from this program in FY 2014.

Head Start

FY 2015 Enacted $ 8.59 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $10.12 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $ 9.17 billion

The Explanatory Statement notes that $294 million of the increase is to support grantees in expanding to full school-day and full-school-year services. Acknowledging that this is not the amount necessary to move all programs to full day/full year basis, priority is to be given to "grantees that volunteer for this expansion and can do so in a way that limits disruption to existing programs and services." An additional $135 million of the increase is to expand Early Head Start. The Explanatory Statement voices support for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, while acknowledging that such partnerships are not suited to all applicants, particularly in rural communities and clarifies that equal priority should be given to other models for expansion.

Tribes received $226.7 million from the Head Start program in FY 2014.

Child Care and Development Block Grant

Discretionary Funds:

FY 2014 Enacted $2.36 billion

FY 2015 Enacted $2.43 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $2.81 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $2.78 billion

Entitlement Funds:

FY 2016 $2.92 billion

By statute, tribes receive two percent of the combined total of discretionary and entitlement funds under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Tribes received approximately $100 million in FY 2014 from this program. The Secretary may increase the tribal allocation above 2 percent when the discretionary funding exceeds the FY 2014 enacted level – which it does.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (Title IV-B, Subpart 2)

FY 2015 Enacted $ 59.8 million discretionary +

$345.0 million mandatory

FY 2016 Admin Request $ 89.7 million discretionary +

$345.0 million mandatory

FY 2016 Enacted $ 9.8 million discretionary +

$345.0 million mandatory

Tribes and tribal consortia receive a three percent statutory allocation of the mandatory and discretionary funds. In FY 2014, tribes received $10.3 million from this program (138 tribal grantees).

Child Welfare (Title IV-B, Subpart 1)

FY 2015 Enacted $268.7 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $268.7 million

FY 2016 Enacted $268.7 million

Although the statute does not specify a percentage or an amount of funding for tribes, tribes receive formula funds under this program which is authorized under Title IV-B, Subpart 1 of the Social Security Act. Tribes received $6.32 million from this program in FY 2014 (160+ tribal grantees).

Child Welfare Training and Demonstrations

FY 2015 Enacted $15.9 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $15.9 million

FY 2016 Enacted $17.9 million

This program funds child welfare training and research.

Kinship Guardianship

FY 2015 Enacted $ 99 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $123 million

FY 2016 Enacted $123 million

The Kinship Guardianship program, authorized under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, first became available in FY 2009. It provides subsidies to a relative taking legal guardianship of a child for whom being returned home or adoption are not appropriate permanency options. Funding is on an entitlement basis.

Tribes directly administering the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance programs may be eligible to offer Kinship Guardianship payments. Tribes who have a Title IV-E agreement with a state may be able to access such payments through the agreement.

Chaffee Foster Care Independent Living Program

FY 2015 Enacted $140 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $140 million

FY 2016 Enacted $140 million

Authorized under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, the Independent Living program provides funding to assist youth who are aging out of foster care. It is a capped entitlement program, with most funds being provided to states via formula. The Fostering   Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (PL 110-35l) authorized tribes with an approved Title IV-E plan or a Title IV-E tribal/state agreement to receive directly from HHS a portion of the state's Independent Living funds to serve tribal youth. Four tribes received a total of $280,000 from this program in FY 2015,

$175,000 above the FY 2014 level.

Education and Training Vouchers for Youth Leaving Foster Care

FY 2015 Enacted $43.2 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $43.2 million

FY 2016 Enacted $43.2 million

This program, authorized under the Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001 (PL 107-133), provides vouchers for college or vocational/technical training for youth who age out of the foster care system. States may allow youth to participate in the voucher program up to age 23, and the maximum voucher amount is $5,000 per year. States receive funding according to their proportion of youth in foster care. The Foster Care Independence Act requires states to provide services to Indian youth aging out of foster care and to consult with tribes on these services.

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (PL 110-351) authorized tribes with an approved Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance plan or a Title IV-E tribal/state agreement to receive directly from HHS a portion of the state's Education and Training Voucher funding to serve tribal youth.

Three tribes received a total of $123,000 from this program in FY 2015.

Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)

FY 2015 Enacted $729.3 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $692.9 million

FY 2016 Enacted $770.3 million

Tribes received $5.28 million from this program in FY 2014.

Battered Women's Shelters

FY 2015 Enacted $135 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $150 million

FY 2016 Enacted $150 million

Tribes receive ten percent of funds from the Battered Women's Shelter program, which is authorized in the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. These funds, which are distributed through a formula, are used primarily for counseling, advocacy, and self-help services for victims and their children.

Other

Tribes receive funding through an Affordable Care Act pre-appropriated program – the Personal Responsibility Education Program which provides funding for initiatives to prevent teen pregnancy. Tribes receive $3.2 million from this program.

Under the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act

(PL112-34), $1 million is made available annually (mandatory funding) for court improvement grants for tribes. The funds are to assist courts in handing child welfare cases.

Administration for Community Living

FY 2015 Enacted $1.70 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $2.12 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $1.99 billion

Within the total is the following Native-specific funding:

• $31.2 million for formula grants to tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations (a $5 million increase over FY 2015). Funding is for services for the elderly including transportation, nutrition, and health screening.

• $7.5 million for competitive grants to tribes for the Native American Caregiver Support Program (a $1.5 million increase over FY 2015). Funds are to assist tribes in providing support services for family caregivers as well as for grandparents caring for grandchildren.

The Senate Committee encourages the Administration for Community Living to continue working to establish an Advisory Council specific to Native aging issues:

The Committee encourages ACL to continue with their plans to establish a Tribal Advisory Council focusing on issues that affect the aging Indian population. ACL shall continue to participate in the broader Secretary-level Tribal Advisory Council to present their latest efforts, provide advice with respect to policies and services that affect the older Indian population, help in identifying priorities, and coordinating strategies across the Tribal, regional, or national levels. (S. Rept. 114-74. (p. 140)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

FY 2015 Enacted $3.62 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $3.68 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $3.78 billion

Under the mental health programs, the Act provides the following:

• Programs of Regional and National Significance: $414 million ($36 million over FY 2015). It includes $2.9 million for the American Indian/Alaska Native Prevention Initiative (same as FY 2015) and $15 million for Tribal Behavioral Health grants ($10 million over FY 2015).

• Mental Health Block Grant: $511 million ($28 million over FY 2015)

• Children's Mental Health Services: $119 million ($2 million over FY 2015)

• Protection and Advocacy Program: $36.1 million (same as FY 2015)

Under the substance abuse programs, the Act provides the following:

• Substance Abuse Treatment Programs of Regional and National Significance: $337 million ($27 million less than FY 2015)

• Substance Abuse Treatment Block Grant: $1.77 billion ($30 million over FY 2015)

• Substance Abuse Prevention Activities of Regional and National Significance: $211 million ($36 million over FY 2015). Of the increase, $15 million is for Tribal Behavioral Health grants – no funding was provided under this account for this purpose in FY 2015.)

H ealth Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

FY 2015 Enacted $6.35 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $6.46 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $6.38 billion

Alternative Dental Health Providers. The Act continues the prohibition on funding alternative dental health provider projects as authorized by Section 350G-1 of the Public Health Services Act.

Community Health Centers

FY 2015 Enacted $1.49 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1.49 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $1.49 billion

Nurse Loan Repayment Program for Shortage Area Service

FY 2015 Enacted $81.8 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $81.8 million

FY 2016 Enacted $83.1 million

This program repays student loans for nurses in exchange for their working at least two years in an Indian Health Service health center, Native Hawaiian health center, public hospital, community or migrant health center, or rural health clinic.

Centers of Excellence

FY 2015 Enacted $21.7 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $25.0 million

FY 2016 Enacted $21.7 million

Centers of Excellence funds are designed to strengthen the capacity of institutions that train a significant number of minority health professionals.

Rural Outreach Grants

FY 2016 Enacted $59.0 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $59.0 million

FY 2016 Enacted $63.5 million

Rural Outreach Grants provide resources for new and innovative delivery of health services in rural areas, including telemedicine projects.

Health Careers Opportunity Program

FY 2015 Enacted $14.2 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request -0-______

FY 2016 Enacted $14.2 million

Funding is for medical and other health professions schools and colleges for recruitment and training of non-traditional students for health professions.

Telehealth Program

FY 2015 Enacted $14.9 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $14.9 million

FY 2016 Enacted $17.0 million

Ryan White AIDS Programs

FY 2015 Enacted $2.32 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $2.32 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $2.32 billion

Maternal, Infant, and Childhood Home Visiting Programs (mandatory funding)

FY 2014 $371 million

FY 2015 $400 million

FY 2016 $400 million

The Affordable Care Act created an entitlement program under Title V of the Social Security Act (Maternal and Child Health Services) for home visits to families with young children or families who are expecting children and live in communities at risk for poor maternal and child health. Three percent of funds are reserved for tribes, tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations. A grant recipient is required to conduct a needs assessment and to develop a program with measurable three-year and five-year benchmarks for demonstrating improvement in several areas, including improved maternal and newborn health and prevention of child abuse and neglect. The program was extended for FYs 2015-2017 through the Medicare Access and CHIP Act (PL 114-10) at $400 million annually.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

FY 2016 Formula Allocations and the recently enacted reauthorization of the Elementary and Education Assistance Act (ESEA). The Explanatory Statement notes that formula grants for school year 2016-2017 are to be administered as ESEA was prior to the recent authorization by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), thus providing a transition time before taking affect in the 2017-2018 school year:

The agreement includes a general provision clarifying that funds provided in this Act for ESEA formula grant programs for academic year 2016-2017 are to be administered under the provisions of the ESEA in effect prior to the reauthorization of the ESEA by the ESSA [Every Student Succeeds Act]. The transition provisions in ESSA generally call for implementation of the new law starting with the 2017-2018 school year. The general provision and the funding levels and directives included in this agreement are consistent with that intent.

Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Allocations. We have indicated those Department of Education programs which allocate funds for BIE system schools and the amounts they received in School Year 2013-2014. Our source was the BIE FY 2016 Budget Justification. We are reporting in a separate General Memorandum on BIE-specific programs which are part of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations.

Title I, Education for the Disadvantaged

Basic Grants to Local Education Agencies (program level)

FY 2015 Enacted $6.46 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $6.46 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $6.46 billion

The BIE-funded schools and territories share a one percent allocation from the Title I basic and concentration grants. The BIE reported in its FY 2016 budget justification that in School Year 2013-2014, BIE schools received $92.6 million in

Title I funds.

Concentration Grants

FY 2015 Enacted $1.36 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1.36 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $1.36 billion

School Improvement Grants

FY 2015 Enacted $505.7 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $555.7 million

FY 2016 Enacted $450.0 million

Funds are provided to States and local educational agencies for use at the lowest performing schools according to student achievement results to implement one of four specific intervention models (Turnaround, Restart, School Closure, and Transformation).

Striving Readers

FY 2015 Enacted $160 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $160 million

FY 2016 Enacted $190 million

The Striving Readers program is a comprehensive literacy program that provides services to all students from birth through twelfth grade. There is a 0.5 percent set-aside for BIE-funded schools. The BIE schools received $790,000 in School Year 2013-2014 from this program.

Impact Aid

Basic Support Payments

FY 2015 Enacted $1.15 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1.15 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $1.67 billion

Payments for Children with Disabilities

FY 2015 Enacted $48.3 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $48.3 million

FY 2016 Enacted $48.3 million

Federal Property

FY 2015 Enacted $66.8 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request _-0-_______

FY 2016 Enacted $66.8 million

Facilities Maintenance

FY 2015 Enacted $ 4.84 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $71.64 million

FY 2016 Enacted $ 4.84 million

Construction and Renovation

FY 2015 Enacted $17.4 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $17.4 million

FY 2016 Enacted $17.4 million

School Improvement Programs

State Grants for Improving Teacher Quality

FY 2015 Enacted $2.3 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $2.3 million

FY 2016 Enacted $2.3 billion

These funds are provided to states and schools to help them attain the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) goal that all teachers be "highly qualified." Local uses of funds include professional development, class size reduction, recruitment and retraining of teachers and principals, merit pay, mentoring, and other activities. The NCLBA reserves 0.5 percent of the funds for this program for BIE-funded schools. In School Year 2013-2014, the BIE schools received $11.6 million.

Math and Science Partnerships

FY 2015 Enacted $152.7 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $202.7 million

FY 2016 Enacted $152.7 million

This program provides formula grants to partnerships of state educational agencies, higher education institutions, and school districts to improve academic achievement in mathematics and science through strong teaching skills for elementary and secondary school teachers. Funds may be used to develop rigorous mathematics and science curricula, distance learning programs, and incentives to recruit college graduates holding math and science degrees into the teaching profession.

21st Century Community Learning Centers

FY 2015 Enacted $1.15 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1.15 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $1.67 billion

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program enables communities to create or expand centers that provide activities offering significant extended learning opportunities, such as before- and after-school programs for students, and related services to their families. Centers must target services to students who attend schools that are eligible to operate a school-wide program under Title I of the Elementary and    Secondary Education Act or that serve high percentages of students from low-income families. Up to one percent of program funding is allocated to the BIE and outlying areas. In School Year 2013-2014, the BIE schools received $8 million from this program.

Educational Standards and Assessment

FY 2015 Enacted $378 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $403 million

FY 2016 Enacted $378 million

Funding is distributed by formula to states and the BIE for the development and/or improvement of educational assessments and standards. The BIE receives 0.5 percent of these funds ($1.8 million was received in School Year 2013-2014).

Alaska Native Education Equity Assistance Program

FY 2015 Enacted $31.5 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $32.5 million

FY 2016 Enacted $32.5 million

The Explanatory Statement, as was the case with last several year's appropriations reports, expresses concern about the Department of Education's process for awarding funding under this program, stating:

In awarding funds under the Alaska Native Educational Equity program, the Department shall: ensure the maximum participation of Alaska Native organizations and other required Alaska Native partners, guarantee that all grantees have meaningful plans for consultation with Alaska Native leaders, and make every effort to ensure that Alaska   Natives and Alaskans represent a significant proportion of peer reviewers for grant applications.

Rural Education

FY 2015 Enacted $169.8 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $169.8 million

FY 2016 Enacted $175.8 million

Rural education funding is divided equally between the Small, Rural School Achievement Program and the Rural and Low-Income School Program, under which the BIE-system schools receive 0.5 percent. These funds are provided to small schools that do not qualify for the Achievement program and have a child poverty rate of at least 20 percent. Under both programs, schools are able to consolidate various federal education funds. However, if schools do not meet progress goals within three years, the rural education funds must be used for Title I school improvement activities. In School Year 2013-2014, the BIE schools received $424,800 in Rural Education funds.

Indian Education Act

Grants to Local Education Agencies

FY 2015 Enacted $100.4 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $100.4 million

FY 2016 Enacted $100.4 million

Special Programs for Indian Children

FY 2015 Enacted $17.9 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $67.9 million

FY 2016 Enacted $37.9 million

National Activities

FY 2015 Enacted $5.6 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $5.6 million

FY 2016 Enacted $5.6 million

The Explanatory Statement notes that within the total for Special Programs for Indian Children that "the agreement includes $22,890,000 for Native Youth Community Projects." This program makes competitive awards to support culturally-relevant coordinated strategies to improve the college- and career-readiness of Native American Youth.

In School Year 2013-2014, the BIE schools received $2.56 million in Title VII Indian Education Act formula funds.

Innovation and Improvement

Teacher Incentive Fund

FY 2015 Enacted $230 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $350 million

FY 2016 Enacted $230 million

The Teacher Incentive Fund provides formula grants to reward effective teachers and create incentives to attract qualified teachers to high-need schools. It also provides competitive grants to design and implement performance-based compensation systems.

S  chool Leadership

FY 2015 Enacted $16.4 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request -0-¬¬¬¬_____¬__

FY 2016 Enacted $16.4 million

The funds are for high-need Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to develop or enhance innovative programs that recruit, train, and provide support for individuals currently serving as principals (including assistant principals) and/or seeking to become principals.

Charter Schools Grants

FY 2015 Enacted $253 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $375 million

FY 2016 Enacted $333 million

Funds are provided as competitive grants to State Education Agencies (SEAs) and charter schools for planning, design, initial implementation, and dissemination of information regarding charter schools. Funds are also allocated for state efforts to assist charter schools in obtaining facilities.

Safe Schools and Citizenship Education

Promise Neighborhoods

FY 2015 Enacted $ 56.8 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $150.0 million

FY 2016 Enacted $ 73.3 million

The Promise Neighborhoods program provides competitive one-year planning grants and five-year implementation grants to community-based organizations for the development and implementation of comprehensive neighborhood programs that address the needs of children in distressed communities. The program includes tribal communities under Priority 3.

Elementary and Secondary School Counseling

FY 2015 Enacted $49.6 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $49.6 million

FY 2016 Enacted $49.6 million

Carol M. White Physical Education Program

FY 2015 Enacted $47 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $60 million

FY 2016 Enacted $47 million

National Priorities

FY 2015 Enacted $70 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $90 million

FY 2016 enacted $75 million

English Language Acquisition Grants

FY 2015 Enacted $737.4 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $773.4 million

FY 2016 Enacted $737.4 million

T  his program provides formula grants for services to limited English proficient students and professional development for teachers. There is 0.5 percent or $5 million, whichever is greater, of the language acquisition funds for BIE-system schools and other tribal, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander entities for programs in schools that serve predominantly Native American children.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

State Grants and Indian Allocation

FY 2015 Enacted $11.49 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $11.67 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $11.91 billion

Funding is provided through Part B Section 611(a) grants to BIE-system schools for supplemental services to disabled children between the ages of 5 and 21. In School Year 2013-2014, BIE schools received $75 million under this program.

Pre-School Grants

FY 2015 Enacted $353.2 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $403.2 million

FY 2016 Enacted $368.2 million

These are additional funds for states for services for children with disabilities ages 3-5. Formula funding is provided to tribes with BIE-system schools through Part B Section 611(3) grants. The funds are used to assist SEAs in the provision of special education and related services to children with disabilities between the ages of three and five years. Tribal funding under this program will likely be in the $18 million range.

IDEA, Part C, Grants for Infants and Families

FY 2015 Enacted $438.6 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $503.6 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $458.6 billion

Tribes with BIE-system schools on their lands are eligible for formula funding under this program to coordinate state early intervention services to families whose infants and toddlers have disabilities. Tribal funding under this program will likely be in the $5 million range.

Vocational Rehabilitation

State Grants/Tribal Allocation

FY 2015 Enacted $3.33 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $3.39 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $3.39 billion

Tribes receive an allocation of one to 1.5 percent from the amount appropriated for Basic State Grants which are competitively awarded. Tribes will receive approximately $40 million from this program in FY 2016.

Career and Technical Education

Basic State Grants

FY 2015 Enacted $1.12 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1.33 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $1.12 billion

Tribes and tribal organizations receive a 1.25 percent allocation of basic state grants. The tribal vocational education grants are awarded competitively.

Higher Education

Pell Grants (see Highlights section of this Memorandum)

Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Career and Technical Institutions

FY 2015 Enacted $7.70 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $7.70 million

FY 2016 Enacted $8.28 million

These funds are authorized under the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and are provided to United Tribes Technical College and Navajo Technical University.

Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions

FY 2015 Enacted $12.8 million discretionary +

$13.9 million mandatory

(per HEA III-F)

FY 2016 Admin. Request $12.8 million discretionary +

$13.9 million mandatory

FY 2016 Enacted $13.8 million discretionary +

$13.9 million mandatory

These funds are distributed to colleges serving at least twenty percent Alaska Native or ten percent Native Hawaiian students.

Strengthening Tribal Colleges

FY 2015 Enacted $25.6 million discretionary +

$27.8 million mandatory

FY 2016 Admin. Request $25.6 million discretionary +

$27.8 million mandatory

FY 2016 Enacted $27.6 million discretionary +

$27.8 million mandatory

Strengthening Native American Non-Tribal Institutions

FY 2015 Enacted $3.1 million discretionary +

$4.6 million mandatory

FY 2016 Admin. Request $3.1 million Request +

$4.6 million mandatory

FY 2016 enacted $3.3 million discretionary +

$4.6 million mandatory

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)

FY 2015 Enacted $ 68 million

FY 2016 Admin Request $200 million

FY 2016 Enacted -0-_______

TRIO Programs

FY 2015 Enacted $839.3 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $859.8 million

FY 2016 enacted $900.0 million

TRIO received a $60 million increase. The following are TRIO programs: Upward Bound discretionary; Veterans Upward Bound; Upward Bound Math-Science; Educational Opportunity Centers; Student Support Services; the Ronald D. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program; Talent Search; Staff Training; Administration/Peer Review; and Evaluation.)

GEAR UP

FY 2015 Enacted $301.6 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $301.6 million

FY 2016 Enacted $322.8 million

T  he Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), authorized under the Higher Education Act, is designed to help low-income elementary and secondary school students become college-ready.

Teacher Quality Partnership Grants

FY 2015 Enacted $40.6 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request -0-________

FY 2016 Enacted $43.1 million

This program, authorized under Title II of the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998, provides grants to states for teacher preparation and recruitment.

Campus-Based Child Care

FY 2015 Enacted $15.1 million

FY 2016 Admin. Request $15.1 million

FY 2016 Enacted $15.1 million

Tribal colleges are among the eligible applicants for the program.

OFFICE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES

The Act provides $4.06 million for Native American Library Services and $972,000 for Native American/Hawaiian Museum Services. These are small increases over FY 2015. The total funding for the Office of Museum and Library Services is

$230 million which is $2.2 million over FY 2015.

CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE

FY 2015 Enacted $1.05 billion

FY 2016 Admin. Request $1.19 billion

FY 2016 Enacted $1.09 billion

The Corporation for National and Community Services has programs designated as Domestic Volunteer Services Programs (VISTA and several Senior Volunteer Corps programs) and National and Community Services Programs (including AmeriCorps).

CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING

FY 2017 Enacted $445 million

FY 2017 Admin. Request $445 million

FY 2018 Enacted $445 million

Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is provided two years in advance. The FY 2016 appropriations Act will provide FY 2018 CPB core funding, most of which is distributed via a statutory formula to public television and radio stations. In addition to the FY 2018 advance appropriations, the Act includes

$40 million in FY 2016 funds toward replacement of the public broadcasting interconnection system.

Five minority public broadcasting organizations collectively called the National Minority Consortia – Native American Public Telecommunications; Pacific Islanders in Communications; National Black Programming Consortium; Latino Public Broadcasting; and the Center for Asian American Media – receive operational and programming funds through the CPB budget. Others who receive funding from the CPB include public and community radio stations, a number of which are Native-owned, and the Independent Television Service".



Indian Health Service Proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations



Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 16-016, February 33, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-016



"On February 9, 2016, the President submitted a proposed budget for FY 2017. This Memorandum reports on the proposal for the Indian Health Service (IHS). See our General Memorandum 16-005 of January 12, 2016, regarding the FY 2016 IHS enacted appropriations.

Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (PL 114-74) FY 2017 spending caps were raised by $30 billion over the amount set in the Budget Control Act of 2011(PL 112-25). The funding increase is evenly split between defense and discretionary domestic programs. However, $15 billion in the context of the discretionary domestic portion of the federal budget is not considered enough to meet inflationary increases. In addition, some in Congress are advocating that the cap be lowered.

FUNDING OVERVIEW

The Administration requests $5.185 billion for IHS, an increase of $377 million above the FY 2016 enacted level.

Built-in Costs. Of the total requested, $159 million is for inflationary increases:

$26 million for pay costs; $14.4 million for non-medical inflation (2.1%); $75.4 million for medical inflation (5.8%), and $43.2 million for population growth. Congress has not appropriated funding for IHS medical inflation since FY 2010 even though the Obama Administration has requested such funds.

Staffing Packages. Funding of $33 million is requested for staffing and operation of new facilities:

Kayenta Health Center, $182,000; Muskogee Creek Nation Health Center,

$10.7 million; Northern California Youth Residential Treatment Center, $3.4 million; Flandreau Health Center, $6.3 million; and Choctaw National Regional Medical Center in Oklahoma,

$12.4 million.

Program Increases. Program increases are proposed in the following programs:

$35 million in Hospitals and Clinics; $25 million in Mental Health; $16.8 million in Alcohol and Substance Abuse; $1.5 million in Purchased/Referred Care; $1.1 million in Urban Indian Health; and $500,000 in Maintenance and Improvement. There would be an $23.4 million increase in Health Care Facilities Construction. For Contract Support Costs, whose funding is proposed at "such sums as necessary", the estimate in the budget justification is $82 million over the FY 2016 estimate of $717.9 million for a total estimate of $800 million. We provide more detail about proposed budget increases in the individual budget line items.

Proposed Mandatory Funding. The Administration has proposed mandatory funding of $10 million in FY 2017 to expand the number of behavioral professionals providing service in Indian communities and $15 million in FY 2017 to provide assistance "to prevent reoccurences to tribes experiencing behavioral health crises including specialized crisis response staffing, technical assistance, and community engagement." The proposals are for two years of mandatory funding. In order for mandatory funding to be made available there would need to be legislation authorizing such appropriations. The Administration has also made proposals for new mandatory spending in various parts of the HHS budget, including the National Health Service Corps and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, some of it tribal-specific. The proposals for mandatory spending are strongly criticized by some in Congress as an attempt to get around the domestic discretionary spending cap, and prospects for such funding are slim.

Legislative Initiatives. These are proposals which are included in the budget justification, but will likely not be part of the appropriations process and would require separate legislation:

• The Administration proposes a permanent extension of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians at the current level of $150 million per fiscal year.

• The Administration again proposes that tribes, the IHS, and urban Indian organizations utilizing the Purchased/Referred Care program be charged Medicare-like rates (MLR) for non-hospital services, thus stretching the funding for Purchased/Referred Care. Medicare-like rates are currently required for hospital services. A 2013 Government Accountability Office report concluded that IHS and tribal facilities would save millions of dollars and be able to increase care if the MLR cap was imposed on non-hospital providers and suppliers through the Purchased/Referred Care program. This proposal is deemed to be revenue-neutral. The Budget Justification also notes that in December 2015 IHS submitted to the Office of Management and Budget proposed MLR rules. However, tribes have advocated for a legislative fix to more fully address the issue than can be done via regulations.

• The Administration proposes, as in past years, to make tax-exempt the IHS Health Professions Scholarship Program and Loan Repayment Program, thus not requiring recipients to count the benefits in their gross income. This would be similar to the tax treatment afforded recipients of the National Health Service Corps and the Armed Forces Health Professions scholarships. The Administration also proposes to exempt recipients from the Federal Employment Tax just as is afforded the National Health Service Corps.

• The Administration proposes that the IHS Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program allow recipients to "satisfy their service obligations through half-time clinical practice for double the amount of time or to accept half the loan repayment award amount in exchange for a two-year service obligation." This would be consistent with the statutory requirements for National Health Service Corps loan and scholarship recipients. The IHS states that this proposal could reduce the number and cost of Purchased/Referred Care program referrals, notably at sites that do not need full time specialty care services.

• The Administration proposes that the 100 percent Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) be extended under the Medicaid program to apply to all American Indian/Alaska Native patients, including urban Indian health programs. One hundred percent FMAP already applies to tribally-operated health programs.

• The Administration proposes that the statutory definition of "Indian" in the Affordable Care Act be changed legislatively to utilize the definition relied on by Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program and IHS.

CONTINUING BILL LANGUAGE

The proposed budget would continue language from previous bills, including the following:

IDEA Data Collection Language. Proposed is the continuation of the BIA authorization to collect data from the IHS and tribes regarding disabled children in order to assist with the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The provision is:

Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may collect from the Indian Health Service and tribes and tribal organizations operating health facilities pursuant to Public Law 93-638 such individually identifiable health information relating to disabled children as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out its functions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (20 U.S.C. 1400, et. seq.)

Prohibition on Implementing Eligibility Regulations. Proposed is the continuation of the prohibition on the implementation of the eligibility regulations, published September 16, 1987.

Services for Non-Indians. Proposed is the continuation of the provision that allows the IHS and tribal facilities to extend health care services to non-Indians, subject to charges. The provision states:

Provided, That in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, non-Indian patients may be extended health care at all tribally administered or Indian Health Service facilities, subject to charges, and the proceeds along with funds recovered under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 2651-2653) shall be credited to the account of the facility providing the service and shall be available without fiscal year limitation.

Assessments by DHHS. Proposed is the continuation of the provision that has been in Interior appropriations acts for a number of years which provides that no IHS funds may be used for any assessments or charges by the Department of Health and Human Services "unless identified in the budget justification and provided in this Act, or approved by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations through the reprogramming process."

Limitation on No-Bid Contracts. Proposed is the continuation of the provision regarding the use of no-bid contracts. The provision specifically exempts Indian Self- Determination agreements:

Sec. 409. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to executive branch agencies may be used to enter into any Federal contract unless such contract is entered into in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 33 of title 41 United States Code or chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, unless:

(1) Federal law specifically authorizes a contract to be entered into without regard for these requirements, including formula grants for States, or federally recognized Indian tribes; or

(2) such contract is authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education and Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638, 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) or by any other Federal laws that specifically authorize a contract within an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of that Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); or

(3) Such contract was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

Use of Defaulted Funds. The Act continues the provision that allows funds collected on defaults from the Loan Repayment and Health Professions Scholarship programs to be used to recruit health professionals for Indian communities.

CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS

FY 2015 Enacted $662,970,000

FY 2016 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary

FY 2017 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary

Administration's FY 2017 Contract Support Costs Proposal. The Administration proposes for FY 2017 to continue the FY 2016 enacted policy of Contract Support Costs (CSC) being an indefinite appropriation–"such sums as may be necessary"–in a separate account in both the IHS and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) discretionary budgets. The estimated amount listed for IHS CSC in the Explanatory Statement is $800 million ($82 million over the FY 2016 estimate), with IHS noting that the estimate will be adjusted as new information becomes available, and the estimated amount for the BIA is $278 million ($1 million over the FY 2016 estimate and which includes $5 million for the Indian Self Determination Fund). However, because the CSC accounts are indefinite and separate, there is no funding cap, and program funding would not be reprogrammed to cover unmet needs if the estimated amounts prove insufficient. Rather, the agencies could seek additional funding from the Treasury.

The proposal would also continue problematic bill language from FY 2016 in both the IHS and BIA CSC sections: "amounts obligated but not expended by a tribe or tribal organization for contract support costs for such agreements for the current fiscal year shall be applied to contract support costs otherwise due for such agreements for subsequent fiscal years." This language can be misread to endorse IHS's "costs incurred" interpretation of the ISDEAA, which holds that tribes are only entitled to the amount of CSC expended in a given year–effectively denying the carryover authority granted by the ISDEAA. Requiring an offset against the succeeding year's CSC entitlement for unspent CSC upends the indirect cost rate-making process as well as tribal budgets. Tribes have already begun advocating that this language be removed in FY 2017.

The Administration's proposed IHS CSC bill language is:

For payments to tribes and tribal organizations for contract support costs associated with Indian Self-Determination and Education assistance agreements with the Indian Health Service for fiscal year 2017, such sums as may be necessary. Provided, That amounts obligated but not expended by a tribe or tribal organization for contract support costs for such agreements for the current fiscal year shall be applied to contract support costs otherwise due for such agreements for subsequent fiscal years; Provided further, That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, no amounts made available under this heading shall be available for transfer to another budget account.

Administration's Proposal for Mandatory CSC Funding in FY 2018 and Beyond. The Administration also proposes to reclassify CSC – beginning with FY 2018 – as a mandatory, 3-year appropriation "with sufficient increases year to year to fully fund the estimated need for the program, for both the IHS and BIA." The IHS budget justification indicates the following estimated mandatory amounts, while noting that "new CSC estimates will be provided as part of the reauthorization process."

FY 2018 $ 925,000,000

FY 2019 $1,100,000,000

FY 2020 $1,300,000,000

While the proposal to reclassify CSC as mandatory funding is encouraging, the amounts would be capped rather than indefinite. Finally, the IHS proposes that "a small amount of CSC can be used for program management and integrity, for example, 2 percent." This 2 percent set-aside was also part of the Administration's proposal for FY 2016, which included a similar three-year mandatory appropriation beginning in FY 2017. The set-aside was not supported by tribes.

Fiscal Year 2017 Limitation. Section 405 of the General Provisions provides that no FY 2017 funds may be used by the IHS or the BIA to pay prior year CSC or to repay for Judgement Fund for payment of judgments or settlements related to past year CSC claims:

SEC. 405. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2017 under the headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2017 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payments of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayments of payments for settlements or judgements awarding contract support costs for prior years.

FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES

FY 2015 Enacted $3,519,177,000

FY 2016 Enacted $3,566,387,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $3,815,109,000

HOSPITALS AND CLINICS

FY 2015 Enacted $1,836,789,000

FY 2016 Enacted $1,861,225,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $1,979,998,000

Built-in Increases. Proposed are the following built-in increases: $16.8 million for pay increases; $2.4 million for non-medical inflation; $23.3 million for medical inflation;

$21.3 million for population growth. In addition, there is $20.1 million for staffing of new facilities.

Program Increases. Proposed program increases over FY 2016 are:

• $20 million for Health Information Technology. Among the uses for the program increase is making improvements needed for the 2015 certification and deployment for Meaningful Use, Stage 3 addressing interoperability and security of patient data.

• $4 million for the Domestic Violence Prevention program to fund approximately 30 additional, IHS, tribal and Urban Indian organizations.

• $2 million for the IHS Quality Consortium for Federal Hospitals "for the coordination of quality improvement activities among the 27 IHS Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals to reduce Hospital Acquired Conditions and Avoidable Readmissions, while also developing standardized processes and procedures for inpatient care."

• $9 million for Tribal Clinic Lease, Operations & Maintenance. In FY 2016,

• $2 million was provided to supplement existing funds for this purpose. Proposed bill language reads:

Provided further, that, of the funds provided, $11,000,000 shall remain available until expended to supplement funds available for operational costs at tribal clinics operated under an Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act compact or contract where health care is delivered in space acquired through a full service lease, which is not eligible for maintenance and improvement and equipment funds from the Indian Health Service.

Explanatory language does not make clear which clinics are eligible for this funding.

Initiatives Funding Distribution. The proposed bill expands initiatives to include other behavioral health effortsZero Suicide Initiative and aftercare pilots at Youth Regional Treatment Centersand reads:

Provided further, that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the amounts made available within this account for the Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention program, for the Domestic Violence Prevention Program, the Zero Suicide Initiative, for aftercare pilots at Youth Regional Treatment Centers, to improve collections from public and private insurance at Indian Health Service and tribally operated facilities, and for accreditation emergencies shall be allocated at the discretion of the Director of the Indian Health Service and shall remain available until expended.

The Administration announced last year that it will not allocate contract support costs for the meth/suicide and domestic violence prevention initiatives and we expect that will also apply to the expanded list of initiatives.

Tribal Epidemiology Centers. The Administration proposes $4.9 million for the 12 tribal Epidemiology Centers, a $194,000 increase over FY 2016. The increase is for built-in costs.

DENTAL SERVICES

FY 2015 Enacted $173,982,000

FY 2016 Enacted $178,286,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $186,829,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $1.8 million for pay costs, $2 million for inflation, $1.2 million for population growth, and $2.6 million for staffing and operating cost of newly constructed facilities.

MENTAL HEALTH

FY 2015 Enacted $ 81,145,000

FY 2016 Enacted $ 82,100,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $111,143,000

The Administration is requesting a $25 million program increase. Of that amount $21.4 million would be for a Behavioral Health Integration Initiative. Funding would be available to tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to expand the behavioral health services to areas outside the traditional health care system. Funds could also be used for training, to hire behavioral health staff and for community-based programs. The remaining $3.6 million would fund pilot projects to implement a Zero Suicide Initiative. IHS notes that the current Zero Suicide model has not been tested or adopted for tribal communities and that it will take concerted effort to develop a model that will be appropriate and effective for tribal communities.

The Administration also requests the following funding increases: $816,000 for pay costs, $1.1 million for inflation, $928,000 for population growth, and $1.2 million for staffing and operations of newly constructed facilities.

ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

FY 2015 Enacted $190,981,000

FY 2016 Enacted $205,305,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $233,286,000

The Administration is requesting a $16.8 million program increase which is focused on youth. Of that amount $15 million would expand the Generation Indigenous Initiative Support initiative which received $10 million in FY 2016. Focus will be on hiring staff to improve and provide more services and prevention programs for Native youth. The remaining $1.8 million is for a pilot project to provide a continuum of care for youth after they are discharged from the Youth Regional Treatment Centers (of which here are eleven).

I n addition, the request includes $3.4 million inflation, $2.5 million for population growth, and $3.6 million for staffing and operating of newly constructed facilities.

PURCHASED/REFERRED CARE

FY 2015 Enacted $914,139,000

FY 2016 Enacted $914,139,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $962,331,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $37.4 million for medical inflation and $9.3 million for population growth. In addition the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund would be allocated $53 million, a $1.5 million increase over FY 2016.

PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING

FY 2015 Enacted $75,640,000

FY 2016 Enacted $76,623,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $82,040,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $796,000 million for pay costs, $2 million for inflation, $874,000 for population growth, and $1.7 million for staffing and operating cost of newly constructed facilities.

HEALTH EDUCATION

FY 2015 Enacted $18,026,000

FY 2016 Enacted $18,255,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $19,545,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $175,000 for pay costs, $598,000 for inflation, $210,000 for population growth, and $307,000 for staffing and operating cost of newly constructed facilities.

COMMUNITY HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES

FY 2015 Enacted $58,469,000

FY 2016 Enacted $58,906,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $62,428,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $500,000 for pay costs, $2.3 million for inflation, and $685,000 for population growth.

HEPATITIS B and HAEMOPHILUS

IMMUNIZATION (Hib) PROGRAMS IN ALASKA

FY 2015 Enacted $1,826,000

FY 2016 Enacted $1,950,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $2,062,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $17,000 for pay costs, $74,000 for inflation, and $21,000 for population growth.

URBAN INDIAN HEALTH

FY 2015 Enacted $43,604,000

FY 2016 Enacted $44,741,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $48,157,000

The Administration requests a program increase of $1,137,000 to develop a strategic plan for the Urban Indian Health program in consultation with urban Indians and the National Academy of Public Administration. This effort was begun in FY 2016 with $1.1 million being appropriated for the development of a strategic plan.

The requested amount over FY 2016 also consists of increases of $265,000 for pay costs, $1.5 million for inflation, and $479,000 for population growth. As noted earlier, the Administration also proposes that 100 percent FMAP be extended to all Indian health programs, including urban Indian health centers.

INDIAN HEALTH PROFESSIONS

FY 2015 Enacted $48,342,000

FY 2016 Enacted $48,342,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $49,345,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $18,000 for pay costs and $985,000 for inflation.

Programs funded under Indian Health Professions are: Health Professions Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Scholarships; Health Professions Scholarships; Extern Program; Loan Repayment Program; Quentin N. Burdick American Indians Into Nursing Program; Indians Into Medicine Program; and American Indians into Psychology. Consistent with the Administration's request, bill language provides $36 million for the loan repayment program.

TRIBAL MANAGEMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $2,442,000

FY 2016 Enacted $2,442,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $2,488,000

The requested $46,000 increase is for inflation.

Funding is for new and continuation grants for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of contracting IHS programs, developing tribal management capabilities, and evaluating health services. Funding priorities are, in order: 1) tribes that have received federal recognition or restoration within the past five years; 2) tribes/tribal organizations that are addressing audit material weaknesses; and 3) all other tribes/tribal organizations.

IHS notes that in FY 2015, 88 percent funding awarded focused on Health Management Structure, 8 percent on planning grants, and 4 percent on Evaluation studies.

DIRECT OPERATIONS

FY 2015 Enacted $68,065,000

FY 2016 Enacted $68,338,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $69,620,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $641,000 for pay costs and $641,000 for inflation. The IHS noted in its budget submission that 58.7 percent of the Direct Operations budget would go to Headquarters and 41.3 percent to the 12 Area Offices. Tribal Shares funding for Title I contracts and Title V compacts are also included.

SELF-GOVERNANCE

FY 2015 Enacted $5,727,000

FY 2016 Enacted $5,735,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $5,837,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $20,000 for pay costs and $82,000 for inflation.

The Self-Governance budget supports implementation of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program including funding required for Tribal Shares; oversight of the IHS Director's Agency Lead Negotiators; technical assistance on tribal consultation activities; analysis of Indian Health Care Improvement Act new authorities; and funding to support the activities of the IHS Director's Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee.

The IHS estimated in its budget justification that in FY 2016, $1.8 billion will be transferred to tribes to support 92 ISDEAA Title V compacts and 117 funding agreements.

SPECIAL DIABETES PROGRAM FOR INDIANS

While the entitlement funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is not part of the IHS appropriations process, those funds are administered through the IHS. SDPI is currently funded through FY 2017 at $150 million (see our General Memorandum 15-032 of April 17, 2015). As mentioned under the Legislative Initiatives section, the Administration is proposing that SDPI be permanently authorized at $150 million per fiscal year.

FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH FACILITIES

FY 2015 Enacted $460,234,000

FY 2016 Enacted $523,232,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $569,906,000

MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $53,614,000

FY 2016 Enacted $73,614,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $76,981,000

Proposed is a $517,000 program increase and increases of $1.87 million for inflation and $978,000 for population growth. As of October 1, 2015 the Backlog of Essential Maintenance, Alteration, and Repair is $473 million.

Maintenance and Improvement (M&I) funds are provided to Area Offices for distribution to projects in their regions. Funding is for the following purposes: 1) routine maintenance; 2) M&I Projects to reduce the backlog of maintenance; 3) environmental compliance; and 4) demolition of vacant or obsolete health care facilities. The Act provides that up to $500,000 may be deposited in a Demolition Fund to be used for the demolition of vacant and obsolete federal buildings.

FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

FY 2015 Enacted $219,612,000

FY 2016 Enacted $222,610,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $233,858,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $2.4 million for pay costs, $2.9 million for inflation, $2.5 million for population growth, and $3.4 million for staffing and operating cost of newly constructed facilities.

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

FY 2015 Enacted $22,537,000

FY 2016 Enacted $22,537,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $23,654,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $858,000 for inflation and $259,000 for population growth.

The Administration proposes to continue bill language to provide up to $500,000 to purchase TRANSAM equipment from the Department of Defense and up to $2.7 million for the purchase of ambulances.

The Administration's request is to distribute the FY 2017 requested funds as follows: $18 million for new and routine replacement medical equipment at over 1,500 federally- and tribally-operated health care facilities; $5 million for new medical equipment in tribally-constructed health care facilities; and $500,000 each for the TRANSAM and ambulance programs.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction of Sanitation Facilities

FY 2015 Enacted $ 79,423,000

FY 2016 Enacted $ 99,423,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $103,036,000

The requested amount over FY 2016 consists of increases of $2.3 million for inflation and $1.3 million for population growth.

IHS projects that the funds would be distributed as follows: 1) $57 million for projects to serve new or like-new housing; 2) $43 million for projects to serve existing homes; 3) $2 million projects such as studies, training, or other needs related to sanitation facilities construction; and 4) $1 million emergency projects. The IHS sanitation facilities construction funds cannot be used to provide sanitation facilities for HUD-built homes.

