FY 2016 Species Recovery Grants to Tribes – The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recognizes the unique importance of many protected species to tribes and values ongoing efforts by tribal nations to conserve and protect species under NMFS’ jurisdiction. NMFS is authorized to provide Federal assistance to tribes to support conservation programs for marine and anadromous species under its jurisdiction. This assistance, provided in the form of grants, can be used to support conservation of endangered, threatened, and candidate or proposed species, as well as post-delisting monitoring of recovered species. Proposals that address the recovery of one of the following critically endangered species are encouraged this year and will be considered a priority for funding: Atlantic salmon, white abalone, Cook Inlet beluga whales, Hawaiian monk seals, Pacific leatherback sea turtles, and southern resident killer whales. Funded activities may include development and implementation of management plans, scientific research, and public education and outreach; proposals should address priority actions identified in an Endangered Species Act (ESA) Recovery Plan or address a NMFS-identified regional priority or need. Only federally recognized tribes and organizations of federally recognized tribes, such as the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, that have delegated authority to represent a federally recognized tribe on matters relating to ESA listed, candidate, or proposed species, are eligible to apply. Proposals focusing on listed, candidate, or proposed species of Pacific salmon or steelhead will not be considered for funding under this grant program; such projects may be supported through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. This document describes how to prepare and submit proposals for funding in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and how NMFS will determine which proposals will be funded; this document should be read in its entirety. Current Closing Date for Applications: September 29, 2015.
Initiative Reforms a Process Long Criticized as “Broken,” Increases Transparency in Important Review of Tribal Recognition Status
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today released a final rule to reform the regulatory process by which the Department of the Interior officially recognizes Indian tribes. The updated rule promotes a more transparent, timely and consistent process that is flexible enough to account for the unique histories of tribal communities, while maintaining the rigor and integrity of the criteria that have been in place for nearly 40 years.
“Since the beginning of President Obama’s Administration, the Department has worked with tribal and government leaders on improving the federal acknowledgment process, which has been criticized as inconsistent, slow and expensive,” Secretary Jewell said. “This Administration takes very seriously its important trust and treaty responsibilities to Native Americans and Alaska Natives. This updated process for important tribal recognition makes good on a promise to clarify, expedite and honor a meaningful process for federal acknowledgement to our First Americans.”
“This updated rule is the product of extraordinary input from tribal leaders, states, local governments and the public,” said Assistant Secretary Washburn. “We have a responsibility to recognize those tribes that have maintained their identity and self-governance despite previous federal policies expressly aimed at destroying tribes. This new process remains rigorous, but it promotes timely decision-making through expedited processes and increases transparency by posting all publically available petition materials online so that stakeholders are well-informed at each stage of the process. Many of these improvements came from public comments by stakeholders and we are grateful for their guidance.”
To maintain the substantive rigor and integrity of the current regulatory process (described in Part 83, Title 25 – Code of Federal Regulations), the final rule carries forward the current standard of proof and seven mandatory criteria that petitioners must meet to substantiate their claim to tribal identification, community and political authority. To promote fairness and consistent implementation, the new process provides that prior decisions, which found evidence or methodology sufficient to satisfy a particular criterion for a previous petitioner, are sufficient to satisfy that criterion for a present petitioner. The final rule further promotes consistent application by establishing a uniform evaluation period of more than a century, from 1900 to the present, to satisfy the seven mandatory criteria.
Key features of the final rule promote transparency by:
- Increasing public access to petition documents for Federal Acknowledgment;
- Expanding distribution of notices of petitions to include local governments; and
- Increasing due process by providing for an administrative judge to conduct a comprehensive hearing and issue a recommended decision for proposed negative findings.
In a separate action, Assistant Secretary Washburn issued a policy statement explaining that the Department intends to rely on the newly reformed Part 83 process as the sole administrative avenue for acknowledgment as a tribe as long as the new rule is in effect and being implemented.
To build public trust in the Federal Acknowledgement process, the Department has been working to reform the Part 83 process since the beginning of the Obama Administration. At that time in 2009, Interior initiated its own review. In 2012, the Department identified guiding principles of the reform effort. In recognition of the high level of interest, the Department used a transparent rulemaking approach and significant outreach effort. Before beginning the formal rulemaking initiative, Interior issued a discussion draft in 2013 to facilitate public input on how to improve the process.
