45 Years of the Native American Programs Act

On Wednesday, February 27, I had the distinct privilege of testifying before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, chaired by Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota. The subject of the hearing was an important one, particularly for our agency: the 45th anniversary of the Native American Programs Act (NAPA). This legislation launched the Administration for Native Americans and contains our guiding principles. As part of the hearing, I was able to highlight some of the achievements of our agency over the last 45 years as they pertain to Native Americans across the country.

Forty-five years after Congress passed NAPA, we have experienced great success in helping Native Americans achieve healthier outcomes with higher standards of living through our funding, training and technical assistance, and advocacy within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Today, ANA’s grant funding opportunities are very popular and highly competitive. In fiscal year 2018, ANA received 266 applications and made 63 new awards in our six program areas. Our current grant portfolio includes 187 projects across the United States and the Pacific territories. Among those 187 projects are programs that target environmental regulatory enhancement projects, asset building, social and economic development strategies, language preservation and maintenance efforts, and youth leadership education and development initiatives.

I was joined at the hearing by the Honorable Joseph Socobasin, a Council Member and Former Chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Indian Township, Maine; the Honorable Brian Vallo, the Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma Tribe in Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico; and the Honorable Joe James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe of Klamath, California.

All three of these tribes have received ANA grants, which they’ve used for a variety of projects identified and developed by their communities:

  • The Passamaquoddy Tribe, a recipient of one of our Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategy grants, makes their own organic-certified maple syrup, tapping over 15,000 trees in the process. This venture has created six seasonal and full-time jobs for tribal members as well as a thriving business with a product you can purchase online, which adds another revenue stream for their community.
  • The Pueblo of Acoma Tribe received a Native Language Preservation and Maintenance grant to help revitalize and rebuild the Keres language in their community. Through creating a Language Retention Program and a Historical Preservation Office, they have been able to build and maintain an intergenerational understanding of the importance the Keres language fills in the Acoma culture.
  • The Yurok Tribe has used their Environmental and Regulatory Enhancement grant to spearhead their Condor Reintroduction Initiative, designed to revitalize the condor population in an area where they once roamed free. Through a variety of environmental tests and government approvals, the land is now able to be home to the condor—a bird intrinsic to the culture of the Yurok tribe.

Through the last 45 years, ANA has been able to make significant contributions to Native communities across the country. We look forward to the next 45 years of grants, initiatives, and projects that lie ahead for all federally recognized tribes, state recognized tribes, Native American nonprofits, Native Hawaiian, and Native Pacific Islander communities. If you want to watch the hearing in its entirety, visit the SCIA website.

Editor’s Note: Current funding opportunity announcements are open from now until April 15. Learn more about how to apply on our website and submit your application at www.Grants.gov.