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News by Year

Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney today announced she has approved leasing regulations for the San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians in California.

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Press Release

Originally Published by: The Cherokee Phoenix

By: Tara Katuk Sweeney, U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior announced today that it has once again made substantial progress in Fiscal Year 2020 to reduce the risk of wildfire nationwide, treating 1.5 million acres of public land. The Bureau of Indian Affairs treated more than 364,000 acres across Indian Country, which is a record for the bureau.

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Press Release

In September, President Trump announced the successful repatriation of ancestral remains and funerary items from Tribes associated with the Mesa Verde region from Finland. Following that effort, the White House has asked the U.S. Departments of the Interior and State to work together to assist other Native American tribes in the repatriation of any additional cultural items abroad.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – On October 28, 2020, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Mac Lean Sweeney, accompanied by several Trump Administration officials, met in Flagstaff, Arizona, with Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma of the Hopi Indian Tribe to sign a commitment letter for $5 million dollars towards an infrastructure project to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water on the Hopi reservation. Accompanying Chairman Nuvangyaoma were Executive Advisor to the Chairman Duane Humeyestewa; Carroll Onsae, general manager of Hopi Tribal Communications Inc.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary -- Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney announced today that the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) has approved $3 million in Living Languages Grant Program (LLGP) funds to 18 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages to document, preserve, and revitalize Native languages.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney approved the Coquille Indian Tribe’s Indian Trust Asset Management Plan (ITAMP) and tribal forestry regulations in a virtual signing ceremony held with Coquille Chief Don Ivy on October 16, 2020. The approval is the Department’s first Indian Trust Asset Management Demonstration Project.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney today announced she has approved two fee-to-trust applications submitted by The Chickasaw Nation for casino resorts in and near the Oklahoma cities of Ardmore and Kingston, respectively.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – In late 2019 the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) launched an innovative school bus internet connectivity project with the goal of using its 25 longest bus routes to keep students connected to learning. Well before COVID-19 hit the United States, the Bureau had begun to transform the designated school bus fleet into extended classrooms so that students remained connected while traveling, in some cases over 200 miles roundtrip per day, on distant bus routes.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney today announced the establishment of the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BTFA) which will report directly to her office. The new BTFA will assume responsibility for financial operations and functions currently performed by the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) effective today.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney announced today that approximately $5.5 million is available for Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) Energy Mineral Development Program (EMDP) grants to help federally recognized American Indian tribes, Alaska Native entities and tribal energy resource development organizations identify, evaluate or assess the market for energy or mineral resources to be developed. EMDP will fund about 25 to 30 grants. The application deadline is December 2, 2020.

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Press Release

Washington, D.C. – For the second year in a row, a coalition of federal agencies are working together to address the issue of how to close the digital divide and increase internet access in Indian Country. This year, the Interior Department and the Institute of Museum and Library Services are partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Service and the U.S.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs (AS-IA) Tara Katuk Sweeney recently announced that the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools operating on the Navajo Nation will open for students via distance learning for the first nine weeks of the 2020-21 school year. The BIE operates 32 schools within the Navajo Nation and has worked closely with tribal leaders to find the best way to implement the Return To Learn! plan. Under the plan, BIE schools have the flexibility to implement how it works for their specific needs and community conditions.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Last year, President Trump and President Niinistӧ of Finland finalized an agreement to return American Indian ancestral remains and funerary objects taken over a century ago from what is now Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L.

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Press Release

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Native View: Tribal communities aren't being forgotten by Trump

Originally Published By: Duluth News Tribune

By: Tara Katuk Sweeney, U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) announced in August that BIE-operated K-12 day-school operations across the United States will have a uniform start date of September 16 for the 2020-2021 school year. Bureau operated residential facilities, including Off Reservation Boarding Schools (ORBS) and dormitories will only provide day-school instruction. This will avoid students traveling outside the commuting area and these students enrolled will be provided distance learning opportunities for their continuity of education.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney was in Anchorage, Alaska, to open the sixth office to investigate cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. She was also joined by Commissioner Jean Hovland with the Administration for Native Americans and Bureau of Indian Affairs-Office of Justice Services Director Charles Addington. This is an initiative of Operation Lady Justice, the task force established to address missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney announced today that the fifth of seven offices being established under the Operation Lady Justice Task Force to investigate cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives will be located at the Gila River Indian Community Police Department in Sacaton, AZ. The Task Force’s first tribally housed cold case office opened August 13.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Interior’s Indian Affairs Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) has approved National Tribal Broadband Grant (NTBG) program grants to 23 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and two Navajo Nation communities to study the feasibility of developing or extending broadband services in their areas.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney announced today the opening of the fourth of seven offices established under the Operation Lady Justice Task Force to investigate cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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Press Release

