Taŋyáŋ yahípi, welcome to this edition of the ANA Messenger. The health of the people is linked with the health of the land. Many tribal communities continue to live off the land, either by growing, catching or harvesting their own foods, or using the resources for economic development. We cannot have healthy, thriving native communities if the land is not healthy. Therefore the grants funded by the Administration for Native Americans for environmental and regulatory enhancement are critical to the wellbeing of the people.
In this edition of the ANA Messenger, you will read about the projects in the Great Lakes region operated by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, to address the impact of invasive insects on forests that have cultural and economic importance to the Ojibwe people and the work on water quality standards done by the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians that emphasizes the sacred connection of the people to the shorelines of Lake Superior. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma is also focused on water quality, with an emphasis on how to create a plan that allows for economic development and sustainability of water resources. Each of these communities are using rigorous data collection and scientific evidence to protect the ways of their people and provide for the seventh generation as well as to continue in the ways of their ancestors. Although ANA’s investment is small for environmental projects, the impact is immeasurable. We hope you enjoy reading about these projects, as well as resources related to the environment in this edition of our newsletter.
Also, the last three months ANA has been very involved in the promotion of the Affordable Care Act for Native Communities. Through a contract (healthy-tribes.org) we are supporting additional outreach via webinars and events. ANA staff have participated in outreach activities at the National Congress of American Indians Executive Winter Session, at RES 2014, as well as through social media like the ACF Family Room: The Affordable Care Act: What’s In It for American Indians and Alaska Natives? and ACF’s twitter feed (@ACFHHS). While the deadline has passed for most Americans to get covered, American Indians and Alaska Natives have special protections and are able to sign up for insurance throughout the year. Exemptions for purchasing health insurance are available; however, these exemptions are not automatic, so get the details to make sure you or your loved ones won’t have a penalty to pay next tax season at www.healthcare.gov.
As the earth awakens again this spring, and readies herself for growth and renewal, ANA will be readying for our application review and planning for our ACF Tribal and Native American Grantee Meeting. In June ACF will host our annual Tribal Consultation, then all of ANA’s grantees will join ACF’s Tribal and Native American grantees to discuss how our programs can work together to “Honor Our Commitments to Native Families and Communities: Today and Tomorrow.” This biennial grantee conference is part of ACF’s strategic plan to strengthen programs targeting underserved and underrepresented populations. Following the ACF meeting, ANA is co-hosting the Native American Languages Summit, with our partners at the Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Education, and our theme is “Working Together for Native Language Success.” It is going to be a busy and productive week, and I look forward to visiting with many of you there.
We expect applications to be plentiful this spring and as always we rely on experts from across Indian Country and the Pacific to help us evaluate the many worthwhile projects for which communities are seeking support. It is a serious commitment of time and effort. We can’t do it without the support of community, so I want to thank those of you who have served as ANA grant reviewers in the past, will be assisting us this year, or are planning to help us in the future.
Lillian Sparks Robinson