Executive Order Signed at White House Tribal Nations Summit

At the annual White House Tribal Nations Summit in December, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed to remove red-tape from federal funding sources for Tribal governments.

Tribes that need funds to support their membership or self-determination goals often seek out federal grant opportunities. However, many Tribes who need support and assistance don’t apply for grants because of strict stipulations required to receive them. Grant requirements can be rigid with mandated reporting and burdensome additional obligations that are too unrealistic for staff to carry out.

With the Executive Order, the federal government will order their agencies to ensure that federal funding opportunities are “accessible, flexible and equitable.”

“It directs federal agencies…to redesign or administer programs in a manner that reflects trust in Tribal priorities and deference to Tribal decision-making, recognizing that Tribal governments bring invaluable expertise in how to effectively meet the needs of their citizens and steward their ancestral homelands,” a White House statement read.

In addition, a new website named the Capital Clearinghouse was launched to house multiple sources of funding in one place. Federal agencies will also be  required to report back annually on progress made toward closing gaps in assistance for Tribes.

Leaders from all 574 federally recognized Tribal governments were invited to attend the White House Tribal Nations Summit. CEO of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Michael Rondeau, attended the summit on behalf of the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe.

Along with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior Brian Newland spoke to leaders at the summit. Secretary Deb Haaland of the Department of Interior was forced to attend virtually at the last minute after a COVID-19 exposure.