Originally Published by: The Federalist

By: Tara Katuk Sweeney, U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney announced today the opening of the third of seven offices established under the Operation Lady Justice Task Force to investigate cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, officials from the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Health and Human Services announced the opening of the second of seven cold case offices established through an initiative of Operation Lady Justice to investigate cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney joined Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney A. Butler in a first-ever virtual signing ceremony on July 29, 2020, for the Nation’s 105(l) lease agreement with the Department of the Interior (DOI) under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (ISDEAA) for a public safety facility.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – The Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs is announcing a corrected schedule of dates for the upcoming openings of Missing and Murdered Native Americans Cold Case Task Force offices in August.

The correct dates with locations are:

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Press Release

BLOOMINGTON, MINN.–Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump and Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney established the first of seven offices dedicated to solving cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced today a new internal policy governing how the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) processes tribal applications under the “Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act of 2012” (HEARTH Act).

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced today that she has approved two long-standing land-into-trust applications from The Osage Nation in Oklahoma for its casino projects in the cities of Bartlesville and Pawhuska. The applications were first submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced today that she has signed reservation proclamations for two land parcels totaling approximately 222.63 acres for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized tribe in Minnesota located southwest of the city of Minneapolis. The parcels will 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. 5110).

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney today announced she has approved a business leasing ordinance submitted by the Catawba Indian Nation in South Carolina under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney today announced she has approved the Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana’s regulations under the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Interior (DOI) forged a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by signing the National Programmatic Agreement among the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Programs, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for Sequencing Section 106 (USDA-RD NPA).

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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) is soliciting applications for its Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) grant program, which has a total of $900,000 to fund feasibility studies for tribal economic development projects in Opportunity Zones.

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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) is soliciting applications for the Tribal Energy Development Capacity (TEDC) grant program.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney today announced that she has approved the probate code of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California. The Department of the Interior’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) will now apply the code when probating trust or restricted lands within the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.

Codes such as Agua Caliente’s allow tribes to determine how trust or restricted assets within their reservations pass to heirs upon an individual’s death.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced an extension of the National Tribal Broadband Grant program (NTBG) grant application deadline. The NTBG is open to federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes and is published in Grants.Gov from the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED).

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – The CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund for Tribal Governments provides payments to state, local, and tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Payments to tribal governments are to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON - Monday, April 13, 2020, the Department of the Treasury launched the web portal for state, local, and tribal governments to provide their information for the disbursement of the Coronavirus Relief Fund payments. Eligible tribal governments will receive payments to help offset the costs of their response to the coronavirus pandemic. Payments will be paid no later than April 24, 2020, once registered through the web portal entitled Eligible Units: Submission Required for Receipt of Coronavirus Relief Fund Payments.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump on Friday, provides critical relief for Indian Country to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including over $500 million in direct appropriations to Indian Affairs and an unprecedented $8 billion for Tribes.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced that the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) published its Standards, Assessments and Accountability System (SAAS) Final Rule under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The SAAS Rule will provide the BIE with the ability to operate under a single unified assessment system intended to bolster professional development and student performance.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – This week, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney issued two separate decisions taking lands into trust for the Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria and the Catawba Indian Nation.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – President Trump today proposed a $944.5 million Fiscal Year 2021 budget for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). The BIE’s budget request is presented separately, continuing the historical action in FY 2020 to recognize the distinct and separate responsibilities and missions of the Indian Affairs’ two bureaus. The FY2021 budget request will continue to advance BIE reform, provide autonomy and accountability, streamline services, maximize efficiency, and build capacity.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – President Trump today proposed a $1.9 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget for Indian Affairs, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney is proud to announce that the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) awarded business development grants totaling $727,229 to 21 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. Over half of the awards are for proposed or existing projects located in Opportunity Zones.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Northern Cheyenne Agency on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation has deployed Tribal Access Program (TAP) biometric/biographic kiosks at its offices in Lame Deer, Montana. This state-of-the-art equipment will help the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe ensure the safety of on-reservation American Indian children in foster care through expedited background checks on foster parents and the adults in their homes prior to placement.

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney today announced a number of firsts for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its Wildland Fire and Aviation Management program resulting from their efforts to aid Indian Country and which demonstrate exceptional interagency collaboration abilities and commitment to improving the development of their wildland fire workforce through new training opportunities for women.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Sends Seven Wildland Firefighters to Australia

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