October 20, 2021

Vice Chairman Murkowski Discusses Significance and Barriers of Investing in Indian Country

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), spoke about the need to continue incentivizing investments in Native communities. The Vice Chair invited Mr. Carl Marrs, Chief Executive Officer of Old Harbor Native Corporation in Old Harbor, AK, to participate in the SCIA roundtable, Investing in Economic Sovereignty: Leveraging Federal Financing for New and Sustained Development in Native Communities.


“It is clear that investment through traditional financial channels can be difficult in Tribal communities due to regulatory barriers, geographic isolation, or historic discrimination against investing in communities of color. While we have made progress in overcoming some of the barriers, the federal government still has much work to do to uphold its trust and treaty obligations to Tribes. Sometimes the only viable solution for securing capital in Tribal communities is to start with federal investment,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski on the Committee’s roundtable.


The Vice Chairman also welcomed Mr. Carl Marrs, Chief Executive Officer of Old Harbor Native Corporation, to the roundtable.


“I welcomed my friend Carl Marrs who serves as CEO of Old Harbor Native Corporation. As CEO, Carl is working hard to implement Old Harbor’s mission to preserve and protect the culture, values and traditions of the Old Harbor Native community, and ensure economic and educational opportunities for its shareholders, and descendants,” said Vice Chairman Lisa Murkowski on Mr. Marr’s participation in the roundtable.


“I am very pleased the Committee is going to take a serious look at incentivizing and fostering economic development for Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives—not just economic development on Native Lands, which is fine when such development is feasible, but economic development anywhere in the United States where the benefits of the development flow back to the members of the Tribe, the shareholders of the Alaska ‘ANCSA’ Corps, and the members of the Native Hawaiian Organizations. After all in many ways all of America is, or was ‘Indian Country’ so we should be able to participate in economic growth wherever in the U.S. we can help make it happen,” provided by Mr. Carl Marrs on the SCIA roundtable.


During the roundtable discussion, Vice Chairman Murkowski asked a Treasury Department official about her proposal to establish an Office of Tribal Affairs at the Department, an idea that she advanced as an amendment to the Senate’s consideration of the American Rescue Plan Act in February 2021.


For more information on the SCIA roundtable, click here.


On July 28, 2021, Senator Murkowski, along with Senator Sullivan (R-AK), introduced legislation, the Tribal Economic Development Act of 2021 (S. 2523), to improve the issuance of TED Bonds, and increase accessibility for tax-exempt financing on economic development efforts for Alaska Native and American Indian projects. Congressman Young (R-AK) also introduced the House companion bill, H.R. 4784, on the same day.


Vice Chairman Murkowski also posed a question to Mr. Marrs about S. 2523 and how its passage will greatly help communities such as Old Harbor to advance their economies.


More information on the legislation can be found here.


During her questioning, Vice Chairman Murkowski mentioned the recent Senate passage of S. 3011, a bill that she cosponsored and includes a one-year extension of the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) deadline to allow Tribal governments additional time to use CRF allocations. Senator Murkowski secured inclusion of the tribal extension in the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act. The bill, S. 3011, now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.