Posted by the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs 01/05/2017

For Immediate Release                                                                              

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) today issued the following statements after being elected Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for the 115th Congress.

“I am honored to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and look forward to working with Vice Chairman Udall and members of the Committee to pass legislation that helps improve the lives of people across Indian Country. In our roles, we will address the issues of job creation, natural resource management, health care, education, public safety and housing in Indian communities,” said Chairman Hoeven. “We will also make it a priority to promote economic growth. Jobs and economic growth are the priorities that will help Indianfamilies, communities and businesses succeed.”

“I am enormously honored to become the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, a role that will strengthen my ability to fight for and defend the sovereignty of New Mexico’s 23 tribes and all Native American communities,” said Vice Chairman Udall. “With the Indian Affairs Committee’s proud tradition of bipartisan cooperation in mind, I am very much looking forward to working with Chairman Hoeven and all our committee members to help secure progress for Indian Country. Throughout my career, I have been committed to working alongside tribes to uphold our trust responsibility. The U.S. Senate has a duty to support tribal communities in their work to build sustainable economies and good schools, provide quality health care, maintain access to clean air and water, and protect the deep Native American connection to culture and tradition. Native Americans have faced, and continue to face, great challenges and injustices – and while we have made progress, it is abundantly clear that we have much work to do to improve government-to-government consultation with tribes and to ensure environmental justice. I am proud of my long record as a strong defender of Native American rights, and this new position will enable me to work more closely with tribal communities in New Mexico and across our nation.” 

“I want to congratulate Chairman Hoeven and Vice Chairman Udall on their elections,” said former committee Chairman John Barrasso. “I look forward to working closely with them both, and with all the committee members, to pass legislation that will empower tribal communities and will strengthen the government-to-government relationship the United States shares with tribes.”

“I look forward to working with Chairman Hoeven and Vice Chairman Udall to ensure that our nation’s trust and treaty responsibilities are upheld across all of Indian Country,” said former committee Vice Chairman Jon Tester. “I am confident that during this session of Congress the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will continue its long history of working across the aisle to promote tribal sovereignty and strengthen economic opportunities, health care and education for all Native American and Alaska Native families.”


More information at


Don Canton/Kami Capener (Hoeven) ~202-224-2551

Jennifer Talhelm (Udall) ~202-228-6870

Media Release

GRAND RONDE, Ore. – The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde has joined an increasing number of other Native American Tribes nationwide in adopting an Independent Press Ordinance that will codify that the Tribal news publication has the independence to report Grand Ronde news objectively and free from undue political influence by Tribal elected officials.

The ordinance was adopted by the Grand Ronde Tribal Council at its Wednesday, Dec. 28, meeting and goes into effect in mid-January. 

Although the Grand Ronde Tribal Constitution, adopted in 1984, states that “Tribal Council shall not deny … freedom of speech, press, or religion,” the Tribal publication, Smoke Signals, has for many years been supervised by a manager who reports directly to Tribal Council. The government structure created concerns among newspaper staff members, Tribal employees and Tribal members about the newspaper’s ability to report news objectively without undue influence.

The new ordinance was shepherded through the ordinance process by Tribal Council member Chris Mercier, who previously worked as a reporter for Smoke Signals before being first elected to Tribal Council in 2004.

“Freedom of the press was guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution when this country was founded,” Mercier said. “It has always been a fundamental right of American citizens. I think that when people approved our Tribal Constitution in 1984 they included language for freedom of the press for a reason. I do believe that this is what they had in mind.”

The ordinance will create an Editorial Board of between three and five members with a majority being Grand Ronde Tribal members. The board, which will be appointed by Tribal Council, will supervise the editor of Smoke Signals. Board members will serve for three-year terms and adhere to accepted ethics of journalism as defined by the Society of Professional Journalists and endorsed by the Native American Journalists Association. “The Editorial Board members shall serve their terms of office free from any undue influence or any political interest,” the ordinance states.

The ordinance also requires the editor to adhere to accepted ethics of journalism and to serve free from undue influence and any political interest. The ordinance also provides Smoke Signals staff members with protection from disclosing their sources.

Smoke Signals has been published by the Grand Ronde Tribe since 1984 and is currently published on the first and 15th of each month. The newspaper consistently wins awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and Native American Journalists Association.

