The proposed $31-million decrease in education funds in the FY 1996 Senate Appropriations Bill will result in school closures and will severely curtail school operations in the remaining Bureau of Indian Affairs elementary and secondary schools. Currently the Bureau is responsible for providing educational and residential services to approximately 49,000 Indian students in 187 schools in 23 states.
Thanks to a newly established Bureau of Indian Affairs service, Indian tribes and schools can now better protect their children by using a fingerprint service that will detect the past criminal history of prospective and newly hired employees.
"We are very pleased to announce this important and, needed new service, which will help to ensure the safety and well-being of our Indian children," says Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Ada E. Deer.
A meeting with senior Clinton Administration officials and 106 tribal leaders on April 28 marked the one-year anniversary of the historic meeting with tribal leaders and President Clinton. This year's meeting focused on progress and accomplishments being made department-by-department in Indian affairs.
Four Northwest Indian Tribes will receive in-lieu fishing sites on the Columbia River, which they are entitled to through treaty rights, thanks to a memorandum of understanding signed today by the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Army.
"New Mexico's economy is going to be especially hard hit by the U.S. Senate's proposed budget cuts for Indian programs," said Ada E. Deer, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, yesterday. New Mexico, because it is home to most of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' central office operations, in addition to being the site of two area offices and seven agency offices, will bear a major share of the cuts. Additionally, there are twenty-three tribes in New Mexico, each of which are slated for a 32 percent cut in tribal program funds.
Unprecedented attacks in Congress on American Indians programs demonstrate a reckless disregard for the federal government's deep and historic legal responsibilities to Indian Tribes. Yesterday, the Interior Appropriations conferees proceeded to gut the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the federal agency most responsible for fulfilling the Federal Indian Trust Responsibility. The conferees cut a full 26 percent from the Bureau's Central Office function, compromising the capacity of the agency to perform its mission, provide executive direction, and conduct oversight.
On October 11, 1995, the Labor Health and Human Services Committee will consider an amendment introduced by Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) in Section 30 of the Labor, Health, and Human Services Bill (S. 1221) that will prohibit the Legal Services Corporation from providing legal assistance to Indians, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiians, or Native Hawaiian organizations with respect to litigation that "may effect or infringe on the property rights of another person."
Ada Deer, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, will travel to Alaska on October 19 to speak to Native Alaskans and visit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
On Friday, October 20, at 9:00 a.m. she will address the Alaska Federation of Natives in Anchorage at the William Egan Civic & Convention Center on issues including drastic cuts in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) FY 1996 budget, self-governance and self-determination. Following the speech she will be available for other media questions.