WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) delivered the following remarks at a committee oversight hearing on “Emergency Management in Indian Country: Improving FEMA’s Federal-Tribal Relationship with Indian Tribes.”
The hearing featured testimony from Mr. Alex Amparo, Assistant Administrator for Recovery for the Office of Response and Recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Mr. Milo Booth, National Tribal Affairs Advisor for the Office of External Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Honorable Russell Begaye, President of the Navajo Nation; the Honorable J. Michael Chavarria, Governor of the Pueblo of Santa Clara; and Mr. Cody Desautel, Natural Resources Director for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.
Click here for more information on the witnesses’ testimony and to watch video of the entire hearing.
Chairman Hoeven’s remarks:
“The committee is holding this important hearing on emergency management in Indian country. It is timely to begin this conversation now. The winters can be hazardous in many parts of the country. With the spring comes the thaw and flooding. My home state of North Dakota is a good example. In other parts of the country, often times it’s tornadoes or battling fires.
“Some Indian reservations in North Dakota, most notably the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, have received major disaster declarations due to spring flooding.
“Tribes around the country experience other types of emergencies and disasters. These hard hit communities face a long road to recovery. It is incumbent upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to effectively assist in that recovery and to get an early start on efforts to reduce the impacts of future disaster risks.
“Tribes can seek emergency aid for emergency [declarations] directly from the President, instead of going through the States. This is designed to help with timely requests and timely assistance to hard hit communities.
“Today we will hear from the witnesses regarding these events and the federal response, as well as recommendations for improving emergency management and the Federal-tribal relationship.”
Click here to watch video of Chairman Hoeven’s opening statement.