Construction of Health Care Facilities

FY 2015 Enacted $ 85,048,000

FY 2016 Enacted $105,048,000

FY 2017 Admin. Request $132,377,000

Under the Administration's request the following would be provided:

Phoenix Northeast Health Center $52.5 million

Whiteriver Hospital, Whiteriver, AZ $15.0 million

Rapid City Health Center $28.7 million

Dikon Alternative Rural Health Center, Dikon, AZ $15.0 million

In addition, funding is requested for:

Small Ambulatory Program Health Care Facilities $10.0 million Funding would be for facilities smaller than health centers which do not qualify for the IHS Health Care Facilities Construction Priority System. Funds are for "the construction, expansion or modernization of non-IHS owned small tribal ambulatory health care facilities located apart from a hospital." (p. CJ-176)

New and Replacement Quarters $12.0 million Citing that the greatest need for new and replacement quarters is in the Great Plains, Navajo and Alaska Areas, the funds would be used "to initiate the replacement and addition of quality housing for health care professionals in these three Areas. The amount distributed to each Area will be based on each Area's internal priority list that will be completed by mid-FY 2016". (p. CJ-176)

Inflation $ 3.8 million."

TANF Final Rule on Restrictions on Use of Electronic Benefit Transfer Transactions," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-012, February 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-012, reported, "On January 15, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the attached Final Rule which requires states to have in place policies and practices to prevent state-funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance from being accessed via electronic benefit transfer cards (EBT) in liquor stores, gaming establishments, or in strip-clubs or other adult-entertainment venues. This Rule was issued pursuant to the requirement of Section 4004 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, PL 112-96 (Act). The provision does not apply to tribally-administered TANF programs, but it does apply to Indian lands where the state is administering the TANF program.

As of January 1, 2015 there were 70 tribal TANF programs administering $192 million. A number of the tribal grantees are consortia, notably in Alaska and California. A list of tribal TANF programs may be found here:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ofa/appvd_tfags_fy_2015_revi...

Reporting. The Act requires each state to file an annual report to HHS regarding its TANF plan as required by the Act. The report is to include:

• Description of the implementation of the state policies and practices designed to restrict TANF recipients from using their TANF assistance via EBT transactions in prohibited places;

• How the state identifies the locations specified in the Act;

• The procedures for ongoing monitoring to ensure policies are being carried out as intended;

• How the state responds to findings of non-compliance.

The Secretary may reduce a state's TANF allocation by up to five percent for noncompliance.

Definitions. The Rule clarifies the Act's reference to "casino, gambling casino, or gaming establishment" to mean an establishment with a primary [emphasis added] purpose of accommodating the wagering of money.

The definition of "liquor store" is also clarified:

Casino, gambling casino, or gaming establishment means an establishment with a primary purpose of accommodating the wagering of money. It does not include:

(i) A grocery store which sells groceries including staple foods and which also offers, or is located within the same building or complex as, casino, gambling, or gaming activities; or

(ii) Any other establishment that offers casino, gambling, or gaming activities incidental to the principal purpose of the business.

Liquor store means any retail establishment which sells exclusively or primarily intoxicating liquor. Such term does not include a grocery store which sells both intoxicating liquor and groceries including staple foods (within the meaning of Section 3(r) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2012 (r))).

HHS did not include in the Rule a definition of "adult-oriented entertainment," stating that the description in the Act is sufficient.

Enforcement on tribal lands where a state administers the TANF program. HHS addresses the issue of enforcement of the Act on tribal lands where the state is administering the TANF program by stating:

We reiterate that we are not extending the requirements to tribal TANF programs. We agree that Congress did not apply these requirements to TANF assistance administered by a tribal TANF program. However, states do have a responsibility to develop appropriate policies for preventing TANF cash assistance administered by state programs from being used at any of the three types of businesses, including those located on tribal land, to the extent practicable. As we stated in the NPRM, we encourage states to work with tribes to try to prevent state TANF assistance from being used at the prohibited locations on sovereign tribal land. We would consider it sufficient for states to provide notice to recipients that the prohibition of use extends to tribal lands."

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Adopts Updated Native American Policy; Additional Alaska-Specific Chapter to be Developed," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-013, February 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-013, reported, "On January 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced the adoption of an updated Native American Policy (Policy). 81 Fed. Reg. 4638. The Policy provides a framework for government-to-government relationships which furthers the trust responsibility of the United States and the Department of the Interior to Indian tribes, with particular reference to the protection, conservation, and use of tribal reserved, treaty guaranteed, and statutorily identified resources. As stated in the FEDERAL REGISTER notice (Notice), the Policy "recognizes the sovereignty of federally recognized tribes; states that the Service will work on a government-to-government basis with tribal governments; and includes guidance on co-management, access to and use of cultural resources, capacity development, law enforcement, and education."

The Policy was released as Chapter 1 of Part 510 of the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual. The Notice does not include the text of the Policy, but, rather, says that it can be downloaded from www.fws.gov/policy/510fw1.html. The Notice provides background on the development of the Policy and discusses changes that were made in response to comments from tribes and others after a draft was made available on August 3, 2015. In addition, the Policy includes three exhibits: (1) definitions; (2) responsibilities of FWS employees; and (3) authorities. They can be downloaded from http://www.fws.gov/policy/ (click on "Service Manual" and scroll to part 510). The Notice, Policy, and exhibits are all attached.

Implementation and Training. The Policy does not stand on its own. Rather, the Notice says that, in order to effectively implement the Policy, FWS will develop training for its employees and will update its Tribal Consultation Handbook ( www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/tribal/documents/Tribal_Consultation_Guide_...).

Development of an Alaska-Specific Chapter. While the Policy applies to all federally recognized tribes, including those in Alaska, FWS will also develop an Alaska Regional Native American Policy as a separate chapter for the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual to address issues unique to Alaska.

Highlights by Section. The Policy addresses a number of important issues, only a few of which are noted in this memorandum. In section 2, Sovereignty and Government-to-Government Relations, in response to comments from some tribes that have delegated some authority to inter-tribal agencies, FWS added a sentence stating that FWS "will consult with inter-tribal organizations to the degree that tribes have authorized such an organization to consult on the tribe's behalf." In section 3, Communications and Relationships, in addition to using the "best available scientific and commercial data," FWS will "solicit and consider information, traditional knowledge, and expertise of affected tribal governments." In response to comments raising concerns about the sensitivity of information relating to cultural practices and locations , the Policy acknowledges the constraints of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and says that FWS "will work collaboratively with tribal governments to protect and prevent disclosure of confidential or sensitive information to the extent allowable by law." Section 5 of the Policy, Culture and Religion, which contains similar language regarding cultural resources and sacred sites, incorporates text from the exemption from disclosure authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act if disclosure may cause a significant invasion of privacy, risk harm to an historic property, or impede the use of a traditional religious site by practitioners. For this exemption from disclosure to apply, the place at issue must be an historic property, i.e., listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Places that have ongoing cultural importance for a tribe may be eligible for the National Register as traditional cultural properties.

Section 4, Resource Management, includes a reference to Secretarial Order 3206 regarding the Endangered Species Act and says that, when designating critical habitat, FWS will always consider exclusion of tribal lands. This section also expresses support for co-management of fish and wildlife resources "where there is a legal basis" for it. The Notice, however, says, "Congress has not given us authority to give tribes management authority over Service lands. Management of Service lands is an inherently federal function." Section 5, Culture and Religion, says FWS " will work in collaboration with tribal governments to protect traditional, customary, ceremonial, medicinal, spiritual, and religious uses of plants and animals for tribal members where it is not contrary to our legal mandates and conservation goals." The Notice adds that, with respect to federal laws protecting birds, the federal priority is to prosecute violators engaged in commercial activities.

Section 6, Law Enforcement, expresses support for cooperative law enforcement, saying that FWS law enforcement officers "should cooperate with tribal governments, including tribal law enforcement, to enforce Federal or tribal laws and regulations pertaining to fish, wildlife, or cultural resources." In section 7, Tribal Capacity Building, Assistance, and Funding, FWS offers to provide technical assistance to tribes "as resources and priorities allow," including working with tribes to develop and conduct joint training programs. Section 8, Implementation and Monitoring, states the intent to develop national and regional implementation plans, and to form national and regional teams with FWS and tribal representatives to carry out such plans."

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In the Courts



The U.S. Supreme Court



"Supreme Court Rules the Omaha Indian Reservation was not Diminished," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-024, March 25, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-024, reported, "On March 22, 2016, in Nebraska v. Parker, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held that Congress did not diminish the Omaha Indian Reservation when it adopted a 'surplus property' Act in 1882. The 1882 Act empowered the Secretary of the Interior "to cause to be surveyed, if necessary, and sold" more than 50,000 acres of the Omaha Reservation. Once the land was appraised "in tracts of forty acres each" the Secretary was 'to issue [a] proclamation' that the '"lands are open for settlement under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe.' The proceeds from any land sales were to 'be placed to the credit of said Indians in the Treasury of the United States."' The townsite for the village of Pender was platted from land sold under the 1882 Act.

The case began in 2006 when the Omaha Tribe sought to assert jurisdiction over the village of Pender through its newly amended Beverage Control Ordinance ('BCO"'). Federal law permits the Tribe to regulate liquor sales on its reservation or Indian Country. The BCO requires retailers to obtain a tribal liquor license and imposes a 10 percent sales tax on liquor sales. Nonmembers who are not in compliance are subject to a $10,000 fine. The village of Pender and various retailers brought suit alleging that they were neither within the boundaries of the Omaha Reservation nor in Indian Country, and therefore not bound by the BCO, essentially arguing that the 1882 surplus property Act diminished the Omaha Reservation and vested jurisdiction with the State in that section.

The framework to determine whether Congress has diminished an Indian reservation when it opened it for non-Indian settlement is 'well settled,' said the Court. 'Only Congress can divest a reservation of its land and diminish its boundaries, and its intent to do so must be clear.' The Court has developed a three part test in such cases.

First, looking at the plain language of the 1882 Act, the Court found none of the hallmarks of diminishment. Of importance was the fact the Act opened the lands for settlement under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior might prescribe. The Court found the 1882 land Act merely opened reservation land to settlement. This scheme allowed non-Indian settlers to own land on the reservation, but that alone does not show that Congress intended to diminish the reservation's boundaries.

Second, looking at the historical evidence presented by both sides the Court was not able to overcome the lack of clear language that Congress intended to diminish the reservation. Floor statements were introduced which painted opposing pictures of what Congress intended with the 1882 Act. The Court found such dueling remarks from individual legislators far from the clear and plain evidence of diminishment that is required. The Court was unable to find any statements that would unequivocally support a finding that the existing boundaries of the reservation would be diminished.

Finally, the Court considered both the subsequent demographic history of the land in question and the federal government's treatment of the affected areas in the years immediately following its opening. The Court stressed that this evidence might reinforce a finding of diminishment or non-diminishment, but has never relied solely on this consideration to find diminishment. The facts that (1) the Tribe was essentially "absent" from the disputed territory for more than 120 years and did not enforce any laws, and (2) reports from the Office of Indian Affairs and other governmental officials that the disputed lands fell under the jurisdiction of Nebraska were not enough to overcome the conclusion that Congress did not intend to diminish the reservation.

The Court did find the 'justifiable expectations' of the almost exclusively non-Indian settlers who live on the land an important factor, but reiterated that only Congress has the power to diminish the reservation. In closing, the Court made the significant observation that the door was still open as to whether other equitable considerations may curtail the Tribe's power to tax the retailers of Pender, 'in light of the Tribe's century-long absence from the disputed lands,' citing the Sherrill case (2005). This consideration could also affect other reservations where the courts have already held they remained intact after Congress opened them to non-Indian settlement."



"Supreme Court Issues Decision in Menominee Indian Tribe v. United States," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-011, January 28, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-011, reported, "On January 25, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin v. United States. In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court upheld the D.C. Circuit's ruling that the statute of limitations on the Tribe's 1996-1998 contract support cost claims against the Indian Health Service (IHS) was not equitably tolled, and therefore the Tribe's claims were filed too late under the Indian Self-Determination Act and the Contract Disputes Act (ISDEAA).

The case has a complicated factual background, which is only briefly summarized here. Before the federal government's liability for full payment of contract support costs under the ISDEAA had been clearly established by the courts, the Menominee Tribe chose to rely on class action litigation filed against the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service to advance its contract support cost claims against those agencies. The class action litigation against the Bureau of Indian Affairs was successfully certified, despite the federal government's objection that many of the tribal class members (including Menominee) had not filed individual administrative claims, as required by the Contract Disputes Act. The case proceeded as a class action, and resulted in a series of settlement payments to class members.

Later, class certification in the class action against the Indian Health Service was denied, and the Tribe realized that it would most likely have to pursue its claims by filing them individually with the agency. However, the Tribe believed that the six-year statute of limitations for filing its claims had been tolled (suspended) during the pendency of the proposed class action, under a legal doctrine known as 'class action tolling.' It was only years later, and well after the Tribe had filed its claims in 2005 that the courts determined the Tribe was not eligible for class action tolling because it should have filed its individual claims first in order to participate in the class action. This ruling was contrary to the court's decisions and the Tribe's experience in the parallel class action against the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in which all short-funded tribes were allowed to participate regardless of whether they had filed individual claims at an earlier date or not.

The Tribe then argued that the statute of limitations on its claims should be equitably tolled in light of the extraordinary facts of the Tribe's case and its reasonable reliance on the class action litigation. Equitable relief is generally designed to allow courts to make exceptions to strict legal rules in the interest of fairness, though the standard for equitable tolling is stringent: parties seeking equitable tolling must establish (1) that they were reasonably diligent in pursuing their claims and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in the way of timely filing.

In a case involving facts very similar to the Tribe's, the Federal Circuit ruled that the Arctic Slope Native Association met the standard for equitable tolling. The Federal Circuit in that case found that the backdrop of the long-running contract support cost litigation against the federal government and the existence of the prior, identical class action against the Bureau of Indian Affairs constituted extraordinary circumstances, and that in light of those circumstances the Arctic Slope Native Association reasonably and diligently relied on the class action litigation, thus excusing its tardy filing of administrative claims. Finally, the Federal Circuit held that the special trust relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes weighed in favor of tolling the statute of limitations so that the claims could proceed.

The D.C. Circuit disagreed with the Federal Circuit's analysis, and ruled against the Menominee Tribe. In its decision, the Supreme Court sided with the D.C. Circuit. First, the Court held that the two prongs of the equitable tolling test–diligence and extraordinary circumstances–are two distinct elements that must be satisfied separately, not factors to be weighed with or against each other. Accordingly, the Supreme Court held that the D.C. Circuit did not err in failing to consider the Tribe's diligence once it determined that there were no extraordinary circumstances in the Tribe's case. Second, the Court disagreed with the Tribe's argument the D.C. Circuit interpreted the "extraordinary circumstances" requirement too strictly in requiring the Tribe to show some "external obstacle" that made it impossible to file the claims at an earlier time. The Supreme Court determined that the D.C. Circuit's formulation of the test–which differed substantially from the Federal Circuit's more holistic approach–correctly reflected the requirement that a litigant seeking equitable tolling show that some extraordinary circumstance "stood in his way" and was "outside of his control." The Court held that the circumstances faced by the Tribe did not meet this standard because the Tribe's reliance on the Ramah and Cherokee Nation class action lawsuits in deciding whether and when to file individual administrative claims was not something beyond the Tribe's control. The Supreme Court did not address the Federal Circuit's reasoning, which led to a different result.

Finally, the Supreme Court declined to consider the trust relationship between the federal government and the Tribe as a special factor in the case. Though the Court acknowledged the general trust relationship, it held that the general relationship could not overcome the specific statutory requirement in the Indian Self-Determination Act and the Contract Disputes Act that contract claims must be filed within six years of accrual."



Suzette Brewer, "Breaking: Scotus Overturns Ninth Circuit, Upholds Tribal Court Convictions," ICTMN, June 13,2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/06/13/breaking-scotus-overturns-ninth-circuit-upholds-tribal-court-convictions-164779, reported, "In a historic victory for tribal jurisprudence, the United States Supreme Court today ruled that prior uncounseled tribal court convictions used in subsequent criminal cases does not violate the Constitution when the proceedings were in compliance with the Indian Civil Rights Act. The unanimous decision in U.S. v. Bryant, which was delivered by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reversed a Ninth Circuit Court decision which held that using uncounseled tribal court convictions was "unconstitutionally impermissible."

In plain English, today's decision makes it possible for federal prosecutors to establish 'habitual offender' status in domestic violence cases for enhanced sentencing under federal statute.

Noting that this case 'is illustrative of the domestic violence problem existing in Indian country,' Justice Ginsburg pointed out that Native women suffer the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, along with high rates of recidivism by their abusers.

'States are unable or unwilling to fill the enforcement gap. Most States lack jurisdiction over crimes committed in Indian country against Indian victims,' wrote Ginsburg. '...Even when capable of exercising jurisdiction, however, States have not devoted their limited criminal justice resources to crimes committed in Indian country.' It is a disparity, she said, which must be addressed by the federal government.

This case arose when Michael Bryant Jr., who was convicted in federal court for assaults on two women, appealed his conviction in the Ninth Circuit on the basis that he didn't have a lawyer in the cases that resulted in his tribal court convictions. Bryant was found eligible by the U.S. Attorney for "habitual offender" status and was sentenced to 46 months on each count in federal prison.

Bryant is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, having pled guilty to charges of domestic abuse in at least five cases in tribal court. Bryant's lawyers argued that using his prior misdemeanor convictions to prove 'habitual offender' status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) violated the Fifth and Sixth Amendment under the Constitution.

In an 8-0 decision, the court ruled that the Sixth Amendment does not apply because, '[as] separate sovereigns pre-existing the Constitution, tribes have historically been regarded as unconstrained by those constitutional provisions framed specifically as limitations on federal or state authority.'"

" Nebraska v. Parker a Win for Omaha Tribe & Indian Country, ICTMN, March 24, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/24/nebraska-v-parker-win-omaha-tribe-indian-country-163900 "'The Supreme Court's decision in Nebraska v. Parker is a huge win for Indian country.'

That was the statement from Tim Purdon, partner at Robins Kaplan LLP and former United States Attorney General for the District of North Dakota, following the unanimous decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas on March 22 that was in favor of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska.

The decision ruled that an 1882 Act of Congress did not diminish the tribe's reservation and upholds the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit."

"The case originally arose in 2004 following the tribe's enactment of an alcohol beverage control ordinance regulating and taxing the sale of alcohol within the boundaries of its reservation as reported by ICTMN yesterday. When the tribe proceeded to notify the seven liquor stores located in the town of Pender that they would have to pay tribal licensing fees and a 10 percent liquor tax to continue to operate, the town and liquor stores sued the tribe in federal court in 2007."



Suzette Brewer, "Supreme Court Denies Review In Ute Tribe v. Utah Case," ICTMN, March 29, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/29/supreme-court-denies-review-ute-tribe-v-utah-case-163938, reported, "On March 22 the U. S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review in Ute Tribe v. Utah, a case involving jurisdictional boundaries in prosecuting tribal members in state courts that has been in litigation for over two decades.

In refusing to review the case, the court has reaffirmed three lower court rulings made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, all of which held that the tribe's Uintah and Ouray ("U&O") Reservation included both the lands of the Uncompahgre Reservation and the national forest lands located within the tribe's original reservation boundaries.

The current litigation stems from two federal lawsuits filed by the tribe in April 2013, seeking to enjoin the State of Utah and its counties from prosecuting tribal members through Utah state courts for alleged violations of Utah state law committed by Indians within the boundaries of the tribe's reservation."



The U.S. Supreme Court, in January 2016 , declined to hear an appeal, letting stand the circuit court ruling that under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), that a California tribe had the right to repatriate 9000 year old remains of a man and a woman found on state property near San Diego in 1976 that archeologists wished to continue to study ( Cynthia Coleman Emery, "Landmark Judgment Returns Bones to Tribe," ICTMN, May 15, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/15/landmark-judgment-returns-bones-tribe).



Lower Federal Courts



"Ninth Circuit Directs District Court to Hear Navajo Nation Claim for Native Human Remains Excavated from Canyon de Chelly," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-026, April 15, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-026, reported, "On April 6, 2016, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Navajo Nation v. U.S. Department of the Interior, a case in which the Navajo Nation seeks to have the National Park Service (NPS) return 303 sets of human remains and associated funerary objects that NPS removed from Canyon de Chelly National Monument during the period from 1931 to 1990. While the case involves issues relating to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the Circuit Court's opinion is limited to a holding that the District Court erred in dismissing the Navajo Nation's claim that NAGPRA does not apply. The Navajo Nation asserts that it is the lawful owner of the remains and funerary objects based on the Nation's recognized ownership of the land from which the remains and objects were removed. The Circuit Court did not address the merits of this claim. Rather, holding that the threshold decision by NPS to treat the remains and objects as subject to NAGPRA foreclosed the Navajo Nation's claim and, as such, constituted final agency action for purposes of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Circuit Court remanded the case to the District Court.

Canyon de Chelly is located within the boundaries of the Navajo Reservation established by treaty in 1868. The National Monument was created in 1931 by an act of Congress which expressly states that the legislation shall not be "construed as in any way impairing the right, title, and interest of the Navajo Tribe" in the lands within the Monument. 16 U.S.C. §§ 445, 445a. After 1931, NPS excavated and removed some 297 sets of human remains and funerary objects without consent of the Navajo Nation. At that time, the statutory authority for such excavations was the Antiquities Act of 1906, which did not expressly require tribal consent. With the enactment of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) of 1979, tribal consent for archaeological excavations on tribal land became a legal requirement. Six more sets of human remains were excavated after the enactment of ARPA, from sites threatened by erosion. The Navajo Nation asserts that tribal consent was conditioned on NPS agreeing to immediate reinterment; NPS denies that it agreed to reinterment.

With the enactment of NAGPRA in 1990, NPS became subject to its requirement to conduct an inventory of the Native American human remains and funerary objects in its collections, and to repatriate such remains and items to known lineal descendants and culturally affiliated tribes. 25 U.S.C. §§ 3003, 3005. In the mid-1990s, NPS began an inventory of the remains and objects removed from Canyon de Chelly. In addition to the Navajo Nation, NPS also consulted with the Hopi Tribe and Zuni Pueblo, as ancestors of both tribes had lived in Canyon de Chelly from roughly 750 A.D. until the 1600s.

In 1996, the Navajo Nation asked NPS to stop the inventory process and return the remains and objects. The Nation asserted that the inventory and repatriation provisions of NAGPRA only apply to remains and objects that are lawfully within the possession and control of NPS, and that NPS does not have the legal possession and control because the remains and objects are the property of the Navajo Nation and were illegally removed from Canyon de Chelly. NPS declined the request, relying on advice that NPS had informally received from the Department of the Interior Solicitor's Office. After many years, by letter dated September 7, 2011, NPS provided a written response denying the Navajo Nation's demands. The Navajo Nation sued, seeking a court order to return the remains and objects.

The District Court dismissed the claim, ruling that it was precluded by the federal government's sovereign immunity. The Ninth Circuit panel reversed, ruling that the September 7, 2011, letter constituted final agency action by NPS, and, as such, the waiver of federal sovereign immunity in the APA applies. The court reasoned that the threshold decision by NPS to apply NAGPRA had, in effect, determined the Navajo Nation's legal rights in the remains and objects.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Ikuta disagreed with the majority's finding final agency action in the September 2011 letter. The dissent argued that final agency action will not occur until NPS completes the repatriation process prescribed in the regulations implementing NAGPRA.

The case does not implicate the graves protection provisions of NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. § 3002, since the excavations occurred prior to 1990. Under those provisions, for Native American human remains and associated funerary objects excavated or discovered on tribal lands, if there are no known lineal descendants, the right of ownership or control is with the tribe 'on whose tribal land the objects or remains were discovered."' Under the definition of 'tribal land' in NAGPRA, Canyon de Chelly is tribal land of the Navajo Nation".



Sara Weber, "Court Rejects Latest Challenge to Tohono O'odham's Glendale Casino, ICTMN, March 31, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/31/court-rejects-latest-challenge-tohono-oodhams-glendale-casino-163977, reported, "A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected the latest in a long line of challenges to the Tohono O'odham casino that opened in Glendale in December.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court was right to reject challenges to the Desert Diamond West Valley Resort and Casino raised by the state of Arizona and by the Gila River and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian communities.

The courts said the language of the law was clear – the Tohono O'odham have a right to run a casino on property they bought in Glendale that is now considered tribal land."



"9th Circuit Sides in Favor of NIGC, Jamul Indian Village," ICTMN, June, 13, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/06/13/9th-circuit-sides-favor-nigc-jamul-indian-village-164778 , reported, " A summer debut is on schedule for the Hollywood Casino Jamul on the Jamul Indian Village in California near San Diego, thanks to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against opponents and in favor of the National Indian Gaming Commission's (NIGC) approval of the tribal gaming ordinance.

The three-judge panel unanimously agreed the NIGC was not required to complete an environmental impact statement – a process that could take years to resolve under the National Environmental Policy Act – before approving the gaming ordinance, because there is only a 90-day window for ordinance approval. Insisting upon an EIS would create an "irreconcilable conflict" with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the court determined.

'There is no question that it would be impossible for NIGC to prepare an EIS in the ninety days it has to approve a gaming ordinance," Jamul Action Committee v. Jonodev Chaudhuri (Chairman of the NIGC) Judge Morgan Christen wrote in the 16-page decision, reported WorldCasinoDirectory.com."



"District Court Issues Decision in Maniilaq Association v. Burwell," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-023, March 24, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-023, reported, "On March 22, 2016 , Judge John D. Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued the attached memorandum opinion and order in Maniilaq Association v. Burwell, No. 15-152 (D.D.C.) ("Maniilaq II"), ordering the Indian Health Service (IHS) to negotiate lease compensation under Section 105(l) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) and implementing regulations for a proposed lease of Maniilaq Association's clinic facility in Kivalina, Alaska. The ruling vacates the IHS's denial of the proposed lease on the grounds that the compensation requested by Maniilaq Association, which was based on specific criteria set out in the Section 105(l) implementing regulations, exceeded the amount to which Maniilaq Association is entitled under the ISDEAA.

The case is a sequel of sorts to the 2014 decision in Maniilaq Association v. Burwell, 72 F. Supp. 3d 227 (D.D.C. 2014) ("Maniilaq I"), in which the district court held that a similar proposed lease for Maniilaq Association's clinic facility in Ambler, Alaska was awarded as a matter of law when the IHS failed to respond to the lease proposal within the mandatory time period for ISDEAA Title V final offers. That case established that a Section 105(l) lease may be incorporated into an ISDEAA funding agreement and submitted as a final offer–a fact the IHS had disputed–but did not reach the question of whether Section 105(l) and its implementing regulations require the IHS to compensate for a Section 105(l) lease according to any specific criteria.

Maniilaq II squarely raised the question of lease compensation for the district court to decide. Section 105(l)(2) requires that the Secretary "shall compensate" an Indian tribe or tribal organization for a lease entered pursuant to that section, and states that such compensation "may include rent, depreciation based on the useful life of the facility, principal and interest paid or accrued, operation and maintenance expenses, and such other reasonable expenses that the Secretary determines, by regulation, to be allowable." The Secretary's implementing regulations at 25 C.F.R. §§ 900.69-900.74 provide that "[t]here are three options available" for a tribe or tribal organization to choose from when proposing lease compensation: (1) fair market rental; (2) a combination of fair market rental and specific cost elements listed in the regulations (including depreciation, operation and maintenance, and other costs); or (3) the regulatory cost elements only.

Maniilaq Association had proposed lease compensation based on the third option (the regulatory cost elements) for its proposed lease of the Kivalina facility. Maniilaq Association took the position that the IHS may deny duplicative or unreasonable costs, or costs that do not meet the regulatory criteria, but is otherwise bound by the regulations to provide lease compensation based on the listed cost elements. The IHS, on the other hand, argued that the cost elements and other compensation options specified in the regulations are discretionary, and that the IHS is therefore free to limit lease compensation based on other factors if it so chooses. For Maniilaq, the IHS sought to limit the lease compensation to the Section 106(a)(1) program amount that Maniilaq historically received for a Village Built Clinic Lease/Construction program in Kivalina through its ISDEAA funding agreement. That amount, in turn, was based on the amount the IHS historically paid to lease clinic space from the Village of Kivalina using a "full service lease" under discretionary leasing authority with no statutory or regulatory compensation requirements.

Judge Bates closely reviewed the statutory and regulatory language and found that they were ambiguous. He decided, however, that "Maniilaq offers a reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute and its ambiguous regulations." He continued, "Because the Secretary has not shown that her alternative reading is compelled by those sources, the Court will–as it must–construe the ambiguity in Maniilaq's favor." In so ruling, Judge Bates relied on the Indian law principle of interpretation–which is explicitly required by the ISDEAA as well as its implementing regulations–that ambiguities in statutes or regulations benefitting Indian tribes must be resolved in favor of the tribes. Judge Bates also noted that the IHS's argument had significant gaps and did not adequately explain the compensation requirement in Section 105(l).

Noting that negotiations between the parties had broken down as a result of their conflicting legal positions, Judge Bates ordered the parties to resume negotiations consistent with his opinion on the meaning of the regulatory requirements. It remains to be seen whether the IHS will seek to appeal the ruling, but if it stands Judge Bates' opinion has significant implications for tribes and tribal organizations seeking to enter into fully compensated Section 105(l) leases for Village Built Clinics and other facilities used to carry out ISDEAA contracts and compacts in Alaska and throughout the country."



"U.S. District Court Orders Tribal Council to Produce Tribal Documents, Says Tribe Waived Immunity through ISDEAA Contract," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-014, February 5, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-014, reported, "On February 2, 2016, a Montana federal judge ordered the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council and its members to respond to subpoenas and produce tribal government documents related to the Community's Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) contract with the Department of Interior (DOI). U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said that the Council waived its sovereign immunity by entering into the ISDEAA contract, because the ISDEAA contract effectively made the Council members federal officials subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

The ongoing, underlying case, Terryl T. Matt v. United States of America, was filed by an individual tribal member against the federal government. The complaint alleges that DOI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), working with tribal officials, built a road on the plaintiff's property without authorization, causing damage to the plaintiff's property in violation of the FTCA. The subpoenas to the Council requested tribal documents related to road construction and maintenance, rights-of-way, and applications for funding of tribal projects.

The Council argued that it did not waive its sovereign immunity to release the documents sought by the plaintiff, and did not authorize Council members to respond to subpoenas. The Council further argued that its sovereign immunity has been recognized under Ninth Circuit precedent quashing subpoenas of tribal officials to compel production of tribal documents. Although Judge Morris previously agreed with the Council and quashed the subpoenas, he reversed course upon receiving information that an ISDEAA contract was in effect during the time of the alleged events under the complaint. Judge Morris said that the Council opened itself up to the subpoenas by entering into the ISDEAA contract, which effectively made the Council members federal officials.

Section 314 of Public Law 101-512 deems Indian tribes and tribal organizations and their employees to be part of the BIA for purposes of FTCA coverage for claims arising from carrying out an ISDEAA agreement. However, section 314 also deems any civil action or claim brought against a tribe to be an action or claim against the United States. That makes the United States the exclusive defendant for FTCA claims. Thus, the tribe's sovereign immunity from suit should not have been an issue in this case because section 314 deems this case to be a suit against the United States, not the tribe."



"Federal Court Dismisses Case Seeking to Protect Intertribal Health Organization from State Agency Investigations." Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-019, February 26, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-019, reported, "On February 23, 2016, Judge Tory Nunley in the Eastern District Court for California dismissed a case seeking to insulate an intertribal health organization from on-going investigations by two California labor and employment agencies. The suit, filed by United Indian Health Services (UIHS), asserted that the District Court should step in to prevent California's Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) from investigating the retaliation claims of two terminated employees' initiated under the agencies' state law-based processes.

UIHS claimed that the investigations, which carried threats of financial penalties and had sought information via subpoenas, were improper, as neither the DFEH nor the DLSE had authority over intertribal organizations like UIHS. UIHS also claimed that participation with the investigations carried a threat to its immunity from suit that stemmed from its status as an intertribal organization under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) and as a tribally run business (i.e., an "arm" of its member tribes).

The Court did not reach the question of whether the state agencies had jurisdiction over UIHS, but said instead that UIHS' claim of a threat to its sovereign immunity was too remote as the agencies had not sued UIHS or otherwise attempted to enforce any penalties against the organization. The Court held that a mere investigation did not rise to the level of a "case or controversy" required to give plaintiffs in federal court "standing" to sue. Accordingly, the Court held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. The Court stated that the fact UIHS would incur financial costs to participate in the investigation or respond to question was not an injury sufficient to give rise to standing.

The case highlights the tension of how far state agencies can go in pursuing their investigations, even if when the law generally points to the idea that the states cannot enforce penalties against tribes and tribal organizations like UIHS. See, Pink v. Modoc Indian Health Project, 157 F.3d 1185, 1187 & 1187 n.1 (9th Cir. 1998); Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd., 60 Cal. App. 4th 384, 388 (Board did not have jurisdiction over a tribe for purposes of enforcing state law)."



U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby, two months after finding that the San Juan County Utah School Board Districts violated the Federal Voting Rights Act, in denying American Indian citizens equal representation and ordering a redistricting, Judge Shelby, in late February 2016, ruled that the San Juan County Commission voting districts were similarly flawed, as 93 percent of Navajo residents, who are a slight majority in the county, were placed in one of three voting districts (Cindy Yurth, "Judge finds SJC's new voting districts unconstitutional," Navajo Times, February 25, 2016).



On March 27, 2015, in a case supported by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), the Federal District Court for the Central District of California ruled in Agua Caliejnte v. Coachella Valley (CA) Water District, et al that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians had senior water rights in the Coachilla valley, with a ground water source available to fulfill that right, and enjoined the Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency from further injuring the tribe, its members and residents in the surrounding communities in the valley by impairing the quality and quality of the water in the aquifer. However, the court denied the Tribe's summary motion on its claim for aboriginal title to groundwater (NARF Casefile No: 0190127).



Tanya H. Lee, "$380 Million More to Benefit Farmers, Ranchers in Keepseagle Compromise," ICTMN, May 2, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/02/380-million-more-benefit-farmers-ranchers-keepseagle-compromise-164327, reported, " U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on April 20 approved the creation of a $265-million Native American-controlled trust to benefit AI/AN farmers and ranchers, the largest such trust ever created. The money is left over from the fund set up by Congress in 2011 to settle claims of discrimination by the the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Native American food producers."

"By 2013, when all of the funds should have been dispersed, there had been only 3,587 successful Track A claimants whose awards came to $224,187,500 (copy79,350,000 in direct payments to class members and $44,837,500 in payments to the IRS) and only 14 successful Track B claimants whose awards totaled $3,364,647, leaving $380 million in undispersed funds."

"The Keepseagles and other class members went back to court and asked that another period of time be allowed for claimants to come forward, but the judge said that given the terms of the 2011 settlement agreement, which included the 180-day limit for claims to be filed, he could not do that. Nor, he said, could he accede to the request that the $380 million in excess funds be distributed to the claimants who had been successful in their original claims, again because the original settlement agreement specified the maximum amount that those claimants could receive.

The government threatened to take back the $380 million if the class members persisted in their request for further payment. The judge sent everyone back to the negotiating table to find a solution.

The compromise, which is what the judge approved on April 20, gives each of the prevailing claimants an additional $21,275 in payments (copy8,500 in direct payments and $2,775 to the IRS as tax relief payments), puts aside $38 million to be distributed to nonprofits chosen by class counsel and orders that the remaining $265 million capitalize the Native American Agriculture Fund, a trust that over the next 20 years will make awards to nonprofits, including tribal colleges and CDFIs that serve AI/AN farmers and ranchers."



U.S. District Judge Bruce Black gave the Navajo Nation an initial victory in Navajo Nation v. Urban Outfitters, contending that Urban Outfitters violated Navajo Nation Rights by using "Navajo" on some of its products without permission (and with out paying any royalty), in ruling, March 31, 2016, that the Navajo Nation had not unreasonably delayed asserting its rights since 2001, as Urban Outfitters claimed, opening the possibility that the firm may be liable for millions of dollars in royalties and penalties (Steve Russell, "Huge Navajo Win for All Tribes: Exploiters of Tribal Names Slapped Down," ICTMN, April 8, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/08/huge-navajo-win-all-tribes-exploiters-tribal-names-slapped-down-164079).

However, in May, Judge Black ruled that the name "Navajo" was not sufficiently famous to warrant trade mark protection, leading to dismissal of two of the the counts in the case. Six other counts remain, concerning claims of trade mark infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, and violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (Alysa Landry, "Navajo does not meet legal definition of 'famous' in Urban Outfitters case, judge rules," Navajo Times, May 26, 2016).



A $940 million settlement of the class action settlement between the Obama administration and American Indian tribes over claims the government failed to pay all that was required to tribes on contracts to manage education, law enforcement and other federal services, was approved by a Federal District Court judge in Albuquerque, in late November, 2016. Nearly 700 tribes or tribal agencies are expecting compensation is expected by almost 700 Indian nations, ranging from about $8,000 for some Alaska Native villages and communities elsewhere to $58 million for the Navajo Nation. Some of the underfunded federal contracts in the case extend back to the 1970s ("New Mexico: Judge Signs Off on $1 Billion for Tribes," The New York Times, February 24, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/us/new-mexico-judge-signs-off-on-1-billion-for-tribes.html?ref=todayspaper).



David Rooks , "Rosebud Sioux Tribe Files Lawsuit Against IHS, Attorney Says ER Shutdown Illegal," ICTMN, May 2, 2016, reported, "A lawsuit filed on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe last Thursday asks 'the federal court to step in and exercise some control over the dysfunctional IHS (Indian Health Service) emergency room on the Rosebud Reservation.'

Tim Purdon, of Robins Kaplan LLP, the firm representing the tribe, said, 'The filing of this case is necessary because IHS has been unable to solve this problem, at grave cost to the vulnerable, rural population of the Rosebud Reservation.' Purdon also said his firm has taken the case pro bono.

The Indian Health Service hospital located in the town of Rosebud announced the Emergency Room would be shut down on December 5, 2015 with a Notice of Intent to Terminate its Medicare Provider agreement on November 23.

The Notice stated: 'deficiencies identified in a recent [Center for Medicare Services] survey were serious enough to constitute an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of any individual who comes to the hospital to receive emergency services." All ambulances were directed to send emergency patients to the nearest medical facility in Winner, South Dakota; Valentine, Nebraska; or Martin, South Dakota.'"



Suzette Brewer, "CWA: Victory for Tribes as Judge Reaffirms South Dakota Decision," ICTMN, February 22, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/22/icwa-victory-tribes-judge-reaffirms-south-dakota-decision-163496, reported, " Citing a "fundamental lack of competence," a federal judge on Friday, February 19 denied South Dakota's motion to reconsider an earlier decision, which found the state violated the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and denied Indian parents their Constitutional rights. In March 2015, Judge Jeffrey Viken issued a partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Luann Van Hunnik regarding emergency removal hearings, also known as "48-hour hearings," in Pennington County, South Dakota."

"Goldwater Institute Litigation Challenge to the Constitutionality of ICWA," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 16-009, January 25, 2016, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-16-009, reported, "Introduction. On July 7, 2015, the Goldwater Institute initiated Carter et al. v. Washburn in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Department of the Interior's 2015 implementing guidelines. Among other claims, the suit alleges ICWA violates the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment Equal Protection Clause because it is impermissibly race-based.

Constitutional Threat. By arguing that ICWA is an impermissible race-based law, and therefore unconstitutional, the Goldwater Institute is not only attacking the legitimacy of ICWA alone, but also of a number of other Indian statutes that enshrine the federal government's trust responsibility to tribes, which is based on a political relationship, not a racial one. If ICWA were found to be unconstitutionally race-based, that holding would open the door to challenging whether other Indian statutes treat tribes or Indians differently based on race rather than political status.

This case comes on the heels of the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, in which four anti-tribal briefs argued that ICWA was unconstitutional. The Court noted this argument and expressed concern regarding whether ICWA complies with the Equal Protection Clause. While the Goldwater Institute's suit makes its way through the judicial system, other similar state and federal court cases are also winding their way through the system–threatening an eventual revisit to the Supreme Court.

Background. ICWA applies to children who are members of a tribe and to children eligible for membership whose biological parent is a member of a tribe. Membership eligibility requirements are determined by each tribe, and some tribes require only lineal descent. ICWA dictates certain actions be taken when a Native child is at risk of being removed from his or her home or has been removed from his or her home due to child abuse or neglect allegations. The actions ICWA requires are intended to maintain the Native child's ties to his or her tribe. Thus, ICWA provides for transfer of child welfare proceedings to tribal court. It also requires active efforts be made to prevent breakup of the Native family and a high burden of proof be met before Native children are placed in foster care or parental rights are terminated. Additionally, ICWA creates placement preferences for foster care and adoption that aim to keep the Native child with family or connected to the tribe.

The Goldwater Institute–through a next of friend and foster parents seeking adoption–brought suit on behalf of two children with Native mothers and unknown fathers. The children are either members of or eligible for membership in the Gila River Indian Community and the Navajo Nation. Gila River has indicated its intent to seek transfer of the adoption proceedings from Arizona court to tribal court. Navajo has suggested multiple alternative ICWA-compliant placements, thereby affecting Arizona's ability to deem the Native child cleared for adoption. The Goldwater Institute seeks to certify the suit as a class action on behalf of all children with Indian ancestry living in Arizona outside of Indian country as well as non-Indian foster and adoptive parents living in Arizona outside of Indian country.

The suit asserts that Native children, based on their race alone, face unequal treatment under ICWA that requires them to remain in unsafe homes, delays their permanent placement with adoptive families, and results in removal from foster homes for placement with ICWA-compliant homes unfamiliar to them. The suit argues ICWA is subject to and fails strict scrutiny, thus violating the Equal Protection Clause. According to the suit, the principles articulated in Morton v. Mancari, in which the Supreme Court found the Indian statute at issue was not subject to strict scrutiny because the law was targeted at members of a political entity rather than racial group, do not apply to ICWA because ICWA's application turns on individuals' race alone.

On December 18, 2015, a hearing was held before Judge Neil Wake on the federal government's motion to dismiss the case. He stated that Morton v. Mancari is not sufficient to dispose of the case, but rather there is a boundary beyond which the principles in Morton v. Mancari do not apply. He said that ICWA falls somewhere on the periphery, based in part on his expressed doubt regarding the restrictiveness with which tribes define their membership criteria. Next steps in the case will involve decisions regarding class certification and whether Navajo and Gila River are permitted to intervene."



Anne Minard, "Diné CARE, Environmental Groups Sue Interior Over Navajo Coal Plant," ICTMN, May 5, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/05/dine-care-environmental-groups-sue-interior-over-navajo-coal-mine-164362, reported, " A Navajo environmental group has filed suit over continuing operations at the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant on the eastern Navajo Nation near Farmington, New Mexico.

The suit underscores a longstanding complaint by Navajo activists alleging that the Navajo Nation took on a bad deal in 2013 when it bought the Navajo Mine, which supplies the plant's coal.



