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News by Year

Press Release

WASHINGTON – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs John Tahsuda announced today that the Department of the Interior has signed an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon to guide implementation of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney announced the Blackwater Community School, located within the Gila River Indian Community in Coolidge, Ariz., will receive $30.1 million dollars, and the Quileute Tribe will receive $44.1 million dollars for the Quileute Tribal School located on Quileute reservation in La Push, Wash., to award design-build contracts for new school buildings.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Principal Deputy Secretary for Indian Affairs John Tahsuda met with a group of high school students from across Indian Country. The students are in Washington, D.C., with George Washington University's INSPIRE Pre-College Program which is an abridged version of the school's Native American Political Leadership Program, a semester-long internship program for college and graduate students.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced today that the Department of the Interior has signed agreements with the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana, and the Santee Sioux Nation of the Santee Sioux Reservation in Nebraska to guide implementation of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations at each of these reservations.

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Press Release

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney announced today that the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) has awarded business development grants totaling $400,000 to 12 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.

The awards from IEED’s Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Feasibility Study Program will enable tribal leaders to better evaluate and identify viable economic opportunities for their communities.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced today the completion of a historic interagency memorandum of agreement (MOA) between 12 federal agencies for expanded participation by federal agencies in the 477-Demonstration Project (“477-initiative”).

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Press Release

The Department of Justice announced today the repatriation of an Acoma Shield and several other important items of historical and cultural significance to the Pueblo of Acoma and its members.

U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson for the District of New Mexico participated in a repatriation ceremony earlier today with Special Agent Franklin Chavez of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Governor Kurt Riley of the Pueblo of Acoma. Other federal and tribal officials and community members also attended the event at the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum.

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Press Release

Department of Interior Funds the Expansion of DOJ Tribal Access Program at 31 BIA Social Services and Law Enforcement Locations by 2020

Department of Justice Expands Tribal Access Program to Additional 25 Tribes This Year

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Press Release

FARGO – A number of concerns have recently been raised about public safety and criminal investigations on the Fort Berthold Reservation. In response to these concerns, Christopher Myers, the U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota, and Charles Addington, the Director of the Office of Justice Services at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, met in Fargo earlier this month to discuss law enforcement resources and jurisdictional issues on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

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Press Release

STATEMENT
OF
TARA MAC LEAN SWEENEY
ASSISTANT SECRETARY – INDIAN AFFAIRS
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
ON
THE BRACKEEN V. ZINKE DECISION

October 08, 2018

For nearly forty years, child advocacy organizations across the United States have considered the Indian Child Welfare Act to be the gold standard of child welfare policy. The Department of the Interior strongly opposes any diminishment of ICWA’s protections for Indian children, families, and tribes.

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Press Release

GLOUCESTER, Va. - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke hosted an event today with Tribal leaders celebrating Virginia’s seven federally recognized tribes at Werowocomoco on the York River in Gloucester County. This site is believed to have been a place of leadership and spiritual importance to American Indians as early as circa AD 1200 and the 1607 meeting place of Powhatan and Captain John Smith, the leader of many Algonquian tribes.

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Press Release

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A major law enforcement operation targeting drug trafficking in and around Indian Country in North Carolina has resulted in the arrest of more than 75 individuals on federal, state and tribal charges, announced U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Additionally, the months-long operation yielded more than 248 pounds of illegal substances including heroin, methamphetamine, and hundreds of opioid pills with an estimated street value of $2 million.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) to formalize that group’s role in strengthening collaboration and coordination related to travel and tourism on federal and tribal lands, in accordance with Public Law 114-221, the Native American Tourism Improving Visitor Experience Act, or NATIVE Act, of 2016.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke applauded the efforts of a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services (OJS) K-9 Police Officer who recently took more than 17 pounds of deadly drugs off the streets. The BIA officer was monitoring vehicle traffic on Interstate 25 on the San Felipe Pueblo Indian Reservation when he conducted a traffic stop resulting in the arrest of an individual, and the seizure of approximately 15.9 pounds of methamphetamine and 1.25 pounds of heroin.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Bryan Rice today announced his appointment of James Schock, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as regional director of the BIA’s Southern Plains Regional Office in Anadarko, Okla. The appointment will become effective on January 7, 2018. The Southern Plains Regional Office oversees four agencies and one field office serving 24 federally recognized tribes in the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

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Press Release

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – At a signing ceremony today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke approved the Shawnee Tribe’s application to put 102.98 acres of land in Guymon, Texas County, Oklahoma, into federal Indian trust status for gaming. The Shawnee Tribe proposes to develop a 42,309-square foot gaming facility on the site comprised of a 20,206-square foot gaming floor, a restaurant, retail space, and office spaces for the Shawnee Tribe Gaming Commission.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump today proposed a $2.4 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget for Indian Affairs, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) led by the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs John Tahsuda today announced his approval of land leasing codes for 10 tribes in seven states. Today’s action brings to 39 the number of federally recognized tribes whose land leasing regulations have been approved by the Department of the Interior in accordance with the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act.

