(UnitedVoice.com) – President Joe Biden has taken an interest in the affairs of Tribal Nations and their so-called “nation-to-nation” interactions with the federal government over the last couple of years. He’s signed one executive order and two presidential memorandums laying the foundation for better relations between Tribal leaders and executive branch offices starting in December 2021.
The White House recently hosted a Tribal Nations Summit. Biden took advantage of that opportunity to announce his latest presidential action impacting Native Americans and building upon his previous orders and memorandums. Here’s what we know about the measure.
New Executive Order Aimed at Helping Tribal Communities
On December 6, the White House published Biden’s latest action aimed at helping indigenous Americans. He issued a new executive order designed to reform federal support and funding for Tribal Nations “to better embrace” the federal government’s “trust responsibilities” and promote Native Americans’ “next era of self-determination.”
The order contains massive volumes of what can only be described as overly complicated legalese. The president’s actions and intentions seem clear enough. His order targets the complex bureaucracy surrounding the process of Tribal leaders gaining access to federal funding.
Biden structured the order to simplify the process of applying for and receiving federal funds available to Tribal Nations. It also streamlines other procedures involving relations between Native American leaders and executive branch agencies.
Curiously, and perhaps overly optimistically, the order sets out standards beyond the final day of Biden’s term in office. For example, one section of Biden’s order directs the heads of the member agencies of the White House Council on Native American Affairs to take action on the executive order within 540 days. Other portions of the presidential action must happen annually in perpetuity.
Biden’s Confusing Announcement
Biden met with Tribal leaders later in the day and purportedly announced his signing of the executive order. However, much of his talk/speech was confusing at best, the rantings of someone deeply disturbed at worst.
At one point, Biden gratuitously referenced the late Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI). The former lawmaker was the first Japanese-American to serve in the US House and the second Asian American in the Senate. More on point, he was instrumental in the creation of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian at the National Mall in 2004.
A significant portion of the remainder of Biden’s talk sounded more like a campaign ad than a discussion of tribal affairs or the new executive order. At one point, he described the American Rescue Plan as the “largest direct federal investment in Tribal Nations ever.” To be fair, that bill did accomplish that feat, but describing the $1.9 trillion post-pandemic economic stimulus package only in terms of Native American concerns is a bit of a stretch, with all due respect to his audience.
Copyright 2023, UnitedVoice.com