The Navajo grassroots group Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment (Diné CARE) filed the complaint on April 20 in federal district court in Arizona, along with the Western Environmental Law Center, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and other groups against the U.S. Department of the Interior and several other federal agencies. The suit claims that Interior failed to adequately consider impacts to air, water, land, people and endangered fish when it approved, in July 2015, a 25-year extension for the 1,540-megawatt plant and thus violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)."

Anne Minard, "DOJ Backs Santa Clara Pueblo in Water Easements Case," ICTMN, Jiune 7, 2016, at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/06/07/doj-backs-santa-clara-pueblo-water-easements-case-164710, reported, "The Department of Justice is suing a small northern New Mexico city for continuing to use expired water and sewer easements that run through Pueblo land.

The DOJ is suing on behalf of the Santa Clara Pueblo, using its authority as trustee under the Indian Right-of-Way Act. The Pueblo and the city of Espanola have intertwined histories, with the city occupying former Pueblo grant lands sold off in the Pueblo Lands Act of 1924. According to a complaint filed in federal district court in New Mexico on May 6, the city has failed to negotiate renewal of rights-of-way that expired in 1994 and 2002, and now its infrastructure is an unwelcome intrusion on the Pueblo."

A group of Navajo and environmental organizations filed a law suit in Federal District Court in New Mexico, in April 2016, opposing the U.S. government's decision to approve expansion of coal operations at the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo mine (Bill Donovan, "Enviro groups sue feds over Four Corners Plant," Navajo Times, April 28, 2016).



Federal Agency Ajudications

The Navajo Nation Housing Authority (NHA), in January 2016, filed an appeal with a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administrative court of a HUD administrative law judge's December 2015 finding that NHA must return $96 million of HUD funds that it did not spend before the deadline for doing so in 2012 (Bill Donovan, "NHA and HUD still fighting over $96 million," Navajo Times, January 14, 2016).



State and Local Courts

Suzette Brewer, "Breaking: California Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Lexi Case," ICTMN, March 30, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/30/breaking-california-supreme-court-denies-appeal-lexi-case-163974, reported, "Today the California Supreme Court denied a petition to reconsider a state appellate court ruling in the case of a 6-year-old Choctaw Nation tribal member who was returned to her relatives last week after a five-year custody battle. On March 21, foster parents Summer and Russell Page ignited a worldwide firestorm of publicity when they initially refused to turn Lexi over to her biological relatives because of their objections to the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law enacted in 1978 to prevent the dissolution of tribal families and communities across the country."

See the court docket here.



"The case began in 2010 when the child's father lost custody of his daughter after he went to jail for selling stolen auto parts, according to court documents. The girl went through several foster homes before being placed with the Pages, who subsequently tried to adopt the girl out of foster care, in spite of repeated warnings that she was not up for adoption and that she had biological family in Utah who wanted to raise her.

In 2014, a California appeals court rejected the Pages' appeal of an order to return the girl to her relatives in Utah, as well as their petition to be recognized as parents with the same rights and legal standing as biological parents. The Utah couple, who also have custody of Lexi's biological half-sister, have had ongoing, lifelong contact with Lexi. According to court documents and the Choctaw Nation, the couple have visited her at their own expense every month and Skyped with her at least once a week. Additionally, Lexi has also visited them for extended stays at their home in Utah numerous times, contradicting the Pages contention that she 'doesn't know them.'"

The record of the case in the Califonia courts is available at: http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search/case/dockets.cfm?dist=0&doc_id=2136924&doc_no=S233315.

Hunting and fishing treaty rights are continuing to come to state and local courts and could advance to federal courts. Tony Morris and Randy Finn, members of the Leach Lake Band of Ojibwe, were arrested for illegal hunting near Blackduck, Minnesota, on November 1, 2015. In Beltrami County Court, in January 2016, the defendants argued that their hunting was permitted by an 1855 treaty, that ceded the land in question to the Unit States. Their case was to return to court March 24.

Meanwhile, four other Ojibwe band members were challenging state requirements that they obtain permits for harvesting wild rice and to fish in the 1855 Ceded Territory. Another case with similar issues arose in 2015 between three Crow tribal members and the State of Wyoming ( Douglas Thompson, "Leech Lake Ojibwe Members Fight for Treaty Rights After Arrest for Harvesting Deer," ICTMN, March 16, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/16/leech-lake-ojibwe-members-fight-treaty-rights-after-arrest-harvesting-deer-163766).



The Hopi Nation and the City of Flagstaff, AZ reached a settlement (still requiring Flagstaff city council approval), in late March 2016, of a case in Arizona Superior Court in Coconino County, AZ, challenging the city's decision to sell reclaimed wastewater to the Arizona Snowbowl ski area for snow making on the San Francisco Peaks (Sacred to several Indian Nations). Under the tentative settlement, the city would build a $1.6 million filtration system for the reclaimed water in question, while the tribe reserved the right to continue to mount legal opposition to snowmaking on the mountain. The Hopi charged in their suit that city's supplying reclaimed water to the Snowbowl violated several Arizona environmental regulations on use of reclaimed water ("Hopi tribe, City of Flagstaff reach settlement in Snowbowl lawsuit," Navajo Times, March 24, 2016).



Tribal Courts

Alysa Landry, "Massive Navajo Corruption Case Winds Down: Last Three Defendants Face Trials," February 19, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/19/massive-navajo-corruption-case-winds-down-last-three-defendants-face-trials-163463, reported, " More than five years after a special prosecutor first brought charges against a staggering number of Navajo leaders accused of misusing the tribe's discretionary funds, three individuals are still facing criminal trials.

A trial for Navajo Nation Council Delegate Mel R. Begay is set for March 14 in district court in Window Rock, Arizona. Begay, who has served as a delegate for 12 years, faces 16 complaints of making or permitting false vouchers. Seven of those complaints allege that between 2006 and 2010, Begay personally authorized at least $33,750 in financial assistance for his six children.

Trials are still pending in the Dilkon, Arizona, district court for former Council delegates Hoskie Kee and Young Jeff Tom.

The three defendants are the last of 15 Council delegates and two tribal employees who faced a total of 140 criminal complaints, said Eric Dahlstrom, special prosecutor for the Navajo Nation. Dahlstrom took over as special prosecutor in 2011 after the tribe failed to renew former prosecutor Alan Balaran's contract."

" The law firm also filed ethics complaints against 12 former Council delegates. The Navajo Office of Hearings and Appeals heard those complaints, which carry no threat of incarceration, but can affect whether individuals are eligible to run for office in the future."

"Fourteen of the 17 criminal cases have gone through the courts, Dahlstrom said. All of them resulted in conviction – either through guilty pleas or pleas of no contest. None of the individuals has been sentenced, though each faces fines and up to one year in jail.

The 17 individuals charged in the criminal cases are accused of taking nearly $850,000 of discretionary funds. Delegates facing ethics charges allegedly took $270,000 – for a total of more than $1.1 million.

The cases broke in the fall of 2010 when Balaran filed criminal charges against 77 of the 88 sitting Council delegates, as well as additional elected and appointed officials and staff members. During the following years, prosecutors continued filing charges against a growing number of individuals, often alleging people conspired together to approve financial payments for families of their colleagues.

A total of 142 people, including Navajo Nation Council delegates, the controller, the attorney general and a former president, were accused of a converting millions of dollars in discretionary funds to personal use. Discretionary funds are those allocated to delegates to provide assistance to citizens with emergency needs, including single parents, elders and families who need burial funds.

The original charges ultimately were dismissed and replaced with civil suits, which went after lawmakers who 'covertly manipulated and converted Navajo, federal and state funds,' in a 'wholesale pattern and practice of corruption.' The theft resulted in a '"disparity of wealth whereby the vast majority of the Nation lives precipitously on the edge of poverty while those in positions of authority have amassed considerable wealth,' the 2011 civil suit states.

After Dahlstrom completed his investigation, he dismissed all of the remaining civil cases and filed criminal charges only when 'the amount of money involved was significant or there was evidence that there was either a misrepresentation or some other wrongdoing by the individual,'"

"Dahlstrom commended the Nation for 'self-policing"' and holding government officials responsible.

'The number of individuals who have publicly taken responsibility for their deeds is evidence that these prosecutions were necessary and important,' he said. 'The Nation has demonstrated to citizens that the government is going to hold officials responsible when they misuse Navajo money.'"



Two Navajos filed a law suit in the Navajo Nation district court at Window Rock, in March 2016, claiming that they had suffered multiple instances of sexual abuse while they were students in a placement program sponsered by the Curch of Jesus Christ of Laterrer Day Saints (Bill Donovan, "Law suit filed on behalf of Navajo children [allegeedly] abused in Morman Placement Program," Navajo Times, March 3, 2016).

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Tribal Government and State and Local Government Developments

The Yakima Nation of Washington has had its criminal and civil law authority returned by the State of Washington, that was taken from the Tribe by federal termination Public Law 83-280, enacted in 1953. Yakima Nation is the second tribe to have its jurisdiction returned to it under a 2012 Washington State law ( Richard Walker, "Civil, Criminal Authority Restored to Yakama Nation, "ICTMN, May 5, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/05/civil-criminal-authority-restored-yakama-nation-164367).



The State of Alaska and the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes signed an agreement, in March 2016, transferring jurisdiction in Tlingit and Haida child welfare cases from the State Office of Child Welfare Services to the tribes (Agreement provides Tlingit, Haida tribes control over child welfare, NFIC, March 2016).



The New Mexico tribal task force against sex trafficking in Indian Country put on a two-day workshop in Albuquerque, in mid-May, bringing together in a training: tribal, federal, and state agency personnel, along with members of Coalition to stop violence Against Native Women, behavioral health specialists and a few private citizens (Colleen Keane, "Tribal task force against sex trafficking mobilizes," Navajo Times, May 19, 2016).



Terri Hansen, "After Long Wait, Treaty Tribes and Washington State Agree on Puget Sound Salmon Fishing," ICTMN, June 10, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/06/10/after-long-wait-treaty-tribes-and-washington-state-agree-puget-sound-salmon-fishing, reported, "After more than a month of overtime negotiations, the treaty tribes in western Washington have reached an agreement with Washington state on the Puget Sound salmon fisheries for the 2016 season.

Jim Unsworth, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said state and tribal fisheries would be greatly reduced this year in Puget Sound because low returns of chinook, chum and coho were expected.

It was the first time state and tribal co-managers could not reach agreement during the annual season-setting process, which concluded in mid-April.

'Cooperative co-management showed us the way' Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, said in a statement.

'Our first priority is to develop fisheries that are consistent with efforts to protect and rebuild wild salmon stocks,' Unsworth said in a statement. 'Reaching an agreement on how to do that proved very challenging this year. Ultimately, we agreed on a package of fisheries that places a priority on conservation while allowing for limited fishing opportunities in Puget Sound.'"



Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota supported a bill in the state legislature that would allow members of the Chippewa tribe with valid tribal identification to harvest wild rice without a license at any state controlled waterway in Minnesota. The tribe contends that its members have that right under an 1855 treaty with the federal government, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has not accepted the Chippewa claim (Steve Karnowski, "Minnesota Governor proposes expanded wild rice rights for Chippewa, NFIC, March 2016).



Richard Walker, "No More Squaw Bay: Name Change Coming, ICTMN, April 26,2016, Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/26/no-more-squaw-bay-name-change-coming-164251, reported, "



A Washington state committee will give final consideration in May to changing the name of Squaw Bay, on Shaw Island, to a Lummi Nation place name for the island.

Many more changes could follow.

Last fall, state Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, worked with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, and a resident to have a lake and creek in Chelan County renamed for a 19th century African-American pioneer. The lake and creek formerly bore a name considered to be offensive.



And in January, Jayapal sent a letter to state Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Peter Goldmark asking that his department review and coordinate the re-naming of places that bear names commonly accepted as ethnically or racially offensive."

The Arizona legislature passed a budget in May that includes funding for a new Department of Economic Services building on the Navajo Nation, at Chinle (providing expanded services); improvement of Navajo/Hopi BIA highway 60 linking the Pinon, Black Mesa, Forest Lake, Tachee/Blue Gap, Whippoorwill, Low Mountain and Polacca Navajo Nation Chapters as well as major facilities on the Hopi Reservation; $250,000 for the Tribal College Duel Credit Program; and $2 million to reimburse American Indian veterans or their survivors who can prove Arizona income tax was illegally withheld from them between 1977 and 2001 (Cindy Yurth, "AZ Legislatures budget includes dollars for rez road, Chinle des," Navajo Times, May 5, 2016).



Amy Morris. "Sacred Items Protected Under Newly Amended Georgia Bill," ICTMN, March 30, 2016, reported, "A Georgia Senate bill (SB 346) which initially gave exemptions to state projects that cost less than copy00 million from conducting cultural resource studies and was titled, the " Environmental Policy Act" was amended March 14, 2016 to protect cultural and historic resources found during transportation construction projects. The original version of bill SB 346 had failed to include protections for undocumented archaeological findings which would have potentially put at risk newly discovered sacred items or burials and this raised many concerns among archaeologists and Native Americans."



Indian nations in Wisconsin helped defeat a bill in the state legislature, AB-620, which would have required tribe, the state historical society, and local land owners seeking protection for burial sites on their property to prove that human remains were in the site, often requiring them to be dug up (Paul DeMain"Tribes bury burial ground desecration bill," NFIC, January 2016).



The Southern Ute and Navajo Nations and the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, in March 2016, announced their Animas and San Juan Spring Run Off Preparedness Plan to monitor during the spring runoff for contamination in the Animas and San Juan Rivers in the wake of the Gold King Mine contaminated water release of August 5, 2015. This is an enhncment of ongoing monitoring sicne the release. eh plan can be fond at: www.southernute-nsn.gov/environmental-programs/waterquality.



The New Mexico Clearinghouse for Native American Suicide Prevention was created by the State of New Mexico in 2011, under SB 417. Also known as Honoring Native American Life, it is based in the University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Community Behavioral Health. It collaborates with the Native American Suicide Prevention Tribal Advisory Council, created in 2013 under SB 447, on suicide prevention measures in: 1. Community capacity building through education and training; 2. community-based program support: through technical assistance and consultation; 3. Education and Mentorship: for youth and college students ("Honoring Native Life Newsletter," No. 1, undated, accessed in June 2016. See also: http://honoringnativelife.org).



Brian Daffron, "Tribal Self-Sufficiency Behind Pokagon and South Bend Agreement," ICTMN, April 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/06/tribal-self-sufficiency-behind-pokagon-and-south-bend-agreement-164047, reported, "On March 22, elected officials with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and the City of South Bend reached an initial agreement on water and sewer services on a 166-acre site owned by the Pokagon Band. Pending approval of a Draft Environment Impact Statement as part of its trust land application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the initial agreement will begin development of the land for 44 homes for tribal members, government services that include a health care clinic and a Class II-level casino."

"Part of the agreement includes monetary payments by the Pokagon Band to the city of South Bend a full 12 months after the casino opens. Although federal law doesn't require the tribe to pay the city, the Pokagon felt it was in their best interest to do so. However, Warren did not disclose any projected revenue that the casino may generate."

David Rooks, "Into the Breach: Rapid City Police Chief Seeks to Heal Fractured Community," ICTMN, March 14, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/14/breach-rapid-city-police-chief-seeks-heal-fractured-community-163748, reported, "On Wednesday, Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris introduced the members of his new community advisory committee to the Rapid City Police Department. The committee's formation, primarily in response to community anger over four officer-involved shootings in recent years, took on greater urgency in the wake of an alleged racial incident at an event in the city's civic center a year ago that sparked a regional firestorm of anger."



"Jegeris tapped Rapid Citian, Vaughn Vargas, a young Si Tanka Lakota and member of the nearby Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, to head the committee. Vargas is an engineering student at Rapid City School of Mines. Other members of the committee include Oliver White, Erik Bringswhite, Eric Whicher, Gary Nelson, Tim Doyle, Anthony Picket-Pin, Jennifer Giroux, Susie DeHart, Kayla Pritchard, Linda Palzkill, Lloyd LaCroix, Beverly Lafferty, Harriet Brings and Thomas Raymond.

The formation of the committee is the latest in a series of initiatives Jegeris hopes will build bridges between Rapid City's sizeable American Indian population and a majority population that has often been characterized as, at best indifferent to its minority members' culture and needs. Jegeris says that, because this lack of understanding did not spring up overnight, it will take large doses of patience, on every side, to overcome it."

"Cambridge, MA Declares Indigenous Peoples' Day," Cultureal Survival, June 7, 2016, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/cambridge-ma-declares-indigenous-peoples-day, reported, "The second Monday in October will now be recognized as Indigenous Peoples' Day in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On Monday, June 6th, 2016, Cambridge City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day in the city of Cambridge, making it the first major city in the northeastern United States to enact this change.

Cambridge joins Berkley, California; Seattle, Washington; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Carrboro, North Carolina; Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the state of Alaska in celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day.

The effort to make this transition has been underway since 1992, which marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage."

Jacqueline Keeler, "Cleveland Bans Baseball Team's Wahoo From Utility Poles," ICTMN, April 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/06/cleveland-bans-baseball-teams-wahoo-utility-poles-164054, rep[orted, "On Monday, the day of the Cleveland Indians' opening game for the new season , Cleveland's city council voted unanimously to pass a city ordinance that will lead to the removal of banners displaying the team's controversial mascot, Chief Wahoo, from the city's public utility poles in the downtown central business area."

The Banks, OR School District and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde were working, in April 2016, to finalize an arrangement under which the schools would maintain their "Braves" team name, but would replace all existing "Braves" logos and mascots with ones designed by the Grand Ronde, and the schools would offer a Confederated Tribes developed Native American history curriculum. The Oregon Department of Education, in January 2016, established rules allowing the 14 high schools in the state that had American Indian mascots to secure permission from Oregon's nine Indian nations if they wished to continue them ("Banks, Grand Ronde to sign agreement to keep Braves logo," NFIC, April 2016).

Vincent Schilling, "High School with Native Mascot Bans Traditional Moccasins at Graduation," ICTMN, May 14, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/14/high-school-native-mascot-bans-traditional-moccasins-graduation-164479, reported, " A Sapulpa Oklahoma High School is refusing to allow Native American graduating senior Liseanne Yazzie to wear traditional moccasins to her graduation ceremony. Ironically, the school mascot is a Native American chief wearing a headdress."

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Tribal Developments

National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States 2015, With Special Feature in Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, shows continuing, but lessoning health disparities between American Indians and Alaska Natives and other groups in the U.S. population. A limitation in the report is that it when it does consider American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN), it reports only people who identified as AIAN alone. All persons identifying as more than one race or ethnicity were grouped together into one category, that provided no breakout information about AIAN mixed-race persons.  The first, though decreasing disparity, is in government financing of health care. Approximately 42 percent of the Native American (AIAN) population receives its healthcare through the Indian Health Service. The National Congress of American Indians in its analysis of the FY2017 budget reques t for the IHS found that the agency's per capita spending was only $3,107, compared to $8,097 per person for health care spending nationally in 2014. If Congress were to increase IHS funding by $2 billion a year for 10 years, IHS would be funded at the $29.96 billion amount required for Native peoples to achieve health care parity with the rest of the U.S. population. The Health and Human Services 2017 budget request for IHS, detailed above, is $5.185 billion, $377.4 million above the FY 2016 enacted level of $4.808 billion. The recent GAO report summarized above, finds that largely because of inadequate funding, Native people often do not receive timely primary care, and many facilities are in poor condition with insufficient, out of date, and dilapidated equipment.

While Life expectancy was shown in the CDC report to have had an over all increase in the U.S. of 2 years from 2000 to 2015, IHS reports that Native life expectancy trails the nation over all by 4.4 years. The leading cause of death for the AIAN males was unintentional injuries, followed by heart disease, cancer and liver disease, and for AIAN women, heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries and liver disease. The leading cause of death in the overall population was heart disease, closely followed by cancer. Deaths related to opioid and heroin use for the total population were four times greater in 2015 than in 1999, but, as is still too often the case, including in the CDC report, data on AIAN opioid and heroin deaths was unavailable. AIAN death rates from motor vehicle related injuries declined from 78.9 per 100,000 in 1980 to 23.4 per 100,000 in 2014. Homicide death rates for AIAN males dropped from 23.3 per 100,000 in 1980 to 9.1 per 100,000 in 2014.

For the U.S. as a whole, the suicide death rate increased 21 percent between 2004 and 2014, with the largest increase for white men. In contrast, for AIAN males, the suicide rate declined from 19.3 per 100,000 overall in 1980 to 16.4 percent per 100,000 in 2014, with the still alarmingly high rate continuing highest among 15-24 year olds (23.5 per 100,000) and 25-44 year olds (26.2 per 100,000). Suicide death rates for AIAN females increased from 4.7 per 100,000 in 1980 to 5.5 per 100,000 in 2014. The rate is highest for 14-24 year olds (9.6 per 100,000) and 25-44 year olds (9.7 per 100,000).

Cigarette smoking remained a major high risk behavior as smokers are more likely to develop heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, and stillbirth. AIAN adults 18 and over had the second highest rates of cigarette smoking of all groups in 2012-2014, 28 percent for men and 24 percent for women. Rates for people of 2 or more races were slightly higher, while the lowest rates were for Asians (14.8 percent for men, 5 percent for women). The percentage of male AIAN smokers declined only slightly from 1999-2001 and 2012-2014, but rates for women, declined from 36.3 percent in 1999-2001 to 24 percent in 2012-2014.

The CDC report found the overall rate of obesity for U.S. adults 20 and over at 36.5 percent (2011-2014). For 2 to 5 year olds, the rate is 8.9 percent. While report does not include data for AIAN people, the U.S. Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health reported from CDC data that in 2012 30.8 percent of AIAN adults over 18 were overweight but not obese and 40.8 percent of AIAN adults over 18 were obese. A 2015 report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found the rate of obesity for AIAN children ages 2 to 4 had risen to 21.1 percent, up from 16.3 percent in 1998; 31 percent of AIAN 6 to 11 years olds were obese in 2015 and 49 percent were overweight or obese. For 12 to 19 year old AIAN children, the rate of obesity in 2015 was 31 percent and the rate of overweight or obese AIAN teens was 51 percent.

The overall U.S. rate of diabetes increased by about 25 percent between 2000 and 2014. The report does provide AIAN diabetes statistics, but data from NCAI's Center for Diabetes Research and Policy Research Center indicates that one out of every two AIAN children can be expected to develop Type 2 diabetes, with some being diagnosed as early as age 4.

Concerning women's health, for all reported groups, in 2013, around two-thirds of women over 40 had had mammograms within the past 2 years, while only a slightly higher percentage had had Pap smears within the past 3 years. AIAN mothers experienced the lowest percentage of low-risk Caesarean section births in 2014, and the second-highest rate of preterm births of less than 37 weeks, 9.0 percent, compared with 11 percent for black or African American women and 6.9 percent for whites. While teen pregnancy (maternal age 15-19) rates had decreased over the past 10 years for all ethnic and racial groups, for AIAN teens, the rate dropped by 51 percent for AIAN teenagers ages 15 to 17 and by 39 percent for ages 18-19. Between 1983 and 2013, infant deaths have been nearly cut in half for all groups, but the rates for AIAN babies remain the highest of all measured groups, being per 1000 live berths at 12.6 in 1989-1991, 8.4 in 2003-2005, and 8.1 in 2011-2013, while in the same periods for all races were 9.0, 6.8 and 6.0.

For cancer screening, in 2013 about half of all adults between the ages of 50 and 75 had been screened for colorectal cancer . For AIAN people, the percentage jumped from 26.7 to 46.7 between 2008 and 2010. The increase may be at least partly attributed to the Affordable Care Act requiring colorectal cancer screening tests to be among the free services provided for preventive care by insurance policies instituted after September 23, 2010. Passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 appears to have reduced to have the number of people who reported not receiving needed medical care, prescription drugs or dental care by about 25 percent from 2010 and 2014, reversing an upward trend that had been in place since the late 1990s. However, in 2014, almost twice as many AIAN people as whites reported they did not get the prescription drugs they needed because of cost. The percentage of AIAN people who did not receive needed dental care increased between 1999-2001 and 2009-2011, then fell back to 1999-2001 levels in 2012-2014. In 2014, 35.5 percent of AIAN persons were covered by Medicaid, the highest percentage ever. Also in 2014, 28.3 percent of AIAN people under 65 (when Medicare is available) had no health insurance with those who had only IHS coverage considered uninsured. IHS provided health care for 2.2 million AIAN people in 2014 ( Tanya H. Lee , "Report Confirms: Serious Racial Inequities in Health and Health Care Continue," ICTMN. May 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/06/report-confirms-serious-racial-inequities-health-and-health-care-continue-164384; and National Center for Health Statistics., Health, United States 2015, With Special Feature in Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, DHHS Publication No. 2016-1232, May 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf).

On the Navajo Nation for 2006-2009, Suicide was the 7th leading cause of death, while it is the 8th in Indian Country as a whole - where it is a serious problem- which has led to increased anti-suicide efforts at Navajo Nation. This and other health and morbidity information is available in the Navajo Nation Mortality Report, 2006-2009 (Alastair Lee Bitsoi, "Mortality Report spurs initiative against suicide, substance abuse," Navajo Times, January 14, 2016).



American Indian Tribes, following the example of Alaska Native villages, are beginning to employ Dental Therapists, to make up for the lack of dentists on or near reservations, that has led to American Indian Children having untreated dental problems at four times the national rate. The first was a dental clinic on the Swinomish reservation in Washington. In February 2016, the State of Oregon passed legislation authorizing a pilot project allowing the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and the Coquille to hire dental therapists. Other Indian nations are likely to follow. Dental Therapists are the equivalent of nurse practitioners, who have some of the training of M.D.s, and can treat patients under the supervision of a doctor. To date, only Alaska has allowed dental therapists to practice, because of opposition by the American Dental Association, but a number of state legislatures were considering authorizing legislation, as of late may, 2016 (Kirk Johnson, "Where Dentists Are Scarce, American Indians Forge a Path to Better Care," The New York Times, May, 22, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/us/where-dentists-are-scarce-american-indians-forge-a-path-to-better-care.html?ref=todayspaper).



Tanya H. Lee, "Deadly Hep C Going Untreated in Native Communities," ICTMN, June 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/06/06/deadly-hep-c-going-untreated-native-communities-164670, reported, " Hepatitis C is raging through American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and the Indian Health Service does not have nearly enough funding to fight the disease, according to a May 26 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association ."

" Roughly 120,000 people living on reservations are positive for the HCV antibody. Ten percent of AIAN veterans born between 1945 and 1965 show an HCV antibody-positive seroprevalence , meaning they have been exposed to the virus at some point in their lives, say the authors. Eighty percent of those exposed will not be able to clear the virus out of their bodies on their own and may spread the disease even if they do not have any symptoms.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that damages the liver and can be fatal if left untreated. From 2009 to 2013, AIAN HCV-related mortality rates increased by 23.2 percent to 12.2 deaths per 100,000 population, more than double the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000.

AIAN people have 'both the highest rate of acute HCV infection and the highest HCV-related mortality rate of any U.S. racial/ethnic group,' according to the article, " The Need to Expand Access to Hepatitis C Virus Drugs in the Indian Health Service."

According to IHS, 'Hepatitis C is treated with medications that your doctor can prescribe. Many people can be cured from hepatitis C.'

New direct-acting antiviral treatment regimens 'have high rates of achieving sustained virologic response with few contraindications or adverse effects. These advances represent a major shift in treatment options for HCV and may likely reduce HCV-related deaths,' wrote Finkbonner and Leston."

"Actually, there are three related problems.

The first is that these antiviral treatments are expensive, well beyond the means of most families to pay even a small part of the costs.

The second is that many state Medicaid programs and insurance companies have sought to control costs by requiring that people already have significant liver damage before they can get the drugs that would prevent such damage. 'These criteria present a quandary: earlier treatment can prevent advanced liver disease, but late-stage liver disease is needed to qualify for treatment,' the authors said.

And the third is that IHS, which spends an average of $2,849 per year per patient, compared with the $7,713 per year of treatment of individuals in the U.S. general population receive, simply cannot pay for treatment for all HCV-infected AIAN people. If Medicaid or private insurance (which may have the restrictions mentioned above) will not pay for treatment, the only recourse for patients or their doctors is to ask the drug manufacturer for help, Leston told ICTMN."



Catherine Burnette - cburnet3@tulane.edu, et. al, Uploaded to Academia.edu by Charles Figley, in June 2016, https://www.academia.edu/25842890/Risk_and_protective_factors_related_to_the_wellness_of_American_Indian_and_Alaska_Native_youth_A_systematic_review?auto=view&campaign=weekly_digest. "Risk and protective factors related to the wellness of American Indian and Alaska Native youth: A systematic review," "Abstract: In comparison with the general population, research indicates a need for greater health equity among American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). AI/ANs have demonstrated remarkable resilience in response to centuries of historical oppression, yet growing evidence documents mental health disparities. Consequently, some AI/AN youth, defined as 18 years or younger, experience elevated rates of suicide, substance use disorders, conduct and oppositional defiant disorders, attention deficit- hyperactivity disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorders. In this article we systematically review the growing body of research examining the culturally specific risk and protective factors related to AI/AN youth wellness. This review includes published, peer-reviewed qualitative and quantitative research on AI/AN youth between the years 1988 to 2013. Organizing risk and protective factors within a ecosystemic resilience framework, the following broad risk and protective factors are critically reviewed: societal factors (historical oppression and discrimination), cultural factors (ethnic identity, spirituality, and connectedness), community factors (community environment, school environment, peer influence, and social support), family factors (family support, family income, parental mental health, family trauma and stressful life events), and individual factors. The review includes a discussion of the risk and protective factors accounting for AI/AN youth mental health disparities, implications for correcting disparities, and importance of incorporating familial and community level interventions for AI/AN youth."



Frances Madeson,  Albuquerque Natives Have Nation's Worst Healthcare': Indian Center Gets Reprieve," ICTMN, April 15, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/15/albuquerque-natives-have-nations-worst-healthcare-indian-center-gets-reprieve-164123, reported, " Even before The Albuquerque Journal reported that the Albuquerque Indian Center was slotted to close on April 1 due to loss of both city and state funding, concerned community members started pulling together to raise money and save the center. For the past 14 years AIC has been a linchpin in the city's safety net providing daily hot meals, support groups, and other essential services to more than a thousand impoverished Indians every week.

When Grammy-Award nominee and former Miss Navajo Radmilla Cody got wind of the proposed closure, her organization For the People called upon performers to play a benefit concert. The result was K'é Hasin - A Gathering of Kinship for the Albuquerque Indian Center, which was held on March 25 at the South Broadway Cultural Center in partnership with the UNM LGBTQ Resource Center and The Red Nation.

The concert was preceded by a potluck dinner to welcome American Indian Movement founder Dennis Banks in connection with his Long March 5. Midway through the lineup that included some very intense remarks about domestic violence by Banks, and performances by artists as various as Navajo flautist Andrew Thomas, rappers Katrina & LETSJUSB, Cody herself singing traditional Navajo ballads, and the bluesy rock of the Levi Platero Band, an important announcement was made concerning the status of the center.

Executive Director Mary Garcia mounted the stage with three of AIC's board members to tell the hundred or so supporters gathered in the audience that an anonymous donor had come forth with sufficient funds to keep AIC open through the end of June. "By then," she said, " we expect the Navajo Nation and the New Mexico Bureau of Indian Affairs to come through with a long-term funding solution.'"



"Progress Report: USDA Investments Make Big Impact for Rural America in 2015," ICTMN, February 5, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/05/progress-report-usda-investments-make-big-impact-rural-america-2015-163318, included in its report, " The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) in Bethel, Alaska has been awarded a $165 million loan from USDA-Rural Development (USDA-RD). The funding comes through USDA-RD's Community Facility Direct Loan program. Funds will be used to provide permanent financing for a new 129,600 square foot primary care clinic and 110,000 square foot hospital remodel in Bethel. YKHC is the only full service health provider in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, an area almost the size of Oregon. They are not connected to the standard road system, so transportation to the area is either by boat or airplane, making it a truly rural area," said Greg Stuckey, USDA-RD Alaska's Director, Community Facilities."



The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), "National Native Organizations Receive Funding to Pursue First Kids 1st: Every Native Child is Sacred Initiative," June 14, 2016, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2016/06/14/national-native-organizations-receive-funding-to-pursue-first-kids-1st-every-native-child-is-sacred-initiative, reported," This week, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded a generous grant to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) to support a nationwide campaign to lift up and support Native youth.

This initiative - called First Kids 1st: Every Native Child is Sacred - aims to galvanize systems changes in education, health, welfare, and governance to better support Native children and youth. In each of these areas, community-determined and community-driven changes will improve the systems that impact Native youth, allowing them more and better opportunities to achieve their full potential.

The collaboration began in 2008 with the creation of the original National Children's Agenda, crafted by these four partner organizations and also funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Agenda was updated in 2015 as the Native Children's Policy Agenda: Putting First Kids 1st, with tribal strategies and policy objectives to implement its principles. The partners look forward to engaging with tribal leaders, community leaders, tribal citizens, and Native youth across Indian Country and the nation to realize the vision of First Kids 1st.

'First Kids 1st asks for all of us to make our Native children and youth our first priority. In whatever position we hold, we all have the opportunity to ensure our youth will thrive and prosper. Through love, responsibility, and focus we can take opportunities for our children and youth to the next level,' shared NCAI Executive Director Jaqueline Pata.

The First Kids 1st initiative comes at a pivotal time, with Native youth making up 39 percent of the American Indian and Alaska Native population. These demographic trends bring unique opportunities to address some of the longstanding disparities seen in Indian Country and Native communities. Through multi-media communications, community engagement, data development, policy analysis, and capacity building, the First Kids 1st Campaign will offer a range of strategies, activities and tools so that communities can design and implement the solutions that best address their needs.

NICWA Executive Director Sarah Kastelic stated, 'Our First Kids 1st team looks forward to working alongside all of our community partners. No one organization can do this work alone; we need each other to address the needs of children and youth holistically. Collaboration makes our vision clearer, our efforts stronger, and our success more certain.'

With the new funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, First Kids 1st will reinforce outreach efforts and ramp up capacity building trainings beginning this summer and fall. 'We know that targeted, sustained, and smart investments can make all the difference in our tribal communities. This is an exciting time and we are honored to have a role in that investment in our Native children and youth." shared Stacy Bohlen, NIHB Executive Director.

Campaign partners also look forward to sharing the updated 2015 Native Children's Policy Agenda: Putting First Kids 1st, and providing youth data and policy recommendations. "Decision makers at every level need real-time, accurate information about our children and youth. Part of our charge will be to drill down on that data, and share it broadly so that policies and programs designed for our youth bring the benefits they promise," stated NIEA Executive Director Ahniwake Rose.

"This campaign is about caring communities creating capable and confident kids. It's as simple as that," said Pata. The First Kids 1st partner organizations invite all who care about Native children and youth to join the initiative and help spread the word. Please contact Carolyn Hornbuckle with NCAI at chornbuckle@ncai.org."



NCAI, "VAWA Pilot Project Report," June 8, 2016, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2016/06/08/vawa-pilot-project-report-2015, reported, " The Reauthorization of Violence Against Women in 2013 created the Pilot Project, which comprised of five tribes the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in North Dakota. These tribes exercised the Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction, which restored their partial power to criminally prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence offenses. The Pilot Project Report provides a brief account of the activities during the Pilot Project period from February 2014 – March 2015 and shares recommendations for next steps." The entire report is available at: http://www.ncai.org/attachments/NewsArticle_VutTUSYSfGPRpZQRYzWcuLekuVNeeTAOBBwGyvkWYwPRUJOioqI_SDVCJ%20Pilot%20Project%20Report_6-7-16_Final.pdf.

The 40 page report included, " Lessons Learned from the Pilot Project & Recommendations,"as follows, but without the foot notes,

"The Pilot Project proved incredibly successful in allowing the participating tribes to prosecute many long-time repeat offenders who had threatened the tribal community. At the same time, however, the Pilot Project revealed a number of inherent limitations in SDVCJ, as well as unforeseen obstacles in implementation. These issues are discussed in more detail below.

1. Non-Indiandomestic violence is asignificant problem intribal communities

When VAWA 2013 was pending before Congress, many policy-makers and commentators questioned whether the tribal jurisdiction provision was needed and whether a significant number of non-Indians were committing domestic violence crimes in Indian country. The experience of the three original Pilot Project tribes provides an unequivocal answer to that question. Since beginning to exercise SDVCJ, Pascua Yaqui has found that 25% of its domestic violence caseload involves non-Indians. The statistics collected by Pascua Yaqui and Tulalip about the prior police contacts of their SDVCJ offenders demonstrate that the non-Indian offenders menaced the tribal community for years and had been a drain on the tribes' law enforcement resources. Where SDVCJ was implemented during the Pilot Period, impunity has ended for non-Indian domestic abusers.

2. Most Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction defendants have significant ties to the tribal communities

Most SDVCJ offenders had established themselves in the tribal community. For example, Pascua Yaqui reports that at least 9 of the SDVCJ offenders were living on the reservation in tribal subsidized housing; two of the incidents involved married couples who lived on the reservation; four incidents involved children who belonged to the non-Indian offender. At least two of the SDVCJ arrests involved unenrolled Indians from either the U.S. or Canada.

The Pilot Project proved incredibly successful in allowing the participating tribes to prosecute many long-time repeat offenders who had threatened the tribal community

Where Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction was implemented during the Pilot Period, impunity ended for non-Indian domestic abusers.

3. Children areimpacted b ynon-Indian domestic violence at high rates

All three of the Pilot Project tribes report that children are usually involved as victims or witnesses in SDVCJ cases. A majority of SDVCJ incidents involved children who were at home during the domestic violence that occurred. These children have been assaulted or have faced physical intimidation and threats, are living in fear, and are at risk for developing school related problems, medical illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other impairments. Although children are frequently witnesses to domestic violence or victims themselves, SDVCJ currently only applies to crimes committed against romantic or intimate partners or persons covered by a qualifying protection order. The implementing tribes are unable to prosecute non-Indians for many of the crimes against children that co-occur with domestic violence. Instead, they are left to refer these cases to state or federal authorities, who may not

pursue them.

The implementing tribes are unable to prosecute non- Indians for many of the crimes against children that co- occur with domestic violence.

Case Study: A non-Indian boyfriend, engaged in a 3-day methamphetamine bender, refused to let his Indian girlfriend and her children leave the home. The non-Indian forced both the woman and her child to sit in a chair while he threw knives at them. Because of the severity of the violence, and because SDVCJ does not provide accountability for the crimes committed against the child, the case was referred to the U.S. Attorney for prosecution.

4. Training isc ritical for success

While much of the work as tribes prepare to implement SDVCJ focuses on revising tribal codes, policies, and procedures, the Pilot Project tribes all devoted considerable resources to training for tribal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other key stakeholders. Oftentimes the need for training became evident as the tribes encountered an unexpected obstacle of one kind or another. For example, the day after SDVCJ was enacted on one reservation, a non-Indian offender was arrested and delivered to the county authorities where he was promptly released.

That incident served as a reminder that tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) officers needed to be fully trained about the scope of the tribe's authority. Similarly, Pascua Yaqui's experience with its jury trial demonstrated the importance of training law enforcement about how to properly investigate whether there is a qualifying relationship sufficient to trigger SDVCJ in a particular case.

5 . Federal partners have animportant role

The implementing tribes have worked closely with Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and DOJ officials to address challenges that have come up as a result of the complicated and fragmented criminal justice system at work in Indian Country. It has been important, for example, to clarify that BIA detention facilities are permitted to house non-Indian SDVCJ offenders and that tribes can use their 638 contract funds to pay for costs associated with housing non-Indian SDVCJ offenders. Likewise, the Pilot Project tribes have all worked closely with their local U.S. Attorney's Offices to make decisions about which jurisdiction is most appropriate to prosecute a particular case.

6. Peer-to-Peer learning is important

The ITWG has proven to be an incredibly productive and useful mechanism for tribes to share information and best practices among themselves, to discuss challenges, and to jointly strategize about how to overcome obstacles. With the logistical support and substantive expertise of a group of DOJ funded technical assistance providers, the tribes participating in ITWG have tackled many difficult questions and have developed a collection of resources that will make it easier for tribes who wish to implement SDVCJ in the future. The ITWG continues to serve as an important resource for the implementing tribes as they encounter new questions and challenges.

The success of the ITWG has been driven by the engagement of dedicated and knowledgeable attorneys and tribal representatives from across Indian country. This engagement has been possible because of the travel support provided by DOJ, which allowed many of the members to participate in productive in-person meetings. The engagement and expertise of the technical assistance team has provided important coordination and leadership to the ITWG, while also helping the ITWG to track issues as they arise and to connect with necessary resources.

7. Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction ist oon arrow

One area of major concern among the Pilot Project tribes is the narrow class of crimes covered under SDVCJ. The limitations with regard to children who are victimized by domestic abusers was discussed above. Additionally, since tribal jurisdiction is limited to domestic violence, dating violence, and protection order violations, any other attendant crimes that occur also fall outside the scope of the tribe's jurisdiction. The Pilot Project tribes reported, for example, cases where the offender also committed a drug or alcohol offense or a property crime that the tribe was unable to charge. There is also uncertainty about a tribe's authority to charge an offender for crimes that may occur within the context of the criminal justice process, like resisting arrest, assaulting an officer, witness tampering, juror intimidation, or obstruction of justice. Because tribal prosecutors are unable to charge the full range of criminal conduct that may occur in a domestic violence incident, they may be more dependent on victim cooperation and the offenders' criminal history may not accurately reflect the severity of his actions.

Case Study: At 2:00am, the tribal police were called to a domestic violence incident involving a non-Indian man. Methamphetamines were found on the premises, and tribal police requested an oral search warrant from the tribal judge to perform a urine analysis on the non-Indian. While being under the influence could be relevant to a DV investigation, the tribal judge ruled against issuing the search warrant. Some state case law has held that tribal police lack the authority to investigate crimes where they do not have jurisdiction, and the judge did not want to compromise a potential state case for drug possession.

8. There is confusion about the statutory definitionof 'domesticviolence'

Tribal prosecutors from the Pilot Project tribes also report uncertainty regarding the definition of "domestic violence" in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in United States. v. Castleman. When Castleman was decided in March of 2014, it had an immediate impact on the three original Pilot Project tribes' criminal charging decisions when evaluating misdemeanor arrests under SDVCJ authority.

The Justices suggested in dicta in Castleman that the
domestic violence crime in an SDVCJ case must involve
actual 'violence,' which is not a defined term. As a
result, the original Pilot Project tribes have declined to
prosecute certain offenses like offensive touching,
harassment, or interference with domestic violence
reporting that would otherwise constitute "domestic
violence" under tribal law, but do not include an
element of 'offensive touching' or may not be
considered a 'violent crime. DOJ and the technical assistance team have provided guidance to the ITWG about what type of conduct likely constitutes "violence" for SDVCJ purposes, but confusion persists.

The prosecutors for the Pilot Project tribes report that SDVCJ will be more effective if it is amended to 1) clarify that Indian tribes possess the authority to prosecute a non-Indian for the types of offenses that often occur in the cycle of domestic abuse that might not qualify as "violence" in isolation; 2) reaffirm tribal jurisdiction over crimes that frequently co-occur with domestic violence; 3) reaffirm tribal jurisdiction over all crimes of violence against women or that occur within the family, including child abuse.