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Press Release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque has received notification of re-accreditation, affirming that its degree and certification programs in advanced technical fields, liberal arts and business education will continue to enrich the lives of students from 66 American Indian tribes.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, just two weeks after U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the Department was forming a new Joint Task Force (JTF) to combat the opioid crisis in Indian Country, the Secretary announced the JTF's first raid seized 49 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $2.5 million and more than $20,000 worth of marijuana, plus smaller amounts of heroin, and other narcotics. The raid was led by Interior's JTF with partnership from the Pueblo Tribes and New Mexico law enforcement officials.

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Press Release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) is proud to announce that Christopher Harrington, a member of the Comanche Nation in Oklahoma and a SIPI staff member, has been selected to receive a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship grant to Pakistan. Harrington is the chairperson of the Department of Liberal Arts and Business Education. He was selected by the presidentially appointed 12-member J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

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Press Release

On behalf of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Indian Education, I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the late-Senator John McCain’s family. We appreciate their selfless willingness to share his short time on this earth with us to make our Nation better. We will miss his voice, but his spirit will live with us forever.

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Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) announced today the release of the BIE Strategic Direction (“Direction”) for 2018-2023. The Direction is designed to improve the ability of the BIE to increase its services to Native students by organizing management activities, setting priorities, and ensuring efficient and effective utilization of staff and resources.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Earlier this month, Tara Mac Lean Sweeney, a prominent Alaskan leader and acclaimed businesswoman with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, was sworn in as the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. Sweeney was nominated by President Donald J. Trump in October 2017. Sweeney, a member of the Native Village of Barrow and the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, is the first Alaska Native and only the second woman in history to hold the position.

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Press Release

Albuquerque, N.M. – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs John Tahsuda delivered remarks at Interior Days during the 2018 Annual Tribal Self-Governance Consultation Conference, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Tribal Self-Governance, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center. This year’s conference registration peaked around 900 attendees.

Secretary Zinke welcomed conference attendees via videoconference:

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Press Release

WASHINGTON –Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs John Tahsuda, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Director Thomas J. Walters, Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety Director Jesse Delmar and the Department of the Interior-Office of Law Enforcement and Security Director Darren Cruzan, are among federal and Indian Country representatives slated to speak at the 27 th Annual Indian Country Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at the United States Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs John Tahsuda spoke today of the courage and sacrifices of Indian Country’s fallen police officers during the 27th Annual Indian Country Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service, which was held on the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers campus in Artesia, N.M.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced today that the Laguna Elementary School in New Laguna, New Mexico, will receive $26.2 million for the construction of a new school.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON - From May 15, 2018 through May 26, 2018, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Opioid Reduction Task Force conducted a Criminal Interdiction Operation in and around Tribal reservations in Arizona, seizing 9,050 Fentanyl pills, 48.2 pounds of methamphetamine, 1.2 pounds of heroin, 863 pounds of marijuana, one-half pound of cocaine, and $30,000 in cash. In total, the drug bust yielded a seizure of 913.5 pounds of illegal narcotics, with a street value of approximately $4,791,417.00, and led to 86 total arrests.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON— U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Blackfeet Nation Chairman Harry Barnes today signed documents implementing the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement of 2016 and the accompanying Blackfeet Water Compact, which resolve a decades-long battle by the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana to protect its water rights while also accommodating state and federal water requirements. Secretary Zinke has worked on the issue as a State Senator in the Montana State Legislature, as the U.S. Representative from Montana, and now as Secretary of the Interior.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the selection of Eugene R. Peltola Jr. (of Yupik and Tlingit descent), from Orutsararmiut Native Council, a federally recognized tribal government, as Regional Director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Alaska. The BIA Alaska Regional Office oversees offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks, all of which provide services to 227 federally recognized Alaska Native tribes. The selection of Mr. Peltola, fulfills a commitment Secretary Zinke made to Alaska Natives while visiting in 2017.

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Press Release

FARGO, ND - Today, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recognized Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) - Turtle Mountain Agency Law Enforcement Officers Stacey Larocque and Michael Slater and BIA-Standing Rock Agency Law Enforcement Officers Wayland Bad Hand and Gary Sandland with the Secretary’s Commendation Award for their quick and heroic actions to save the lives of individuals who overdosed on deadly, synthetic opioid drugs.

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Press Release

Bena MN – The Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke was among the dignitaries to speak at the dedication of the newly constructed Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School on the Leech Lake reservation, a replacement building resulting from the combination of efforts made over 25 years. The new building replaces the metal clad pole barn, a structure originally built as an auto mechanic shop and bus garage. It lacked proper insulation that made regular classroom sessions difficult during Minnesota’s harsh winters.

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