Through the discussion draft and ensuing tribal consultations and public meetings, the Department obtained substantial feedback. In total, more than 2,800 commenters provided input on the discussion draft. The Department issued a proposed rule in May of 2014 and extended the public comment period on that proposal in response to requests from tribes, state and local governments, members of Congress and the public. In total, more than 330 unique comments were submitted on the proposed rule. The final rule reflects substantial changes to the discussion draft and the proposed rule in response to public comments.
Federal acknowledgment establishes the U.S. Government as the trustee for Tribal lands and resources and makes Tribal members and governments eligible for federal budget assistance and program services. Since 1978, of the 566 federally recognized tribes, 17 have been recognized through the Part 83 process under Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Procedures for Establishing that an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe. The Department has denied acknowledgment to 34 other petitioning groups.
Though far more tribes have been recognized through Executive or Congressional action, the Part 83 process is an important mechanism because it allows deliberative consideration of petitions by a staff of federal experts in anthropology, genealogy and history and ultimately allows for a decision by the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs. When petitioning groups that meet the criteria are officially “acknowledged” as Indian tribes, the U.S. Government accepts trusteeship of Tribal lands and natural resources. Tribal governments and members then become eligible to receive federal health, education, housing and other program and technical assistance.
The final rule and other information is online here.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program – The purpose of the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) is to promote the development of local strategies to coordinate the use of assistance under the HCV and PH programs with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income and financial literacy, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, and make progress toward economic independence and self-sufficiency. PHAs or tribes/Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs) that administer FSS programs enter into five-year contracts with new families on an ongoing basis. The FSS contract spells out the terms and conditions governing participation and the responsibilities of both the PHA (or tribe/TDHE) and the family. As required by the FSS statute and regulations, each FSS program reflects local needs and resources. PHAs are not permitted to limit FSS participation to those families most likely to succeed because of current education level or job history. Eligible applicants are PHAs (including Moving to Work (MTW) PHAs) and Indian tribes/TDHEs currently administering an FSS program, that have served at least the minimum number of families required by this NOFA (as described in Section III.C.4.f below; “Eligibility Requirement: Number of FSS families served”), have met the threshold requirements of this NOFA as outlined in Section III.C.2 of this NOFA “Threshold Requirements” and have met the timely receipt requirements as outlined in Section IV.D of this NOFA “Application Submission Dates and Times.” Current Closing Date for Applications: July 27, 2015.
FY 2015 Hazardous Waste Management Grant Program for Tribes – This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from federally-recognized tribes or intertribal consortia for the development and implementation of hazardous waste programs and for building capacity to address hazardous waste management in Indian country. In accordance with the EPA Indian Policy of 1984, EPA recognizes tribal governments as the primary parties for managing programs for reservations. In an effort to maximize the benefits to tribes from the limited funding to support the Hazardous Waste Management Grant Program for Tribes, the EPA has reassessed the criteria used to evaluate proposals submitted for funding through this grant program beginning in FY 2015. The goal of this effort is to provide technical assistance to a greater number of tribes for activities that involve hazardous waste management on tribal lands. Current Closing Date for Applications: July 31, 2015.
FY 2015 Tribal Waste Management Capacity Building Training Grant – This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities that will provide training, peer-to-peer technical assistance and travel scholarships to federally-recognized tribes in support of waste management capacity building on tribal lands. The recipient will conduct trainings that will assist tribes in the development and implementation of sustainable waste management programs. The trainings will focus on: (1) developing Integrated Waste Management Plans (IWMPs); and (2) developing Tribal Codes and Ordinances. In addition, the recipient will offer travel scholarships to support the trainings as well as provide travel scholarships to financially assist tribes that voluntarily participate in the EPA’s National Peer Matching Program. Current Closing Date for Applications: July 31, 2015.
Demonstration Grants for Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking – The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) will award approximately 4 cooperative agreements to implement projects that will build and sustain in partnership with allied professionals in community-based organizations such as runaway and homeless youth, domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking victim service programs. FYSB is particularly interested in applicants with experience in serving victims of human trafficking in communities with evidence of high rates of human trafficking. This project will support a comprehensive victim-centered services model, which includes case management and direct victim services for United States citizens and lawful permanent resident victims of severe forms of trafficking regardless of age. To do so, projects will implement the following activities: 1) Develop and strengthen victim service programs; 2) Facilitate communication and coordination between the providers of assistance to victims of human trafficking; 3) Provide a means to identify such providers; and 4) Provide a means to make referrals to programs for which victims are already eligible, including programs administered by the Department of Justice and elsewhere within the Department of Health and Human Services. Current Closing Date for Applications: August 19, 2015.