When Castleman was decided in March of 2014, it had an immediate impact on the three original Pilot Project tribes' criminal charging decisions when evaluating misdemeanor arrests under SDVCJ authority.

Case Study: A woman called the police to remove her highly intoxicated partner from her home. The defendant returned an hour later. He was so intoxicated that when he swung to punch the victim, he missed and fell to the ground. The tribal prosecutor declined to prosecute because there was no actual physical contact, and they were concerned the incident did not meet the definition of domestic violence in the federal law. The defendant subsequently assaulted the victim again and was arrested.

9. Tribes need resources for SDVCJ implementation

VAWA 2013 authorized $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years
2014 through 2018 for SDVCJ implementation.
Unfortunately, Congress has not appropriated these funds
and no resources have been made available specifically for
tribal implementation of SDVCJ. While 45 tribes have been
actively participating in the ITWG, as of the date of this
report, only 8 tribes have implemented the law. The primary
reason tribes report for why SDVCJ has not been more
broadly implemented is lack of resources. During and beyond
the implementation phase, Tribes need funding and access to resources and services to support implementation
."



The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sent a memo to Congress in early February supporting its request to raise the budget for Indian housing from $650 million in FY 2016 to $700 million in FY2017, noting that spending was way behind need for Indian housing, and that there remained an "overwhelming need for adequate, decent Indian housing," as "the lack of housing and infrastructure in Indian country is severe and widespread, and far exceeds the funding currently provided to tribes."

HUD reported that over the last 12 years " the number of low-income families in the IHBG formula areas grew by 41 percent, from 224,461 families, to 317,042 families; the number of overcrowded households, or households without adequate kitchens or plumbing, grew by 21 percent, from 91,032 households to 109,811 households; and the number of families with severe housing costs grew by 55 percent, from 42,401 families, to 65,667 families."

The requested increase, which HUD estimates "would allow IHBG recipients to build, acquire, or substantially rehabilitate 5,065 affordable units in fiscal year 2017, will be helpful, but will not be enough to meet the need, as "recipients will also operate and maintain approximately 40,000 older affordable units, which were funded by programs authorized under the United States Housing Act of 1937," and which require increasing funding to maintain, and every year more of the old, often not well built residences need to be replaced (Mark Fogarty, "Tribal Housing Needs Far Outstrip Federal Allocations," ICTMN, February 11, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/11/tribal-housing-needs-far-outstrip-federal-allocations-163386).



Mark Fogarty, "Indian Mortgages Down for 2015 Per Fannie Mae," ICTMN, April 29, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/29/indian-mortgages-down-2015-fannie-mae-164269, reported, " Federal mortgage agency Fannie Mae bought fewer mortgages to American Indians and Alaska Natives during 2015, according to a report it made to Congress and its regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Board.

Fannie Mae purchased 10,734 mortgages made to Indians last year with an unpaid principal balance of $2.45 billion, the agency reported. That was 0.55 percent of its total volume, below Indian representation in the national population.

In 2014 it bought 11,666 mortgages to Indians with an unpaid principal balance of $2.5 billion, 0.69 percent of its total.

Both years represent a rebound from 2013, when Fannie purchased just 0.32 percent of its volume in mortgages made to Indians. Total loans bought were 10,129 with balances of $1.8 billion."



Mark Fogarty, "Bright Spot in Indian Mortgages: Indian-Owned Banks," ICTMN, January 8, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/08/bright-spot-indian-mortgages-indian-owned-banks-162973, reported, January 8, 2016. "But some banks owned or controlled by Indians give Natives loans in percentages well above their approximately two percent of the population. They include Bank2, Oklahoma City (Chickasaw Nation), Bay Bank, Green Bay, Wisconsin (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin) and Lumbee Guarantee Bank, Pemberton, North Carolina (started by members of the Lumbee Nation).

Bank2 is the largest Native-owned financial institution in mortgages to Indians by quite a bit. According to data for 2014 submitted to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council under the federally mandated Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Bank2 made $38 million in home loans to Indians in 2014. That ranks it among the top 20 in mortgages to Indians in the country. It made more than half (220 out of 426) of its total mortgages to Indians.

Bay Bank was the second largest Native-owned bank in volume of mortgages to Indians at $8.4 million. Sixty-three of its 88 mortgages in 2014 were to Indians, or more than 70 percent.

Taking the bronze was Lumbee Guarantee, at $6.2 million in mortgages made to Indians. It made 86 out of its 192 mortgages to Indians in 2014, or 45 percent.

Some Indian-owned or controlled credit unions made mortgages to Indians in significant percentages, as well. South Metro Federal Credit Union, Prior Lake, Minnesota, which was sponsored by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota on the original charter, made 15 percent of its mortgages to Indians (although it made just $1.7 million in total mortgages). Many credit unions are smaller than the $43 million asset size HMDA limit, and therefore do not report their data.

The data was collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and analyzed by LendingPatterns.com, a software developed by the McLean, Virginia-based ComplianceTech.

How about cities where Indians make up a sizable percentage of residents? Here the result is the same as with states and counties, with Natives underrepresented. Anchorage is 12.4 percent Native according to an ICTMN 2013 list of municipalities with the highest percentages of Native people. About 4.8 percent of mortgages, $88 million in total, went to Natives last year in Alaska's biggest city.

Tulsa is about 9.2 percent Native, but just 3.6 percent of mortgage dollars went to Indians in 2014 ($56 million), HMDA data show. Also in Oklahoma, Norman is 8.1 percent Native but just 2.5 percent of mortgage funds, copy3.2 million, went to Natives. Oklahoma City is 6.3 percent Native, but only 2.3 percent of mortgages there, $69 million, were for Natives.

Billings, Montana is six percent Native, but just 1.2 percent of approved applications for $8.7 million were made to Natives. Albuquerque also has six percent Native population, but just 1.1 percent in Native apps was funded, for $23 million, according to the HMDA data."

Mark Fogarty , "Tunica Biloxi Launches Consumer Lending Regulatory Commission," ICTMN, April 13, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/13/tunica-biloxi-launches-consumer-lending-regulatory-commission-164071, reported, " The Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is starting what may be a first-of-its-kind regulatory commission to oversee tribal consumer lending.

The move is in response to the controversy over payday lending at tribes. Tribes have asserted their right as sovereign nations to be involved in this kind of lending, while critics have asserted it is predatory lending in some cases. Regulating lending to ensure it is not predatory may become common among tribes, just as they regulate gaming."

Through the first quarter of 2016, Indian nations had some 400,000 acres of land put into trust during the Obama Administration, compares to the 233,000 acres put into trust during the preceding Bush Administration. One reason for the increase is President Obama's efforts to speed the process of finalizing action on applications to put land into trust, which tribal leaders have long complained is exceedingly slow. As of the beginning of April, 2016, there were applications pending at the Department of the Interior seeking trust status for about 525,000 acres of land. At that time, Indian Tribes nation wide held some 56 million acres of land, about the size of the state on Minnesota (Philip Marcelo, "Tribes steadily gaining back their reservation land," NFIC, April, 2016).



"Honor the Earth Grants $90K to Indigenous Organizations to Protect Sacred Sites, Cultural Traditions," ICTMN, January 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/06/honor-earth-grants-90k-indigenous-organizations-protect-sacred-sites-cultural-traditions, reported, " Honor the Earth has released $90,000 in new grants to Indigenous organizations in North America and the Pacific.

"This year's grants are particularly focused on protection of sacred sites, and the continuation of strong cultural traditions in our Native communities," Board of Directors Co-Chair Shannon Martin (Potawatami/Anishinaabe) said.

The grants range from the work to protect sacred ceremonial grounds and traditions to the repatriation of Ojibwe birchbark scrolls to the White Earth Band of Anishinaabeg.

Grantees include Apache Stronghold (San Carlos Apache Reservation), Earth Guardians (Boulder Colorado), Halau Hula Ke?alaonamaupua (Hawaii), Native American Educational Technologies (Lac Courte Orielles reservation, Wisconsin), Nibi Walks (Minneapolis), Horse Spirit Society (Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota), Water Unity Alliance (Mohawk Territory) Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw (Louisiana), the White Earth Tribe, and many others.

Apache Stronghold seeks to protect Oak Flats from mining by the Resolution Copper (a subsidiary of British Rio Tinto Zinc). Oak Flats is a sacred ceremonial site, where Apache Coming of Age and other ceremonies are held. Early in 2014, Senator John McCain attached a rider on a military appropriations bill, transferring this land to Rio Tinto Zinc. Since then the Apache people have been working to secure new legislation and protection of this site.

Earth Guardians , based in Boulder Colorado, is a youth-led organization addressing climate change. The organization, led largely by Indigenous rappers Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and his little brother Itzcuauhtli, has mobilized youth to attend many conferences, secured lawsuits by youth in a number of states on climate change, and continues to encourage youth participation, in environmental issues.

Horse Spirit Society is a sponsor of the 25th annual Wounded Knee Memorial Ride, where Native and non-Native riders retrace the 200-plus mile ride of Chief Big Foot's band, which led him and his people, in the middle of December from Standing Rock Reservation to Wounded Knee, where they sought protection, and were subsequently massacred. The spiritual ride is considered a very important part of healing of Lakota and other people.

Other grants include to Nibi Walks , a set of spiritual walks around the Great Lakes and Superior to honor the water and continue Anishinaabe spiritual traditions. The Isle de Jean Charles band of Choctaw seek to develop new community plans for sustainable agriculture, after their forced removal due to damages from the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill of 20l0, which contaminated much of their traditional homeland. And the White Earth Band of Ojibwe is presently repatriating a sacred birchbark scroll, for ceremonial and cultural purposes. The scroll had been held by the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, for over l00 years."



Anne Minard, "Lowering Blood Quantum Leaves Isleta Pueblo Many Fights, Issues," ICTMN, May 14, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/14/lowering-blood-quantum-leaves-isleta-pueblo-many-fights-issues-164478, reported, "The Pueblo of Isleta in central New Mexico decided in a bitterly contested vote to lower its blood quantum, allowing quarter-bloods to become tribal members.

But numerous challenges to the still-unofficial April vote – and a drawn-out new plan to enroll new members – make the issue far from settled.

Tribal members in favor of lowering the blood quantum petitioned the BIA to administer a secretarial election to decide the issue, after the tribal council declined to put the issue to a vote last summer. The BIA conducted the vote on April 6, and it drew a robust turnout: Out of 1,500 Isleta people registered to vote, 1,329 people cast ballots. The measure passed, with 775 people voting to lower the quantum, and 554 voting against. That's a dramatic shift from the last time the issue was put before the people: in 2010, it failed by 10 votes.

Before the vote, the Isleta Constitution required a person to have at least one-half Isleta blood to be a member of the Pueblo, although the Isleta Tribal Council could adopt a person with at least one-half Indian blood from any tribe."



"132 Elem Pomo Indians, Comprising 100 Percent Of Elem Indian Colony Residents, Face Banishment And Disenrollment," ICTMN, May 3, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/03/132-elem-pomo-indians-comprising-100-percent-elem-indian-colony-residents-face-banishment, reported, "The following is a[n excerpt from a] press release distributed by 30 disenrolled Elem Indian Colony tribal members .

132 Elem Pomo Indians, are being exiled from the 52-acre Elem Indian Colony [in Lake County,CA] under guise of "disenrollment" and "banishment" by a faction of off-Colony members. Those 132 Pomos comprise 100 percent of Colony residents, who, if jettisoned, would leave an empty Reservation. Despite disenrollment and banishment becoming widespread, especially in California, it would be unprecedented for a tribe's entire residency to be exiled.

'Nobody questions our ancestry. Because who we are can't be questioned–we descend from Elem Pomo ancestors and founders,' said Robert Geary. 'This is instead a feeble attempt by non-resident members of the Elem Colony to exact control over tribal monetary resources without wanting to live here, and even at the risk of terminating our entire Colony.'"



The Nooksack tribal council, of Washington, February 24, 2016, passed a pair of resolutions disbarring attorneys, the first authorizing the council to bar attorneys from tribal court, and the second disbarring from tribal court and from engaging in busines on tribal land lawyer Galenda Boardman, and members of his law firm, who has been the atttorney for tribal members opposing their dienrollment ("Nooksack tribal council disbars lawyer fighting disenrollment," NFIC, March 2016).



"The Navajo Are Fighting to Get Their Water Back: A third of tribe members lack clean water while cities thrive on rivers running through reservations. New deals are enabling them to take some of what's theirs," Take Part, April 22, 2016, http://www.takepart.com/feature/2016/04/22/native-american-water-settlements?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2016-04-22, reported, " Thirty-eight percent of people on the reservation don't have water in their homes and must truck it in from long distances. They typically rely on watering points–simple hoses at public spots such as post offices that are common features in towns bordering the reservation–or perhaps a visit from the "water lady," Darlene Arviso, who delivers water in a tanker to a couple hundred families in New Mexico."

" The San Juan and Little Colorado rivers, tributaries of the most contested river in the West, the Colorado, are the Navajo Nation's primary water resources, but with the infrastructure necessary to bring that water to homes limited, many on the reservation rely on groundwater. Small wooden buildings housing wells and round tanks topped by windmills dot the land, but many are contaminated from decades of uranium, coal, and other mining in the region, as well as from naturally occurring toxins such as arsenic. Still, people draw from them to water livestock and sometimes for drinking."

" Navajo without running water limit their consumption to around 10 gallons a day per person , which doesn't go far: A low-flow showerhead uses two gallons a minute, and washing dishes efficiently by hand drains eight gallons. Forget about flushing toilets; many Navajo make do with outhouses. Meanwhile, residents of the Southwest's boomtowns go through 100 to 200 gallons per person a day."

"Now the Navajo have the opportunity to secure legal rights to some of their water and much-needed funds to supply water for the first time to thousands of people. In exchange, they must relinquish to the federal government, states, and private interests such as developers and investor-owned utilities their claims to water the rest of the West is using (or wants to use), easing several states' anxiety about water security. Western tribes have completed 29 such water rights settlements with the U.S. Department of the Interior since 1978, and 17 more are in process, according to Pamela Williams, the director of the Secretary's Indian Water Rights Office at the department.

In January the Navajo Nation Council passed the latest such deal, with Utah, which will bring the Nation's Utah chapters water and $192 million to build pipelines, water treatment facilities, and irrigation systems. Some Navajo support the settlements, seeing them as a crucible they must pass through to gain economic growth and a better quality of life, and Navajo in New Mexico have already seen benefits from their deal with that state. Others feel they are giving up too much, and the settlements will cut off the Navajo Nation from water it will need to sustain itself in what climate change models predict will be much drier years to come."

" For the Navajo, as for many Western tribes, poverty has limited their access to water, and perversely, water is the key ingredient needed to lift them from poverty. The U.N.'s World Water Development Report for 2016 found that three of four jobs globally are either heavily or moderately dependent on water and that water shortages and lack of access to water and sanitation could limit economic growth and job creation in the coming decades. 'Water and jobs are inextricably linked on various levels, whether we look at them from an economic, environmental, or social perspective,' said the director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, in a statement."

" The Navajo's deal with Utah is typical: The tribe signs away a large portion of its claim, relinquishing it to the non-Indian users who have already been taking it. In exchange it gets money from the federal government and the state to build infrastructure and bring water to people who have been living without. The tribes end up with more wet water than they had, and states get to continue the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed and secure water for growth. The funds that settlements provide to tribes are "a major benefit," says Williams. "Settlements provide certainty to tribes in terms of water rights while protecting existing non-Indian users. It's a win-win."

"Not everybody thinks so..."

" The Navajo Nation has entered into water settlement negotiations with each state into which it extends. A 2010 deal with New Mexico funded a 14-year construction project that will serve many people water for the first time, while a contentious deal with Arizona fell apart in 2012. As for the Utah settlement that the Navajo Nation Council passed in January, it must still be approved–and funded–by the U.S. Congress and Utah's state government and then signed by Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

Most Navajo agree that settlements offer the promise of economic development, improvement of their quality of life, and the last chance to stop the creeping de facto loss of their water rights. Yet there is an undeniable power imbalance in the negotiations: on one side, a tribe that suffered an attempted genocide, with a 43 percent poverty rate and a 42 percent unemployment rate; on the other, states made wealthy by water, giant utilities, and developers. Some tribal activists say their leaders unquestioningly accept the non-Indian worldview as a starting point, setting the stage for unfair deals for the tribe. If the process were more open, they would have a better chance to make their voices heard, they say.

The Yanitos are outraged at the basic premise of water settlements: that non-Indian water users, who as far as they are concerned have been appropriating Indian water for 100 years, must be allowed to keep it.

Gesturing across the plain to distant cities, Ambrose says, 'Everybody has got a swimming pool out there, just about.' If the tribe had more of its water, people could grow vegetable gardens and eat healthier, perhaps reducing the 22 percent rate of diabetes on the rez. 'We can't grow nothing out here because those people over there are just jumping in the water and wasting it,' he says. His voice rises. "What would happen if we turned that off? How would they feel?" he asks. 'We gave them their life! See?'

Curtis' ideal solution would be to take the tribe's entire claim on the San Juan River and lease some of it to existing users. With the money, he says, "we can build our own swimming pools and water parks for our kids, alfalfa fields for livestock…."

The Ship Rock Chapter of Navajo Nation filed a law suit in Navajo tribal court, which was proceeding in March 2016, asserting that the settlement was illegal because it was not approved by Navajo president, Russell Begaye (Bill Donovan, "Shiprock Chapter gets go-ahead on Utah water settlement law suit," Navajo Times, March 10, 2016).

Sanders Park Estates and Nahata Dzil on the Navajo reservation, in April, were scheduled to begin getting cleaner and safer water, after the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a transfer of water service from Arizona Windsong Water Company to Navajo Tribal Water Utility Authority. For months, Nahata Dzil residents had been going without running water after tests on 144 of their wells found eight with high concentrations of uranium (Arlyssa Becenti, "Sanders will soon be getting cleaner, safer water," Navajo Times, April 14, 2016).

The San Juan Irrigation Canals, closed after the Gold King Mine spill into the Animas River, which flows into the San Juan, was set to reopen in April, 2016, bringing water to farms along the San Juan River (Cindy Yurth, " San Juan Irrigation Canals to Open," Navajo Times, April 21, 2016).



The Navajo Nation Council passed the Navajo Nation Veterans Act of 2016, January 26, 2016, elevating the Navajo Department of Veterans Affairs, reamed the Navajo Nation Veterans Administration, directly under the Office of President and Vice President, with a new Veterans Advisory Council to increase Navajo Veteran input. A long term aim is to raise the benefits that Navajo veterans receive to the higher rate of veterans generally, in the U.S., and to end homelessness among Navajo Vets (Christopher S. Pineao, "Navajo Nation Veterans Act of 2016 passes unanimously," Navajo Times, February 4, 2016).



A $269,000 HUD grant, announced in January 2016 , will provide housing for 20 homeless and at risk Veterans on the Navajo Nation (Alysa Landry, "Grant to offer housing to elderly, disabled veterans on Navajo," Navajo Times, January 14, 2016).



The FBI reported that for 2014, New Mexico had the 4th highest crime rate per capita of any U.S. state, and in Indian Country, which has an overall high crime rate, Navajo Nation suffers the highest rates of violent and property crime of any reservation, including 316 reported rapes and 3 murders (Bill Donovan, "Alarming Crime Rates on Navajo," Navajo Times, January 28, 2016).



In the wake of a child tragedy, Navajo Nation began taking steps, in May 2016 , to develop an Amber Alert System (Arlyssa Becenti, "Navajo Nation moves to create Amber Alert System," Navajo Times, May 12, 2016).



Gallop, NM nonprofit Care 66, with support from Navajo Nation, its primary funder, and local and municipal partners, opened Hooghan Ho'zho, a centrally located mixed income low rent housing complex in Gallop for Navajos in the city, who make up about 40 percent of its population. With increasing numbers of tribal members living off reservation, it is suggested that tribes need to invest in projects to assist members in near by communities, and to engage those communities (Christopher S. Pineao, "Hooghan Ho'zho: Gallup nonprofit hopes to empower natives through mixed-income housing," Navajo Times, April 28, 2016).



Jen Hayden, " Militants bulldoze through Native American archeological site, share video rifling through artifacts," Daily Kos, January 21, 2016, http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/21/1472882/-Militants-bulldoze-through-Native-American-archeological-site-share-video-rifling-through-artifacts, reported, " Armed militants at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge continue to damage both the delicate ecosystem of the refuge and archeological sites of critical importance to the Burns Paiute Tribe."

" Members of the Burns Paiute Tribe are increasingly angry nothing has been done to get the armed militants out of the refuge and away from their artifacts and the archeological sites:

On Friday, the tribe delivered a letter to federal agencies including the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding prosecution of Ammon Bundy and other armed militants occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, 'If the occupiers disturb, damage, remove, alter, or deface any archaeological resource on the refuge property.

There are approximately 4,000 artifacts belonging to the tribe in the buildings the militants are holding. The occupation is entering its third week.'"



"Retrieving Homelands: Osage Nation Wins Bid for Ted Turner's 43,000-Acre Bluestem Ranch," ICTMN, Februaruy 5, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/05/retrieving-homelands-osage-nation-wins-bid-ted-turners-43000-acre-bluestem-ranch-163322, reported, "The Osage Nation has won a bid to buy the 43,000-acre Bluestem Ranch from Cable News Network founder Ted Turner, restoring some of the 1.2 million acres the tribe owned until the early 1900s."



"Frankenfish Fail: Yurok Ordinance Bans Genetically Engineered Organisms," ICTMN Staff, Swcwmvwe 29, 2016, "The Yurok Tribe has passed a tribal ordinance banning genetically engineered organisms such as GMO corn or altered salmon from its territory.

'The Tribal GEO Ordinance prohibits the propagation, raising, growing, spawning, incubating, or releasing genetically engineered organisms (such as growing GMO crops or releasing genetically engineered salmon) within the Tribe's territory and declares the Yurok Reservation to be a GMO-free zone,' the tribe said in a statement on December 14 after passing the Yurok Tribe Genetically Engineered Organism ("GEO") Ordinance. The 5,000-member tribe is the largest in California, its 56,585-acre reservation covering a 44-mile stretch of the Klamath River in the northwestern part of the state."



Sarah Sunshine Manning, "Thunder Valley CDC Begins Grassroots Housing and Community Construction on Pine Ridge," ICTMN, April 22, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/22/thunder-valley-cdc-begins-grassroots-housing-and-community-construction-pine-ridge-164219, reported, "This spring, Thunder Valley CDC will be commencing construction of housing for a masterplan community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. After nearly 12 years of community engagement strategies, and planning, the diligent work of Thunder Valley CDC is coming to fruition, as the first houses of the masterplan community are slated to be complete by fall/winter of 2016.

Thunder Valley CDC is a grassroots organization based on traditional Lakota philosophies, and formed after a group of sundancers on the Pine Ridge reservation recognized a need for grassroots action to address issues of poverty."

"What began as passionate visions for a healthy Lakota community grew into the development of a non-profit organization and a master-planned community, where language, culture and the traditional "tiospaye" family structure of the Lakota would be central. Sustainability, Earth-consciousness, and food-sovereignty practices are also permanent guideposts for the development of the community.

Thunder Valley CDC has developed a workforce training program, where construction students participate in the construction of homes, and future homeowners have the option of participating in the build of the house to save on construction costs with sweat-equity.

This spring, the infrastructure work for 21 home sites will be complete, and by the end of the summer, there will be 21 single-family home sites ready for housing construction. Of the 21 homes, 15 are set aside for low income families, and the remaining six homes are for tribal members looking to buy."

"To better prepare families for homeownership, financial literacy classes are held on site at Thunder Valley CDC. Classes on homeownership education are also offered, such as the Pathways Home curriculum which is specifically designed for Native American communities. Thunder Valley CDC also partners with local organizations who offer home ownership classes (Lakota Fund, Lakota Federal Credit Union, Partnership for Housing, Wild Horse Butte CDC, Mazaska Inc.).

Next to the single-family homes, a sustainable agriculture education center will be built in the form of a small demonstration farm for the community to grow their own food and establish their own food systems. This demonstration farm will include a community garden, chickens, perennials, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

" The tiospaye family structure of the masterplan community brings people together in ways that traditional Lakota lifestyles facilitated, through community gathering, food sovereignty practices, language and cultural learning, and shared community work."  

"Another current project of Thunder Valley CDC is the Lakota Language initiative. "The values of our people are in the language," said Dusty Nelson, a second language learner at Thunder Valley CDC.

Pre-school children from the Thunder Valley CDC Lakota Language child care center in Oglala will be transitioning into kindergarten this coming academic year. Thunder Valley CDC is partnering with Red Cloud School to transition those students successfully, so their Lakota language acquisition continues to be built upon.

The organization is also working on the development of curriculum materials to keep up with the kids going into kindergarten, and the Lakota Language Initiative is being expanded with the development of language books in the fall of 2016.

In addition to homes to buy or rent with little to no utilities cost, the finished community will include high quality food options from the community garden, greenhouses and a grocery store, powwow grounds and a cultural center, Lakota language education options, youth spaces such as a playground, skate park, and basketball courts, retail spaces for local entrepreneurs, a workforce development training center, employee owned construction company, an outdoor amphitheater for concerts or other community events, artist market and farmer's market, daycare and fitness center, walking paths and community gathering spaces, a youth shelter, and more."

"The ultimate goal of Thunder Valley CDC is to create sustainable systems change on the Pine Ridge Reservation as a model for how change is possible across the country and internationally."



Vincent Schilling, "Wounded Knee SOLD? Tim Giago Has Plans to Buy It for $3.9 Million," ICTMN, December 19, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/29/wounded-knee-sold-tim-giago-buy-it-39-million-162909, reported, " Tim Giago, Lakota, renowned journalist, publisher and founder of publications such as the Lakota Times, Native Sun News and Indian Country Today, has told ICTMN he has signed an agreement to purchase the historic site of Wounded Knee from James Czywczynski for $3.9 million." Giago then set p a web site to raise money to complete the sale.



The Southern Ute Indian Tribe of Colorado tribal coucil, tribal courts and education department initiated Family Group Decision Making (FGDM), in January 2026, to offer assisance to families who fele they are struggling with issues with a therapy alternative. This can involve any of a wide range of issue from child and elder safety, substance abuse, child education or bejhavior issues, disability problems, to family sel- referals. Trained facilitators cna be chosen by families, who assists them in developing, and if desired, reviewing, a plan of action (Damon Toledo, "Froupaims to strengthen family relationships," Southern Ute Drum, January 22, 2016).



John Woodrow Cox, Scott Clement and Theresa Vargas, "New poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren't offended by Redskins name," The Washington Post, May 19, 2016,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/new-poll-finds-9-in-10-native-americans-arent-offended-by-redskins-name/2016/05/18/3ea11cfa-161a-11e6-924d-838753295f9a_story.html?version=meter+at+0&module=meter-Links&pgtype=article&contentId=&mediaId=&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Ftodayspaper%2Findex.html&priority=true&action=click&contentCollection=meter-links-click, reported, "Nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name, according to a new Washington Post poll that shows how few ordinary Indians have been persuaded by a national movement to change the football team's moniker.

The survey of 504 people across every state and the District reveals that the minds of Native Americans have remained unchanged since a 2004 poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found the same result. Responses to The Post's questions about the issue were broadly consistent regardless of age, income, education, political party or proximity to reservations.

Among the Native Americans reached over a five-month period ending in April, more than 7 in 10 said they did not feel the word "Redskin" was disrespectful to Indians. An even higher number – 8 in 10 – said they would not be offended if a non-native called them that name.

"But Suzan Harjo, the lead plaintiff in the first case challenging the team's trademark protections, dismissed The Post's findings.

'I just reject the results,' said Harjo, 70, who belongs to the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee tribes. 'I don't agree with them, and I don't agree that this is a valid way of surveying public opinion in Indian Country.'"

Amherst College in Amherst, MA trustees, with much support from students and faculty, voted, in January 2016, to stop using Lord Jeffery Amherst as a mascot, in official communications, and as a name of its inn, because if his serious anti-Indian actions (Jess Bidgood, "Amherst College Drops 'Lord Jeff' as Mascot," The New York Times, January 26, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/us/amherst-college-drops-lord-jeff-as-mascot.html?ref=todayspaper).



Sheena Louise Roetman, "Florida State Student Government Says No to Headdresses," ICTMN, May 5, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/12/florida-state-student-government-says-no-headdresses-164462. reported, "The Student Government Association of Florida State University, one of only a few NCAA schools allowed to use Native American mascots, voted in April to discourage headdresses at all athletic games on campus."



Sheena Louise Roetman, "Following ICTMN Inquiry, 'Noble Savage' Vintage Clothing Changes Offensive Name," ICTMN, April 7, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/07/following-ictmn-inquiry-noble-savage-vintage-clothing-changes-offensive-name-164067, reported, " The owner of Noble Savage Vintage , an online clothing shop based in Brooklyn, New York, is currently changing the shop's name due to an ICTMN inquiry Wednesday.

ICTMN received a tip that a Facebook event had been set up entitled "Noble Savage Vintage at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show." After reaching out to the owner of the shop for commentary, she said she had been made aware of the deeper meaning behind the phrase "noble savage," and is working on changing it."



Brian Daffron, "'Very Honored': Lac Du Flambeau Woman First Female Army National Guard General, ICTMN, May 13, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/13/very-honored-lac-du-flambeau-woman-first-female-army-national-guard-general-164464, reported, " Joane Mathews has many firsts in her combined active duty and National Guard military career. Some of these include being the first female commander of First Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, as well as Wisconsin's first non-medical female colonel. Now Mathews, a Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribal member, can add Wisconsin's first female general officer in the Army National Guard."

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Economic Developments

Mark Fogarty, "Indian-Owned Business Grew by 15 Percent," ICTMN, December 24, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/24/indian-owned-business-grew-15-percent-162875, reported, "Despite the lengthy recession, the number of American Indian-owned businesses increased by 15 percent in the years between 2007 and 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of Indian-owned businesses increased from 236,691 in 2007 to 272,919 in 2012, according to the Bureau, which does a nationwide business census every five years. Sales also increased at Native firms, by $4.5 billion, from $34.5 billion to $39 billion, or an average of $142,900 per firm.

As in the 2007 and previous business censuses, the profile of the typical Indian-owned firm slants heavily to being a single proprietor or a small business. Just under 10 percent of those 272,919 Native firms, 26,179, had employees in 2012."

"Indian firms had a total payroll of $7 billion for the 2012 survey. The 208,000 employees of Native-owned firms were paid an average of $33,650 a year apiece. Each firm had an average of about eight employees.

Firms with employees had more than four times the sales of single proprietorships. Firms with workers generated $31.6 billion in sales, while those without managed just $7.2 billion in sales. That means that single owners averaged $29,200 in sales apiece.

Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders owned many fewer firms in 2012 than Indians, 54,749, and took in $8.1 billion in sales. That comes out to a slightly higher average sales figure than Indian firms, at copy48,000 apiece.

Native Hawaiian firms, like Indian-owned ones, showed the same profile on sole proprietorship. Just 4,706 firms had employees, while more than 50,000 had single owners.

Native Hawaiian-owned firms employed 39,000 people in 2012, with a total payroll of copy.4 billion. That means the average each employee earned was about $36,000. Individual Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs did somewhat better than Indian proprietors, averaging about $32,000 apiece in sales.

The gender split on Indian owners tilted towards men, but not by much. Men owned more than 137,000 firms, while women owned 131,000. Women-owned firms made far fewer sales, though, making only a third of the male sales total at $9.1 billion.

Native Hawaiian women owned 25,000 companies, while men owned more than 28,000. Women also made considerably less in sales, just copy.9 billion to $6 billion by male-owned firms, or about a third.

Employees of male Native Hawaiian-owned companies earned about $40,500 apiece, more than employees at male Indian-owned firms, who made an average of $35,400. Employees of female-owned Native Hawaiian companies made about $32,000, while workers at Indian-woman-owned firms earned about $30,200 apiece."



Mark Fogarty , "Small Biz Boom: Commercial Lending to Indians on Rise," ICTMN, May 10, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/10/small-biz-boom-commercial-lending-indians-rise-164425 , reported, "There is an expanding appetite for commercial lending on tribal trust lands, though potent barriers remain, according to the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.



OCC, in its February 2016 Community Development Insights newsletter, said Indian country has been experiencing higher economic growth since the 1970s, with gains (while varying from region to region) in real per capita income, median household income, employment, infrastructure, and education.

'As a result," the article says, " demand for business development in local markets and loans to support such development continues to rise in large parts of Indian country. Moreover, through self-determination, tribal governments and entities have gained experience in building and managing businesses, producing a cadre of American Indian professionals and government employees with valuable managerial and governance skills'."



"First Nations Sets Record in 2015 withMore Than $2M in Grants to Indian Communities," ICTMN, March 1,2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/01/first-nations-sets-record-2015-more-2m-grants-indian-communities-163587, reported, "For the First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), 2015 was a banner year.

During those 12 months, First Nations granted its largest annual dollar amount ever to Native American organizations and tribes. It also awarded the largest number of grants ever in a one-year period. The funding went toward projects aimed at grassroots economic development and Native community betterment, and covered areas ranging from agriculture and food systems, to Native arts-related efforts, to urban Indian centers, to Native youth and culture programs.

During 2015, First Nations awarded a record 103 grants totaling $2,174,494. The grants ranged from $90 up to copy20,000, and went to Native organizations or tribes in numerous states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Previously, the annual record for First Nations in its 35-year history was 95 grants totaling copy,867,560 in 2012.

The 2015 amount brings the cumulative total of First Nations' grantmaking over its history to $24,316,573 and over 1,067 individual grants .

Although First Nations has been able to increase capital for Native community-developed and led projects aimed at building strong and healthy Native economies, First Nations is still only able to meet about 17 percent of the grant requests it receives, leaving a significant unmet need."



"Potawatomi Diversify by Buying Stake in Wisconsin Bank," ICTMN, January 12, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/12/potawatomi-diversify-buying-stake-wisconsin-bank-163043, reported, " The Forest County Potawatomi Community is diversifying by purchasing a minority stake in a community bank, Commerce State Bank , headquartered in West Bend, Wisconsin."



"Casino City Releases 2016 Indian Gaming Industry Report," stated, March 4, 2016, http://www.casinovendors.com/article/casino-city-releases-2016-indian-gaming-industry-report-216783/, "Casino City Press has announced the release of the 2016 Edition of Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report – the most comprehensive, up-to-date study of Indian gaming available – authored by Dr. Alan Meister, an economist with Nathan Associates Inc. who has done extensive research and analysis on Indian gaming issues over the past 15+ years.



The Report provides nationwide and state statistics (the latter not available anywhere else) for calendar year 2014, the most current data available, including: gaming and non-gaming revenue; Class II vs. Class III gaming; number of facilities, tribes, gaming machines, and table games; and revenue sharing with federal, state, and local governments. The Report also includes comparisons across states, state-by-state market summaries, historical perspective and trends, an assessment of the recent performance of Indian gaming, comparisons to other gaming segments, an economic impact analysis measuring Indian gaming's contribution to the U.S. economy, and a future outlook.

Significant findings include the following:

• In calendar year 2014, there were 243 Native American tribes operating nearly 352,000 gaming machines and nearly 7,800 table games in 489 gaming facilities across 28 states.

• Gaming revenue at Indian gaming facilities nationwide grew approximately 2% in 2014 to an all-time high of approximately $28.9 billion.

• 2014 was the fifth consecutive year of growth for Indian gaming.

• The growth rate of non-gaming revenue at Indian gaming facilities (5%) was more double that of gaming revenue.

• There was a wide disparity in performance within Indian gaming.

• Gaming revenue grew in 20 states, including double-digit growth in three states, and declined in 8 states.

• The top 2 states generated approximately 39% of total gaming revenue at Indian gaming facilities; the top 5 states generated about 62%; and the top 10 states generated 85%.

• Indian gaming facilities, including non-gaming operations, directly and indirectly generated approximately $95.0 billion in output, 738,000 jobs, $32.6 billion in wages, $1.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and $8.0 billion in direct revenue sharing payments to federal, state, and local governments.

• In 2014, the performance of the commercial casino segment was the polar opposite that of Indian gaming with a decline of approximately 2%.

• Indian gaming generated 43.5% of all U.S. casino gaming revenue in 2014.

Dr. Meister highlights that "Indian gaming's growth in 2014 outpaced that in 2013, paralleling the improvement of U.S. and state economies. However, there was substantial variation in performance across states, from a high of 13% to a low of -9%."

Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report is relied upon by the gaming industry, other related industries, tribal and non-tribal governments, gaming regulatory agencies, the investment community, academics, gaming consultants, and news outlets. As in previous years, this report continues to be the product of independent scholarly research. Neither Dr. Meister nor Nathan Associates nor Casino City was commissioned to prepare it."

Mark Fogarty, "California Controls 25 Percent of All Indian Gaming Revenues," ICTMN, March 25, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/25/california-controls-25-percent-all-indian-gaming-revenues-163918, reported, "California had a hot year in American Indian gaming in 2014, with revenues increasing 4.4 percent to $7.3 billion and the Golden State notching more than a quarter of all sector revenue.

According to Casino City's 2016 Indian Gaming Industry Report, Oklahoma was the second largest Indian gaming state for 2014, the latest year it reported on, at $4 billion, a 14 per cent share. Florida took the bronze at $2.4 billion, an eight percent share.

But it was smaller states that showed the largest percentage increases according to the yearly report written by Dr. Alan Meister. Wyoming, one of the smallest states (it was not in the top 20 for revenue), showed the largest increase, at 13.1 percent. The result was even more impressive since the state showed a 5.2 percent decline in gaming revenue in 2013.

Alabama and South Dakota also showed double digit growth, at 12.1 percent and 11.1 percent respectively. Alabama did not rank in the top 20 in overall revenue, and South Dakota was 17th.

Idaho was the biggest loser, at a negative 8.6 percent, followed by Connecticut (down 6.4 percent) and New York (off 5.2 percent).

In all, the top ten percentage growth states included only two of the top ten revenue leaders, the report noted. It said 12 states contributed positively to Indian country's total 1.9 percent revenue gain for 2014: California, Oklahoma, Washington, Florida, Oregon, South Dakota, Iowa, Arizona, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Kansas.

'California's four percent gaming growth in 2014 was the fourth straight year it has made a positive contribution toward nationwide Indian gaming growth,' Dr. Meister wrote.

Indian gaming revenue remains concentrated in a few of the bigger states. The top five states had 62 percent of Indian gaming revenue in 2014, according to Casino City's report. Washington and Arizona were the fourth and fifth biggest Indian gaming revenue states in 2014."



"Tribe Behind FireKeepers Breaks Annual Payments Record," ICTMN, February 18, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/18/tribe-behind-firekeepers-breaks-annual-payments-record-163469, reported, "A tribe is boosting the Michigan economy through its successful casino in Battle Creek.

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi new annual record is $21.9 million in payments to the State of Michigan and the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB).

The payment to Michigan totals more than $16.6 million, an increase of 7.8 percent over the 2014 payment. Meanwhile the payment to the FLRSB reaches of over $5.3 million, which 5.3 percent higher than one year ago. This brings the total monies the tribe has contributed to the State of Michigan to $90 million and $32.2 million to the FLRSB, and creates a combined contribution that exceeds copy22 million since FireKeepers Casino Hotel opened in August 2009."



Seneca Nation, "Work Begins on $40 Million Expansion Project at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino," ICTMN, January 14, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/14/work-begins-40-million-expansion-project-seneca-buffalo-creek-casino-163063, reported on the $40 Million Expansion Project at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, in Buffalo, NY, beginning in Janary, 2016, "Plans call for a two-story expansion of the existing casino, adding approximately 28,500 square feet of space on each of two levels. The ground floor will add more than 300 additional slot machines and additional table games, including a high limit room and expanded non-smoking area, and a performance stage for live entertainment at Stixx Sports Bar. It will also include additional retail space, and an expansion of the popular Buffalo Savors Grill. The second floor of the expansion will introduce a new Western Door concept restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, as well as banquet and meeting space.

As important as the physical additions, the expansion will create approximately 300 new jobs at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, bringing the property's total work force to over 800. In addition to the casino jobs, the project will also create an estimated 440 construction jobs."



"Gun Lake Casino's $76 Million Expansion Will Nearly Double Size," ICTMN, April 13, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/13/gun-lake-casinos-76-million-expansion-will-nearly-double-size-164132, reported, "The Gun Lake Tribe is undertaking a $76 million expansion on Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Michigan. The tribe broke ground on the additions in January 2016. When it opens summer 2017, the casino will be almost twice its current size, and include a premiere buffet restaurant, a high limit gaming room, and a new Stage 131 entertainment lounge that will double the current size to offer enough seating to attract regional entertainers."

"Treasure Island Unveils copy9M Lagoon, Wave Spa," ICTMN Staff, February 16, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/16/treasure-island-unveils-19m-lagoon-wave-spa-163441, eported, "The second largest of its kind among 18 Native casinos in Minnesota, the 40,000-foot waterpark dubbed "The Lagoon" at Treasure Island Resort & Casino debuted last week.

The Prairie Island Indian Community began the $19 million project in May 2015.

"PHOTO: A Tribe's Sunrise Casino Groundbreaking, 14 Years Coming," ICTMN, April 12, 2106, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/gallery/photo/photo-tribes-sunrise-casino-groundbreaking-14-years-coming-164112, reported, " Finally, after 14 years of reviews and approvals, the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria broke ground on its gaming project in Yuba County, Calif.

The tribe held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Fire Mountain Casino project on Friday, April 8, near the Toyota Amphitheater, south of the City of Marysville."

"Tribe to Break Ground on Massachusetts' First Casino on April 5," ICTMN, March 31 (updated April 1), 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/31/tribe-break-ground-massachusetts-first-casino-april-5-163978, reported, "The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has scheduled a groundbreaking

Read more at ceremony for its First Light Resort & Casino – Massachusetts' first resort casino – on Tuesday, April 5 in Taunton at 61R Stevens Street.

The first phase of the project is slated to open by summer 2017.

Upon completion, First Light will feature 3,000 slot machines, 150 gaming tables and 40 poker tables; a buffet and fine dining restaurants; nine retail stores; 900 guest rooms and suites in three 15-story hotel towers; a 31,000-square-foot ballroom with stage; meeting rooms; a water park; a spa; and 3,980 parking spaces in a parking garage with an additional 738 surface parking areas.

The proposed hotels, a parking garage and water park will be built out through 2022, a tribal spokesman said."

"Cherokee Nation Lauds New Jobs for $23M Casino Under Construction," ICTMN, March 29, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/29/cherokee-nation-lauds-new-jobs-23m-casino-under-construction-163952, reported, "Yesterday the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma broke ground on a $23 million casino – the tribe's 10th gaming facility.

Scheduled to open in winter 2017, the tribe will hire 175 people to staff the gaming attraction in Grove, Oklahoma. The 39,000 square-foot complex will house 400 electronic games, table games, a private high-limit poker room, a restaurant, a full-service bar, a live music venue, a dance floor, an event space and an outdoor patio."