About the Tribe

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon includes more than 27 Tribes and Bands from western Oregon, southwestern Washington and northern California that were relocated to the Grand Ronde Reservation between 1855-1875.

These Tribes and Bands include the Rogue River, Umpqua, Chasta, Kalapuya, Molalla, Salmon River, Tillamook and Nestucca Indians.

The Tribes’ ceded lands in Oregon extend from the California border to southwestern Washington, and reach from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

For more information about the Tribe, visit

Contact: Dean Rhodes

Publications Coordinator


For Immediate Release


January 9, 2017

Dear Colleagues,


Vacancy Announcement Number:


Title, Series and Grade of the Position:

Telecommunications Program Analyst; GS-1101-14

Promotion Potential



Organizational Location of the Position:

Policy and Outreach Division, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

Duty Station Location:

Washington, DC

Position Information:


Opening Date:

January 9, 2017

Closing Date:

January 13, 2017

Area of Consideration:

Please review announcement under

“Who May Apply”

Relocation Expenses Statement:

Relocation expenses will not be paid

Agency Contact:

Aquia Davis

Contact Phone Number:


Vacancy Announcement Website:



Elyse Dempsey

January Deadline to comment on FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn’s #Solutions2020 Call to Action


Flagstaff, AZ – January 10, 2017-  Mignon L. Clyburn, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), released a draft of the #Solutions2020 Call to Action Plan on December 19, 2016. The plan identified six actionable items that would address digital divides by delivering robust connectivity within four years. The deadline to submit comments, suggestions, and feedback on the plan is January 11, 2017. The final report will be released in early 2017.

“Commissioner Clyburn’s continued support for increased media ownership among Native Americans and people of color is critical.  Tribal communities continue to have a need for multiple means of communication including radio,” Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media, previously stated.

The plan includes a call to action for the following areas: 1) Ensuring Affordable Communication, 2) Empowering Communities, 3) 5G and Beyond for All Americans, 4) Enhancing Consumer Protections, 5) Broadband as a Driver of Improved Health Service, and 6) Promoting a More Diverse Media Landscape. Comments, suggestions or feedback can be submitted to To view the document, visit:


Native Public Media is a national organization devoted to encouraging healthy, independent and engaged tribal communities through media access, control and ownership.  Currently 58 Native owned and operated radio stations and a handful of television stations and projects serve Indian Country.

Media Contact:
David Grossman, (202) 418-2100

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, November 10, 2016 – Today, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn announced that she is inviting additional “pitch” submissions as a part of the upcoming release of the #Solutions2020 Call to Action Plan.

Last month, academics, practitioners, and other thought leaders came to Washington, D.C. to participate in Commissioner Clyburn’s #Solutions2020 Policy Forum. Invited participants each gave a three minute solutions-focused “pitch” followed by an audience Q&A session and a one minute closing statement aimed at addressing many of the toughest challenges facing the communications sector, including affordability, digital inclusion, and broadband-enabled healthcare.

A video recording of the forum is now available for viewing: Part 1 and Part 2.

During the forum, Commissioner Clyburn also outlined six pillars targeted at several of the biggest challenges confronting the communications sector:

1) Ensuring Affordable Communications
2) Empowering Communities
3) Broadband as a Driver of Improved Health Services
4) Promoting a More Diverse Media Landscape
5) 5G and Beyond for All Americans
6) Enhancing Consumer Protections

How to Submit a Solutions-Focused “Pitch”:
Pitch submissions should propose a specific solution to an issue facing the communications sector and be a maximum of 350 words in length. It is encouraged to submit a “pitch” that falls within one of the six categories described above. Please email your pitch to All submissions must be received by 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time on November 28, 2016 and may subsequently be posted on the Commission’s website.

Please email your pitch to All submissions must be received by 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time on November 28, 2016 and may subsequently be posted on the Commission’s website.

All pitch submissions which reference open proceedings must also comply with the Commission’s ex parte rules. A discussion of those rules can be found at

Submitted ideas will be considered for inclusion in the #Solutions2020 Call to Action Plan which will be publicly released before the end of this year.

