For Immediate Release:
December 07, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs announced the distribution of over $1.4 billion in contracts to Indian Economic Enterprises in Fiscal Year 2023 across the Department, which includes $1.03 billion awarded to Indian Small Business Economic Enterprises, a historical high for the Department.

Last year, Indian Affairs announced new regulations to improve implementation of the Buy Indian Act, promoting economic development opportunities in Indian Country. Through the new Buy Indian Act Information and Tools website, employees and public stakeholders can access training and stakeholder engagement, and obtain information for Native American-owned businesses, providing an easily accessible way to identify and enhance the use of Native American vendors for contract opportunities under the Buy Indian initiative.

“These efforts represent the Interior Department’s commitment to Indian Country and the Biden administration’s emphasis on promoting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “This is a key part of our mission to revitalize American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal communities by increasing economic opportunity.”

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland highlighted this achievement in remarks during the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit, which provides an opportunity for the Biden-Harris administration and Tribal leaders from the 574 federally recognized Tribes to discuss ways the federal government can invest in and strengthen nation-to-nation relationships as well as ensure that progress in Indian Country endures for years to come.

During the year, Indian Affairs awarded three smart acquisition vehicles to Indian-owned small-business firms for construction, professional services and program management consulting services totaling $1.8 billion in potential award value. These contracts can be used by organizations across the Department and serve as important tools to continually expand utilization of Native-owned business.

Additional contracts awarded to Indian Economic Enterprises include:

  • $235 million for complete replacement design-build construction projects for three Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools: Chi Chil’tah Community School, Crystal Boarding School and Tonalea Day School.
  • $58.3 million for the Oglala Dam Remediation Project to protect downstream communities and improve the overall performance of the dams. The investment utilizes funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
  • $38 million to address mental health and wellness needs of BIE students and staff at all BIE-funded institutions.
  • $31 million in architect and engineering services for design, construction phase services and assessments for bureau-operated facilities across IA.

The Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues; communicates policy to and oversees the programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration; provides leadership in consultations with Tribes; and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter-departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on matters concerning American Indians and Alaska Natives and the federally recognized Tribes in the United States.

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A photo reviewing blueprints for an infrastructure project.

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