"South Korea Awards Mohegan Tribe Licensing for $5B Casino Resort," ICTMN, March 2, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/02/south-korea-awards-mohegan-tribe-licensing-5b-casino-resort-163602, reported, "The South Korean government has awarded the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority a licensing agreement to develop the world's first and only destination resort with an adjacent private air terminal, reported westfaironline.com . The project to be built at South Korea's Incheon International Airport is estimated to cost $5 billion."

Richard Walker, "Major Economic Development Projects Underway For Three Native Nations, ICTMN, Janaury 25, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/25/major-economic-development-projects-underway-three-native-nations-163121, reported, " Three Native Nations in Washington are in the midst of significant economic development projects worth more $100 million and creating more than 1,000 jobs.

"Desert Diamond Casino - West Valley Opens its Doors," ICTMN, December 21, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/21/desert-diamond-casino-west-valley-opens-its-doors-162833, reported, " The new Desert Diamond Casino – West Valley opened its doors to the public on Sunday, December 20.

Located near Glendale, Arizona, the 24-hour casino is minutes away from the University of Phoenix Stadium and the Westgate Entertainment District. The cities of Glendale, Peoria, Tolleson, Surprise and El Mirage have all endorsed the project.

Construction of the project employed more than 1,300 workers and involved approximately 80 companies, with an investment of over $200 million by the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise. More than 500 new, permanent jobs have been created at the facility.

The casino offers more than 1,089 gaming devices, plus a two-venue food court. Guests interested in getting the most out of their play can sign up for a free Rewards Card at the casino Rewards Center."

The Quinault Indian Nation is already the largest provider of jobs in Grays Harbor County. The Yakama Nation is one of the top 10 employers in Yakima County. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will become one of the top 10 employers in Clark County. That's according to lists maintained by regional economic development agencies.

The Quinault Nation, on the Pacific Coast, will begin a $25 million expansion of its Quinault Beach Resort & Casino in March, Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp announced Jan. 9. The expansion follows the completion of a 159-room remodel at the resort and will expand the property's fast-food services, and add two bars and a combined gift and coffee shop.

The casino will have up to 70 percent more space to house newly added slot machines. A new 500-car, four-story parking garage will also serve the area as a tsunami shelter. The expansion project will employ more than 100 laborers during the construction as well as add to the resort's current workforce upon completion.

The Quinault Nation currently provides more than 1,200 jobs for Quinault citizens and others. Other Quinault Nation enterprises include Quinault Pride Seafood, Quinault Land and Timber, Quinault Marina & RV Resort, and the Quinault Mercantile.

This expansion project not only allows us to employ more locals, it will also help us to bring more people to the area," Quinault Beach Resort & Casino general manager Don Kajans said in an announcement released by the nation. 'It's good for the resort, good for Quinault and good for Ocean Shores. And our patrons will love the changes.'"

"In eastern Washington, the Yakama Nation Legends Casino's hotel is expected to open in May or June, a casino representative said.

The $90 million project will include a six-story, 200-room hotel and conference center, a 5,000-square-foot spa and an expansion of the casino's gaming floor by more than 50,000 square feet. New dining options will include a food court seating 160, and an updated buffet with 150 more seats. Gaming space expansion will include a poker room and space for 200 new slot machines.

The Legends Casino currently features more than 1,400 slot machines, 20 table games, a poker room, keno, a buffet restaurant, deli, espresso bar, and gift shop. It is located near the Yakama Nation Cultural Center, which features the Yakama Nation Museum, Heritage Inn Restaurant, Heritage Theater, and Yakama Nation Library.

Other Yakama Nation Enterprises: Yakama Nation Resort RV Park, Yakama Nation Forest Products, Yakama Nation Land Enterprise, Yakama Power, Yakama Nation Fruit and Produce, Yakama Nation Networks, Yakama Nation Wildlife, Range & Vegetative Resources Management, and Yakama Nation Gaming Commission.

In southwest Washington, the Cowlitz Tribe is building a 368,000-square-foot gaming, dining, entertainment, and meeting destination on 152 acres along Interstate 5, approximately 20 miles north of the Columbia River. The developer is Salishan-Mohegan LLC Gaming, a partnership of Cowlitz citizen David Barnett's Salishan Company LLC and the Mohegan Tribe. Salishan-Mohegan will manage the casino-resort; the Cowlitz Tribe is the owner."
Cowlitz Casino Resort will have a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor with 2,500 slots, 60 high-limit slots, 75 gaming tables, and five high-limit tables; convention and entertainment space for up to 2,500 guests; and more than 15 restaurants, bars and retail shops; and 3,000 on-site parking spaces. According to the website, the casino resort's design and décor will "bring forward the culture of the Northwest and pay tribute to the heritage of the Cowlitz Tribe."

Cowlitz Casino Resort will create nearly 1,000 new jobs, 250 of them construction, according to the project website."

"Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Prepares to Launch State's First Online Gaming Site," ICTMN, December 30, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/31/iowa-tribe-oklahoma-prepares-launch-states-first-online-gaming-site-162918, reported, "A small, 800-member tribe in Oklahoma is on the verge of becoming the first tribe in the state to launch an international gaming website with cash payouts.

The planned websites, Pokertribe.com and Pokertribe.gov, will be available to players in states that have legalized online gambling, such as New Jersey and Nevada, and to the international marketplace. Players will additionally be able to access the website on some cruise ships and airline flights.

The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma operates two brick-and-mortar casinos in Perkins and Chandler, Oklahoma."



AMERIND Risk, "AMERIND Risk Launches AMERIND Critical Infrastructure," ICTMN, May 10, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/10/amerind-risk-launches-amerind-critical-infrastructure-164427. reported from Honolulu, HI, " The only 100 percent Tribally-owned insurance solution provider announced yesterday that it is launching a new business line to help Tribal Nations and Native communities close the persistent and pervasive 'connectivity divide' in Indian country.

AMERIND Risk is embarking on a groundbreaking new business line, AMERIND Critical Infrastructure, to help Tribal Nations develop and deploy the most important 21st Century critical infrastructure within their communities: high-speed "broadband" internet. AMERIND Critical Infrastructure (ACI) will bring together the unique blend of the expertise of proven economic management officials, former groundbreaking federal telecom regulators with a wealth of experience in Washington, DC, and experienced Tribal project managers. ACI will provide professional management services and targeted low-cost financing for Tribal projects."



"Lakota Federal Credit Union Expands Services on Rolling Rez Bus," ICTMN, April 15, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/15/lakota-federal-credit-union-expands-services-rolling-rez-bus-164156, reported, " With National Financial Literacy Month in full swing, the Lakota Federal Credit Union is taking several steps to support increased financial capability on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In partnership with First Peoples Fund and Lakota Funds, the credit union will offer its full suite of services one day a week on the mobile unit at various locations throughout the reservation."

Douglas Thompson, "Carbon Credits Help Tribes Preserve Culture, Climate and Bottom Line," ICTMN, February 16, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/16/carbon-credits-help-tribes-preserve-culture-climate-and-bottom-line-163439, reported, " The National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC), a tribal non-profit, has received a three-year, $300,000 grant to improve access to carbon markets in Indian country, enabling tribes to help mitigate climate change's effects while improving their bottom line.



'This is exciting for Indian country," said NICC Program Director Erick Giles, Muscogee (Creek) and member of the Big Cat clan. "Generating and selling carbon credits is a mostly untapped way for tribes to promote economic development on their reservations through resource management.'"

"NICC will use the three-year Conservation Innovation Grant, which comes through a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program of the same name, to fund on-the-ground conservation management activities in four geographically distinct areas. The projects, focused on the improvement of soil quality on farmlands, rangelands and native prairie, are also designed to inform the development of a policy guidance that will educate tribes, carbon credit buyers and regulators on the nuances of the generation of carbon credits in Indian country.

Sustainable agriculture and rangeland management projects will be implemented on the Comanche Nation Reservation in Southwestern Oklahoma, the Pueblo of Santa Ana in New Mexico, and on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. While on the recently restored Pe' Sla sacred site in the Black Hills, a blend of wildlife restoration and cultural restoration involving an intertribal partnership of the Rosebud, Shakopee Mdwewakaton, Crow Creek, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Sioux Communities will occur.

'We want to build a pilot program for both our Nation's members and nearby tribes to demonstrate how good land management can lead to both the abatement of climate change and a financial return through the generation of carbon credits,' said Milton Sovo, Comanche Nation member and the tribe's secretary of agriculture. 'Specifically, our work under this grant will include no-till cultivation, taking highly erodible areas out of crop production to restore areas around streams, and implementing rotational grazing management practices. All of this can be replicated by the dozen or so tribes in this part of Oklahoma because we share the same weather and soil types.'

However it's about much more than the bottom line, Sovo emphasized.

'Of course it is important to continue to explore sustainable ways to generate new revenue streams for Native nations. However, this is more than just that,' added Sovo. 'This is a spiritual thing because tribes are part of the land and one of our collective goals should be to be good stewards of natural resources to ensure their availability for future generations.'

In addition to working on the ground at these four sites, NICC will be working with the American Carbon Registry, a carbon credit registry in both the voluntary and compliance markets, to develop specific guidelines for facilitating market access for offset projects on Indian lands."

"Though there appears to be great potential for financial returns to tribes via carbon markets, the cultural values are a central component.

'Millions of acres of reservation forestland, farmland and rangeland are under some form of sustainable tribal management,' said the Tenure Foundation's Stainbrook. 'The real idea behind this project is to connect existing tribal cultural value systems that naturally promote conservation to a tangible economic return that has not yet been fully realized in Indian Country.'"



Tribal Indemnity, "Small Business to Insure, Protect Tribes," ICTMN, February 12, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/12/small-business-insure-protect-tribes-163403, reported, " Insurance expert, Rob Salas launched Tribal Indemnity, LLC , to serve tribal governments, tribal enterprises and 638 programs. Tribal Indemnity provides in-house, licensed and professional, insurance program management. The business operates within an innovative model and guiding principles – work directly with and for the tribes, efficiently manage costs and portfolios, dramatically reduce cost, negotiate fair cost saving agreements, and invest into the community.

The business hosted a launch event on January 19 at its office location on Central Ave and Thomas Rd. Salas brings professional, forward thinking strategies, with an augmentation of confidence for insurance management. His extensive experience in the industry, as well as his network in Indian country, afforded him the foundation and knowledge, to start his business at a very minimal cost."

"For more information about Tribal Indemnity, LLC visit www.tribalindemnity.com or call Rob Salas at (623) 826-0969."



The Navajo Tribal Utility broke ground on a 300-acre solar farm, five miles north of Kenta, AZ, in April 2016, expected to be completed in about a year, that is planned to produce 27.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power some 7,700 homes (Cindy Yurth, "Ground Broken on 300-acre solar farm," Navajo Times, April 28, 2016).

"Sovereignty by the Barrel': Tribe Takes Control of Oil Production," ICTMN, June 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/06/06/sovereignty-barrel-tribe-takes-control-oil-production-164706, reported, " The Three Affiliated Tribes are reclaiming oil production on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota.

Missouri River Resources (MRR), a tribal-owned oil company with the motto "Sovereignty by the Barrel", produced its first barrel of oil in June 2015 on the reservation. Now the Three Affiliated Tribes's business is churning out roughly 1,000 barrels of oil daily for the nation, reported The Bismark Tribune .

Previously, the tribe had leased the majority of tribal lands to private companies to tap the bedrock of oil under its surface. By taking on leaseholds that are new or expiring, MRR is gaining more autonomy. Through MRR, the tribe gets back 26 percent of royalties when it drills its own oil. When the drilling is done by private companies, the tribe takes just 18 percent."



The Southern Ute Tribe is looking into the possibility of undertaking shale oil mining - likely open pit with processing of the mined shale to extract the oil - but the tribe also has concerns of what the environmental impact might be, especially on the reservation, which could be considerable, and for downstream places as well, in terms of water pollution. Given the high cost of producing the oil, it may never be economically feasible, even without considering the environmental issues Damon Toledo, "Shale oil reserves a possibility," Southern Ute Drum, March 18, 2016).

"NTEC Contributed $35M to Navajo Nation in 2015," ICTMN, April 18, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/04/18/ntec-contributed-35m-navajo-nation-2015-164167, reported, "In 2015, the Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) pumped more than $35 million into the Navajo Nation, mostly 'by way of taxes and royalties,' CEO Clark Moseley recently announced at a panel session at the 2016 Navajo Nation Economic Summit at Twin Arrows Resort and Casino.

Moseley presented as a panelist at the 'Energy Resource Development' session during the four-day conference, which NTEC sponsored. NTEC is a Navajo tribally owned company that owns and manages Navajo Mine in northwestern New Mexico that supplies coal to the nearby Four Corners Power Plant."

"Solar Project to Meet 35 Percent of Tribe's Energy Needs," ICTMN, January 15, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/15/solar-project-meet-35-percent-tribes-energy-needs-163085, reported, " The Soboba Band of LuisenBo Indians is demonstrating its leadership in sustainable development with a community-scale solar project that will generate up to 3 megawatts of power – nearly 35 percent of the tribe's total energy needs.

On Monday the tribe broke ground on the first of three solar power arrays. The first, 1-megawatt facility will be built on the undeveloped eastern side of the reservation, powering the administrative center, schools and other community buildings. Construction will begin on phase two later this year, near the first facility.

It is believed to be the very first solar project on tribal land within Southern California Edison territory."

Navajo Nation has been suffering economically from low oil and natural gas prices, which threaten to cause a budget deficit. As a response, in April, the Council acted to withdraw $150 million from the permanent trust to invest in a five-year plan that it hopes will bring in revenue and create jobs through supporting a variety of economic and water line projects. Planned projects to receive funding, in addition to water improvements, include a shopping center in Ganado and Nahatadzil, a convenience store in Shonto, a retail store in Dennehosto, Shonto retail and hotel, Northern Agency Agriculture Project, Shiprock hotel and restaurant, Indian Wells economic development, Central Agency economic development, office buildings, and Wheatfield and Many Farms agricultural projects (Arlyssa Bessanti, "Council approves $150 M from permanent trust fund to create jobs, more revenue," Navajo Times, April 21, 2016).



"Shoshone Tribe Buys $1.7M Farm Land in Wyoming, Says No Casino Planned," ICTMN Staff , May 6, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/06/shoshone-tribe-buys-17m-farm-land-wyoming-says-no-casino-planned-164398, reported, " The Eastern Shoshone Tribe placed the high bid, $1.7 million, for 302 acres of state land in Riverton, Wyoming.

The tribe confirmed it has no intention of using the land to enter the saturated gaming market, and it purchased the property 'as part of a long-term strategy to diversify our economy and investments,' Shoshone Business Council (SBC) Chairman Darwin St. Clair said.

'We're still looking at our wish list,' St. Clair told The Ranger , 'hopefully a nice hotel or a convention center.'

The tribe plans to maintain the property as fee land. 'The property is in a great location and should support a mix of commercial, residential and public uses,' St. Clair said. 'Ultimately, development of this property will provide jobs, diversify the economy, and keep local dollars from going to places like Casper on Billings.'



"'Buffalo Bees': Pine Ridge to Sponsor Bee Hives, ICTMN, January 19, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/19/buffalo-bees-pine-ridge-sponsor-bee-hives-163113, reported, " A new bee hive project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, dubbed 'Buffalo Bees', is intended to revive the tribe's local food system while educating students about ecology, agriculture, food sources, societal structure and mutual cooperation, reported Natalie Hand for the Lakota Country Times .

The hives will serve as a "science class in a box," teaching community members the importance of acting as stewards for honeybees and their natural environments.

The Honeybee Conservancy selected the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation to sponsor bee hives in the community garden. Thunder Valley CDC will receive its hives in March 2016."



"Siletz Tribe Raises Minimum Wage to $11," ICTMN, February 17, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/17/siletz-tribe-raises-minimum-wage-11-163449, reported, " Some employees of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians will see a bump in their next paychecks.

The tribal council recently voted to raise the minimum wage on the reservation from $9.25 an hour to $11 an hour. The increase applies to all tribal enterprise and tribal government employees, including those at Chinook Winds Casino Resort.

Oregon's current minimum wage is currently $9.25, the eighth highest in the nation. The federal minimum is $7.25."

Other Indian Nations have raised their minimum wages above the state and federal minimimum wage. Since 2013, this injcludes: the Ho-Chunk Nation raising its minimum wage to $10 , the Cherokee Nation Raising its tribal minimum wage to $9.50 in February 2014,Federal , and the  at $10.60 an hour in October 2013, then the highest in the United States .

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Education and Culture

Navajo Technical Institute (NTU), on the Navajo reservation, conferred its first master's degree in Dine Culture Language and Leadership, May 15, 2016 (Alysia Landry, "NTU confers first master's degree in Dine culture, language," Navajo Times, May 26, 2016).

Dine College, on the Navajo reservation, during Spring semester of 2016, launched a one semester Navajo Cultural Arts Program, that relates traditional Dine culture (including spirituality) to arts, including transitional arts (Cindy Yurth, "Art as Spirituality," Navajo Times, April 28, 2016).



Dine College (DC) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) signed a five-year inter institutional memorandum of understanding, with the goal of increasing higher educational opportunity on the Navajo Nation, February 29, 2016. Preserving the integrity and purpose of each institution, the higher education entities intend to collaborate in speeding and smoothing the path to bachelor's degrees for Navajo students through program articulation, curriculum development and joint support. At the end of five years the program is to be reevaluated for possible renewal and adjustment.



NAU was then rated ninth in awarding bachelor's degrees to Native students. In the 2014-15 academic year NAU graduate 138 Dine students. In 2015-16, there were 721 undergraduate transfer students from DC at NAU

"Utah School District Graduates 100 Percent of Native Seniors," ICTMN, May 27, 2016, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/05/27/utah-school-district-graduates-100-percent-native-seniors-164612, reported, "In 1997, the graduation rate for Native American students was 37 percent in the Nebo School District ; this year, the district graduated 100 percent of its Native seniors, with 23 of the 26 starting college in the fall, reports the Daily Herald out of Utah.

It was in 1997 that Eileen Quintana, manager for the Nebo School District's Title VII program in Utah County, Utah, approached the board of education and brought the graduation rates to their attention."

"the district gave her program more resources, like a classroom, computers, and supplies.

"Quintana and Brenda Beyal, a teacher in the program, attribute their program's success to collaboration. While many Title VII programs try to survive on the $200 they get every year per student from the federal government, Nebo's program looks for supplemental grants, and support from family and employees.

'Many of our Title VII programs throughout the state function from a desk out of a cubbyhole,' Quintana told the Herald. 'You have to have a classroom, you have to have computers… you have to have teachers and tutors… If your school administration is not going to that point of supplying you and helping you secure these fundamental necessities of education, you can't make an impact.'"

" Aside from being collaborative, the program encourages students to incorporate their culture into assignments."



Ganado High School, on the Navajo Reservation, has taken a hands on approach to teaching biomedical science in a human body systems class, in which students learn more fully and effectively by participating directly with the material. An example is a team project of building a human body, sculpting organs out of clay, following their own on line research on the shape size and placement of each part. The instructor facilitates the process, including telling the students when they have made and placed a part properly, and when it needs correction. This kind of experiential learning is in keeping with traditional Dine, and more broadly, Indigenous tradition (Christopher S. Pino, "Building a body: Ganado High students put hands on biomedical science," Navajo Times, April 28, 2016).



The Kickapoo Nation of Kansas K-12 school has for many years done what an increasing number of Indian nations are being able to do in preserving their cultures, teaching culture and language at school, leading numerous students to speak the language at home, and elsewhere beyond school (Alonzo Weston, "Kickapoo Nation School working to save vanishing language," NFIC, April 2016).



The American Indian Education Assocaition reported on their web site (niea.org, visited June 29, 2016) that with Native students 2% of the U.S. school population, 67% graduate in public schools and 53% graduate in BIE Schools, compared with the national graduation average of 81%.

--==+==--

"From Extinction to Existence: The Wôpanâak Language," Culrtural Survival, January 14, 2016, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/extinction-existence-wopanaak-language, reported, " Dormant for 150 years, a lost Indigenous language is brought back to life by a Native woman, setting into motion a vital cultural revitalization process.

'Now I can pray in my language,' reads a sign held by an indigenous woman from the Wampanoag Tribe. She is referring to the Wôpanâak language, an ancient Algonquian language that was once spoken by Indigenous Peoples inhabiting all of southeastern Massachusetts. As colonization took root displacing Indigenous Peoples and devastating their cultures, the Wôpanâak language became extinct in the nineteenth century.

A hundred and fifty years later, something unexpected and unimaginable happened. Jessie Little Doe Baird, a tribal member began to have dreams, where her ancestors wondered if she would bring back their language. Baird earned her masters degree in Algonquian Linguistics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; she began to decipher grammatical patterns and create vocabulary lists from archival Wôpanâak documents. Baird found a version of the King James Bible in Wôpanâak language that missionaries had written for their conversion and literacy programs. She also found an incredible repository of other archival documents–wills, deeds, petitions, letters–and used these along with the Bible to create a Wôpanâak-English dictionary.

In 1993, Baird founded the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP), an inter-tribal cooperative project that serves the four remaining tribes of the Wampanoag Nation to restore a dormant language and use it as a principal means of expression. For her outstanding feat of bringing back a lost language to life, Baird was selected as a MacArthur Fellow. 'We believe that by teaching the children in particular, the language will more easily come back to fluency," said Judi Urquhart, WLRP board member. The Project now offers a multitude of classes to tribal members, including family language immersion weekends and a summer youth program. The Project has also created curriculum for Pre-K to Second Grade and has plans to launch a Montessori-based pre-school this year in collaboration with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's Childcare Program and the Montessori Academy of Cape Cod. "The language is now used for ceremonies and powwows. It is slowly incorporated into our day-to-day life,' noted Judi.

The Project has started a language class for elders as well. While in most tribal communities elders preserve Native languages by teaching the next generation, the Wampanoag Nation has younger people teaching the elders. 'The elders are very dedicated to learning their ancestral language, perhaps more so than any other group!' Judi remarked. In November 2011, a documentary premiered on PBS, We Still Live Here–Âs Nutayuneân, that tells the remarkable story of the revitalization of the Wôpanâak language, the first time a language has been revived in the United States with no living Native speakers. In 2014, Sacred Fire Foundation gave a grant to the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project to support a three-week summer youth camp for language immersion.

'Reclaiming our language is one means of repairing thebroken circle of cultural loss and pain. To be able to understand and speak our language means to see the world as our families did for centuries. This is but one path which keeps us connected to our people, the earth, and the philosophies and truths given to us by the creator,' noted Baird."

In order to help preserve the Lakota language, a web site was launched in early 2016 entirely in Lakota, with news features, sports and weather, at: woihanble.com (meaning "dream"). The web site carries local Indian news provided by two area weekly papers, who translate the news into Lakota (Regina Garcia Cano, "In effort to preserve language, web site posts news in Lakota," NFIC, March, 2016).

A new and updated dictionary of the Ute language has been compiled by Taimy Givon; along with Spoken Cree, Level III , by C. Douglas Ellis (http://www.ssila.org/category/newpublications/).

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International Developments

Elizabeth P. Anderson and Jennifer C. Veilleux, "Cultural Costs of Tropical Dams," Science, April; 8, 2016, commented, " Recent pieces in Science rightly call for greater examination of the environmental, political, and economic trade-offs of tropical dams..." "However, riparian human population stands to lose much more than land, food, and income.

Free-flowing rivers hold special significance in Indigenous cultures..."

We need better understanding of the implications of tropical dam proliferation for riparian human populations. An assessment of human and water security that includes not only economics, politics and environment but also culture would more accurately capture the costs and benefits of hydropower development and influence decisions on new tropical dams."



"Revealed: "Pygmy" children paid in glue and alcohol," Survival International January 20, 2016, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11095, reported, " Tribal children in the African rainforests have been paid in glue to sniff, and alcohol, in return for menial work, a new Survival International report has revealed.

The report found instances of market traders in the Republic of Congo plying children from the Bayaka tribe with glue in 2013, in exchange for cleaning out latrines.

In Cameroon Baka tribespeople , illegally evicted from their forest homes, are often paid in five glasses of moonshine in exchange for half a day's manual labor. A combination of poverty and depression caused by the theft of their land forces many to turn to heavy drinking as an escape from their troubles.

Across much of central Africa, dispossessed hunter-gatherer peoples are frequently paid in addictive substances, most commonly home-brewed alcohol.

Atono, a Baka man forcibly evicted from his land said: "Now we are falling ill because of the change in our diet. Our skin doesn't like the sun and life in the village. In the forest we are healthy and put on weight. Now no one has any muscles, everyone looks ill. We are forced to drink to forget our troubles."

Problems of addiction and substance abuse are common among tribes who have had their land stolen from them. In Canada, alienated Innu children whose people were forced to abandon their nomadic way of life turn to sniffing gas from plastic bags. Likewise in Australia, rates of alcoholism among Aboriginal people are higher than among the wider population.

Boniface Alimankinni, an Aboriginal Tiwi Islander, said: 'We had no self-respect and nothing to give our sons except violence and alcoholism. Our children are stuck between a past they don't understand and a future which offers them nothing.'

Drug addiction and alcoholism are not inevitable for tribal peoples. They are the result of failed policy, imposing 'progress' and 'development' on peoples who are otherwise largely self-sufficient. Industrialized societies subject tribal peoples to genocidal violence, slavery and racism so they can steal their lands, resources and labor. These crimes are often carried out in the name of progress and development.



Survival Director Stephen Corry said: 'Survival's 'Progress can kill"' report shows that imposing 'development' on tribal peoples just doesn't work. Even the new healthcare is never enough to counter the devastation caused by land theft. Forcing development on tribal peoples never brings a longer, happier life, but rather a shorter, bleaker existence only escaped in death. 'Progress' has destroyed many tribes and threatens many more, so we're calling on the United Nations to speak out against forced development on tribal lands'."

Progress can Kill: Survival report reveals world's highest suicide rate," Survival International, January 4, 2016, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11071, reported, " A new report published by Survival International reveals that the appalling suicide rate among the indigenous Guarani Kaiowé people of southern Brazil is the highest in the world.

The rate of self-inflicted deaths within the tribe is 34 times the Brazilian national average, and statistically the highest among any society anywhere on earth. Suicide rates among many other indigenous peoples such as Aboriginal Australians and Native Americans in Alaska also remain exceptionally high. This can be viewed as the inevitable result of the historical and continuing theft of their land and of "development" being forced upon them.

The report , "Progress can Kill", exposes the devastating consequences of loss of land and autonomy on tribal peoples. As well as the shockingly high suicide rates among tribes, it also reveals high rates of alcoholism, obesity, depression and other health problems.

Particularly striking statistics include the sky-rocketing rates of HIV infection in West Papua , which increased from almost no cases in 2000 to over 10,000 by 2015, and the rate of infant mortality among Aboriginal Australians – twice that in wider Australian society. In large parts of the world, poor nutrition continues to cause further problems, such as malnutrition for Guarani children in Brazil, who are forced to live on roadsides, and obesity for many Native Americans, for whom junk food is the only viable option."

The short version of Progres Can Kill is at: http://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/1438/progresscankill.pdf. Thew Full version is at: http://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/1511/full-report.pdf.

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International Organization Developments

Fifteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

9-20 May 2016 – UN Headquarters, New York

Special Theme: "Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution" (Official Press Release Reports)

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fifteenth Session, 1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM), http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/hr5297.doc.htm:

Amid rapid globalization and the scramble for natural resources, indigenous peoples had become victims of violence and even genocide on their lands, often due to their distinct identities, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues heard today, as it opened its fifteenth session amid calls for their full participation in plans for peace and reconciliation that directly impacted their lives.

The session, held under the theme "Indigenous peoples: Conflict, Peace and Resolution", will run through 20 May. élvaro Pop, following his election as Chair of the fifteenth session, said even in peaceful societies, indigenous peoples were increasingly in situations that escalated to conflict around lands, territories and resources, or civil, political, cultural, social and economic rights.

Indigenous peoples were also experiencing militarization on their lands and, in nearly every region, being displaced by violence. 'There can be no peace to these conflicts unless indigenous peoples are equal participants in any plans for peace and resolution," he said. The focus must be on the rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. "We will no longer sit by and allow lip service to be paid to the human rights of indigenous peoples," he said.

In a video message, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agreed that indigenous peoples were increasingly being drawn into conflicts over their lands, resources and rights. Lasting peace required that they have access to cultural, social and economic justice. In response, the United Nations had developed a system-wide action plan. "It is essential we work as one to realize the full rights of indigenous peoples," he stressed.

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said he was honoured to formally launch the United Nations plan for achieving the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples today. It aimed to raise awareness about and support implementation of the Declaration. All Resident Coordinators had been asked to share it with host Governments. "Now is the time for the United Nations system to work hand-in-hand with indigenous peoples and Member States," he said.

Sven Jürgenson, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, added that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offered the Forum an opportunity to ensure that indigenous peoples' concerns and suggestions were fed into discussions on the Council's main theme, "implementation of the 2030 Agenda: moving from commitments to results", and that of the high-level political forum on leaving no one behind. "You are the experts – and we count on you to bring that expertise into the discussion," he said.

Offering a Government perspective, Aura Leticia Teleguario, Minister for Labour and Social Prevention of Guatemala, said among the priorities for her country was the establishment of meaningful consultations with indigenous peoples. More than 87 consultative processes had been carried out since 2005, which focused on providing institutional and legal mechanisms aimed at preventing conflict. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister for Justice of Canada, stressed that reconciliation required laws to be changed and policies rewritten. "We intend to do so in full partnership," she said.

In the afternoon, the Forum held three interactive dialogues in which experts outlined recommendations for respecting indigenous rights and presented related research. In the first, Oliver Loode, Permanent Forum member from Estonia, provided an update on implementation of the subsidiary organ's recommendations, pointing to positive results when its recommendations contained specific, time-bound criteria, and difficulty in acting upon those that were generic with unclear recipients.

In the second, Alisa Mukabenova, Permanent Forum member from the Russian Federation, said many language-related recommendations were aimed at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which she hoped would take a more active, comprehensive approach to indigenous languages.

In the third, Valmaine Toki, Permanent Forum member from New Zealand, presented a study on the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Pacific Ocean, while Dalee Sambo Dorough, Permanent Forum member from Alaska, presented a study on how States exploited weak procedural rules in international organizations to devaluate the United Nations Declaration and other international human rights law.

Also today, the Forum elected Alvaro Pop as Chair of the session, as well as Mariam Wallet Mohamed Aboubakrine, Aysa B. Mukabenova, Dalee Sambo Dorough and Raja Devasish Roy as Vice-Chairs and Oliver Loode as Rapporteur. It also adopted its agenda for the session, as orally revised.

Chief Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief of the Onondaga Nation, delivered the annual ceremonial welcome to participants.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 10 May, to continue its fifteenth session.

Opening Remarks

MOGENS LYKKETOFT (Denmark), President of the General Assembly, noted that two years ago, the General Assembly had held the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. At that event, Member States had reaffirmed their commitment to support, respect, promote, advance and in no way diminish the rights of indigenous peoples and uphold the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It included a commitment to conduct consultations on possible measures to enable the participation of indigenous peoples' representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant bodies of the United Nations. In February, he appointed four advisers to assist him in conducting those consultations and in April had circulated the first draft compilation of views expressed during initial consultations, with the aim of reaching a final text to be adopted by the General Assembly during its seventy-first session.

Since taking office, he had sought to advance openness, transparency and inclusion in how the General Assembly conducted its work, which included the ability of indigenous peoples to engage at the United Nations on matters that affected them. Indigenous peoples had a right to contribute and could provide enriching input, despite being historically targeted and excluded, resulting in great harm to their communities, heritage and livelihoods, including their identity. The current consultation provided a historic opportunity for Member States to improve and strengthen the participation of indigenous peoples at the Organization.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said indigenous peoples had taken an active role in consultations and negotiations towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The results of that engagement were clear in the framework which – apart from the six direct references to indigenous peoples – included priorities of equality, non-discrimination, human rights and protection of mother Earth. In that way, the Sustainable Development Goals were a step forward for indigenous peoples. This year was one of implementation, of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

He encouraged indigenous peoples to engage in that important process, and States to work with them. The 2030 Agenda offered the Permanent Forum a new responsibility in ensuring that indigenous peoples' issues, concerns and suggestions were fed into discussions on the Council's main theme, "implementation of the 2030 Agenda: moving from commitments to results", and that of the high-level political forum on "leaving no one behind".

"You are the experts – and we count on you to bring that expertise into the discussion," he said. The Forum embodied the endeavour to peacefully address difficult and contentious issues by bringing indigenous peoples, Member States and United Nations agencies together in a spirit of dialogue, cooperation and openness. It offered a safe space to meet, and through that helped to improve the relationship between indigenous peoples and Governments. The recommendations from discussions in the coming weeks would be particularly relevant for Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda on peaceful and inclusive societies. "Indigenous peoples have the same right to enjoy peace, security and human rights as anyone else," he concluded.

éLVARO POP, Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, said that even in peaceful societies, indigenous peoples often found themselves involved in situations that escalated to conflict, primarily related to issues involving lands, territories and resources, or civil, political, cultural, social and economic rights. The rapid pace of globalization and processes to identify new venues for resource exploitation had accelerated such conflict on indigenous peoples' land. Indigenous peoples were also increasingly experiencing armed conflicts and militarization on their lands. In nearly every region of the world, indigenous peoples were being displaced and severely impacted by violence and militarism.

In some countries, indigenous peoples had become victims of violence, massacres or even genocide due to their distinct identities, he said. Women and children were often most vulnerable and suffered the most. "There can be no peace to these conflicts unless indigenous peoples are equal participants in any plans for peace and resolution," he emphasized. Efforts must be made to emphasize the rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its legally-binding status. The international community must ensure that endorsing the Declaration publicly and internationally continued at the domestic level. "We will no longer sit by and allow lip service to be paid to the human rights of indigenous peoples," he said.

WU HONGBO, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, for which he was the senior United Nations official to coordinate follow-up, included important mandates for the Organization. "We take these mandates very seriously," he said. One of them was to develop a system-wide action plan for ensuring a coherent approach for achieving the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Over the past 10 months, the United Nations had worked through the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues to prepare that plan.

He was honoured to formally launch the plan today, he said, stressing: "Clearly more needs to be done to raise awareness about the Declaration and about the situation of indigenous peoples throughout the world." The plan aimed to support the implementation of the Declaration, and as such, his Department had sent the plan to all United Nations Resident Coordinators asking them to share it with host Governments. The plan also called for promoting indigenous peoples' rights in the implementation and review of the 2030 Agenda.

"Now is the time for the United Nations system to work hand-in-hand with indigenous peoples and Member States for the common good," he said. There was much work to be done. Indigenous peoples continued to suffer disproportionately from poverty, discrimination, poor health care and inadequate education. Those challenges were serious, but with concerted efforts, "we can make a difference."

AURA LETICIA TELEGUARIO, Minister for Labour and Social Prevention of Guatemala, said the Forum served as an open door towards sharing the realities of indigenous peoples in the world. The Forum allowed for the merging of ideas around the promotion of the collective rights of peoples. Guatemala recognized that the rights of indigenous peoples in the world were fundamental to the search for comprehensive development. It was the responsibility of the State to ensure the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In Guatemala, deep-seated changes were under way, including with regard to Government transparency and the provision of services, she said. The challenge was to continue to make progress in political participation and decision-making, to allow the shift from resistance to power. In Guatemala, public policy would focus on the most vulnerable populations, many of which were indigenous. Her country had re-established the Cabinet of Indigenous Peoples, which was a high-level institutional mechanism that would ensure that the plans and programmes of the Government had cultural relevance. Legal, administrative and budgetary changes needed to be made that would adapt institutions appropriately; taking into account cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity in the country.

She said that among the key priority areas for Guatemala was the establishment of meaningful consultations with indigenous peoples. More than 87 consultative processes had been carried out since 2005, which focused on providing institutional and legal mechanisms aimed at preventing conflict and ensuring the safeguarding of all peoples. Efforts would continue to bring about significant changes in the years to come, including with regard to full development, in line with the objectives laid out in the 2030 Agenda.

JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD, Minister for Justice of Canada, noting that her people were from the country's west coast, said she was here today also as the Attorney General of Canada, an appointment that spoke volumes about how far the State had come and how far it intended to go. She was among a record number of indigenous members of Parliament elected in October – a real change from times when indigenous peoples were discouraged from fully participating in society. She was proud to be part of a Government whose leader had made a solemn commitment to change with a vision for true reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Indeed, she said, he had tasked all ministers to rebuild the nation-to-nation relationship, stating in public letters that no relationship was more important to him – and to Canada – than that with indigenous peoples. It was time to renew relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. That was perhaps the most challenging area of public policy and the work was long-overdue. "We must complete the unfinished business of confederation, rebuilding the nation-to-nation relationship," she said, and finding solutions to decades-long problems.

That said, the Administration of Indian Affairs was not organized around indigenous nations, she stressed, but rather, an imposed system of governance. It was essential to move beyond that system through the available legal tools. The Government would breathe life into section 35 of the Constitution, which reaffirmed existing aboriginal and treaty rights. The challenge was to translate hard-won rights into meaningful benefits within indigenous communities. It was not easy to throw off the shackles of 140 years of the Indian Act system.

Noting that indigenous communities were in a transition of nation-building and rebuilding, she said the Government's job was to support them. One legal question was around how to implement free, prior and informed consent, as the Declaration recognized that indigenous peoples had individual and collective rights, with their participation in decision-making at its heart. A new nation-to-nation relationship was needed. Reconciliation required laws to change and policies to be rewritten.

"We intend to do so in full partnership," she said, underlining the need for a national action plan and more effective ways of both recognizing indigenous nations and providing support for those able to move beyond the status quo. Communities must receive necessary services, including by developing new fiscal relationships with indigenous governments. Indigenous peoples must be empowered to retake control of their lives, with the full support of all Canadians.

Discussion I

In the afternoon, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples gathered for a series of interactive discussions.

OLIVER LOODE, Permanent Forum member from Estonia, opening the first discussion, provided a presentation on the implementation of the recommendations made during the last session of the Forum and noted that 20 out 40 recommendations had been selected for follow-up action. He noted that the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs had updated the Forum on progress towards guaranteeing indigenous peoples the ability to participate in the preparation and coordination of the system-wide action plan. On the recommendation for States and indigenous peoples to establish a working group to prepare a manual of good practices for the repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains, substantial progress had been made. He highlighted that the final Declaration for the 2030 Agenda included six references to indigenous peoples and several indicators and priorities brought forward by indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, although those were positive developments, States had fallen short in addressing indigenous issues in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

He went on to highlight that the recommendation addressing youth self-harm and suicide had not yet been implemented, although there had been notable developments, particularly within the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural). Forum members remained hopeful that the World Health Organization (WHO) would prioritize the issue going forward. In that regard, he requested that WHO designate a focal point to work with the Forum. He then turned to the recommendation requesting Member States to ensure indigenous peoples' rights to participate in decision-making, particularly within the three major multilateral negotiations in 2015, including those on the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Addis Action Agenda. The Forum was disappointed that its priorities were not more strongly reflected in the final outcome of those processes. The recommendation on the rights of indigenous women had enjoyed significant progress, he reported, including its consideration at the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women. He noted the direct reference to indigenous women, including their distinct and important contributions to sustainable development, contained within the Agreed Conclusions emanating from the latest Commission session.

The representative of Ukraine, in the ensuing discussion, noted that starting in the 1980's activists had fought to help Crimean Tartars return to their rightful lands, culture and languages following many years of repression. However, the recent annexation of Crimea had resulted in many media services being shut down, including those that had been broadcasting in the indigenous languages of Crimea.

Also speaking in the discussion was a representative of the International Indian Treaty Council.

Discussion II

ALISA MUKABENOVA, Permanent Forum member from the Russian Federation, noted that currently there were about 100 recommendations on the preservation of indigenous languages up for consideration. A meeting of experts was held on linguistic diversity and the important role of families and women for the transmission of languages over time. Indigenous peoples in many countries continued to suffer under discriminatory policies stemming from colonial times. In Canada, specific studies had been conducted to examine the role of boarding schools in the systemic violation of the rights of indigenous peoples. To overcome decades of destructive policies, indigenous peoples had put forward their own initiatives to launch projects to revitalize their mother tongues.

The expert panel group, she said, had paid special attention to the potential of modern communications technologies for preserving indigenous languages. She pointed to Google, which had developed software that made it possible to write in the traditional Cherokee language, making it possible to have original Cherokee content online. There were also many examples of the important role of non-governmental organizations in galvanizing outreach activities aimed at overcoming the widely held misunderstandings about indigenous languages. The experts had recommended the establishment of a global fund to support the preservation of indigenous languages and believed a network of organizations should be set-up to work with the Forum to monitor the status of languages at risk of extinction. It was necessary to provide moral and material support to help those who were working to teach and promote language in their countries and regions. Many language-related recommendations were aimed at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which the experts hoped would take a more active, comprehensive and proactive approach to indigenous languages.

During the ensuing discussion, a number of Government representatives described national efforts to preserve indigenous languages and culture and to uphold the right of indigenous groups to education. A number of speakers said language preservation should be viewed as a critical element of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The representative of the government of Greenland said practicing the Greenlandic language, Kalaallisut, was a way of manifesting and developing cultural heritage. While past educational policies had favoured Danish over Kalaallisut, Greenlanders were now working to revitalize the language. Among other things, the teaching of Greenlandic as a first language was being modernized and made more results-oriented.

The representative of UNESCO said linguistic diversity was an important part of cultural diversity. "Languages provide us a vantage point from which we can understand our past," he said in that regard. Nevertheless, there remained many communities around the world that were unable to access information in their own languages. Citing a 2003 UNESCO recommendation concerning the promotion and use of multilingualism in cyberspace, he said information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the Internet had a key role to play in promoting a pluralistic linguistic society.

KARA-KYS ARAKCHAA, a Permanent Forum member from the Russian Federation, said in the Republic of Crimea many schools were taught in the Crimean Tatar languages, which were studied by more than 10,000 pupils.

Also speaking was the representative of the Russian Federation.

Discussion III

VALMAINE TOKI, Permanent Forum member from New Zealand, presented a summary of her study on the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Pacific Ocean, taking into account issues of governance, the effects of climate change, deep sea mining, resources and sustainable development (document E/C.19/2016/3). Underscoring that the intrinsic relationship of indigenous peoples with lands and oceans was enshrined in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, she said the 9.5 million indigenous inhabitants of the South Pacific relied on the ocean for sustenance. However, pollution and climate change imposed on their rights and threatened to destroy their culture. If no effective action was taken, relocation would be the only alternative.

Describing the situation of two Pacific small islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu, she said the latter was facing a 20-40 cm annual sea level rise and would become uninhabitable in the near future. Those States had been active participants in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations and were members of the Alliance of Small Island States. Turning briefly to the mining sector, she gave the example of Papua New Guinea, where mining was being lauded as an economic success story. However, indigenous people had seen little of those benefits and their land was suffering. In that regard, she stressed the importance of free, prior and informed consent as well as the meaningful indigenous participation in all decisions that affected them.

DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Permanent Forum member from Alaska, presented a study on how States exploit weak procedural rules in international organizations to devaluate the United Nations Declaration and other international human rights law (document E/C.19/2016/4). The Declaration must be the framework to guide all State party action, she said, stressing that countries had the responsibility to uphold indigenous rights and refrain from actions that infringed on them. Procedural rules of intergovernmental organizations must be strengthened and there must be consistency between the international legal obligations of States and national contexts. While some States and international organizations had strong policies in place with regards to indigenous peoples, she said that when States negotiated new international instruments, the rights and status of indigenous peoples were frequently overlooked and their participation marginalized.

States parties could not evade their international human rights obligations, she stressed in that respect, citing a number of examples of poor practice. The policy of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on indigenous and tribal peoples, while strong, nevertheless allowed Member States to take positions that fell short of existing human rights standards. Meanwhile, the World Bank had sought consensus on a proposal to allow States to opt out of an indigenous safeguard policy. It was critical that international organizations and Member States inform themselves about indigenous peoples' rights, she said, emphasizing that the procedures of intergovernmental organizations must be strengthened to prevent States from opting out of their obligations to protect indigenous human rights.

In the ensuring discussion, participants stressed that language was essential to indigenous peoples' identity and the strength of their communities. All students benefitted from learning indigenous languages, notably through greater understanding of country and culture, which could lead to reconciliation. Speakers underscored the need for States to provide long-term funding for indigenous languages, with some stressing that they should also allow and facilitate private funding to do so.

Several representatives of indigenous peoples took the floor, with a representative of an indigenous community in Los Angeles noting that local education authorities had compared the lives of indigenous youth in his area to having post-traumatic stress syndrome, as they lacked resources to overcome the challenges they faced. He asked how the Forum could advance indigenous children's rights when the guidelines it proposed sought to restrict indigenous peoples' right to self-recognition and self-determination.

A speaker from an Amazonian community, noting that her language was spoken by fewer than 500 people, said she was working to maintain her language with the support of volunteers. The Forum should recommend that indigenous peoples lead language revitalization efforts with State support, and that countries allow them to do so. Resident Coordinators should report on efforts to protect indigenous languages that were disappearing.

An indigenous representative of the Mohawk Language Custodian Association said that while assimilation and doctrines of superiority had been condemned, the United Nations still had to press States to uphold their commitments in that regard. "Stop the dispossession of our lands," she declared, urging a moratorium on any development that impacted traditional lands, resources and forms of governance. Free, prior and informed consent must be practiced. "Language has a spirit," she said. "When we lose our language, we lose who we are as indigenous peoples."

An indigenous speaker from the Fiji Islands spoke about efforts to devalue the Fijian culture, which had started with the imposition of the 2013 Constitution, for which there had been no free, prior and informed consent. The Constitution had removed "everything indigenous", including the great council of chiefs, and outlined 17 decrees that had taken away indigenous land and sea resources. "I welcome the report on the preservation of languages, but it is not happening in Fiji," she said.

Government representatives also took part in the discussion, with the representative of Canada, expressing her country's full support for the Declaration and its implementation.

The representative of Australia said the nature and extent of native rights of Torres Strait Islanders referred to that community's traditional laws and customs. Her Government was proud to provide financial support to countries to address climate change impacts. It was also working to strengthen ocean management, including though sustainable fishing operations

The representative of the Russian Federation said assertions in the report on the use of rules in international organizations to denigrate the Declaration lacked any legal foundation. He could not agree that existing rules of procedures did not comply with international standards on indigenous rights. The authors had forgotten that meetings, seminars and conferences had been held to consider indigenous peoples' rights. The Forum should be more professional in preparing its conclusions and recommendations.

A number of Forum members offered their views. Joseph Goko Mutangah, Forum member from Kenya, underscored the need to strengthen informal and formal institutions for teaching indigenous languages and disseminating indigenous traditions and knowledge. He suggested considering – and documenting – minority communities whose languages were disappearing every hour.

Oliver Loode, Forum member from Estonia, requested a recommendation about funding for indigenous languages by States.

Maria Eugenia Choque Quispe, Forum member from Ecuador, said traditional knowledge was being forgotten along with the loss of indigenous languages, especially knowledge of plants.

Dalee Sambo Dorough, Forum member from Alaska, responded to comments by the representative of the Russian Federation, noting that the study on how States exploit weak procedural rules had in fact been legally substantiated. She cited the Charter of the United Nations, and the "range" of General Assembly resolutions in that regard, including on equal application of the rule of law in the context of States and international organizations. In addition, indigenous peoples were not considered "parties" when an international organization's activities were for the "Conference of Parties", as in that for climate change negotiations.

Edward John, Forum member from Canada and co-author of the study on the procedural rules study, drew attention to commitments in International Labour Organization Convention 169, pressing the United Nations and Member States to work with indigenous peoples to uphold those rights and standards, and reflect their commitments in national action plans and system-wide action plans, as called for by the Declaration.

Alexey Taykarev, Expert, Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said losing a mother language could lead to mental problems, reduced quality of life, and in some cases depression and suicide. Language was a fundamental part of indigenous peoples' cultural and material legacy. Many Member States – including those with significant indigenous populations – had not ratified the UNESCO convention on maintaining legacy and he urged consultations in that regard. He also hoped UNESCO would improve its indigenous peoples' policy.



10 MAY 2016 HR/5299, Continuing Session, Speakers in Permanent Forum Call upon Governments to Repeal Oppressive Laws, Practices that Encroach on Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fifteenth Session, 3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM):

The collective rights of indigenous communities must be preserved and respected the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues heard today, as speakers took stock of progress made in the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and indigenous groups all took part in the first wide-ranging general debate of the Forum's fifteenth session.

" Without fair policies and social justice, there will never be peace and true social development," stressed one speaker representing indigenous peoples and communities.

Many participants pointed to Government and private sector actions that had resulted in the plundering and destruction of natural resources. In that context, speakers urged the Forum to monitor and ensure implementation of the Declaration and called on Governments to repeal oppressive laws and practices that encroached on the fundamental rights of indigenous communities and peoples.

Other delegations lamented the plight of indigenous human rights defenders, many of whom had been targeted and subjected to intimidation, harassment and violence.

Per Olsson Fridh, State Secretary to the Minister for Culture and Democracy of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, noted that civic space was shrinking in many countries and legal restrictions had been imposed in more than 50 countries in recent years. Indigenous human rights defenders were routinely subjected to violence and attacks on them worldwide must come to an end.

The unique needs of the most vulnerable within indigenous communities were highlighted by a number of speakers, including the representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who said a number of the its programmes and advocacy efforts were geared specifically towards marginalized groups.

The rights of indigenous women and girls to participate in decision-making processes and policy formulation, access to sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health and family planning, and the ability to fully exercise their reproductive rights were all of utmost importance, he stressed.

Unjust educational policies had historically inflicted great harm on indigenous communities, many speakers said, underscoring that tribal self-determination and self-governance must extend to the education of indigenous children. In that regard, the delegate of the United States acknowledged that the forced removal of children from their homes and placement in boarding schools had caused intergenerational harm

Many delegates focused on the need to protect indigenous languages, with the delegate of Venezuela telling the forum that her Government established an institute to preserve and promote indigenous peoples' languages and ensure that education policies existed based on indigenous values and cultures.

The nexus between sustainable development and indigenous peoples was also explored by many speakers, with many pointing to the importance of sustainable agricultural practices.

Traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities could support social well-being and sustainable livelihoods noted the delegate of the Dominican Republic, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). In that context, the Community had recognized that indigenous peoples had the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.

In an announcement that drew wide applause, Carolyn Bennett, Minister for Indigenous and Northern Affairs of Canada, announced that her country was now a full supporter of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without qualifications.

Canada was among the only countries that had incorporated indigenous peoples' rights in its Constitution, under section 35, she noted, saying that with the Declaration's adoption, her State would "breathe life" in to that section. Self-government agreements were the ultimate expression of free, prior and informed consent.

Also speaking today were representatives of Guatemala, Colombia, Norway, Namibia, Panama, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Estonia, Peru, El Salvador, Venezuela, China, Australia and Brazil

Representatives of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also spoke.

Speakers representing Metis National Council, Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Figi Indigenous Peoples Foundation, New Zealand Nurses Organization, West Paupa Interest Association, Australian Human Right Commission, Cultural Survival, Kapaeeng Foundation, Vivat International Franciscans International, National Indian Youth Council Inc., Nation of the South Caribbean of Nicaragua, International Development Law Organization, Raipon, Maari Ma Health Corporation, Indigenous Network on Economics and Trade, Meilis of the Crimean Tartar People of Crimea, Tribal Link, Assyrian Aid Society Iraq, Congreso General Guna, Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas, Hinerupe Marae, Global Indigenous Women's Caucus, Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humaos de la Costa Atléntica de Nicaragua, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and the Council of Western Mayan People of Guatemala also spoke.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 11 May, to continue its session.

Statements

PER OLSSON FRIDH, State Secretary to the Minister for Culture and Democracy of Sweden, delivered a statement on behalf of his country, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, and said that the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples would continue to be long-standing priorities. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was a milestone in recognizing the status and rights of indigenous peoples and the fulfilment of its objectives would require continuous and consistent work both at the national and international level. Sweden, Norway and Finland were currently negotiating a Nordic Sémi Convention, which was aimed at reaching a common understanding of unresolved issues. It was hoped the Convention would promote the protection of the human rights of the Sémi so they could preserve and develop their language, culture, livelihood and social life. Given that the Sémi lived in all three countries, the Convention also aimed at ensuring that the its objectives could be reached with as little restriction to State boundaries as possible.

Human rights defenders engaged in the promotion of the human rights of indigenous peoples had been targeted and subjected to intimidation, harassment and violence, he continued. Civic space was shrinking in many countries and legal restrictions had been imposed in more than 50 countries in recent years. In some countries, indigenous human rights defenders were particularly subjected to violence, too often resulting in tragic deaths. Attacks on human rights defenders worldwide must come to an end. The Nordic countries strongly called on all States to abide by their human rights obligations and commitments by ensuring that indigenous human rights defenders could work without fear of being subjected to any form of reprisal, harassment, intimidation or violence. The situation faced by indigenous women and girls was particularly severe, many of whom experienced complex, multidimensional and mutually reinforcing human rights violations and abuses. In that context, Nordic countries placed special emphasis on the importance of safeguarding the rights of indigenous women and girls.

BRAULIO FERREIRA DE SOUZA DIAS, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, described a number of international standards which the Conference of the Parties to the Convention had adopted in relation to the session's theme, "conflict, peace and resolution". Such standards and guidelines provided for legal clarity and minimal standards and contributed to peace and the avoidance of conflicts. At their thirteenth meeting to be held in Mexico in December, States parties would consider the adoption of guidelines for the development of national measures to ensure the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities for accessing their knowledge, innovations and practices, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use and application of such knowledge. They would also consider guidelines for the repatriation of indigenous and transitional knowledge, in order to assist indigenous peoples in knowledge and cultural restoration. In preparation for that meeting, the Convention secretariat was implementing, with support from Japan and other donors, a training programme carried out in partnership with indigenous organizations in five regions.

CLéMENT CHARTIER, Metis National Council, said substantial progress had been made from the first indigenous peoples meeting in 1977 in Geneva, to the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to events today. He welcomed Canada's re-engagement in the international community after its 10-year absence from a positive role. Noting that Canada had supported the World Council on Indigenous Peoples, he said indigenous leaders would call for the country's fiscal assistance for the creation of an organization for indigenous peoples to engage fully in the Organization of American States (OAS). Next week, negotiations would be held on an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with a view to developing standards, rights and recognition for indigenous peoples in that region. He expected Canada to join his delegation there next week.

MILDRED GUZMéN MADERA ( Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the third International Conference on Financing for Development had recognized that traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities could support social well-being and sustainable livelihoods. It had further recognized that indigenous peoples had the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. Sustainable development could not be attained without the inclusion of groups and people in vulnerable situations, including indigenous peoples. She added that equity, social and financial inclusion and access to fair credit were central to ensuring overall access to justice, participation, well-being and dignity for indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples played a significant role in sustainable development, she continued, recognizing in particular the importance of sustainable agricultural practices associated with biodiversity and the exploitation of resources. In that regard, the Group had decided to strengthen the region's productive capacity, placing emphasis on sustainable local and cultural practices of indigenous peoples and local communities with a view towards optimizing the use of and access to water for irrigation and the proper management of basins, the recovery of soil fertility and the preservation and increase of biodiversity, according to the legislation of each country. She called for steps to protect the patents on traditional and ancestral knowledge of indigenous and tribal peoples and local communities to prevent violation by third parties through registrations that ignored their ownership. The States of the region supported the empowerment and capacity-building of indigenous women and youth, including their participation in decision-making processes in matters that affected them.

HAI-YUEAN TUALIMA, Indigenous Fellow at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said her organization had renewed the mandate of its Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore for 2016-2017. Since 2009, WIPO had undertaken intense negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement on an international legal instrument or instruments relating to intellectual property which would ensure the balanced, effective protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. The three current draft texts reflected unique approaches to the protection of those resources and knowledge, she said, and included indigenous peoples and local communities as beneficiaries of their protection. The organization had taken robust and consistent measures, including capacity-building initiatives, to address the concerns and interests of indigenous peoples and local communities and to ensure their participation in WIPO negotiation processes. It had further undertaken and submitted a technical review, as requested by the Permanent Forum at its eleventh session, focusing on the draft texts that had been developed within WIPO negotiations.

SARAH DEKDEKEN, Cordillera Peoples Alliance, said the plight of indigenous peoples in the Philippines had turned from bad to worse, with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples serving as an instrument for violating their rights rather than protecting them. The Government had violated their collective rights to ancestral lands and plundered their resources through mining and energy projects. She urged the Forum to monitor and ensure implementation of the Declaration, and encourage the Philippines to respect indigenous peoples' rights to lands and resources. Oppressive laws and policies that displaced communities, among other things, must be repealed and the Government urged to comply with its international humanitarian law obligations.

RAÚL MORALES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, welcomed efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Forum's deliberations, which had great importance for drawing attention to Member States about the issues facing indigenous peoples. Guatemala had made progress in implementing the Declaration, including by setting up a high-level body dedicated to strategic and coordinated action on indigenous issues. Guatemala had in place a national development plan formulated in a consultative fashion, which guided the action of the State. Its key features included increasing access to education and health care, improving nutrition, reducing infant and maternal mortality, expanding the range of school programmes with cultural relevance, and improving access to potable water and basic sanitation, all while taking into account the cultural practices of individual communities. Guatemala had also put into place a public policy addressing reparations for individuals and communities affected by infrastructure projects and had initiated a historic process of national dialogue on judicial reform. Despite some shortcomings, Guatemala had shown signs of progress and change and remained well-positioned to bridge the gaps that existed.

BOYAN RADOYKOV, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), described work at the policy, operational and normative levels, noting that the organization was developing a policy to engage with indigenous peoples. Launched in 2011, the process had advanced through consultative workshops held with indigenous peoples in Santiago, Luanda, Chiang Mai, New York, Geneva and Paris. The policy would be finalized and submitted to the UNESCO board for possible adoption in 2017. There was a risk that most indigenous knowledge was being lost, and with it, valuable records on traditional ways of life. UNESCO was working to develop policies on indigenous cultures, and along with the Convention on Biological Diversity, was promoting links between biological and cultural diversity in the context of that convention. The World Summit on Information Society also offered an opportunity to mainstream indigenous issues into ongoing debates.

ADI ASENACA CAUCAU, Fiji Indigenous Peoples Foundation, highlighted the Fiji Government's failure to recognize the Declaration, noting that it had instilled fear in indigenous communities by striking a bilateral agreement with Indonesia, which had allowed that country to enter Fiji to carry out work in its schools, a sign of disrespect. The Government had violated indigenous groups' rights, and many cases had not been investigated. Health services were in decline and she cited environmental issues around copper mines in that context. In a March 2015 report, Amnesty International had found that the Government had agreed to ensure economic and social development, but that civil and political rights had not been promoted. The Government had not set a standard for the treatment for indigenous peoples, leaving them exposed to human rights abuses. Non-recognition of the Declaration had led to absence of dialogue between the Government and indigenous peoples.

CARMEN INéS VéSQUEZ CAMACHO, Vice-Minister for Participation and Equal Rights of Colombia, said there were about 1.4 million indigenous peoples in her country, which represented 3.4 per cent of the total population. The rule of law and democracy should be the minimum standard for setting public policy, including for minorities. Colombia's development road map had set resource distribution strategies aimed at improving the living conditions of indigenous peoples and bolstering their cultural identities. By reducing inequality and poverty, all people would gain increased access to public services, appropriate living conditions, improved access to other regions of the country, and quality health care and education. Colombia had established a mechanism for the protection of the legal security of territories occupied by indigenous peoples. Progress had also been made in developing linguistic policies. In that context, in addition to Spanish, there were 65 native languages in Colombia that were recognized as official languages in their respective areas. There was widespread recognition of the vulnerability of indigenous women, which had prompted the country to employ leadership and empowerment strategies for women and girls.

GRETHEL AGUILAR, International Union for Conservation of Nature, said the Declaration was approved by the Union in 2008 and was incorporated into its programme framework starting in 2012. Indigenous issues were a key part of the Union's human-rights-based approach. The most relevant provision of the Declaration applicable to the Union's work was the provision that detailed the right to conservation and the protection of the environment, including the production capacities of ancestral lands. The Declaration was the only instrument that had established the right to the protection of the environment. The history of colonization and trends towards economic development had severely affected the well-being of indigenous peoples. A mapping exercise had been conducted in Central America, aimed at increasing the knowledge of the relationship between nature conservation and indigenous peoples.

KERRI NUKU, New Zealand Nurses Organization, said Mori had equal rights to health and acknowledged their right to good health included physical, cultural and spiritual well-being. There were ethnic disparities in life expectancy between Mori and non-Mori peoples. Having a Mori health workforce would be essential to a long-term strategy for improving outcomes. Yet, the nursing workforce did not reflect the community it served. There would be a shortage of 50,000 Mori nurses by 2035 and little work was being done to address that alarming situation. Without measuring the problem, no confidence could be placed in a Mori workforce strategy. Also, the lack of pay parity was a historical inequity, with a 2012 Human Rights Commission report showing a 25 per cent pay gap between Mori health professionals and others in health settings.

ANNE KARIN OLLI, State Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Modernization of Norway, also speaking also on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, underscored the need to recognize the special contributions of indigenous people in common sustainable development efforts, which would determine the success of the new global framework on climate change. They played an important role in mitigation and adaptation through their historic role as the most effective stewards of the world's forests. She urged investing in secure tenure for indigenous peoples, which could enhance their participation in the management and use of State-owned land. In the area of education, qualified teachers and learning materials were needed to overcome the lack of instruction in mother tongue languages. She hoped to create more opportunities for Sami children and youth in that context.

LUIS MORA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said the Fund worked in more than 150 countries and territories that were home to the vast majority of the world's people. In its programmes and advocacy efforts, UNFPA placed emphasis on the rights of indigenous women and girls to participate in decision-making processes and policy formulation, their access to sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health and family planning, and the ability to fully exercise their reproductive rights. UNFPA had supported efforts to establish an intercultural and human-rights-centred approach to sexual and reproductive health in Latin America. In many parts of the world, indigenous peoples were still invisible, either because national statistics did not disaggregate information or simply because their indigenous identity was not recognized.

RONALD WAROMI, West Papua Interest Association, recalled that, in 1963, Netherlands New Guinea – or West Papua – had joined Indonesia as Irian Jaya, the dishonest result of the "act of free choice", after which his peoples' fundamental human rights and freedoms had never been fully guaranteed. The political process was still being questioned by West Papua indigenous peoples who have called for independence. West Papua indigenous peoples continued to suffer discrimination, marginalization and extreme poverty. They had rejected Special Autonomy Law No. 21 in Papua Province and called for self-determination. Human rights violations against indigenous West Papuan peoples had been highlighted in a Human Rights Council Working Group report.

CAROLYN BENNETT, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs of Canada, said the Declaration was the result of indigenous peoples' long struggles for recognition, marking a monumental shift to protect their rights, culture, language and dignity worldwide. Noting that former High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour had shepherded the Declaration's adoption at the Human Rights Council, she said the Prime Minister had stated in mandate letters to ministers that no relationship was more important than that with indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. She announced that Canada was now a full supporter of the Declaration without qualifications. It was among the only countries that had incorporated indigenous peoples' rights in its Constitution, under section 35. With the Declaration's adoption, Canada would "breathe life" in to that section. It also viewed self-government agreements as the ultimate expression of free, prior and informed consent. The calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had shed light on the dark history of residential schools and informed path forward for righting historical wrongs. All Canadians must now embark on that journey.

AMBER ROBERTS, speaking on behalf of the Australian Human Rights Commission, said her organization had a dedicated indigenous commissioner position with a statutory reporting role to the federal parliament, providing a critical focal point to facilitate dialogue between the Australian Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organizations. She listed a number of recommendations, including: that the Permanent Forum ensure the full and independent participation of A-status human national human rights institutions in its sessions; that Member States establish independent national indigenous commissioner roles; and that Member States further engage in meaningful dialogue with indigenous peoples and national human rights institutions.

LAWRENCE ROBERTS, Acting Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior of the United States, noting that he was also a citizen of the Oneida Nation, said that at the seventh White House Tribal Nations Conference, the President had discussed with tribal leaders the strengthening of the nation-to-nation relationship, among other topics. Recovering and protecting tribal land was a priority, with a goal of taking 500,000 acres of land into trust on behalf of Indian tribes. The Government had settled more than 80 tribal cases alleging the United States' breach of trust. The policy of tribal self-determination and self-governance extended to education of indigenous children, he said, acknowledging the intergenerational harm caused by the forced removal of children from their homes and placement in boarding schools, a practice that had ended in the 1960s.

JAMIL AHMAD, Deputy Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the organization was continuously improving its engagement with partners, including indigenous peoples, to enhance environmental sustainability and to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was also working to ensure that UNEP's projects and activities respected the rights of indigenous peoples, reflecting their perspectives and needs. Noting that indigenous peoples were at the forefront when conflicts over access to and use of natural resources and land arose, he said UNEP had responded to crisis situations in more than 40 countries. Recent work in that area included the collaborative research project on "Mediating Natural Resource Conflicts – Guide for Mediation Practitioners" and the documentation of the impacts of industrial development on reindeer husbandry.

MARIA DEL ROSARIO SUL GONZALES, Cultural Survival, noted a number of violations of the right to free and informed consent and the abuse of land by various hydroelectric companies that had taken place in Guatemala. In response to those violations, the Government responded by persecuting activists and accusing them of being criminals and drug traffickers. The contamination and diversion of water by private companies was a continuous challenge for indigenous peoples in various parts of the country. The release of political prisoners was another ongoing issue in the country. She asked that the Forum continue to be vigilant to ensure the Government took steps to protect the well-being of indigenous peoples, as well as monitor cases in which indigenous leaders were criminalized.

ROYAL JK UI/O/OO, Deputy Minister for Marginalized Communities of Namibia, described a number of measures undertaken by his Government to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples. The main objective of the Division of Marginalized Communities was to integrate San, Ovatue and Ovatjimba communities into the economic mainstream. Those groups were referred to as marginalized communities, and not indigenous peoples, because all Namibians saw themselves as indigenous peoples of both the country and the continent. In the area of education support, he said the high illiteracy rate among marginalized communities was receiving high attention, and that the Government was working to construct permanent buildings for schools. In the area of resettlement and relocation, various farms had been procured for the resettlement of San communities in the Kunene region, where more than 800 households had been resettled. In the area of livelihood support, the Government was working to distribute food rations under the San Feeding Programme, and income generation projects had been implemented in almost all resettlement farms and villages.

PALLAB CHAKMA, Kapeeng Foundation, said Bangladesh was home to more than 54 indigenous peoples, who comprised 2 per cent of the total population, including in the partially autonomous Chittagong Hill Tracts region and in the plains. They were among the most neglected groups in the country. Indigenous peoples routinely faced discrimination and human rights violations by State agencies, corporations, Bengali settlers and other non-indigenous actors. Thousands of acres of land had been forcibly taken in the name of commercial purposes, with military camps and tourist complexes set up either on titled or customarily held lands. The projects had been carried out without consultation or consent of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council. He urged Bangladesh to make the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Commission functional without delay, and both the Forum and Member States to encourage that Government to implement recommendations made by the Forum at its tenth session.

Mr. GALLEGOS, Panama, associating himself with CELAC, said that his country had committed itself to guaranteeing the protection of traditional lands and property. That was a right which was elaborated within Panama's Constitution. Panama had seven indigenous groups representing 12 per cent of the population. Large portions of indigenous lands were under official designation, representing 25 per cent of the total surface area of the State. Panama's national development plan sought to promote intercultural dialogue and bolster democratic governance in response to demands for inclusiveness and the recognition of collective cultural rights. Inhabitants should be permitted to enjoy their own lifestyle, provide for their own well-being and have access to the joint benefits of the country. The Government had sought to reduce poverty levels and improve the economic positions of indigenous peoples by strengthening their traditional ways of life and increasing women and young peoples' access to education, health care and infrastructure. The Government remained committed to a six-month round-table discussion with indigenous peoples, as part of the country's move towards ratifying international labour conventions.

ROBERT MIRSEL, Vivat International Franciscans International, noted that mining activities in Indonesia, Brazil and the Philippines had not only been destructive, but also marginalized and excluded indigenous peoples from their territories. Land-grabbing had allowed for the massive expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo and West Papua, Indonesia, both by transnational and national corporations through concessions provided by national and local governments, in violation of the right to free, prior and informed consent. The violation of the human rights of activists, environmentalists and human rights defenders was of great concern. "Without fair policies and social justice, there will never be peace and true social development," he said.

KUNTI KUMARI SHAHI, Minister of State for Federal Affairs and Local Development of Nepal, said her country was home to over 125 ethnic groups, 59 of which were listed as indigenous nationalities. Noting that Nepal was emerging from conflict, she went on to say that, for the first time in its history, the country's speaker of the Parliament was an indigenous woman. The new Constitution provided for the protection and promotion of cultures, languages, arts and scripts of marginalized people, and established independent commissions for such people. The country had been implementing the six mandated areas identified by the Permanent Forum, and it had established the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities. Furthermore, the Government had introduced affirmative action for indigenous nationalities in the public services.

Ms. WILLIAMS ( New Zealand), reiterating the importance of indigenous languages, said Mori culture and heritage were a critical part of her country's national identity. The Government supported the protection of Mori cultural heritage through a range of domestic measures, including legislation, funding and monitoring. One of its national education goals was to advance Mori education initiatives, she said, noting that, while much progress had been made in that area, much remained to be done. The Government had therefore developed the Mori Education Strategy 2013-2017, which was designed to rapidly change how the education system performed so that all Mori students gained the skills, qualifications and knowledge needed to achieve and enjoy educational success. Noting that Mori had poorer health outcomes than non-Mori, she said the Mori Health Strategy guided the health and disability sectors to achieve the best possible outcomes for Mori.

ROBIN MINTHORNE, National Indian Youth Council, said research had shown that more than one in three native women would be raped in their lifetime; 55 per cent of them would experience sexual violence in their lives. There were several reasons why such abuse was underreported. Sexual violence averaged at an annual rate as 7.2 per 1,000, while 34.1 per cent of Alaska native women would be raped in their lifetimes. It was a systemic issue. She recounted the experience of a Navajo girl abducted by another member of the Navajo Nation, a story that had shaken the state of New Mexico and Indian country, as it had spotlighted the problem of access to state-wide emergency response. Indigenous peoples had the right to self-determination, to autonomy and self-government, the right to life and to security of person. It was important to identify issues impacting indigenous women and to use the Declaration to connect states to indigenous communities.

JOHNNY HODGSON, Representative of Nation of the South Caribbean of Nicaragua, associating himself with CELAC and the Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples, said that, for the last nine years, the Caribbean population in his country had seen significant progress in the restitution of their rights. Law 445, enacted in 2003, recognized the right to communal property and restitution of that right, while there was access to preschool, primary and secondary education, with a regional autonomous education system along the coast. There was greater access to health care, with coverage increasing for indigenous communities and those of African descent. For the Grand Interoceanic Canal project, a consultation process had been carried out to ensure the free, prior and informed consent of the Rama and Kriol people. On 10 January the Assembly of Rama and Kriol had adopted a draft document indicating consent, based on the environmental impact assessment, which had been reviewed by several communities. On 3 May, the agreement was signed and it would be published in the official gazette.

JUDIT ARENAS LICEA, speaking on behalf of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), said her organization promoted legal pluralism because there was no single legal system that trumped others. Underscoring the principles of equality, inclusion, sustainable development and respect for human rights, she said her organization proudly shared the values of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Noting that poverty, marginalization, loss of habitat and in some places outright extinction still threatened indigenous peoples around the world, she said that indigenous voices were rarely heard in processes and decisions that affected them directly. Her organization worked at the policy and advocacy levels to redress that challenge. The inclusion of the rule of law in the new sustainable development paradigm was a powerful way to include indigenous people in decision-making and to support legal pluralism. Her organization was working with ministries of justice in various countries, as well as with indigenous community leaders on legal issues, such as the reduction of land-related conflicts.

LEDKOV GRIGORII, speaking on behalf of Raipon, said his organization was involved in preserving the way of life of the indigenous groups of the Russian Federation. The group was currently carrying out programmes to revitalize indigenous languages. For example, 80 per cent of the words used by reindeer herders came from indigenous languages, so helping to preserve their way of life also helped to preserve language. He noted that indigenous people themselves bore the greatest responsibility to preserve their language and culture, and proposed that the Forum's outcome document include an appeal to individual indigenous people that they work to preserve their native languages at home.

Mr. VACA, Member of Parliament of Bolivia, associating himself with CELAC, reaffirmed his country's commitment to implement the outcome of the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, which outlined a global agenda and path for implementing the Declaration. He welcomed the Human Rights Council resolution requesting a review of the Expert Mechanism mandate, calling on all interested parties to contribute to that process and recalling the commitment in resolution 70/232 on indigenous peoples' participation and representation in United Nations meetings. Indigenous peoples had resisted colonization, preserving their culture and philosophy to live in balance with mother Earth. "We want to build a society and State that are more inclusive," he said, in order to fight extreme poverty. In such efforts, Bolivia had referred to traditional knowledge, medicine and plants, which were sources of "great scientific wisdom" and could be used in food production to increase food security.

JUSTIN FILES, speaking on behalf of the Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation, said education and health could drive current and future self-determination by facilitating access to decision-making in public and private sectors, leading to indigenous empowerment. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy, adopted in 2015, included an initial set of national priorities, such as childhood education and care, early childhood transitions and attendance and engagement. Noting that, like many indigenous peoples, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was facing crisis levels of suicide, he asked the members of the Forum to urge nations to implement their commitment to the principles of indigenous sovereignty and social justice by ensuring that indigenous peoples were able to exercise their rights to education and health. He further asked them to ensure that nations were engaging effectively with indigenous peoples' organizations in line with the principles of free, prior and informed consent.

YON FERNANDEZ DE LARRINOA, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the system-wide action plan for achieving the Declaration gave United Nations agencies funds to advance agenda by building respect among indigenous representatives, States, the Forum and agencies. Coordination was more important than ever. There were several results: free prior and informed consent was now mandatory within his organization, and included a programme manual. FAO had opened a grievance office related to non-compliance with obligations, which now included free, prior and informed consent. It was launching national programmes for indigenous women on human rights, food and nutrition security, and collaboration with the indigenous women's global leadership school. Indigenous peoples were among the hardest hit by climate change. Their knowledge was essential for mitigation and adaptation, which was why it launching forests projects.

JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA-GARCÍA ( Costa Rica), associating himself with CELAC, described his country's comprehensive legal framework, noting that it was a State party to International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169, which superseded the Constitution. Last August, a constitutional reform established the pluri-cultural nature of the country, defining it as democratic, free, multi-ethnic and pluri-cultural. The situation of indigenous peoples must be addressed through a rights-based focus. Education reform had culminated with a 2013 decree modifying the indigenous education subsystem, which now ensured that ancestral languages were preserved and spoken, as well as development of a context based curriculum. A national financial system for housing benefitted indigenous populations, and to fight discrimination, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security offered economic subsidies to help vulnerable segments of the population.

CHIEF DONALD HARRIS, Indigenous Network on Economics and Trade, expressed concern about an ongoing controversy in which the Government of Canada had threatened to modify or terminate the right of indigenous people to access portions of its ancestral land. The dispute had caused significant conflict between and within indigenous peoples in British Colombia. The affected indigenous groups had sought to engage the Government, but the efforts had failed to resolve the conflict. Despite claims by the Canadian Government that it would fully adopt the Declaration, the principle of free and prior informed consent had not been historically honoured. Land claim agreements had a history of extinguishing indigenous rights. He urged the Government to acknowledge the rights of the indigenous people in order to achieve peace.

SVEN JÜRGENSEN ( Estonia) said the outcome document of the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples included deliverables for the United Nations and it had taken those mandates seriously, with the launch of the action plan for achieving the Declaration. The participation of indigenous representatives in relevant United Nations forums that addressed institutional issues was important and Estonia had been among those supporting the establishment of such consultations. The future of Finno-Ugric peoples was an issue Estonians followed closely, often with concern. Through the Kindred Peoples Programme, now in its fourth cycle, the Government would allocate €1.27 million for cultural and education projects. More broadly, Estonia would continue to support the United Nations Fund on Indigenous Populations, he said, noting that communication among indigenous groups would be essential for preserving languages and cultures, efforts that should be supported by all Member States.

EMINA DZEPPAROV, Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People of Crimea, said she was a former journalist who had been forced to leave in 2014 to fight for her people. It was a fight that had once involved her grandfather in 1944, a man who had devoted his life to return Tatars to their homeland, and her father, half a century later. The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014 was crucial, as the indigenous Tatar population was a target for oppression due to their opposition to the taking of their homeland. Today, Crimea was a "stolen land" and "a peninsula of fear". Since 2014, arrests had been made on ethnic and religious grounds, and the independent media had been shut down, with the only Tatar television channel, a symbol of cultural and language recovery, forced out. In two years, 21 people had gone missing, with some found dead and tortured. Hundreds of houses had been invaded, with searches not aimed at finding something but rather, used as official instruments to terrify people. The Tatar Mejlis, which embodied the right to self-determination, had been declared an extremist organization, and on 6 May, 50 armed people invaded a Crimean Tatar settlement, where people were demanded to undergo personal identity verification. She called on indigenous peoples to provide moral support to Crimean Tatars.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA VELéSQUEZ ( Peru) said his Government recognized that the Forum was a platform to exchange views and ideas about indigenous issues, such as health, education, culture, human rights and economic and social development. Peru was home to about 55 indigenous groups, which spoke 47 different ancestral languages. Their knowledge, culture and languages were transmitted from one generation to the next. Peru was working to promote social equality and respect for indigenous peoples' rights. In 2011, Peru had passed a law on the right to prior consultation, which made it the first country in the region to comply with ILO Convention 169. Peru had carried out 23 consultative processes on topics such as hydrocarbon, mining, as well as the forest and health sectors. The State had also engaged in activities to promote better communication with indigenous peoples, including a training programme for translators and interpreters in 35 ancestral languages. The Government also created a registry of people in isolated areas and whether initial contact had been made to provide specialized attention and facilitate the establishment of protection measures for those indigenous groups.

MIKAELA JADE, Tribal Link , said indigenous lands, waters and subterranean environments were not commodities, but rather, intrinsic parts of peoples' identities and livelihoods. She decried the collapse of those natural resources, as well as the displacement, militarization, drought, contamination and evaporation of rivers, streams and lakes experienced by indigenous communities. Furthermore, the education in non-indigenous society was not appropriate for indigenous peoples' culture of learning and teaching. In implementing the Declaration, she urged States to reaffirm their commitment to article 7 on the collective rights for freedom and enjoyment of human rights, and to provide annual follow up in the Forum on human rights, lands and education.

JORGE JIMéNEZ, Director-General of Social Development, Ministry of Foreign Relations of El Salvador, associating himself with CELAC, said that, in July 2014, article 63 of the Constitution was ratified, ensuring that indigenous ethnic, cultural and spiritual identities would be maintained. A draft policy on indigenous peoples, which contained provisions for their economic, social and political development, took a multi-ethnic approach which indigenous peoples were in the process of validating. National institutions were engaging in activities to uphold indigenous peoples' rights, including the Health Ministry, which was implementing a multicultural policy. The Institute for Agricultural Transformation had a policy for equality and non-discrimination that aimed to uphold indigenous rights. El Salvador was taking an aggressive approach to raising awareness about ancestral and traditional cultures.

DIKLAT GEORGEES, Assyrian Aid Society , noted the persistence of genocidal acts targeting indigenous peoples in Iraq and Syria, which had greatly increased since 2014, resulting in killing, displacement and involuntary mass migration. It was apparent that the objective of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) was to systematically wipe out the cultural heritage of indigenous Assyrians by destroying artefacts thousands of years old. Criminal acts were ongoing the Nineveh Plains region of Iraq, most of which was occupied by Da'esh, and the towns and villages situated in the Iraqi Kurdistan region had become a battlefield for fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish fighters. The Iraqi Government had approved the criminal acts committed by Da'esh against the Assyrian Christians. As that amounted to a genocide, she demanded a number of actions, including the creation of an internationally protected zone for the indigenous peoples in the Nineveh Plains; support for the indigenous peoples there to regain and safeguard their lands; plans to stop the ongoing destruction and targeting of antiquities; and a plan to provide indigenous peoples the necessities to return to their righteous lands.

ANA CAROLINA RODRÍGUEZ DE FEBRES-CORDERO ( Venezuela), associating herself with CELAC, said Latin America and the Caribbean had set an excellent example in which the words and actions of indigenous peoples were being strongly defended. Venezuela owed an historic debt to indigenous peoples, which had suffered genocide and the plundering of their land and wealth by colonizers. Since the adoption of Venezuela's Constitution in 1990, the country had made sustained progress in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, including their worldview and history. Indigenous peoples in Venezuela had become full actors with a voice and vote throughout public life. The Constitution contained a full chapter devoted to the rights of indigenous peoples, including their social, political, economic and cultural rights. Indigenous peoples had a right to the lands that they had historically occupied. The Government had set up a language institute to preserve and promote indigenous peoples' languages and ensure that education policies existed based on indigenous values and cultures.

Mr. LOPEZ, Congreso General Guna, highlighted a new programme his people had launched that focused on traditional knowledge. There were plans under way to increase and expand that programme next year. It was essential that individual cultures and ways of life were maintained so that future generations would have that knowledge at their disposal. The Guna had organized and fought against the Zika epidemic and developed a programme for food security, which was especially important given the ongoing impacts of climate change and the negative effects on the agriculture sector. The Guna had launched small community projects, which were eventually expanded into large-scale community-based undertakings. The Guna had also focused on restoring and maintaining traditional and ancestral knowledge, including in the area of medicine.

YAO SHAOJUN ( China) said countries should seize the 2030 Agenda as an opportunity to intensify implementation of the Declaration, with a focus on indigenous people's poverty alleviation, education, health care and housing, as well as on protecting their unique culture, languages and lifestyles. He welcomed the system-wide action plan, expressing hope that all United Nations agencies would promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples in developed countries. China did not have indigenous peoples, but firmly supported promotion of their rights. The indigenous concept was a product of colonial history. A distinction should be made between native and indigenous peoples, while expansion of indigenous peoples' participation at the United Nations should be in line with the Charter, in order to ensure States' sovereignty and political unity, and to maintain the intergovernmental nature of the Organization. China would work with the group of advisers appointed by the General Assembly President and promote consultations on expanded participation at United Nations conferences.

ROSALEE GONZALES, Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas, welcomed advances at the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which accepted empowerment of indigenous women as a theme at a forthcoming session. Territories throughout the Americas continued to be militarized and exploited for natural resources, she said, denouncing such militarization and defending peaceful demonstrations as an option to report on such violations. Criminalization of the continent's indigenous peoples had made their leaders vulnerable to death. She asked the Forum to denounce statements that perpetuated a war against the protection and promotion of indigenous peoples' rights. The Forum should carry out a study on genocide perpetrated against indigenous peoples, pressing the United Nations to create a fund for indigenous women and youth. Implementation of the Declaration required inclusion of all indigenous peoples located within nation State boundaries.

RACHEL O'CONNOR, Assistant Secretary, Strategy Policy and Coordination Branch, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet of Australia, stressed the value of the important work undertaken by the National Human Rights Institution and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner in monitoring and reporting on the enjoyment and exercise of human rights by aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Recognizing that economic development often led to improved social and cultural outcomes, Australia was committed to creating an environment that stimulated indigenous peoples' economic empowerment. To that end, the country's indigenous procurement policy set out mandatory annual procurement targets for Government agencies to award contracts to indigenous businesses. In the first six months of the policy, direct and indirect contracts valued at more than $91 million were awarded to 250 indigenous businesses.

TINA NGATA, speaking on behalf of Hinerupe Marae, said that never before had the Earth been so gravely ill. Conventional science had confirmed what many indigenous peoples had known for some time – that the severity of the condition called for bold, immediate action. Brave leadership was required, she said, stressing that the next United Nations Secretary-General must be confidently supported by indigenous peoples. She noted with concern that the nominee from New Zealand had cited the leadership of that country as a credential for the role of Secretary-General, when that same leadership had overseen multiple abuses of indigenous rights. That same candidate, in opposition to the Mori, had refused to sign the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, labelling it divisive, "unimplementable" and incompatible with New Zealand's Constitution and legislative arrangements. That track record was of extreme concern, she said, recommending that the Permanent Forum impel the United Nations to specifically consider responsiveness to indigenous rights as criteria for the role of Secretary-General.

LEIA RODRIGUES ( Brazil) said her country had put in place national legislation to improve the well-being of indigenous people, taking into account the specificities of their cultures. A special secretariat for health had been established and thousands of professionals were working to guarantee specialized attention to health issues, bearing in mind their traditions and customs. The Government had stepped up measures to compile and process data related to indigenous peoples to enable better public policy planning. The suicide rate among indigenous peoples in the country was much higher than that of the wider population and namely involved young men and boys. Brazil was carrying out a number of social assistance initiatives to address the phenomena and had added traditional practices to the conventional medical services that had been employed to deal with that situation. The health and education of indigenous populations was a priority, as was the protection of indigenous languages, which faced a number of complex challenges.

TAWERA TAHURI, Global Indigenous Women's Caucus, called on the Forum to re-evaluate the decision to dissolve the global and regional caucus statements and reinstate their priority to speak. It should urge States to stop using police militarization on indigenous nations and instead, allow the full, equal and effective participation of indigenous peoples in decisions affecting their lands, self-determination and rights. Indigenous peoples had a sacred relationship with their lands and a duty to protect them. Yet, companies were entering their territories unlawfully, without free, prior and informed consent, thereby side-stepping the original peoples holding the underlying title to them. She rejected the Rio+20 definition of the "green economy", stressing that a collaborative definition should be created with indigenous peoples and that the platforms for engagement with States on water regulation, among other things, required review.