Background on #ConnectingCommunities and the #Solutions2020 Policy Forum:
In April, 2016, Commissioner Clyburn announced the #ConnectingCommunities tour as a way to hear first-hand about the opportunities and challenges of bringing affordable, diverse and competitive communications services to all Americans. During the tour, Commissioner Clyburn visited the following communities:

• Boston, Massachusetts
• Charleston County, South Carolina
• Chandler/Phoenix, Arizona
• Denver, Colorado
• Indian Land, South Carolina
• Morgantown/Kingwood, West Virginia
• Newark, New Jersey
• New York, New York
• Navajo Nation, New Mexico
• Palo Alto/San Francisco, California
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
• San Diego, California
• Seattle, Washington

On October 19, 2016, Commissioner Clyburn hosted the #Solutions2020 Policy Forum at Georgetown University Law Center. The forum was the culmination of the Commissioner’s six-month #ConnectingCommunities tour.

For a fifth consecutive year, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has been awarded as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Since launching in 1999, APTN has become a pillar for indigenous media, leading by example with its commitment to professional and educational development, to new parents with the establishment of parental leave, and to programming created by and for indigenous people.

“APTN is extremely proud to be recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers,” says Jean La Rose, APTN’s Chief Executive Officer. “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our people, the network’s successes are only achieved through the outstanding efforts of all employees.”

APTN is to Canada’s first national public network for indigenous people. APTN is available in approximately 11 million Canadian households and commercial establishments. For more information, visit or read more on the network’s recognition here.


The annual Information Technology Summit hosted by the Navajo Nation Department of Information Technology will be held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque on November 14-17, 2016. The summit is expected to draw presentations and attendance from varied stakeholders seeking cyber solutions and technology instruction. Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media, will provide a session on radio licensing and ownership November 15, 2016.

“I am honored to be invited by the Navajo Nation to present on the importance of media access, control, and ownership.  Judging by what is happening at Standing Rock in terms of media coverage, or the lack of it by mainstream media, this conversation is timely.  Currently Native media and independent media are the primary providers of news from Standing Rock on a consistent basis regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline.  We also need to talk about technology based abuses levied against the water protectors where media overlaps with technology,” stated Taylor.

The four-day summit will provide technology education sessions to address broadband technology opportunities and challenges across Indian County with specific attention to the technology needs of tribal offices in the fields of health, social services, judicial, communications, telecommunications, higher education, and more. For additional information, visit

Information is necessary to daily decision making. However, many across the country, including Tribal Communities, continue to lack the infrastructure and resources that would enable access to information. This communications divide has been the focus of Mignon L. Clyburn, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In April 2016, the Commissioner announced the launch of the “Connecting Communities: Bridging the Communications and Opportunities Divide” Tour, and began meeting with rural and urban communities to learn of the benefits and challenges facing the communications sector nationwide. This tour included visits to Tribal Communities to hear of specific challenges that Indian Country continues to face.

In a press release from April 2016 announcing the tour, Clyburn said, “I’m excited to embark on this national tour to hear from those seeking to bridge the communications and opportunities divide. This is a unique opportunity to gain new insights and ensure that the FCC hears a wide range of perspectives, including the many voices that often go unheard.”

The Connecting Communities tour will conclude with the #Solutions2020 Policy Forum taking place today, October 19, 2016, at 1 p.m. EDT at the Gewirz Building, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001. Over 20 panelists from across the country, including Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media, will discuss some of the most challenging issues facing the communications sector to date. Topics of the policy forum will include

  • Bridging the Affordability Gap
  • What is 5G?
  • Combating Inequality in the Communications Sector
  • Health Care: An Unfinished Chapter of the National Broadband Plan
  • The Future of Viewpoint Diversity

The discussion will be streamed live at

You can read the press release at

For more information about the forum, visit

Native Public Media signs on with 75 public interest organizations and sent a letter to the Chairman and Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling on the agency to move forward this month on three issues currently before it: the set-top box rulemaking, the broadband privacy rulemaking, and the zero rating investigation.

The FCC has been working toward actions on these three issues for months, if not years. The agency could vote any day on proposed new rules for set-top boxes, after it postponed a scheduled vote in late September. It is currently scheduled to vote on new privacy rules that would limit broadband providers’ ability to use and share their customers’ data for non-service-related purposes. And it is in the midst of an investigation into abusive data caps and zero rating plans that many advocates argue violate net neutrality rules.

