November 15, 2021


For Immediate Release

November 15, 2021



Manu Tupper or Mike Inacay (Schatz) at


Schatz: HISTORIC Federal Actions Strengthen Commitment to Tribal Nations, Native Communities


$11B+ Headed to Native Communities After President Signs Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Into Law


White House Tribal Nations Summit Begins Today


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement:


“Under a Democratic Congress and White House, the federal government continues to strengthen its commitment to Native communities across the country,” said Chairman Schatz. “From making historic investments – like the more than $11 billion to help Native communities build new and update existing infrastructure – to holding the first White House Tribal Nations Summit since 2016, we are taking decisive action to honor our trust and treaty responsibilities to Native communities.”


President Biden today signed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal that includes at least $11 billion in estimated funding for Native communities. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Schatz voted to pass in the Senate in August, will deliver targeted federal resources to advance deployment of infrastructure in Native communities. Schatz released a resource guide to help Native communities navigate infrastructure funding authorized by the bill.


Also today, the Biden-Harris administration began a White House Tribal Nations Summit to bolster the Nation-to-Nation relationship with sovereign Tribal Nations and map out plans to improve outcomes for Native Americans across Indian Country. The administration is announcing a number of new commitments during the Summit, including:

An executive order to create a strategy to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans and to address the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous peoples;
Protection of lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Culture Historical Park from new federal oil and gas leasing and development;
A Tribal Treaty Rights Memorandum of Understanding to ensure that the undersigned federal agencies will determine how they can best protect Tribal treaty rights in their policymaking and regulatory processes;
Development of a publicly available, searchable, and indexed database of all Tribal treaties;
Establishment of an interagency working group on Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge;
A joint secretarial order by the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to increase opportunities for Tribal participation in federal lands management as well as co-stewardship agreements and other Tribal stewardship opportunities;
A Sacred Sites Memorandum of Understanding to create a framework through which the undersigned federal agencies can protect Tribal sacred sites;
A Native Language Memorandum of Agreement to promote collaboration on programming, resource development, and policy related to Native languages;
The Department of Agriculture Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative to acknowledge the history of how federal Indian policy has affected Native food and agriculture and recommit USDA to strengthening Indigenous food systems;
Establishment of the Department of Agriculture Hall of Tribal Nations;
Creation of the first-ever —

Secretary of the Interior’s Tribal Advisory Committee;
Housing and Urban Development Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee; and
Veterans Affairs Tribal Advisory Committee; and

Establishment of a new Veterans Health Administration Native Affairs Office.


More information on actions taken by the Biden-Harris administration to empower Native communities is available here.