LOTTIE CUNNINGHAM, Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humaos de la Costa Atléntica de Nicaragua, said collective human rights violations were a constant reality along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Following progress in recognizing their land rights, their human rights situation had begun to deteriorate, as Nicaragua had failed to complete land demarcation and titling, which would have recognized the peoples' rights to territory. Last year had seen increased attacks by settlers on indigenous peoples, forcing the displacement of 3,000 people who had become refugees in neighbouring communities and in Honduras. Since 2013, 28 people had been killed, 38 wounded and 18 abducted, 3 of whom had not yet been found. She urged Nicaragua to start a land title regulatory process with priority given to lands that were in conflict and to relocate settlers. Nicaragua had not responded to requests from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission on those issues, nor had it started dialogue with affected communities. The Rama and Kriol people in the autonomous region of the Caribbean were to have signed a lifetime lease, however, consultations that should have involved free, prior and informed consent had not been carried out.

PATRICIA WATTIMENA, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, issued a number of recommendations to Member States, including: that they recognize and promote the historical role and contributions of indigenous peoples in protecting and conserving the environment; develop and/or revise and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, their environment-related legislation to ensure the respect and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples; review and revise discriminatory laws, policies and programmes on traditional and sustainable livelihoods and occupations; and develop targeted and specific programmes in partnership with indigenous peoples in supporting their sustainable conservation and resource management practices. She went on to highlight several critical areas that were impacting the rights of more than 270 million indigenous peoples in Asia, including the narrow approach to environmental conservation and protection and the conversion and exploitation of indigenous peoples' land and resources.

NESHA XUNCAX CHE, speaking on behalf of the Council of Western Mayan People of Guatemala, expressed concern regarding systematic violations of the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples as a result of the implementation of the extractive model, which included mining, hydroelectric projects, petroleum and monocultures – all without the consent and without prior consultation of the Western Mayan people. Since 2010, the group had been deeply outraged at the social destabilization that companies such as Hidro Cruz Water Development Projects had caused in collusion with the Governments of their territories, which had resulted in deaths, unlawful detentions, repression and militarization. She also expressed deep concern about the systemic violations of due process by the justice system in Guatemala in relation to political prisoners. She therefore issued a number of demands, including: the immediate release of several political prisoners; protection for human rights defenders and community leaders; respect for the decisions of the peoples; and the annulment of mining, hydroelectric and oil licenses authorized in their territories without consultation with indigenous people.



11 MAY 2016, HR/5300, Discriminatory Pressures Confronted by Indigenous Youth, Traditional Land Rights of Peoples, among Issues Highlighted as Permanent Forum Continues Session: Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fifteenth Session, 5th Meeting (AM): High suicide rates among indigenous youth related directly to the severe – and often invisible – discriminatory pressures they confronted in reconciling past colonial injustices with their search for a better future, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues heard today amid strong calls for education, health care and job opportunities that honoured their traditional heritage.

Opening the meeting, Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, said many indigenous children and youth were unable to access their basic human rights, suffering from preventable disease, as well as a lack of medical care, education and support from local authorities when they tried to stand up for their rights.

"You have to pause here and ask why this is the case," he said. The data spoke to a bleak reality. Suicide among Inuit youth in Canada was among the highest in the world and 11 times the national average. In Australia, suicide was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal people aged 15 to 35 years, while in New Zealand, suicide among Maori youth in 2012 was nearly three times the rate among their non-Maori counterparts.

Suicide and self-harm were not merely mental health issues, he said, but related to social and economic situations. Going forward, young indigenous people must have a voice, both in their communities and within the United Nations. He looked forward to working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on strategies to tackle self-harm and suicide, stressing that more indigenous youth were needed in the work of the Forum.

That point was echoed by several representatives of the Global Youth Caucus, who decried the trauma perpetrated against their peoples through denial of the very languages, knowledge and values that had brought traditional communities to life. "We deserve to heal," said one speaker, stressing the need for education influenced by ancestral values and languages. Communities had to move forward in ways that allowed for ownership and pride.

In that context, another Youth Caucus speaker pressed the Forum to work with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNICEF to increase education about indigenous peoples' diversity, history and rights.

Throughout the day, representatives of indigenous groups, Governments and United Nations agencies continued general debate on the six areas of the Forum's mandate.

Many indigenous speakers drew attention to situations in which the rights of their people were being disrespected, especially around traditional land, territory and resources. Among those was the representative of the Centre for Organizational Research and Advocacy, Manipur who called on India to repeal its Armed Forces Special Powers Act and enforce a moratorium on all mega-development projects that failed to consider the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities in Manipur.

Along similar lines, the speaker from the Network of Indigenous Women's Biodiversity Latin America and the Caribbean said the Forum should press WHO to help indigenous peoples affected by the poisonous consequences of illegal mining in the Venezuelan Amazon.

Government representatives outlined ways their administrations were working to improve indigenous peoples' lives, with the representative of the Russian Federation noting that legislation granted special legal status and priority access of indigenous peoples to natural resources. Indigenous peoples enjoyed the right to land use free of charge in areas of traditional residence.

The representative of Ecuador said that through a participatory public policy, her country had offered opportunities for employment, health, economic empowerment and the development of peoples and nationalities which had historically been excluded. It also had created national councils for equality.

Forum experts also offered their views, with Oliver Loode, Forum member from Estonia, pointing to the "disappointing tendency" of the Russian Federation to blacklist several indigenous non-governmental organizations, which were accused of being "foreign agents". Such labelling resulted in damage to those organization's reputation, created bureaucratic hurdles and could result in financial penalties.

Kara-Kys Arakchaa, Forum member from the Russian Federation, said that in fact, the Forum's recommendations were being heeded. "Many of our issues might take years to address," she said, stressing that States were not always ready to immediately tackle them. She had always drawn attention to the positive aspects in indigenous peoples' lives, especially on issues of self-governance, lands, education, language and culture.

Also speaking today were representatives of Alianza de Mujeres Indigenas de Centroamerica y Mexico, Mokuola Honua, Inuit Circumpolar Council and the United Confederation of Taino People.

Representatives of the Philippines, Cuba and Bolivia also spoke.

Forum members from Canada, United States, Russian Federation, Algeria and Estonia made interventions, as did a member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Representatives of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) also delivered remarks.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 12 May, to continue its fifteenth session.

Interactive Dialogue

AHMAD ALHENDAWI, Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, said there was a strong international normative framework around the rights of indigenous children and youth, with the Convention on the Rights of the Child outlining that they should live long lives free from poverty and discrimination and feel proud of their identity. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also guaranteed a set of rights and freedoms for indigenous youth, such as culturally appropriate education.

Yet, he said, many indigenous children and youth were unable to exercise and access those human rights, suffering from preventable disease, as well as a lack of medical care, education and support from local authorities when they tried to stand up for their rights. "And you have to pause here and ask why this is the case," he said, noting that he had heard from them about their struggles.

The data spoke of a "bleak reality", he said, with suicide among Inuit youth in Canada among the highest in the world and 11 times the national average. In Australia, suicide was the leading cause of death for young Aboriginal people aged 15 to 35 years, while in New Zealand, in 2012, suicide among Maori youth was nearly three times the rate among their non-Maori counterparts. Suicide and self-harm were not merely mental health issues, but rather, were directly related to the social and economic situation.

Going forward, he said young indigenous people must have a voice both in their communities and within the United Nations, and he looked forward to engaging with them. He also looked forward to working more with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on strategies to tackle self-harm and suicide, collecting best practices on prevention and sharing information with others. More indigenous young people were needed in the work of the Permanent Forum and the Economic and Social Council Youth Forum.

With that, he pledged to work closely with the Indigenous Youth Caucus to mobilize young indigenous people who were combating climate change, building peace and fighting poverty worldwide.

A representative of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus said that indigenous peoples, and especially the youth, had a special connection to the environment. Traditions, languages, and the relationship to the land were the fundamental basis of indigenous identity. Many indigenous peoples living in urban environments had been stripped of their connections with those critical elements of life, which was a cause of suicide among the youth. The underlying causes of suicide were complex and could only be understood through history and culture. Promoting indigenous languages, connections to the land and ancestors would allow the youth to heal and overcome the intergenerational trauma they had faced. Forced displacement due to the implementation of projects in the name of development pushed youth towards urban areas, exposing them to racism and discriminatory treatments, which had significantly affected their self-esteem and health. Proper support needed to be put into place so that indigenous youth could find hope for survival.

Another representative of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus said that forced displacement had violated the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples. Defending traditional lands and territories had led to persecution, disappearances and the murder of the leaders. Colonization had produced a great history of trauma that had devastating effects on indigenous youth. The denial of native languages, traditional knowledge, identities and Mother Earth were all detrimental to indigenous youth. The effects of colonization had resulted in many youth engaging in self-harm and suicide to "stop the pain". It was not accurate to say that indigenous youth wanted to possess their traditional lands for economic gain.

The Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, she said, recommended that the United Nations establish programmes and funds that would help indigenous peoples regain control of their territories, natural resources and traditional knowledge, with the full participation of youth. The United Nations should generate a mitigation mechanism to address climate change, with full indigenous participation. Further, States should generate mechanisms for entitlement and collective possession of indigenous territory and ensure the legal governance of indigenous peoples over their territory. She recalled that the rights of indigenous peoples were linked to the most fundamental of human rights, which were obligatory for States. The youth were most affected by forced displacement from territories, which often resulted in self-harm and suicide. There needed to be national strategies, coordinated with indigenous peoples to reduce deforestation. The Caucus recommended mechanisms that ensured free, prior and informed consent and concrete policies to eliminate racism, discrimination and intolerance against indigenous peoples. Mechanisms should also be adopted to regulate the content of media that perpetuated discriminatory and racist stereotypes of indigenous peoples.

Another representative of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus stressed that indigenous youth had the right to access the learning of their ancestors. "We must be proud of our culture," she said, and have a clear cultural identity. The history of colonization should be made transparent to young people and openly discussed so that families could heal. Education had become a tool of stigmatization – and an intergenerational trauma was slaughtering indigenous communities through drug and alcohol addiction, self-harm and suicide. "We deserve to heal," she said, noting that education was the solution. It was crucial that education be influenced by ancestral values and languages. Indigenous youth were at a cross roads: "we must decide how to move forward", she said, in a way that allowed for ownership and pride. The education system must reflect collective and holistic norms and values to build the foundations that indigenous youth dreamed of for generations to come.

Another representative of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus recommended that decolonization be part of the education system, reaffirming that indigenous peoples had the right to determine what they wanted to learn and what non-indigenous people learned about them. The Forum must work with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNICEF and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to increase education about the diversity, history and rights of indigenous peoples. She called on all United Nations agencies to collaborate with States to implement the Declaration's article 15, recommending that UNESCO provide empowerment programmes on the transmission of traditional knowledge and languages.

Following the presentation by the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, participants were invited to respond to their recommendations.

EDWARD JOHN, Forum member from Canada, said the youth must be valued as "treasures", as they were the foundation of the future and would be the ones to pass on knowledge, traditions and teachings to the next generation.

DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Forum member from Alaska, urged Member States to take up the recommendations made by the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, particularly those related to education, and the need for financial resources to address the phenomena of self-harm and suicide.

WILTON LITTLECHILD, member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Canada, noted that addressing the threat of self-harm and suicide could be as simple as promoting environments for children to play, such as setting up local youth recreation centres.

Mr. ALHENDAWI agreed with the all the comments made, which had validated the data reflecting young indigenous people's realities. He urged exploring the root causes of self-harm, suicide and discrimination, and agreed that the right to play should afford children safe public spaces to enjoy land and services. The approach should be to promote healthy development. There was a need to define what constituted a decent opportunity for indigenous youth, which should include access to culturally appropriate education. Traditional livelihoods should be supported.

Mr. MONTERO, Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, said suicide and self-harm was a problem related to mental health, as well as assimilation, loss of language, forced displacement and lack of public policies. The political will of States and United Nations agencies, along with indigenous groups, would allow for solving the problems indigenous youth faced. The Caucus would continue to work with the Forum in fighting for the rights of all generations.

AISA MUKABENOVA, Forum member from the Russian Federation, advocated developing clear responses to the issue of young people's self-harm and suicide. There was a call for WHO to craft a global programme to combat that behaviour and study its proliferation and compile best practices. She hoped to see results.

MARIAM WALLET ABOUBAKRINE, Forum member from Algeria, said that indigenous young people not only suffered from factors influencing their socioeconomic status, they were also frustrated by the militarization of their lands and territories, which had become "theatres of abuse", which had left scars. She urged WHO put forward a global response for mental health of young indigenous peoples and more closely cooperate with the Forum and set up a focal point. "We are facing a lack of interlocutors within this organization," she stressed.

Statements

IGOR BARINOV, Head of the Agency of Nationality Affairs of the Russian Federation, said the Government had provided protections for indigenous peoples to help them maintain their traditional ways of life, economy and industry. From 2002–2010, the aggregate number of indigenous peoples had increased by 3 per cent in the country. On human rights, Russian legislation granted special legal status and priority access of indigenous peoples to natural resources. Indigenous peoples enjoyed the right to land use free of charge in areas of traditional residence. Social concessions were granted as well, including early retirement, five years earlier than other Russian citizens. Additional social support measures were in place for indigenous peoples, including targeted assistance for housing and health. Support for traditional economic activity, culture and language was also provided. Indigenous peoples were members of both chambers of the Russian Parliament. Improving the quality of life of indigenous peoples was a top priority within the Russian Federation's sustainable development framework.

OLIVER LOODE, Forum member from Estonia, in response, pointed out the "disappointing tendency" of the Russian Federation to blacklist several indigenous non-governmental organizations, which were accused of being "foreign agents". He expressed concern that such labelling resulted in damage to those organizations' reputation, created additional bureaucratic hurdles and could result in financial penalties.

BEATRICE DUNCAN, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), said that promoting the human rights and empowerment of indigenous women formed an essential part of its mandate. UN-Women recognized the tenacity of indigenous women and their significant contributions to moulding and sustaining the future of their communities through a unique sense of identity. Indigenous women also had leadership roles in sustainable resource management, food security and the protection of ancestral lands and language. UN-Women was concerned that indigenous women and girls continued to face significant challenges in their ability to access social services. Despite the important role that they played, their voices and participation in the political economy remained restricted. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledged to leave no one behind, which was a promise that needed to be upheld for indigenous women and girls. Addressing historical underinvestment in expanding women and girls capabilities and resources and restricting their marginalization and subordination were indispensable for the achievement of their rights.

NORMA SACTIC, Alianza de Mujeres Indigenas de Centroamerica y Mexico, welcomed consultations by the President of the General Assembly to guarantee indigenous peoples' representation in United Nations bodies. However, in each country, compliance with indigenous peoples' human rights had not been implemented. She recommended including indigenous women in plans and public policies that enhanced language and identity of them, to review the legal framework of countries and help decide how to eliminate discrimination. Governments should establish mechanisms that respected indigenous women's human rights at local, national and regional levels, and develop a budget that considered their needs.

HELENA YéNEZ LOZA ( Ecuador), associating herself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that through a participatory public policy her country had implemented affirmative action, like access to employment, health, economic empowerment and the development of peoples and nationalities which had historically been excluded and discriminated against. Ecuador recognized ancestral indigenous medicine and health so as to protect the country's diversity, and the family health model was guided by social inclusion, interculturality and generational approaches. The national education system was in keeping with the rights of peoples and nationalities and incorporated the knowledge of several cultures. Ecuador also had created five national councils for equality, among which was a council for peoples and nationalities. Afro-Ecuadorian and indigenous people had joined the foreign service.

SANDRA DEL PINO, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said her agency was aware of the need for intercultural approaches to health services. Policies, plans and programmes on health needed to respect the differentiated needs of populations and ensure the right to non-discrimination in medical services. PAHO had provided thematic information on the rights of indigenous peoples and reiterated the need for different mechanisms and agencies working on indigenous issues to coordinate joint action with successful results. Her agency would continue to work on reducing maternal and child mortality in indigenous communities, as well as the prevalence of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Mental health with a special focus on children and adolescents was a priority for PAHO. The impact of climate change was another key issue, and in that regard, PAHO highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation with other agency and community leaders to address that challenge.

AMY KALILI, Mokuola Honua, said her organization recommended that the Forum further examine, investigate and identify specific strategies for the implementation of the recommendations that would be officially adopted from the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages. Efforts should be taken to assess what States have done to promote language efforts and identify and articulate specific measures States should take to effectively implement the recommendations being put forth from the Expert Group. The Mokuola Honua applauded the Permanent Forum for its initiatives on the critical issue of language protection and for keeping the topic in the forefront of discussion.

THERESE R. CANTADA ( Philippines) said her country promoted the full participation of indigenous peoples in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes that directly affected their development, noting that there were 2,708 indigenous representatives in local legislative and special bodies. Of the 4.4 million household that benefitted from a cash-transfer programme, 570,056 were indigenous households. The Government was committed to providing access to an inclusive and culture-based education to every indigenous learner through the national indigenous peoples' education policy framework. Recognizing the right to culturally-rooted and responsive basic education, the Department of Education in 2015 provided guidance to schools as they engaged with indigenous communities.

JITEN YUMNAM, Centre for Organizational Research and Advocacy, Manipur, said north-eastern India had been long afflicted by armed conflict stemming from indigenous peoples' rejection of the forced merger of Manipur with India in 1949. The promulgation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958 had led to the full deployment of India's armed forces in Manipur and derogation of non-derogable human rights. Efforts to complete the Mapithel Dam, the proposal to build a 1,500 hydroelectric project and signing of memoranda of understanding to build four mega dams in 2014 – without his peoples' free, prior and informed consent – undermined their self-determination. He pressed the Forum to urge India to recognize his people's right to self-determination, repeal the Special Powers Act and enforce a moratorium on all mega-development projects that failed to consider the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities in Manipur.

ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL ( Cuba), associating herself with CELAC, said that historically, indigenous peoples were subjected to serious violations of their rights, including genocide, discrimination and the pillaging of their resources. She recalled that the indigenous population of Cuba was exterminated over several decades after the colonization of the island. The adoption of the Declaration was a historic victory for indigenous peoples in recognition of their ancestral rights. Cuba supported the adoption of the General Assembly resolution that urged Governments and the United Nations system to develop and implement appropriate measures, plans, projects, programmes and other concrete measures to protect the well-being of indigenous peoples. Cuba supported the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, freely choose their political status and achieve economic, social and cultural development. Protection had been made in the establishment of the human rights of indigenous peoples, although they continued to face daily violations of those rights. Denial of the right to ancestral territories was a regrettable reality in many parts of the world.

HJALMAR DAHL, Inuit Circumpolar Council, speaking on behalf of the Indigenous Arctic Caucus, said the complex range of tasks undertaken by the Forum could hinder the effective implementation of the Declaration. The Forum should be strengthened by encouraging more States to participate in its sessions, especially as they had committed to consider the Forum's recommendations. One important goal was to enhance equality and prevent discrimination in the mandate areas. The Forum should develop, promote and protect indigenous peoples' right to self-determination. Indigenous peoples had a right to free, prior and informed consent, which should be respected by States and others with commercial interests in indigenous territory, land and resources. The Forum could use the follow-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to strengthen its own work in its six mandate areas.

Mr. BARINOV, Russian Federation, said that his country had the right to defend itself from foreign financing that came into the country for political purposes. The Russian Federation was far from the first country to have a foreign agent law in place, he recalled. That law was initially adopted in the United States and similar laws currently existed in many other countries around the world.

Mr. LOODE said that the non-governmental organizations in question that had been shut down in the Russian Federation had not engaged in politics – they were focused exclusively on indigenous issues.

FLORINA LOPEZ, Network of Indigenous Women's Biodiversity Latin America and the Caribbean, drew attention to chemicals used in illegal mining, urging that the Forum press WHO to take action with regard to indigenous peoples who had in their blood mercury and other substances that posed serious health risks. WHO should investigate contamination of water, fish and other resources. Focusing on illegal mining in the Venezuelan Amazon region, especially in San Juan de Manapiare, indigenous peoples had suffered attacks for having denounced such activities. "This situation is not new", she said, noting that in 2012, 92 per cent of indigenous women tested for mercury presented higher levels than the 2 milligrams per kilogram defined as safe by WHO. The results were shown to several State bodies without response. She urged the Forum to press WHO to help indigenous peoples affected by that situation and to push States to stop illegal mining.

KARA-KYS ARAKCHAA, Forum member from the Russian Federation, urged understanding what the Forum meant to States and whether Governments were heeding its recommendations. It spoke to its effectiveness as an advisory body. Indeed, the Forum's recommendations were being heeded. Participants had discussed the Forum's six mandates, with some indigenous peoples discussing issues that persisted in their countries, and others discussing achievements.

She said that she had always drawn attention to the positive aspects in indigenous peoples' lives around the world, especially on issues of self-governance, lands, education, language and culture. There were positive measures to be noted in order for indigenous peoples to move forward. She cited a conference in Guatemala, held in April, in that context. "Many of our issues might take years to address," she said, stressing that States were not always ready to tackle them immediately and that she had visited Crimea to see what was happening with the Tatars among other peoples.

MARIA E. CHOQUE QUISPE, Forum member from Bolivia, said that the subject of health needed to be referred to in the context of spiritual health. Indigenous peoples had yet to heal from a "great wound" caused by colonization. Indigenous peoples needed to have their dignity restored. Biological diversity was being lost due to climate change. On education, valuing the identities and cultures of indigenous peoples was critical. Traditional knowledge should be included in sustainable development objectives, although there wasn't a specific reference to indigenous peoples in the Sustainable Development Goals. Hearing the voices of young people could serve as inspiration, as they were the present and future and would continue to be challenged.

TAI PELLICIER, United Confederation of Taino People, said that indigenous peoples continued to remain invisible in both the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals and efforts to address climate change. The Taino people were prepared to defend their lands. She noted widespread environmental damage had been done to their traditional territories, some of which had resulted in long term health challenges. Biochemical companies were conducting experiments that did not meet even the most basic health standards. Private interests were compromising lands that were known to contain ancestral heritage artefacts. Education systems that mirrored boarding schools were still in place, with the goal of stripping indigenous peoples of their native cultures.



12 MAY 2016, HR/5301, Devastating Environmental Impacts of Activities on Ancestral Lands Underlined by Speakers, as Indigenous Forum Continues Debate, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fifteenth Session, 6th Meeting (AM):

Development projects that could have wide-ranging impacts on the traditional lands and territories of indigenous peoples needed to be subject to free, prior and informed consent, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues heard today.

Indigenous peoples not only had the right to access their traditional lands, but also to oppose activities that could have serious impacts on that territory, participants emphasized as the Forum continued with its debate on the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Throughout the discussion, many speakers detailed events that had resulted in devastating environmental impacts on their ancestral lands.

A representative of Southwest Native Cultures recalled that in August 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency investigated the Gold King Mine, near Silverton, Colorado, and in the process, accidentally spilled 4 million gallons of mine waste water and heavy metals into several waterways which millions of people relied on for drinking. The Agency had not cleaned up the disaster nor provided assistance.

The rights of indigenous peoples continued to be violated, reported a representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). He noted that a number of new human rights initiatives and measures put in place addressing key indigenous issues had yielded mixed results. The real test of international discussions on indigenous rights must be concrete improvements on the ground, he stressed, noting that many of those who stood up to protect their rights faced legal action and in some cases death.

In that context, Edward John, Forum member from Canada, recalled the assassination of Berta Céceres, who was killed in Honduras in March while opposing a development project. He commended the World Bank's decision to pull out of the project that Ms. Céceres was protesting at the time of her death and urged the financial institution to exercise policies that ensured the protection of the lives of indigenous peoples.

The World Bank was committed to both strengthening country capacity to enhance engagement with indigenous peoples and building the capacity of indigenous organizations, highlighted a representative of the institution. The Bank's work to address indigenous peoples' development at the local, national, regional and international level was vital to realization of their rights, he continued.

The Global Environmental Facility had undertaken several initiatives to provide indigenous communities financing for projects aimed at protecting the environment, its representative told the Forum. In that regard, her organization was launching a new user guide that included information on the types of projects it had supported and how to access them.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Ukraine, Fiji, Russian Federation and Chile.

Forum members from Canada, United States, Russian Federation and Cameroon made interventions, as did a member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

qRepresentatives of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) also delivered remarks.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 13 May, to continue its fifteenth session.

Statements

IHOR YAREMENKO ( Ukraine) said violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms were unacceptable and he condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea, the denial of Crimean Tatars' rights and systematic violations by the Russian Federation in the peninsula. He urged an end to the systematic pressure on the Tatars and repression of Ukrainians, calling on the Russian Federation to end such human rights violations in the Crimea, which was a sovereign part of Ukraine. He called on the international community to condemn actions of Russian occupation authorities. World leaders should make necessary efforts to protect Crimean Tatars from harassment by the Russian Federation and he appealed to all countries to join in the 18 May remembrance of genocide of Crimean Tatars, remembering those who were criminally deported by the Russian Federation.

Mr. FELIPE, World Bank Group, said the financial institution was committed to both strengthening country capacity to enhance engagement with indigenous peoples and building the capacity of indigenous organizations, including through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. Indigenous peoples were also observers to the climate investment funds. It sought to position excluded sectors of society, such as indigenous peoples, at the centre of the development agenda. A new report on "Indigenous Latin America in the Twenty-First Century" found that while over the first decade of the millennium, indigenous peoples in that region had made significant progress in reducing poverty and improving access to basic services, they did not benefit to the same extent as non-indigenous Latin Americans. The Bank's work to address indigenous peoples' development at the local, national, regional and international level was vital to realization of their rights.

Ms. WATANABE, Global Environmental Facility, said her organization had undertaken several initiatives in support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and over the last two years had discussed ways to increase indigenous access to Global Environmental Facility financing for projects aimed at protecting the environment. Her organization had worked to enhance indigenous peoples' awareness of the different Global Environmental Facility funding modalities and was launching a new user guide that included information on the types of projects the organization had supported and how to access them.

AYSA MUKABENOVA, Forum member from the Russian Federation, said she shared the tragedy lived by the Tartar people. It was a pain felt by all Russian people. She recalled that a number of laws had been adopted on the rehabilitation of repressed people and several measures put into place, including a decree aimed at addressing indigenous issues that had not been previously resolved. Over the last two days, participants had been discussing broader engagement of indigenous peoples in the United Nations system and it was rare that there were disputes between indigenous peoples about which groups to recognize. The right to self-determination was among the basic principles of international law and the aggressive rhetoric that was being shared in the Forum was not beneficial.

JOAN CARLING, Forum member from the Philippines, responding to comments by the World Bank, said that no mention had been made to indigenous peoples' rights in relation to the development agenda. She voiced concern at the statement by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on the need for the Bank to support mega-dams, as there was increasing commitment to support those projects that had seriously violated indigenous peoples' rights. On the safeguard policy review, she acknowledged that the present draft referred to a requirement "for free, prior and informed consent", which was progress from the previous policy, which outlined "free, prior and informed consultations". However, several States were urging that wording revert to "consultations". The Bank should consult with the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples before the policy was adopted.

DEVASISH ROY, Forum member from Bangladesh, said free, prior and informed consent had been included in other Bretton Woods institutions and he urged the Bank to stay in line with the Declaration.

GERVAIS NZOA, Forum member from Cameroon, recalled a 16 January meeting with the World Bank in Yaoundé, where concerns were raised about the safeguard policies for indigenous peoples' protection. Comments by indigenous leaders had not been considered, evidenced by the suggestion for the Bank to open an office in Cameroon, which would make it easier to follow up on projects in the area.

EDWARD JOHN, Forum member from Canada, recalled the tragic death of Berta Céceres, who was assassinated in March while opposing a development project. It was of critical importance that indigenous lives were not put at risk in any way due to indeterminate practices and policies. He commended the World Bank's decision to pull out of the hydro project associated with Ms. Céceres' death; a woman who had a family and children. He urged the World Bank to exercise policies that ensured the protection of the lives of indigenous peoples during development projects.

DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Forum member from the United States, noted the importance of the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent and emphasized the tragic death of Berta Céceres, who lost her life while opposing a development project. She noted that the World Bank had made efforts to review the safeguard policy. It was hoped that indigenous peoples could have a greater voice to uplift safeguard policies, such as the ones under consideration by the World Bank, to ensure they were responsive to the realities. Indigenous peoples should be heard in the context of the work of the United Nations as a whole, and not only in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Declaration must remain the guiding framework for how intergovernmental organization responded to and hopefully promoted and protected the well-being of indigenous peoples.

PERRY BELLEGARDE, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada, said that the State's unqualified support for the Declaration was a critical step towards reconciliation with its indigenous peoples. Full implementation would take time and hard work, he said, but it would see a return to relationships entered into by indigenous ancestors that were founded on peace, security and prosperity for everyone in Canada. Calling for the Declaration to be implemented through a legislative framework, he recommended that national laws, regulations and policies – especially those dealing with resource development – be reformed to ensure that decisions which could have a serious impact on the environment and rights be subject to the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.

A member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples said he had been involved in the World Bank's consultations with indigenous peoples from African States. Those talks had proven difficult because some States had requested "going around" the Declaration and including in the Bank's protection mechanisms other definitions or understandings of what was meant by the term "indigenous peoples". They also had requested changing wording around free, prior and informed consent, to which he could not agree, and wanted the protection mechanism to include other terminology. He urged the Bank to continue its consultations with indigenous peoples before it approved a protection mechanism.

GENE BAI ( Fiji) said his Government was assisting indigenous communities by relocating some from their ancestral villages to higher ground. Such work required help from development partners, as a failure to address the adverse impacts of climate change would offset efforts to help indigenous peoples achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The majority of those affected by the 20 February cyclone were indigenous peoples in rural areas. Most schools damaged were attended by indigenous Fijian students. His country was committed to promoting the rights of all individuals and groups, including cultural rights, which were embedded in the Constitution, with provisions for redress. All indigenous land was protected and could not be permanently alienated by sale, transfer grant or exchange. Fiji was committed to ensuring that free, prior and informed consent was obtained from indigenous peoples before development was carried out.

ANTTI KORKEAKIVI, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that there had been a number of new human rights initiatives and measures put in place addressing key indigenous issues, including efforts to stop violence against women and demarcate indigenous lands. The results were mixed, at best. The rights of indigenous peoples continued to be violated, with those who stood up to protect their rights facing legal action and in some cases death. Efforts must be made to support local mechanisms and activists who could make a difference. National human rights institutions had resulted in concrete results, including in countries where the very idea of indigenous people had often been challenged. The international community must ensure that the Sustainable Development Goal pledge to leave no one behind resulted in enhanced commitments to indigenous peoples and their rights. The real test of international discussions on indigenous rights must be whether efforts contributed to concrete improvements on the ground. It was proven that when human rights standards were developed in partnership with the rights holders, stronger results could be achieved.

ANDREA CARMEN, speaking on behalf of the International Indian Treaty Council, underscored the relationship between the environment and indigenous peoples' intergenerational, maternal and holistic health. Noting the severe impacts of environmental toxins on the reproductive health of indigenous women and girls, she said core obstacles to halting those urgent violations were national laws and the United Nations multilateral environmental agreements that failed to recognize or respect human rights. Most notable among those agreements was the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, which permitted States to export pesticides and other chemicals that were banned in their own countries. That practice by the United States had been termed "environmental violence" in various international declarations, she said, noting that a key component of the normative framework linking the environment and health was article 29 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That article specified that "States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent".

The representative of the Russian Federation expressed disappointment at attempts to distract the Forum from substantive issues with other issues that should be taken up elsewhere, including in the Security Council. Claims by the Ukrainian representative were unacceptable. The international community understood the Russian Federation's efforts to combat terrorism. To comments about the Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, who in 2007 was in the Russian Parliament dealing with discrimination against women, she urged a focus on issues that improved conditions for indigenous peoples.

ANTONELLA CORDONE, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), underscored the agency's commitment to indigenous peoples, which had been reaffirmed in its strategic framework for 2016-2025. Among the groups consulted for that ten-year framework was the Steering Committee of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at the Fund, established in 2011. In February 2015, it had held its second global meeting focused on indigenous peoples' food systems. The framework responded to indigenous peoples' needs and priorities through a dedicated facility and the forum at the Fund. She supported indigenous peoples' self-driven development and enhancement of traditional values, cultures and knowledge. "Indigenous peoples are valued partners for the Fund", she said, which had institutionalized instruments in order to enhance its development effectiveness with indigenous communities.

AUDREY MRITTICA CHISIM, Indigenous Peoples Development Organization, said it was essential to organize regular dialogue between indigenous peoples, the United Nations system and Member States. Free, prior and informed consent was the backbone of the rights of indigenous peoples, although in many countries those rights remained unrecognized. Indigenous peoples faced serious challenges to their access to natural resources and Member States needed to find ways to solve those and other issues that compromised the well-being of indigenous peoples. Regarding the Sustainable Development Goals, indigenous peoples were eager to see how they could participate in their implementation at the country level. She recommended that the Forum seek to engage youth and women's organization so there could be a bridge between Governments and other stakeholders.

ALBERTO PIZARRO ( Chile), associating himself with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), noted that his country had instated a number of structural changes to reduce the inequality that existed within it. Tax, educational and labour reforms were some examples of the deep changes that had been encouraged. However, it was the changes to the country's Constitution that were most significant. Indigenous peoples had an active role to play under the provisions of the Constitution and the future was hopeful. Indigenous peoples had more opportunities than ever to have an impact on national policies, as well as access to natural resources and environmental projects. Indigenous peoples needed to be fully included based not only on individual rights, but collective rights, so there would be no more invisibility. Chile had a historic debt to the indigenous peoples, who had not been fully recognized.

FABIANA DI POPOLO, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, underscored the importance of disaggregated data for indigenous peoples. A meeting of the Committee of the Whole in Peru in April saw the establishment of a committee of Latin American countries on sustainable development. That body, under the Commission, sought to establish a regional and subregional framework for the follow-up of the 2030 Agenda. There also had been a meeting of the Statistical Committee in March. Achievements on statistical visibility had resulted from the constant pressure brought to bear by indigenous peoples and greater openness to joint work with them by statistical bodies. The Commission had updated demographic indicators for the region, which would be available later this year. The Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples' Issues was elaborating a document which linked indicators of the 2030 Agenda with the Declaration and would propose additional indicators.

DANIEL OLE SAPIT, African Caucus, highlighted the adoption of the report of the Working Group of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights as a key milestone in the continent. That document had been instrumental in providing closure to the discordant voices in regard to the identity and recognition of indigenous peoples and communities in Africa. Stressing that it was time that the equal worth and dignity of indigenous peoples be assured through recognition and protection of individual and collective rights, he made three recommendations to the Permanent Forum. First, to support and strengthen indigenous education opportunities and skills; second, to strengthen indigenous peoples' own institutions and self-governance structures; and third, to afford indigenous peoples the opportunity to continue to progress and improve decision-making concerning development on their own terms, and to remedy any shortcomings through their own forms of internal regulation and accountability.

The representative of Ukraine stressed that the autonomous territory of Crimea was occupied territory, so any actions or decrees regarding the rehabilitation of the people there had no legal basis whatsoever. He welcomed the participation of the people of Crimea in the activities of the United Nations. It was troubling that the occupying power accused Ukraine's Government of being responsible for the blockade. His country respected gender equality and promoted the empowerment of women.

The representative of the World Bank said that regarding the death of Berta Céceres, the financial institution deplored the high level of fear and violence in Honduras and urged the Government to address the deep-rooted land conflict there. The Bank would be happy to provide the Forum with concrete examples of its work with indigenous peoples in places all over the world. The consultative process on safeguards between the institution and indigenous peoples had been historic, spanning more than two years. The Sustainable Development Goals were viewed as a unique opportunity for the Bank to partner with indigenous peoples worldwide.

DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Forum member from the United States, recalling that Ukraine and the Russian Federation had had opportunities to discuss Crimea and the Tatar people, underscored the need to address the Forum only once under an agenda item. That would afford indigenous peoples an opportunity to speak.

GERVAIS NZOA, Forum member from Cameroon, said he had documents from the World Bank, which that institution's representative could read.

UJANA TALUKDAR LARMA, Parbatya Chattagam Jana Sanhati Samiti (PCJSS), noting that economic development was linked to the principle of free, prior and informed consent, advocated a holistic approach that built on indigenous peoples' rights. Indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area continued to suffer historic injustices of discrimination and dispossession of their lands. Bangladesh had been carrying out development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region without consulting or informing the three district councils of that area, especially on border roads and tourism complexes, which would further drain depleted forest resources. The most serious concern was the top-down approach to development in the region despite decisions by the three Hill district councils. She encouraged Bangladesh to implement the Declaration and to ratify International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 as it had pledged to do.

PEDRO ALBERTO RODRÍGUEZ AGUILAR, Consejo de Pueblo Originario Nahuat Pipil Nahuizalco, drew attention to the challenges of the indigenous people of El Salvador, calling on that Government to implement recommendations by the former Special Rapporteur in his 2012 report. The country also must follow up on policies for the aged and compensate victims of a massacre in which 30,000 indigenous peoples had been called terrorists, had their rights violated and had been killed. He called on the Government to ratify International Labour Convention No. 169, implement the Declaration and respect the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people. The President must keep his promise to elaborate work for indigenous peoples. He demanded that El Salvador create a national action plan on the rights of indigenous peoples, and not impose a plan that did not consider their views. The Forum should urge El Salvador to account for funds reportedly given to the indigenous fund, because communities had received no such support.

A representative of SemAnahuac recalled that in Tongva territory in Los Angeles, indigenous peoples were both invisible and ubiquitous. The United States census had only recently begun recording the demographic presence of indigenous peoples from Latin America. Economic, political and extra-legal pressures due to colonization meant that the official number of indigenous residents was vastly undercounted in the United States. Economic insecurity among indigenous families under threat of deportation in the country exacerbated pressure to assimilate and disappear. Particularly concerning was the rise of settler armed groups on traditional territories of indigenous peoples and the rise of vitriolic diatribes throughout the presidential race in the United States, which threatened the security of indigenous children in public schools.

TERRY A. SLOAN, Southwest Native Cultures, said ecocide was the destruction of the natural environment by activities such as nuclear war and overexploitation of resources. On 5 August 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency investigated the Gold King Mine, near Silverton, Colorado, and in the process, accidentally spilled 4 million gallons of mine waste water and heavy metals into Cement Creek, as well as the Animas River, the San Juan River and the Colorado River, which millions of people relied on for drinking. The Agency had not cleaned up the disaster nor provided assistance. He urged the Special Rapporteur to visit the mine, and another in New Mexico, to report on the status and study how to apply ecocide law.



13 MAY 2016, HR/5302, Representatives of Indigenous Peoples Call for Greater Participation in United Nations Bodies, as Permanent Forum Concludes Week One, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fifteenth Session, 8th Meeting* (AM):

A new status should be created for indigenous peoples to participate more fully in the work of United Nations bodies, speakers in the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues said today, advocating a process that would allow them to choose their representatives in line with their unique legal and cultural norms.

Claire Charters, Adviser to the President of the General Assembly, described the process under way to address the question of enhanced participation, noting that it first and foremost recognized indigenous peoples as peoples rather than non-governmental organizations. The Assembly President was compiling views and had appointed four advisers to assist in the preparation of a final document to be presented to the Expert Mechanism on Indigenous Peoples on 11 July.

Among the positions advocated was for the granting of permanent observer status, she said. Some had suggested it apply "across the board" to ensure that indigenous peoples' views were reflected in decisions that impacted them. To accredit participants in a unique category, others had proposed forming an "independent group" of indigenous peoples. Criteria for determining whom would be eligible for unique status raised questions about how to define "indigenous peoples" amid difficulties around self-identification and State recognition.

Nonetheless, she said, views had coalesced around the point that where indigenous peoples participated at United Nations, they had helped in the formation of policy and the legitimacy of processes.

In the ensuring debate, speakers from indigenous groups, Governments and United Nations bodies described efforts to follow-up on the outcome of the 2014 World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, which contained a pledge to consider how to enable the participation of indigenous peoples' representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies.

The representative of the Sami Parliament of Norway said there was nothing in the United Nations Charter or the Assembly's rules of procedure that prevented it from granting observer status. Decision 49/426 – stipulating that the granting of status should be confined to States and non-governmental organizations – should not constrain deliberations on indigenous peoples' participatory rights. "The question of whether observer status is granted is contingent on whether States have the political will to do so," she stressed.

With that in mind, some Government speakers noted that existing categories did not adequately reflect indigenous peoples' unique features, with the United States representative noting that they should not have to participate at the United Nations as non-governmental groups, because many tribal communities self-governed and their leaders were accountable to those who had elected or appointed them. While discussions were ongoing, she encouraged indigenous peoples to contribute to discussions through the major groups mechanism.

On that point, Joan Carling, Forum member from the Philippines, said she had participated in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) process within the major groups mechanism. "This procedure has very limited influence on the overall result of the SDGs," she stressed.

Guatemala's representative said there should be better coordination among existing United Nations mandates on the issue of indigenous peoples, specifically among the Expert Mechanism, the Special Rapporteur and the Forum. A similar point was raised by the representative of Denmark, on behalf of the Nordic countries, who said proposals to change the structure of the Expert Mechanism into a special procedures working group or a monitoring body resembling treaty bodies were not convincing. She envisaged reforms that included a specific and more independent mandate.

Mexico's representative, on behalf of the Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples, stressed the need for cooperation with indigenous peoples to identify measures at the national level. None of the goals set out in the outcome document could be achieved without broad inclusive partnership.

The Vice-President of Guyana added that there were four indigenous ministers in the administration, the highest in history.

Taking a historical perspective, the representative of the National Salvadoran Indigenous Coordination Council said the dynamics of States functioning in international spaces had always been geared to denying the existence of indigenous peoples. Currently, however, thanks to the struggle of indigenous men and women, a process of dialogue and political convergence had been established.

Also speaking today were representatives of the Indigenous Missionary Council, Tebtebba, Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes (FENAMAD) and Tribal Link, as well as an indigenous parliamentarian from Venezuela.

The representatives of Indonesia, Bolivia, South Africa, New Zealand and Brazil also spoke.

Representatives of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) also made interventions, as did the Permanent Forum member from the United States.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will reconvene at 10 a.m. Monday, 16 May, to continue its fifteenth session.

Remarks by Adviser to General Assembly President

CLAIRE CHARTERS, Adviser to the President of General Assembly, described a process for indigenous peoples' participation at the United Nations, stemming from the outcome document of the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The process recognized that indigenous peoples were not non-governmental organizations, but rather peoples who had the right to self-determination. It was appreciated that they had a unique form of participation at the United Nations. The process was advancing that it would not undermine their participation in forums such as the Forum. There were difficulties for indigenous peoples acquiring non-governmental organization status in the Economic and Social Council, which was also relevant for the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

She said the process under way had been mandated by the General Assembly. The Assembly President was responsible for compiling views and contributions on the question of indigenous peoples' enhanced participation. He had appointed four advisers to assist in the compilation process, which had started in February and was officially launched in March. The first consultation had been an electronic one, in which the President received submissions on indigenous peoples' participation. On that basis, a first draft of the compilation of views had been prepared. She urged reviewing the draft and making contributions.

The Assembly President had held the first face-to-face consultations on 11 May, she said, and was putting together a compilation of views. There would be one further such consultation on 30 June, after which the compilation would be finalized and presented to the Expert Mechanism on 11 July. The President would then form the basis for further activity in the General Assembly, with the issue addressed during the Assembly's next session.

