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News by Year

Press Release

SELLS, Ariz. – Today, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney reopened the Santa Rosa Ranch School (SRRS), located on the Tohono O’odham Nation reservation. The school provides education for grades K-8 and serves approximately 66 students. The school had been closed since December 13, 2018, when the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) leadership and safety personnel identified several high priority deficiencies during a campus walk-through.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON–Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney today announced final, updated regulations to simplify the process for Tribes to enter into Tribal Energy Resource Agreements (TERAs) with the Department of the Interior (DOI), so tribes can better take control of developing energy resources on their land. While the opportunity to enter into a TERA has been available since 2008, to date, no Tribe has requested a TERA due to overly burdensome requirements.

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Press Release

CATOOSA, Oklahoma, November 6, 2019 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve tribes’ and tribal members’ access to farm conservation programs to advance conservation in Indian Country. The MOU was signed in Catoosa, Oklahoma, where USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey was joined by BIA Director Darryl LaCounte at the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance - National Tribal Conservation Districts Conference.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced the appointment of two leadership posts within the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Johnna Blackhair, a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Montana, will serve as Deputy Bureau Director for Trust Services at the Bureau of Indian Affairs’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and Patricia Mattingly, of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico and the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, will serve as Regional Director of the Bureau’s Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque, N.M.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney today hosted the fourth in a series of Reclaiming Our Native Communities roundtables in Rapid City, S.D. The purpose of the roundtables is to hear from tribal leaders, public safety and domestic violence prevention advocates, law enforcement, and health care providers on what the federal government in general and Indian Affairs, in particular, need to do to seriously address the issue of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women, children and men.

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Press Release

ANADARKO, Okla. – Today, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney praised the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Anadarko Agency for deploying the first Tribal Access Program (TAP) biometric/biographic kiosk workstation. The TAP kiosk will help process finger and palm prints, take mugshots, and access data with the national crime information databases to better ensure the safety of children in foster care.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt highlighted another successful seizure of narcotics. While on patrol near the exterior boundaries of the Laguna Indian Reservation in New Mexico, a Bureau of Indian Affairs K-9 police unit arrested an individual and seized 85 pounds of narcotics worth more than $4 million dollars.

The K-9 police unit seized:

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – According to the Federal Communications Commission, only 46.6 percent of rural, Tribal locations currently have broadband access in comparison to 73.3 percent of the other rural parts of the country.

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Press Release

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Officials from the White House and the U.S. Department of the Interior held a Reclaiming our Native Communities Roundtable in Nome, Alaska and a Public Safety Listening Session in Bethel, Alaska this week to discuss ways to address public safety challenges in the region.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – In June and July 2019, the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations mailed more than $140 million in purchase offers to more than 18,000 owners of fractional land interests at the Navajo Nation. The deadline for landowners to return their voluntary purchase offers is either August 30, 2019, or September 30, 2019, depending on the offer cover letter date.

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Press Release

SACATON, Ariz. – A crowd nearly 1,000 strong came out on Saturday, July 27, 2019, to help the Gila River Indian Community (the Community) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) commemorate an important milestone for Community members, DOI and Indian Country: The ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the Gila Crossing Community School, a state-of-the-art, newly constructed Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) school meant to serve over 500 K-8 students on the Gila River Indian Reservation.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney today announced that the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) has awarded $5,382,606 in energy and mineral development grants to 24 federally recognized tribes in 11 states across the U.S. The grants will fund tribal efforts to identify, study, design, and/or develop projects using energy, mineral or natural resources on the tribes’ lands to achieve their economic development goals.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON — Yesterday, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney and Gila River Indian Community (Community) Governor Stephen Lewis signed a lease for the Gila Crossing Community School, the Community’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) K-8 school located in District 6 on the Reservation. An innovative partnership between DOI and the Community resulted in the first-of-its-kind lease in Indian Country that will educate and empower future generations of Community children.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced the appointment of Timothy LaPointe as the Great Plains Regional Director. The appointment is effective June 23, 2019.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced the appointment of Tammie Poitra to the position of the Midwest BIA Regional Director. The appointment is effective June 23, 2019.

“It is with great pride that I name Tammie Poitra as the Midwest BIA Regional Director,” said Assistant Secretary Sweeney. “I have the upmost confidence in her leadership capabilities to work with the 36 Tribes and the staff that comprises the regional office and the four BIA agencies. Congratulations, Ms. Poitra.”

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt highlighted the efforts made by the Department of the Interior (DOI) Opioid Reduction Task Force over the past year, resulting in the seizure of more than 3,200 pounds of illegal narcotics with an estimated value of $9.8 million dollars.

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Press Release

Sacaton, AZ – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) held a roundtable discussion to address public safety issues confronting Indian Country. Deputy Chief of Staff exercising the authority of Deputy Secretary Kate MacGregor and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney were joined by stakeholders from Indian Country. The meeting focused on developing a comprehensive approach to concentrate on cold cases, violent crimes, and missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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Press Release

LAGUNA PUEBLO, NM— The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) Officer Nicholas “Nick” Jackson and his K-9 Kofi seized 4.3 Kilos (9.4 pounds) of heroin, which has an estimated street value of approximately $559,000.00, on the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico last week.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Tuesday, June 11, 2019, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Deputy Chief of Staff exercising the authority of Deputy Secretary Kate MacGregor, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native Americans / Administration on Native Americans Commissioner Jean Hovland, Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Lewis, and State and Tribal leaders will hold a press availability on reclaiming our native communities.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney announced today the decision for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to take approximately 9,300 acres of land near Mandaree, North Dakota into trust status for the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, a tribe also widely known as the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara (MHA) Nation. In 2011, the Tribe submitted its Fee-To-Trust Application for the Figure 4 Ranch Property, which is currently used by the Tribe for a buffalo ranch operation as well as oil and gas production.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney today honored all Indian Country law enforcement officers in her address at the 28th Annual Indian Country Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial service. The event was held on the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers' campus in Artesia, N.M.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney will address the 28th Annual Indian Country Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Service taking place Thursday, May 2, 2019, at the United States Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney today announced that she has appointed Darryl LaCounte to the position of director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in the U.S. Department of the Interior. LaCounte, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota, has served as acting director since 2018. His appointment is effective April 28, 2019.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney praised the seizure of over $400,000 in high-grade marijuana made by a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) – Office of Justice Services (OJS) K9 unit during a traffic stop. On April 6, 2019, a BIA-OJS K9 officer, serving as part of the OJS Division of Drug Enforcement (DDE), seized over 81 pounds of the high-grade marijuana within the exterior boundaries of the Laguna Pueblo on Interstate 40 in New Mexico.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today President Donald Trump proposed a $936.3 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

The BIE’s primary mission is to provide quality education opportunities from early childhood through life in accordance with a tribe’s need for cultural and economic well-being, in keeping with the wide diversity of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes as distinct cultural and governmental entities.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today President Donald Trump proposed a $1.9 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget for Indian Affairs, which, for this request, includes only the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs. The Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) budget request is presented separately.

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