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National Park Service Proposes Regulation for Gathering Plants

The National Park Service has proposed to modify the regulation governing the gathering of plants in national parks. The rule would allow members of federally recognized Indian tribes with traditional associations to areas within specific units of the National Park System to gather and remove plants or plant parts for traditional purposes. The gathering and removal allowed by the rule would be governed by agreements that may be entered into between the National Park Service and the tribes, and would also be subject to permits that identify the tribal members who may conduct these activities. The rule would prohibit commercial uses of gathered materials.

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Interior and Justice Announce Effort to Update BIA's 1988 Model Indian Juvenile Code

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In furthering President Obama’s efforts to support American Indian and Alaska Native families and protect tribal communities, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn and Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Administrator Robert L. Listenbee today announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Department of Justice are seeking to update the 1988 Model Indian Juvenile Code designed to assist federally recognized tribes in creating individual codes focused on juvenile matters and specifically addressing issues affecting Indian youth arrested for alcohol and/or drug-related offenses in Indian Country.

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NAGPRA Grants Awarded to Eight Tribes

The National Park Service today announced the award of eight Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Repatriation grants totaling $74,348. The grants will assist in the repatriation of individuals and sacred objects, objects of cultural patrimony and funerary objects back to the tribes.

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Interior Makes Largest Transfer to Date to Cobell Education Scholarship Fund

The Department of the Interior today announced it has transferred more than $12 million to the Cobell Education Scholarship Fund, bringing the total amount transferred so far to $17 million. Authorized by the historic Cobell Settlement, and funded in part by the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program), the Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance through scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native students wishing to pursue post-secondary and graduate education and training.

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Interior Department Announces Plans to Partner with Crow Tribe on Yellowtail Afterbay Hydropower

The Department of the Interior, in partnership with the Crow Tribe, will enter into an agreement for hydropower development on the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam, downstream of Yellowtail Dam and Powerplant, on the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, Montana.

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Interior Sends $34 Million in Additional Offers to Landowners with Fractional Interests at Rosebud Indian Reservation

Continuing the momentum of the Department of the Interior’s Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program), Deputy Secretary Mike Connor today announced that more than $34 million in additional purchase offers have been sent to almost 11,000 landowners with fractional interests at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Interested sellers have 45 days – until May 16, 2015 – to return accepted offers in the pre-paid postage envelops provided.

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Interior Hosts Land Buy-Back Program 2015 Listening Session

More than 150 tribal leaders and individual landowners joined Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor and Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn at the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) 2015 Listening Session yesterday. The event, held on the Gila River Indian Community, allowed Interior officials to share updates and hear directly from tribal communities about how the Program can best be implemented across Indian Country.

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Assistant Secretary Washburn Answers Call to Strengthen Implementation of Indian Child Welfare Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In keeping with President's Obama's commitment to supporting Indian families and building resilient, stable and thriving tribal communities, Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has published a proposed rule to govern the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) by state courts and child welfare agencies.

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National Park Service Announces Historic Preservation Grants for American Indian Tribes

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis this week announced $8.78 million of grants to 154 American Indian tribes to support their historic preservation offices in order to carry out national historic preservation program responsibilities on tribal lands.

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Secretary Jewell Issues Strategy to Protect, Restore Sagebrush Lands for 2015 Fire Season

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released the first of two reports developed by the Rangeland Fire Task Force. This initial report includes actions to be implemented by Interior’s bureaus to immediately address the threat of rangeland fire to Western sagebrush-steppe landscapes and improve fire management efforts before the start of the 2015 wildfire season.

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Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces Revised Guidelines to Ensure that Native Children and Families Receive the Full Protection of the Indian Child Welfare Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In keeping with President Obama's commitment to supporting Indian families and building resilient, thriving tribal communities, Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced action the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has taken to help prevent the further dissolution of American Indian and Alaska Native families through the misapplication of the indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 (Public Law 95-608).

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Tribal Consultation on Principles, Requirements and Guidelines for Water and Land Related Resources Implementation Studies

The Department of the Interior (DOl) will be hosting tribal consultations and welcomes the opportunity to consult with you regarding DOl's implementation of the updated Principles, Requirements and Guidelines for Water and Land Related Resources Implementation Studies (PR&Gs). The PR&Gs provide a common framework for evaluating Federal water resource investments, updating the Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources that have been in place since 1983. DOl representatives, including the Bureau oflndian Affairs, the Bureau ofReclamation, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, will participate and discuss the implications of these guidelines for tribes.