Among the questions addressed in the compilation was a unique status for indigenous peoples at the United Nations, she said, some advocating permanent observer status, which had implications for indigenous peoples' participation in the General Assembly. Many had commented that indigenous peoples' participation was required "across the board" at the United Nations. In terms of the procedure to consider indigenous peoples' accreditation in a unique category, one idea that had gained traction was around an independent group of indigenous peoples.

Given the difficulty of defining "indigenous peoples" across the world, there were questions about eligibility criteria. There was appreciation that there must be flexibility in determining who was eligible for unique status, including around self-identification and State recognition, which some stated should not be the determining factor. More broadly, views had coalesced around the point that, where indigenous peoples had participated at the United Nations, they had helped in the formation of policy and the legitimacy of processes through which indigenous peoples had advanced their rights.

Statements

The Forum then held its general debate on item 3, follow-up to the recommendations of the Permanent Forum.

SYDNEY ALLICOCK, Vice-President of Guyana, said ending poverty, providing education, addressing climate change and promoting peaceful societies were pertinent to the way of life that indigenous peoples sought to achieve. Guyana was committed to upholding all its treaty obligations that ensured the rights of indigenous peoples. At the national level, it had made progress in addressing their needs through integrated development policies and partnerships. National responses were based on existing sustainable development policies, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The rights of indigenous peoples were guaranteed in the Constitution and outlined in the 2006 Amerindian Act, and they were represented in Parliament and at high levels of Government. Their right as related to land was a priority, notably through the integrated hinterland development plan. Guyana sought to preserve records of indigenous culture, customs and practices. There was more work to do in terms of socioeconomic development and institutional strengthening, including in such areas as project management. Paramount was the formulation of national development plans with indigenous peoples' participation.

DAVID ALEJANDRO RUBIO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said he also represented the Inter-Agency Support Group of the Permanent Forum, which brought together more than 40 United Nations and other entities to cooperate on indigenous issues. The World Conference outcome document had requested the Secretary-General to develop a system-wide action plan for achieving the Declaration. The 2015 annual meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group had focused on finalizing that plan and had benefitted from participation by the former Chair of the Forum, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It focused on awareness-raising of the Declaration, supporting implementation of indigenous peoples' rights at the country level and advancing their participation in United Nations processes, among other things. The Support Group also had shared planned activities to enhance coordination in implementing the Declaration, which it expected to complete in October.

SANDRAYATI MONIAGA, National Human Rights Commission (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia) of Indonesia, said that a national inquiry had identified issues confronted by indigenous peoples in forest zones resulting from Government policies going back to the Dutch colonial period. Her organization valued efforts to resolve those issues which led to human rights violations in West Papua and other places. She recommended that the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues include a category for the accreditation of national human rights institutions so that they could participate in the Forum and related activities. She also recommended that the Forum hold an interactive session on the role of those institutions in monitoring indigenous peoples' rights and development.

DAVID CHOQUEHUANCA CéSPEDES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, said that in his country indigenous peoples were not just consulted. Rather, they participated and took decisions, with representation in such bodies as the judiciary, the executive and local and regional governments. In education, indigenous peoples were recovering their ancestral knowledge, deciphering the codes handed down from their grandparents. They were also involved in the leadership of "multiversities" which focused on knowledge of the cosmos. Noting that his country had a Vice Minister of ancestral medicine and justice, he said that everyone fed off the milk of Mother Earth, which was water, and that fact made them brothers.

MARTIN OELZ, Senior Specialist on Equality and Non-Discrimination, International Labour Organization (ILO), outlined steps taken to promote social justice and decent work, including through the hosting of ILO Convention No. 169. The ILO had joined forces with Denmark, Mexico and the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs to hold a 2014 seminar which had taken stock of the Convention on its twenty-fifth anniversary. The outcomes of that seminar contributed to developing the first strategy for action for indigenous peoples, endorsed by the Executive Board in November 2015. It was underpinned by the belief that ensuring their rights was fundamental to achieving sustainable development and included promoting Convention No. 169 and strengthening dialogue between indigenous peoples and institutions. The strategy aimed to address the data gap on social conditions. Despite the visibility of Convention No. 169, its implications were often unknown to decision-makers, especially at the local level. As such, the ILO would promote its provisions among key stakeholders.

The representative of the Indigenous Missionary Council, denouncing violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil, as seen in actions by the three powers of Government, cited constitutional amendment 215, which invalidated the demarcation of lands and questioned the exclusive use of those lands, generating conflict. The judiciary sought to unduly characterize the Constitution's article 231 through a restrictive interpretation of lands traditionally occupied by indigenous peoples. The Executive Branch tried to paralyse demarcation procedures. There were at least 360 lands that lacked any procedure for demarcation. The political situation was unstable. In the Amazon, there had been routine home burnings, political arrests, deforestation, water contamination, the murder of leaders and spread of monocrop plantations. In the Brazilian Amazon, 105 peoples living in voluntary isolation had been threatened by major infrastructure, timber, oil and agribusiness projects, which had displaced them. A Government decree had established ethno-educational territories, without consultation, only three of which had been set up. They neither were fully functional nor upheld the right to a bilingual education that addressed different cultural realities. The Forum must urge Brazil to demarcate and protect all indigenous territories; ensure the protection of indigenous activists; and ensure free, prior and informed consent, as outlined in ILO Convention No. 169.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA ( Mexico), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples, said the current session was an opportunity to take stock of progress since the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Reaffirming the Group's commitment to respect and promote indigenous rights, he stressed the need for cooperation with indigenous peoples to identify measures to be taken at the national level. None of the goals set out in the outcome document of the World Conference could be achieved without broad, inclusive partnership. The Group welcomed the decision of the Commission on the Status of Women to consider the empowerment of indigenous women as a focus area during its sixty-first session. It was also pleased to see progress in implementing those parts of the outcome document regarding the participation of indigenous peoples in relevant United Nations meetings on themes which concerned them, he said, adding that indigenous peoples had a friend at the United Nations who would advocate for full implementation of the outcome document.

GRACE BALAWAG, Tebtebba, expressed concern about the impact of poverty reduction programmes on indigenous women in the Philippines. She said she did not question the benefits of such programmes, but indigenous women had raised concerns of their negative impact on their communities. Indigenous birth processes were meanwhile being disenfranchised as a result of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals concerning maternal and infant mortality. While that might not sound urgent, the long-term effect could be devastating. She went on to recommend that the Forum carry out a study on cash transfer programmes implemented in response to the Goals.

JULIE GARFIELDT KOFEED ( Denmark), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, described initiatives launched in the follow-up to the World Conference, citing an expert workshop, held in April, on review of the Expert Mechanism's mandate. The main strength of the Mechanism was that it addressed indigenous peoples' rights from a human rights perspective. Arguments to change that structure into a special procedures working group, or a monitoring body resembling treaty bodies, were not convincing. She supported maintaining the current structure, but envisaged reforms that included a specific and more independent mandate. The Human Rights Council should take better advantage of the Mechanism by amending resolution 6/36. The Mechanism should report annually on the status for achieving the Declaration. States should not be obliged to report on the Declaration, but rather voluntarily share information. Indigenous peoples must participate at the United Nations as peoples, and not as non-governmental organizations, she said, stressing that existing categories did not adequately reflect their unique features and she looked forward to the creation of a new category.

AILI KESKITALO, Sami Parliament of Norway, noting that she represented the Arctic Indigenous Caucus, said the Forum should urge States to adopt national measures in line with the World Conference outcome document. Arctic indigenous peoples had worked with others to promote effective follow up to the document, especially related to operational paragraphs 28 and 33. The Expert Mechanism should be mandated to voluntarily engage with States and indigenous peoples to address country-specific situations to find solutions that fostered the Declaration's implementation. It should gather information from all sources in matters concerning the rights enshrined in the Declaration. At the United Nations, permanent observer status should be granted to indigenous governments, parliaments and other authorities, she said, noting that a new category should be created at the General Assembly level, which would allow for their independent participation through representatives chosen by them and in line with their own legal procedures. There was nothing in the United Nations Charter or the Assembly's rules of procedure that prevented it from granting observer status. While decision 49/426 stipulated that the granting of status should be confined to States and non-governmental organizations, it should not constrain deliberations on indigenous peoples' participatory rights at the Organization. The question of whether observer status was granted was contingent on whether States had the political will to do so.

OBED BAPELA, Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of South Africa, said all Governments had an obligation to consult, at the national level, with their indigenous communities. There should be enough political will to address tensions between the Government and indigenous communities in ways that preserved the territorial integrity of sovereign States, he said, adding that the politics of succession could only undermine the core principles of the United Nations Charter. Legitimate concerns that indigenous peoples' plight and interests were not being well served by international processes beyond the Permanent Forum required deeper reflection. Serious thought should be given to elaborating a Convention with legally binding norms and standards to promote, protect and fulfil the rights of indigenous peoples.

ROBERT LESLIE MALEZER, Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action, recalled how difficult it could be for indigenous peoples' right to self-determination to be recognized. That should not be the case. The system-wide action plan, while important, consisted of statements of policy, with no process for indigenous peoples to sign off on. He recommended further discussion on capacity-building for Member State officials who lacked knowledge about indigenous peoples' interests and concerns. Thanking the Group of Friends for its work, he said that indigenous peoples very much wanted an enhanced status that went beyond the limitations of Economic and Social Council non-governmental organization status.

MARCOS YAX GUINEA, Member of Congress and Chairman of the Commission on Indigenous Peoples of the Congress of Guatemala, said the World Conference had created a platform for bolstering dialogue. Among the main challenges was guaranteeing better application of the Declaration. Guatemala had issued the law on national languages, a municipal code against discrimination, a framework law on the peace accords, and codification of discrimination as a crime . There should be better coordination among existing United Nations mandates on the issue of indigenous peoples, specifically among the Expert Mechanism, the Special Rapporteur and the Forum. Guatemala and Mexico were playing a role in the possible negotiation of a new mandate for the Expert Mechanism, the goal of which was for it to have an institutional foundation and comply with the outcome document. Measures were being reviewed to guarantee indigenous peoples' participation at the United Nations, without being categorized as civil society or non-governmental organizations.

DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Forum member from the United States, expressed concern at the extent of indigenous peoples' input into the system-wide action plan, stressing the need to revise procedural rules so as to guarantee their access to United Nations agencies and other intergovernmental forums.

PATRICIA GUATEMENA, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, speaking on the system-wide action plan, recommended that United Nations agencies, funds and programmes develop culturally sensitive approaches and education material, in collaboration with indigenous peoples, and provide resources for translation. They also should support the development and implementation of national action plans, which included administrative measures to implement the Declaration. Their support for capacity-building that helped indigenous peoples maintain engagement with States should be given priority. They should ensure that indigenous peoples' rights and development were incorporated into national plans for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as report regularly to the Forum on implementation of the system-wide action plan.

JORGE JIMéNEZ, General Director for Comprehensive Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, reiterated the political will of his Government to move forward on indigenous peoples' rights. He noted how bolstering their rights was part of the current five-year national development plan, and that the Government was participating in an inclusive process, steered by indigenous peoples, on an indigenous peoples' action plan. Recalling the motto "nothing above us without us," he gave the floor to Betty Elisa Pérez.

BETTY ELISA PéREZ, National Salvadoran Indigenous Coordination Council of El Salvador, said the dynamics of the function of States in international spaces had always been geared to denying the existence of indigenous peoples. Currently, however, thanks to the struggle of indigenous men and women, a process of dialogue and political convergence had been established between indigenous peoples and the State, enabling progress on the recognition of indigenous peoples. She highlighted how El Salvador was finalizing an implementation plan for the outcome document of the World Conference, with support from the United Nations system. Stressing the urgent need for the Government to define a single mechanism for interfacing with indigenous peoples, she called, as a women, for attention to be paid to the criminalization of the struggle to protect Mother Earth.

JULIO CUSURICHI, Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes (FENAMAD), drew attention to the violations of rights resulting from mining activities and oil concessions which affected rivers, forests and indigenous economies. Noting a lack of political will to protect indigenous peoples voluntarily living in isolation, he called on the Forum to call upon Governments, especially that of Peru, to implement legal mechanisms to protect their rights. Otherwise, he said, those people faced genocide due to extraction activities. Those who administered forests so that humanity could breathe did not get to experience any of the benefits. Rather, they were getting poorer and poorer, with not even the most basic services, he said, recommending the establishment of an international tribunal for the rights of indigenous peoples.

LINDA LUM ( United States) said indigenous peoples should not have to participate at the United Nations as non-governmental groups, because many tribal communities self-governed and their leaders were accountable to those who had elected or appointed them. Hearing from tribal representatives would inform debate by injecting a wider range of views. While proposals had complex policy and legal considerations, "we must make the effort", she said, noting that in April 2015, her Government had outlined which United Nations bodies would be candidates for the new participation procedures; criteria for determining how indigenous peoples could qualify; and information on application, evaluation and selection processes. While talks were ongoing, she encouraged indigenous peoples to contribute to discussions through the Major Groups mechanism.

Mr. RUBIO, responding to comments by the representatives from El Salvador, said IFAD's commitment was to concrete action in each canton where there were indigenous peoples. He called on the Government to give life to documents related to indigenous peoples, noting that the Fund would facilitate space for dialogue and democratic participation, while strengthening environmental processes through ways of life and focusing on economic development.

JOAN CARLING, Forum member from the Philippines, encouraged indigenous peoples to participate in consultations on their participation at the United Nations. She had participated in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) process within the major groups mechanism. "This procedure has very limited influence on the overall result of the SDGs", she said, noting that while it was another level of participation, there were limits on indigenous peoples' effective participation. On the system-wide plan, she advocated partnership with indigenous peoples at the country level on its planning, implementation and evaluation.

An Indigenous parliamentarian from Venezuela emphasized the fundamental importance of indigenous languages, calling them a way to ensure that modernity and new ways of colonization would not lead to the disappearance of indigenous peoples. She said that, for 180 years, indigenous people in Venezuela had been ignored by racist and exclusive constitutions, but that changed with the arrival of President Hugo Chévez, who decreed that they would participate in the drafting of a new constitution that recognized the official nature of indigenous languages.

JACLYN WILLIAMS ( New Zealand), recalling that her country was undertaking a range of actions consistent with the outcome document of the World Conference, said there was still more to do, particularly to increase social, cultural and health indicators for Maori. She welcomed consultations on the participation of indigenous peoples in relevant United Nations processes, saying their voice was crucial for advancing indigenous rights and issues. To achieve the objectives of the outcome document, the Government would strengthen its relationship with Maori to ensure that long-term priorities for advancing indigenous well-being were addressed.

DANIEL SALAU, Tribal Link, noting that he represented indigenous peoples from Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean and North America, expressed concern at the lack of implementation of key provisions of the outcome document pertaining to free, prior and informed consent. Across the regions, States were limiting such consent in their focus on implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change. They were excluding indigenous peoples in those processes by not obtaining their free, prior and informed consent in plans for forced development, contravening the Declaration, the outcome document and the Paris climate accord. The Forum should call on States to report on the full participation of indigenous peoples in the development, review and monitoring of action plans to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

ARTUR NOBRE MENDES ( Brazil) said the only way to achieve social justice was to foster indigenous peoples' participation in forums that affected their lives. In 2015, Brazil had held the first national conference on indigenous policy, which included more than 30,000 indigenous people, who had put forward their opinions to the President. He also cited the creation of the national council of indigenous policy, under the Ministry of Justice, which had begun its work in April. Brazil was aware of its shortcomings and was working to support indigenous peoples' rights. Since the 1988 promulgation of the Constitution, Brazil had regularized 500 indigenous lands, equivalent to the surface area of the twenty-fifth biggest country, 95 per cent of which were in the Brazilian Amazon, where the deforestation rate was less than 2 per cent. Recent decisions included four land studies, recognition of six more indigenous lands and demarcation authorizing seven new lands. Noting that the Special Rapporteur had found that draft amendment 215 could hinder recognition of indigenous lands and peoples' protection, he underscored his Government's commitment to ILO Convention No. 169.



16 MAY 2016, HR/5303, United Nations Mechanisms Handling Indigenous Peoples' Rights Must Better Identify Strengths of Mandates to Increase Effectiveness, Speakers Say in Permanent Forum, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fifteenth Session, 10th Meeting* (AM):

The three main bodies charged with promoting indigenous peoples' rights worldwide must better identify the strengths and limits of their respective mandates in order to work together more effectively, speakers in the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues said today, drawing attention to unresolved cases of human rights abuses, some of which had endured generations.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said more coordination with the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Forum itself would better protect indigenous peoples' rights. Her work focused on country visits, responding to human rights violations, promoting good practices and carrying out thematic studies.

Updating on her mandate, she said she had visited Sépmi, Honduras and Brazil and would present her findings to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council later this year. She had presented her report on Paraguay in September, which referred to one Guarani community that had finally received title to community lands it had claimed for more than 26 years.

Her report on the situation of indigenous women and girls highlighted a "complex spectrum" of human rights abuses influenced by patriarchal power structures, she said, while another report, presented to the General Assembly in 2015, explored investments in mining and other infrastructure development. Going forward, she would publish a report on the impacts of conservation on indigenous peoples' rights.

Ms. Tauli-Corpuz was part of an interactive dialogue in which Alexey Tsykarev, Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, Chair of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples; and Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur on the Field of Cultural Rights updated on their work and fielded questions on untangling overlap in their mandates.

Ms. Bennoune said her March report to the Human Rights Council reviewed the framework for cultural rights, with a thematic focus on the intentional destruction of cultural heritage. She planned to present further thoughts on that topic to the General Assembly this fall. She would support the Forum in integrating culture into related activities, asking participants to draw her attention to cases she should consider and provide thematic information that she could use in her reports.

Mr. Tsykarev said the Expert Mechanism had adopted two reports at its eighth session in July 2015: a study on the protection and promotion of the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples, and an updated report on best practices and appropriate measures to obtain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Human Rights Council had requested studies on the mental health of indigenous youth, the right of indigenous women to sexual and reproductive health care, and on non-communicable diseases.

Mr. Pyagbara said that this year, 56 indigenous representatives had been selected to attend the Forum and other relevant meetings. In addition, the Fund's Board had recommended that a budget be set aside to support the participation of another 38 indigenous representatives in the Human Rights Council, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review and treaty bodies.

In the ensuing discussion, indigenous speakers issued impassioned pleas for recognition, promotion and protection, with a representative of Tonatierra describing his community's painful experience losing 43 students "forcibly disappeared" by the Mexican Government in 2014. "We expect our children delivered back alive to our families in order to find peace," he said, requesting the Special Rapporteur to visit and for the Mexican Government to allow such a trip.

A representative of Comité de Unidad Campesina said indigenous peoples were being portrayed as "enemies" by corporate lawyers. "They come and assassinate us", he said, referring to the killing of Honduran indigenous rights activist Berta Céceres, a leader of the Lenca people.

A representative of the American Indian Law Alliance decried the redistribution of water from one region in Mexico to another that had better economic and technological capacity. "All we want is for the laws to be respected," he said, requesting the Special Rapporteur to visit.

Edward John, Forum member from Canada, said the experience of his country's residential schools amounted to genocide as the children who were forced to attend became the agents of destruction of indigenous culture. He supported the establishment of a mechanism for the repatriation of ceremonial objects.

To better tackle such cases, the United States delegate said that strengthening – and formalizing – the Expert Mechanism's relationship with the Special Rapporteur would allow the latter to be more effective.

Joseph Goko Mutangah, Forum member from Kenya, agreed that the overlap of responsibilities must be "ironed out" so that it was clear who would take the lead in carrying out specific mandates.

Without more funding, others said, there was a risk that indigenous peoples' participation in United Nations sessions would suffer.

The Permanent Forum will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 17 May, to continue its fifteenth session.

Interactive Dialogue

This morning, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held an interactive dialogue featuring: Alexey Tsykarev, Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, Chair of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples; Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur on the Field of Cultural Rights; and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. TSYKAREV, describing the Expert Mechanism's work over the past year, said the body had held its eighth session in July 2015 with the participation of over 50 Member States and 150 indigenous representatives, civil society members, academics and other stakeholders. It had finalized and adopted two reports, including a study on the protection and promotion of the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples and an updated report on best practices and appropriate measures to obtain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Outlining some of the advice included in the former, he said that, among other items, the study had recommended that States ensure that the benefits arising from the use of indigenous lands, territories and resources such as World Heritage Sites be provided to indigenous communities in a fair and transparent way. Noting that such recommendations had been presented to the Human Rights Council, he said the body had requested that the Expert Mechanism carry out a study on the rights of indigenous peoples, which would focus on the mental health of youth, the right of indigenous women to sexual and reproductive health care and on non-communicable diseases. He also discussed the Expert Mechanisms' upcoming ninth session, slated to take place in Geneva in July.

Mr. PYAGBARA said the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples had celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2015. Since its inception, the Fund had supported the participation of some 2,000 indigenous men, women, youth, elders and persons with disabilities from around the world. Noting that its scope and mandate had expanded over the years, he said that so far in 2016, 56 indigenous representatives had been selected to attend the Permanent Forum and other relevant meetings. In addition, the Fund's Board had recommended that a budget be set aside to support the participation of another 38 representatives of indigenous communities and organizations in sessions of the Human Rights Council, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review and treaty bodies that would take place from July 2016 to March 2017. In 2016, the Fund had also supported participation in two extraordinary meetings related to the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. He expressed concern that without predictable, sustainable and adequate funding, the Board would face difficulties in carrying out its ever-expanding mandate. After assessing the present financial needs of the Fund and in view of the two additional expansions of its mandate, the Board recommended a target of $780,000 for the biennium 2016-2017.

Ms. BENNOUNE, providing an overview of her first report to the Human Rights Council, presented in March, said it reviewed the framework for cultural rights, with a thematic focus on the intentional destruction of cultural heritage. She planned to present further thoughts on that topic to the General Assembly in the fall and welcomed any input before July. Cultural rights were an integral part of human rights, which were universal, interrelated and interdependent, she said, highlighting the importance of individual cultural rights and the collective exercise of them, as stressed in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She had made clear in her report that it was critical that cultural rights be upheld in conflict contexts without discrimination. She was also concerned about the destruction of intangible cultural rights – such as the teaching of indigenous languages – as well as the preservation of natural cultural heritage.

The intentional destruction of cultural heritage was a violation of human rights, she said. Her report found that culture was inherently important, as well as in relation to its human dimension. Cultural rights were a fundamental resource to other rights, such as the freedom of expression, conscience, religion and development. At the Human Rights Council, a cross-regional statement by Cyprus was endorsed by unprecedented coalition of 145 States, welcoming plans to prioritize the topic as a human rights issue. She would work with indigenous peoples to ensure that issue included their views. Going forward, she would support the Forum in integrating culture into related activities. She asked participants to draw her attention to cases she should consider and provide thematic information for use in her reports. She would stress the importance of indigenous cultural heritage and highlight its intentional destruction as it related to indigenous peoples.

Ms. TAULI-CORPUZ, presenting her second report, said she had made three official visits to Sépmi, Honduras and Brazil, the reports of which would be presented to the Human Rights Council this year. She also had presented her country report on Paraguay to the Council in September, noting that one Guarani community had received title to the community lands it had been claiming for more than 26 years. During her trip to Honduras, indigenous peoples had expressed concern about a hydroelectric dam approved through national legislation on which they had not been consulted. Members of the Lenca communities who opposed the dam had reported cases of killings, threats and intimidation, including the assassination of Berta Céceres in March.

Her visit to Brazil in March coincided with the heightened political crisis, she said, commending Brazil for better ensuring indigenous rights. However, she noted the absence of progress in resolving long-standing issues, noting that there had been "worrying" regressions in the protection of indigenous peoples' rights, including proposals for constitutional amendments and laws undermining their rights to lands, the stalling of demarcation processes and mega projects on or near indigenous properties.

During her visit to Sépmi, she had heard concerns about the scope and content of the State duty to consult the Sami people and obtain their consent for natural resource projects based on their natural territories. Turning to her report on the situation of indigenous women and girls, she said indigenous women had experienced a "complex spectrum" of human rights abuses influenced by patriarchal power structures and discrimination, and based on gender, class, socioeconomic circumstances and violations to the right to self-determination. In indigenous communities with matriarchal practices, the loss of lands undermined women's status and roles, including their livelihoods, while compensation following land seizure tended to benefit men. Another report, presented to the Assembly in 2015, explored investments in mining and other infrastructure development. Going forward, she would publish a report on conservation and its impacts on indigenous peoples' rights.

In the ensuing discussion, a number of representatives of indigenous groups issued impassioned pleas for the recognition, promotion and protection of their rights. Several Government delegates shared steps being undertaken at the national level to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

In that vein, the representative of Mexico said that her country was working to guarantee the right of indigenous peoples to justice by providing interpreters and translators fluent in indigenous languages. In the area of gender equality, the Government had provided guidance to some 40,000 indigenous women on sexual and reproductive health and the prevention of gender-related violence.

Some representatives also asked specific questions to the panellists. In that regard, the representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic States, asked what the most pressing obstacles were to achieving the full empowerment and enjoyment of rights of indigenous women. He asked Mr. Tsykarev how the mandate of the Expert Mechanism could be improved, and what the main areas of concern were in the area of indigenous peoples' right to health.

DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Forum member from the United States, warned that, while violence against indigenous women was a crucial matter requiring urgent attention, some States were using the issue to deflect attention away from the root causes of violence – efforts of indigenous women to defend their rights to their land, territories and resources.

Addressing Ms. Bennoune, she drew attention to the International Law Association's recent finding that cultural rights were part of customary international law, which triggered important responsibilities on the part of States. Noting the trend of increased violence against indigenous peoples defending their rights, she proposed the creation of a United Nations declaration on the rights of human rights defenders.

WILTON LITTLECHILD, Chairperson of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission had heard many cases of the destruction of cultural heritage. However, some steps forward had been seen. In that regard, he recalled that the four Maskwacis Cree First Nations had recently adopted a declaration proclaiming their official language to be Cree.

A representative of the organization Tonatierra described his community's painful experience losing 43 students who had been forcibly disappeared by the Mexican Government in 2014. In reality, tens of thousands of people had been disappeared, he said, asking for support and solidarity from the international community. Noting that those children were known to be alive, he stressed: "we expect our children delivered back alive to our families in order to find peace."

The Government of Mexico was untrustworthy, he said, calling for the creation of a mechanism to monitor the implementation of recommendations made by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts and to ensure that the Government returned the lost children. Finally, he requested Ms. Tauli-Corpuz to visit Ayotzinapa and for the Mexican Government to allow such a visit.

A representative of the Youth Caucus spoke about operational paragraph 15 of the Declaration, suggesting that joint actions of the three indigenous peoples' mechanisms include a study, a joint side event during the Forum's sixteenth session and a dialogue on the findings of those activities. He asked others in the room, especially indigenous groups, how they had "given life" to that paragraph.

MARÍA EUGENIA CHOQUE QUISPE, Forum member from Bolivia, urged coordination among the three mechanisms, stressing that cultural rights included spiritual rights, a point not raised in the report. Violence against indigenous women and girls was especially important, as it reinforced their poverty and institutionalized discrimination. "These issues must be brought up more often," she said. She urged more focus on the 43 students who had disappeared.

The representative of Costa Rica spoke about constitutional reforms that laid out a pluri-ethnic policy that aimed to build an inclusive, diverse population. Indigenous peoples continued to face challenges and the Government was working to better fulfil its obligations in that context.

A representative of the American Indian Law Alliance, noting that he represented an ancestral people from Mexico, decried the redistribution of water from one region to another that had better economic and technological capacity. "We want free, prior and informed consent," he said, citing non-compliance with a judicial order for such. An aqueduct near the Yaki River had been cancelled without such consent. "All we want is for the laws to be respected," he said, requesting the Special Rapporteur to visit.

JOSEPH GOKO MUTANGAH, Forum member from Kenya, said there were overlaps among the duties of the three mechanisms, which must be harmonized so it was clear who took the lead in implementing the same mandate. Cultural heritage, especially in Africa, was at risk of disappearing, in part due to environmental degradation. Cultural heritage sites were "living libraries" that required preservation.

A representative of Comité de Unidad Campesina, focusing on repression in Latin America, said indigenous peoples were being portrayed as "enemies" by lawyers for electric and other companies. "They come and assassinate us", he said, referring to Berta Céceres in Honduras. In Guatemala, the State was involved in repression. He urged Guatemala to comply with resolutions issued by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, which had suspended the hydroelectric and other projects.

The representative of the United States said no one person with limited resources could fully address the mandate. By strengthening – and formalizing – the Expert Mechanism's relationship with the Special Rapporteur, he hoped that the latter would be more effective. In considering what functions should be carried out by which Office, "we need to remain realistic about what each entity can reasonably accomplish".

The representative of the Finnish Sami Youth Organization spoke about the indifference of the Finnish State, stressing that "youth are forced to choose between being young and being Sami", protecting themselves from hate speech, among other things. By ignoring such behaviour, Finland had increased mistrust. Noting the costs of forced assimilation on future generations, she invited the Special Rapporteur to visit.

A representative of the indigenous organization Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) raised the issue of how indigenous peoples' right to self-determination was being supported by Member States. In Australia, for example, the Government claimed to be implementing the Declaration, but it refused to use the terms "self-determination" or "free, prior and informed consent". It also refused to support the right of indigenous people to have their own national representative body.

The representative of Australia said her country would continue to support the work of the three mechanisms, and asked the experts how their work could be best utilized by Member States.

EDWARD JOHN, Forum member from Canada, said the experience of his country's residential schools amounted to genocide as the children that were forced to attend them became the agents of the destruction of indigenous culture. Today, States should take proactive steps to assist indigenous youth to reconnect with their cultures. He supported the establishment of a mechanism for the repatriation of ceremonial objects, or "cultural treasures".

A representative of the indigenous organization Aty Guasu said leaders of the Guarani people in Brazil were being threatened and suffered from intimidation by police. Noting that the Guarani had been expelled from much of their territory, he issued an urgent appeal to the Brazilian authorities for a definite demarcation of his people's land. Requesting a study by the Special Representative on the situation faced by the Guarani, he also requested the Forum to help end the ethnocide that was being committed against his people.

An indigenous representative from Botswana said the indigenous San people were suffering as a result of the Government's policy not to recognize them as a distinct group. Calling for a "second phase of independence" in Africa which would recognize indigenous cultures and languages, he said the findings of a report of the Special Rapporteur on Botswana had yet to be implemented.

An indigenous representative from the Russian Federation said the indigenous Sakha people faced challenges from transnational corporations, which cared only about profit and which were infringing upon indigenous territory. Those companies must work within the framework of the rights of indigenous peoples, she stressed, calling on the Government of the Russian Federation to ratify the Declaration and prevent the transfer of indigenous lands to transnational companies.

A representative of the indigenous organization Regional Indian Council of Cauca (CRIC) recalled that Colombia was in the process of ending the armed conflict that had lasted more than 50 years. Urging the Government to ensure the effective participation of indigenous people, she cited systematic violations of indigenous peoples' human rights, in particular related to the mining industry, and the emergence of paramilitarism.

Mr. TSYKAREV, in closing remarks, urged a focus on country cases, as well as enhanced dialogue among States, businesses and indigenous peoples. "We need more financial support," notably from the Secretariat, he said, agreeing that his office's mandate must be reviewed along with those of the other two mechanisms.

Mr. PYAGBARA expressed solidarity with the families of the 43 missing students. The Fund needed support, especially from States, without which indigenous peoples' participation in United Nations meetings could not be enhanced.

Ms. BENNOUNE said she was eager to receive further documentation about cases mentioned today, expressing outrage that the destruction of indigenous peoples' cultural heritage had not adequately been considered. She emphasized the connection between peoples and their heritage.

Ms. TAULI-CORPUZ said the violation of rights to lands, territories and resources, as well as entrenched discrimination, exacerbated the situation of indigenous women.   Investment agreements favoured investor rights, eclipsing human rights, which did not have enforcement mechanisms. Indigenous peoples must participate in such agreements, which currently were being negotiated in secret.

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* The 9th Meeting was closed.



17 MAY 2016, HR/5304, As Permanent Forum Continues, Speakers Highlight Need for Indigenous Peoples to Be Fully Involved in Resolving Conflicts over Land, Natural Resources, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fifteenth Session, 12th & 13th Meetings* (AM):

Conflicts over land and natural resources – many of which turned bloody – continued to plague indigenous communities across the globe, stressed speakers today as the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held two panel discussions focused on peace, conflict and resolution.

Participants provided examples of indigenous communities at odds with Governments or transnational companies, in particular those active in the mining, logging or oil and gas industries. Many also described the repercussions of such conflicts, which ranged from forced displacement to the assassination of indigenous leaders who protested the violation of their rights.

Yohanis Anari, Organisasi Pribumi Papua Barat (West Papua), said most States in conflict with indigenous people were so because they had resources the State wanted. For 54 years, West Papua had been a victim of deception, including within the United Nations, he said, noting that the region had been placed under the administration of Indonesia. "The people of West Papua are no less deserving of protection" than others around the world.

A representative of the International Indian Treaty Council described increasing reports of intimidation, repression and assassinations related to legitimate attempts of indigenous peoples to defend their rights. Human rights defenders were often labelled terrorists or common criminals, she said, expressing outrage over recent assassinations of human rights defenders. She called for the Forum to convene an expert group meeting on the situation of indigenous human rights defenders before the start of its next session.

Aisa Mukabenova, Forum member from the Russian Federation, agreed that many of the conflicts facing indigenous peoples today were linked to industrialization and economic development. The projects of transnational corporations often negatively impacted the lives of indigenous peoples, she said, reiterating the need to include the topic of relations with such companies on the Forum's agenda.

Dalee Sambo Dorough, Forum member from the United States, declared: "We sit here very comfortably in New York, while at the same time blood is being shed." It was ironic that indigenous representatives were sitting in a civil manner to discuss the death and destruction that plagued their communities. She recalled that, for those reasons, there had been real concern over the selection of the present theme for the Forum's session.

Speakers also underscored the need for indigenous peoples to be meaningfully involved in resolving both inter- and intra-State conflicts.

In that regard, Juvenal Arrieta, Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia , said the decades long armed conflict in his country had led to the recruitment of indigenous people as well as assassinations and rape. While the peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Government had eased those impacts, there was an urgent need to involve indigenous groups in the drafting of the overall peace agreement. That document must address the autonomy of their culture and territories, programmes for social inclusion and respect for human rights and the planet.

Alexey Tsykarev, Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, expressed concern over the lack of participation of indigenous peoples in peace agreements. Stressing the need for free, prior and informed consent, he said the demarcation and protection of indigenous lands should be given priority in the context of conflict resolution. Without the participation of indigenous peoples, violence and encroachment on indigenous territories could increase.

The afternoon panel focused on indigenous women in peace and conflict. Speaking during that session, Rosalina Tuyuc Velésquez, National Association of Guatemalan Widows – CONAVIGUA, said that as Guatemala commemorated the twentieth anniversary of peace, Mayan widows had demanded truth, justice and compensation so that "never again will the horrors of war occur". Mayan women had brought a suit over the genocide, rape and abuse suffered at the hands of the military, and had achieved condemnation of a former military chief and other senior officials, she said.

The Permanent Forum will reconvene on Wednesday, 18 May, at 3 p.m. to consider its future work.

Panel Discussion

This morning, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held a panel discussion on its annual theme, namely, "Indigenous Peoples: conflict, peace and resolution". It featured: Akli Sheika Bessadah, Imouhagh International Youth (Tuareg); Juvenal Arrieta, Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia; Niengulo Krome, Naga People's Movement for Human Rights (India); and Yohanis Anari, Organisasi Pribumi Papua Barat (West Papua). It was co-moderated by Raja Devasish Roy, Forum member from Bangladesh, and Phillip Taula ( New Zealand).

Mr. BESSADAH said the Tuareg people were a nomadic group that had been persecuted for thousands of years. Over the centuries, their homeland had been parcelled out to become various countries, and the Tuareg had been left with no place to call their cultural home. More recently, in Libya, hundreds of Tuareg had been tortured and killed following the fall of Moammar Qadhafi, and some 23,000 Tuareg had been denied the right to nationality. Governments were also not meeting the genuine needs of the Tuareg people in Niger, Mali and other neighbouring States, he said, adding that hundreds of Tuareg were dying in the region due to the activities of French nuclear companies. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights had work to do in advancing the rights of the Tuareg. For its part, the Permanent Forum must compel Governments to respect indigenous rights, and the United Nations must put pressure on Member States in the Saharan region to end discrimination against them. Stressing that the right to nationality must be respected in Libya without delay, he noted that the indigenous peoples of the region could play an important role in bringing about peace if only Governments would comply with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. ARRIETA said Colombia was a country of contradictions, as it was one of the most stable democracies of the region but was also working to end a more than 50-year-old armed conflict. There were a number of ways that the conflict had affected indigenous peoples in the country, including recruitment, anti-personnel mines, assassination of indigenous leaders and rape. The peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Government – which he described as a "spark of light in the tunnel of despair and war" – had eased the negative effects of the conflict. Moreover, the Havana Agreement had focused, among other things, on land and the growing of illegal drugs; as those issues directly affected the lives of indigenous peoples, their free, prior and informed consent was required. The newly established Ethnic Peace Commission, an Afro-indigenous organization, was working to set up a technical team to ensure that indigenous peoples were consulted about issues that affected them. However, he expected that the overall peace agreement to be reached between the FARC and the Government would also involve indigenous peoples, and that it would address the autonomy of their culture and territories, programmes for social inclusion and respect for human rights and the planet. In addition, once the agreement was signed, the Government should establish an ethnic commission and a verification monitoring mission to ensure that its provisions were implemented. Stigmatization and the imprisonment of indigenous peoples must end.

Mr. KROME described the history of the Nagas in north-east India, whose land was invaded in 1832. The political conflict among indigenous Nagas was among Asia's longest-running conflicts. Attempts to resolve it only created more conflict. In 2015, a framework agreement was signed and the Prime Minister of India had announced a final settlement was at hand. That had not yet happened. More broadly, India was infested with social and political violence where indigenous peoples lived, and every peoples movement in the country was watching how the Naga issue was resolved. If it was done so in an honourable way, other movements might come forward for peaceful resolution. If not, the situation would likely deteriorate. The rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination must be respected, as must that against forced military activities in indigenous territories. International borders had divided indigenous peoples, denying them their right to maintain their political, cultural, economic and social purposes. He urged States to implement that right.

Mr. ANARI said most States in conflict with an indigenous people were so because they had resources the State wanted. West Papua had minerals. For 54 years, West Papua had been a victim of deception, including within the United Nations. The Economic and Social Council could end that practice by placing the issue of West Papua on the agenda of the Trusteeship Council. "The people of West Papua are no less deserving of protection" than others around the world. In 1950, General Assembly resolution 448 referenced an obligation to respect West Papua's economic and other rights. Yet, West Papua was placed under the administration of Indonesia, which in 1961 invaded the area, prompting the United States to ask the Netherlands to sign the Trusteeship agreement. In 1962, the new Secretary-General made a public endorsement, citing the benefits of an agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia. However, a draft Assembly resolution presented a day earlier had requested the United Nations to administrate West Papua. Benin had tried to explain that the people of West Papua had not been consulted, while Togo had deplored the lack of time given to consider the issue. Article 103 of the United Nations Charter did not permit any Charter obligation to be mitigated, he recalled, urging that resolution 1752 (XVII) be placed on the agenda of the Trusteeship Council.

As the floor was opened for an interactive dialogue, representatives of both States and indigenous organizations described common causes of conflict, including disputes over land and natural resources.

Several Government representatives, including the delegate from Brazil, described national approaches to preventing and resolving conflicts. In that regard, he said, Brazil's National Indian Foundation had conducted a successful operation alongside indigenous peoples to combat illegal gold mining.

The representative of the Russian Federation, sharing his country's experiences in preventing territorial disputes, said the relationship between indigenous peoples and private entities such as oil and gas companies was governed by laws requiring free, prior and informed consent as well as compensation for natural resource use. Mechanisms for resolving economic disputes had also been developed.

The representative of Colombia said the ongoing peace process in her country provided a historic opportunity to ensure the participation of indigenous peoples, as well as the protection and promotion of their human rights. In April, some 200 indigenous groups had taken part in the Havana talks through established mechanisms. She underscored the need for the peace agreement to utilize a "differentiated approach" taking into account the cultural diversity of the country's indigenous peoples.

Many indigenous representatives cited examples of discrimination, stigmatization and cultural destruction as well as assassinations and extrajudicial killings, noting that the latter were often closely related to disputes with Governments or multinational corporations.

A representative of the International Indian Treaty Council described increasing reports of intimidation, repression and assassinations related to attempts of indigenous peoples to defend their rights. Human rights defenders were often labelled terrorists or common criminals. She commented that it appeared that the Declaration's framework for just, transparent and rights-based processes for conflict resolution and redress had not yet been widely implemented. Expressing outrage over attacks on human rights defenders, including the death of Berta Céceres in Honduras, she recommended that the Forum convene an expert group meeting on the situation before the start of its sixteenth session.

A representative of the Sami Council declared: "It is time to correct the colonial past". In Sweden, she said, the Sami Parliament had demanded the establishment of an independent truth commission to look into gross violations of human rights and other past injustices against the Sami people, including forced sterilizations. In Finland, there had been a steep rise in instances of hate speech against the Sami while in Norway there was an urgent need to openly discuss the country's history of residential schools.

Several United Nations experts and members of the Permanent Forum responded to those comments.

AISA MUKABENOVA, Forum member from the Russian Federation, said many of the conflicts described today were linked to industrialization and economic development. The projects of transnational corporations often negatively impacted the lives of indigenous peoples, she said, reiterating the need to include the topic of relations with such companies on the Forum's agenda. She called for the body to also focus on the militarization of indigenous lands, as it led to forced displacement.

JOAN CARLING, Forum member from the Philippines, reminded participants that indigenous institutions had their own means of maintaining peace and security and resolving conflicts in their territories. The intervention of outside forces was therefore a violation of their rights. In fact, the conflicts described by some delegates were related to the lack of respect for the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands and resources. Any resolution of those conflicts must be anchored in what is just and equitable, not just what was considered legal.

ALEXEY TSYKAREV, Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, expressed concern over the lack of participation of indigenous peoples in peace agreements. Stressing the need for free, prior and informed consent, he said the demarcation and protection of indigenous lands should be given priority in conflict resolution processes. Without the participation of indigenous peoples, violence and encroachment on indigenous territories could increase.

MEGAN DAVIS, Forum member from Australia, said indigenous peoples in her country did not view the reconciliation process as a true reconciliation process. Australia had failed to "close the gap" with regard to indigenous peoples due to its inability to understand that key point. While the Government's apology was significant, there was a kind of "cherry picking" on its part with regard to the right to reparation and compensation. Australian indigenous peoples did not want recognition – they wanted rights, she said.

DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Forum member from the United States, recalled that there had been concern over the selection of the present theme for the Forum's session. It was ironic that indigenous representatives were sitting in a civil manner to discuss the death and destruction that plagued their communities, she said, stressing the need for Member States to take that into account. "We sit here very comfortably in New York, while at the same t