WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today hosted a bipartisan roundtable to outline infrastructure needs and identify innovative resources for schools serving students in Indian Country. The roundtable brought together officials from the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Government Accountability Office (GAO), as well as representatives from Indian schools, colleges and organizations to review how Congress can support educational facilities in Indian Country.
“Many schools across Indian Country are in need of repair or replacement,” said Hoeven. “These schools are often the only educational opportunity for many Indian children. Deferred maintenance for Bureau of Indian Education schools totals over $634 million dollars. This figure does not include the cost of replacement and rehabilitation, or the cost of repairing non-BIE schools on Indian reservations. We must work together to identify needs, utilize federal infrastructure resources and help ensure Indian schools are included in a larger infrastructure measure.”
As chairman, Hoeven is working to improve federal Indian education programs and strengthen public safety in tribal communities, particularly for Native youth. Since last year, the senator has chaired three oversight hearings to monitor the BIE’s efforts to address GAO recommendations for high-risk Indian education programs. In May, Hoeven led an oversight hearing on enhancing BIE school safety and security.