Public interest organizations view action on these issues as necessary to make internet, cable, and satellite services more affordable and open, and to preserve internet users’ privacy. “This Commission has made bold and historic moves to dismantle technological barriers to free and unfettered speech, making tools for generating content more accessible, and networks for sharing and reading more egalitarian,” the letter says, noting in particular the importance of the 2015 Open Internet Order that established net neutrality rules. “But there is still much left to do.” As the year comes to an end and Washington anticipates being thrown into the turmoil of the election and changing Administration, the letter urges swift resolution of these issues. “Each day that passes without marking progress on these important issues is another day of missed opportunities,” the letter says.

You can read the letter sent to the FCC here – 2016-10-public-interest-fcc-letter-final

By Brian Cladoosby

This Sunday’s presidential debate marks another milestone for this election cycle and a critical moment for Native American communities nationwide. While the presidential candidates will be discussing their plans for the country, Tribal leaders from across the nation will be gathering to finalize our priorities for the next president at the National Congress of American Indian’s annual conference.

For Native Americans, the needs for our communities are just as diverse as we are, and it is important that the next president understands and works with our leaders to further empower our communities to thrive in the 21st century. A crucial ingredient to our success is ensuring affordable, reliable high-speed internet access.

Millions of Americans recognize the importance of the internet as an equalizing tool of economic, social, and political power. Indeed, many advocates speak passionately about the important role of the internet in our everyday lives and the need to address the digital divide.

Often missing from these conversations is the reality that for Native American communities, this divide is much larger. The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband progress report found that 41 percent of Americans living on tribal lands lacked access to broadband, compared to 10 percent of all Americans. A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that unusually high costs for service and unreliable connections were among important limitations to increasing internet services for some tribes.

This divide is tragic, but unfortunately not surprising. Native American communities for generations have been disconnected and isolated from the rest of America – often living in remote areas. According to the most recent data on our communities, 28 percent of all American Indians and Native Alaskans live in poverty, a number much higher than any other racial group.

Although the internet serves as a means to connect people to jobs, educational, political and healthcare resources, the internet’s promise of opportunity for all does not reach our communities. In our increasingly digitally connected and reliant world, Native American communities are behind.

Take the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota for example. In a recent interview with MSNBC regarding protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault traveled over an hour to the city of Bismarck to conduct the interview via Skype because of spotty and delayed internet service on his reservation.

At a time when the largest Native American protest over water in Indian Country is taking place, this broadband black hole on Standing Rock has made traditional and social media coverage of these massive protests difficult. Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “Last Word,” highlighted this in a Facebook live video following his visit to Standing Rock. He noted that the lack of access to reliable internet and cellular services, along with the high cost to bring live TV equipment to the reservation and protest site, have resulted in limited news coverage.

Even children on Tribal reservations nationwide struggle to access the internet, often needing to frequent commercial areas with Wi-Fi hot spots miles from home to finish their homework. They suffer the double whammy of their families not being able to afford internet service or worse, not having service available at any price.

Lack of affordable access to broadband makes a difference in the social, political, and economic power and success of our communities. There has been some progress over the past eight years to ensure that tribal communities are a part of policy conversations to address the country’s internet access issues. We have seen a restructuring of existing federal programs to provide greater access to the internet for low-income families, public schools, and libraries. President Obama even launched his ConnectHome initiative– a public-private partnership pilot to provide broadband access to 275,000 low-income homes– among the Choctaw Nation.

But the next president still has much work to do to ensure that the over 500 tribal nations across the country have access to reliable, affordable high speed internet. This includes making more spectrum available with a focus on connecting and deploying affordable broadband to our communities. It also includes ensuring greater representation of Native Americans and our policy priorities within key government agencies.

As we sit on the eve of the second presidential debate, with just over 30 days until the election, our communities are watching to ensure the next president is prepared to address the needs of Native American people. Education, jobs, and health are all areas where technology could make a real difference in our communities. Expanding access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet is vital to achieving this promise.

Brian Cladoosby serves as the 21st President of the National Congress of American Indians.