Interior Department Announces New Support for Tribal Sovereignty

U.S. Department of the Interior (Photo: Brian Edwards for Native News Online)
U.S. Department of the Interior (Photo: Brian Edwards for Native News Online)

Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced new actions to support tribal sovereignty owed to education and economic development work between the Office of Strategic Partnerships and Indian Country.

The Office of Strategic Partnerships will assist with building partnerships, leveraging resources, and promoting innovative solutions for Indian Country, according to a press release from the Department of the Interior. Through the office, the Department will help manage a diverse set of collaborative efforts with philanthropic and non-profit organizations, including a new partnership between the Bureau of Indian Education and the Trust for Public Land’s Community Schoolyards Project to create culturally informed outdoor educational spaces. 

“At the Department of the Interior, we have a solemn duty to honor and strengthen the federal government’s nation-to-nation relationships with tribes,” Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Today’s announcements reaffirm that commitment and will bring increased and much-needed resources to Indigenous communities,”  

Additionally, Haaland is renewing “The National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education.” Founded in 1999, the congressionally chartered non-profit organization with a mission to promote educational opportunities for American Indian students attending BIE schools. 

The Interior Department today also announced the signing of new MOUs between the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs and the American Sustainable Business Network to support tribally-led community-based economic development entrepreneurship.

Secretary Haaland is expected to deliver this news in person at The White House Tribal Nations Summit, where more than 300 tribal nations from across the nation are meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss ways the federal government can invest in and strengthen nation-to-nation relationships. A livestream of each day’s events can be viewed at the Interior Department’s YouTube page.

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