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Interior Department to Announce $8 Million for Tribal Climate Change Adaptation and Planning Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to prepare communities nationwide for the impacts of a changing climate, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the Interior Department will make available $8 million to fund projects that promote tribal climate change adaptation and ocean and coastal management planning through its Tribal Climate Resilience Program.

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Secretary Jewell to Visit Alaska, Attend Alaska Federation of Natives Leadership Summit

At the invitation of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will attend the organization’s leadership meeting in Alaska next week.

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Assistant Secretary Washburn Approves Ho-Chunk Nation's Three Hearth Act Tribal Land Leasing Codes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In keeping with President Obama’s commitment to empowering tribal nations and strengthening their economies, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced his approval of three separate land leasing codes for the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin. Today’s action brings to 18 the number of federally recognized tribes whose land leasing regulations have been approved by the Department of the Interior in accordance with the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (or HEARTH) Act.

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Secretary Jewell to Kick Off Native Youth Listening Tour

As part of President Obama’s Generation Indigenous (“Gen-I”) initiative to remove barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will kick off the Obama Administration Native Youth Listening Tour tomorrow, Tuesday, February 10, in the Phoenix, Arizona area with tribal visits and student discussions at Salt River Elementary and Gila River Crossing Community Schools.

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President's FY2016 Indian Affairs Budget Requests $2.9 Billion to Support Self-Determination, Strengthen Native American Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request for Indian Affairs, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), is $2.9 billion – a $323.5 million, or 12 percent increase from the FY2015 enacted level. The request maintains the Administration’s strong support for tribal self-determination, strengthening tribal nations across Indian Country, and meeting the federal government’s responsibilities to the 566 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, promoting opportunities for Native youth, and strengthening tribal education, economies, and resilience.

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Interior Signs Cooperative Agreements with Two Tribal Nations in Washington State to Reduce Land Ownership Fractionation in Indian Country

Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael Connor today announced that the Department has signed two additional agreements with tribal nations in Washington State through the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program).

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Secretary Jewell Celebrates Agreement with Seminole Tribe of Florida to Help Spur Investment, Commercial Development

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – As part of President Obama’s commitment to empowering American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations and strengthening their economies, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Michael Black today joined Seminole Tribal Chairman James E. Billie to formally approve tribal leasing regulations that will help spur investment and commercial development on the Seminole Tribe’s reservations.

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Secretary Jewell to Return to Everglades to Tour Ongoing Restoration Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will visit South Florida this week for a series of events focused on restoring the health of the Everglades. While there, Jewell will also meet with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to announce a milestone in increasing self-determination and economic development for Native American tribes.

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Interior Wraps Year with Total Transfer of $5 Million to Cobell Education Scholarship Fund as a Result of Land Buy-Back Program

With a transfer of nearly $1 million, the Department of the Interior today announced that total contributions to the Cobell Education Scholarship Fund have surpassed $5 million for 2014. The Scholarship Fund was authorized by the historic Cobell Settlement and is funded in part by the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). The Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance through scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native students wishing to pursue post-secondary education and training.

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Statement by Assistant Secretary Washburn on FY15 Omnibus Bill Increased Funding for Bureau of Indian Education Reforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today issued the following statement regarding the $40 million in additional Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)-related funding in the recently enacted Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015.

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Department of the Interior Announces Final Rule for Land into Trust for Alaska Native Tribes

As part of President Obama’s commitment to upholding the nation’s trust responsibilities to American Indian and Alaska Natives, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced a final rule that will allow the Department of the Interior to accept land into trust for federally recognized Alaska tribes.

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Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces Extension of Comment Period for Secretarial Elections Proposed Rule to January 16, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced that the Department of the Interior has extended to January 16, 2015, the public comment period for a proposed rule to update the regulations on the procedures by which Secretarial elections are handled. A Secretarial election is a federal election conducted by the Secretary of the Interior under a federal statute or tribal governing document in accordance with 25 CFR Part 81.

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Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces Proposal to Update Tribal Transportation Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced proposed revisions to tribal transportation regulations to comply with the national surface transportation law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, as extended. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) will be hosting upcoming tribal consultation sessions on the proposed revisions.

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