Policy Brief – August 28, 2023

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Policy Brief Summary:

Not only is August ending this week, but so is the Congressional recess. Shortly, lawmakers will be heading back to the Hill ahead of a government shutdown if a funding agreement can’t be reached.

Before Congress reconvenes, there will be a Tribal Consultation/ Listening Session regarding sacred Tribal or Native Hawaiian sites on Thursday, August 31st.

The comment period for the Indian Arts and Crafts Act closes at midnight EST on September 1, with an IFAI policy analysis and draft comment letter in the briefing note below.

In the news, ICT recently featured IFAI’s Carly Griffith Hotvedt and Native American Agriculture Fund’s Tony Stanger-McLaughlin regarding the Farm Bill, and the work of a group of Native youth interns assisting with conservation efforts alongside the National Park Service receives attention. The Intertribal Timber Council released its most recent 10-Year Forestry assessment, which gets picked up in Wyoming Public Radio, while a recent meeting between Tribal and Minnesota state leaders with the Environmental Protection Agency discussed pollution reduction funds through the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Congressional Hearings   

Looking Back: 

Congress is in August recess. 

Looking Ahead: Congressional Hearings this week: Aug 13-Aug 18

Congress is in August recess 

Executive Branch Orders and Federal Agency Actions: 

President Joseph R. Biden Approves Alaska Disaster DeclarationDue to major flooding in the State of Alaska, the President has ordered Federal assistance to supplement state, Tribal, and local recovery efforts. 

Regulatory/Rulemaking Actions:   

Agency: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  

Action: National List of Reportable Animal Diseases (NLRAD): Revising Proposed Rule and Reopening of Comment Period. Comments are due by September 27, 2023 

Why it matters: The previous proposed rule published in April 2020 about NLRAD elicited concerns regarding the confidentiality of information (regarding suspected or diagnosed incidences of animal diseases or disease agents) reported to States. Further concern was that APHIS was unable to provide Federal assurances of such confidentiality for information reported to the States. This revision no longer requires reporting to State officials.  


Posted: Week of August 28th  


Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service  

Action: Proposed Rule on Food Distribution Programs: Improving Access and Parity; comments are due by October 13, 2023 

Why it matters:  For several years, Tribal leaders and Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) have been advocating for better access to and parity among federal food distribution programs. While not the final rule, this is the first opportunity for public comment on these proposed changes.  

The proposed rule impacts four specific programs: 

  • Community Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)  
  • USDA Foods in Disasters 
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) 
  • The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) 


Posted: Week of August 21st  

Tribal Consultation/Listening Sessions:   


Title of Event: Review of the Draft Best Practices Guide for Federal Agencies Regarding Tribal and Native Hawaiian Sacred Sites 

Date/Time: August 31, 2023- 2:00pm EST 

About: A BIA working group to develop a best practices guide for Federal agencies making decisions pertaining to these sacred sites is seeking guidance from Tribal leaders in creating this guide. 

Registration Link 


Title of Event: Tribal Land Acquisition funded through the Land and Water Consultation Fund (LWCF) 

Date/Time: Session 1 September 26, 2023- 1:00pm EST  

       Session 2 September 27, 2023- 1:00pm EST 

       Session 3 September 28, 2023- 4:00pm EST 

About: The BIA has requested $12 million for the LWCF Tribal Land acquisition program and will increase the amount of land for stewardship and other uses deemed beneficial by Tribes and Alaska Natives. The BIA is seeking input as they develop a BIA- specific process and criteria which meet statutory LWCF requirements while facilitating Tribal land acquisition efforts to the greatest extent practicable. 


Title of Event: Consultations and Comment Period for Indian Arts and Crafts Act impact on Tribal agriculture operations. 

Date/Time: No more scheduled consultations, but comment period for written submissions open until  11:59 pm EST on Friday, September 1, 2023 at consultation@bia.gov. 

About: The Bureau of Indian Affairs has proposed changes to the Indian Arts and Crafts Act that could inhibit Indian Country producers, gatherers, food business owners, and more.  

Read the IFAI policy paper on how these regulations may impact tribal producers as well as the draft comment template that tribes and producers can use to comment at this link. Find the IFAI draft comment letter here. 

Title of Event:   Consultation Departmental Regulation (DR) 1340-002: Consolidating USDA Agencies’ Services on Indian Reservations 

Date/Time: September 13, 2023 – 2:00pm ET – 3:30pm ET 

About: This is an opportunity for Tribal leaders and representatives to consult with USDA on its proposed revisions to Departmental Regulation (DR) 1340-002, which will expand USDA’s policy to provide tribes the opportunity to request USDA suboffices on their reservations to provide technical assistance from several agencies, including The Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  

Registration Link  

Supreme /Lower Court Decisions:   

No decisions relevant to Tribal food and agriculture were handed down at the time of publication 

Tribal-Congressional News: 

USDA updates Livestock Indemnity Program ratesWCMY 

  • The 2023 Livestock Indemnity Payment rate for beef will increase from $1,244 per head to $1,618 

A new generation preserves tribal land and culture in America’s national parksApple 

  • Native youth interns are assisting with conservation efforts alongside the National Park Services. It’s allowing youth to connect to the land as well as open opportunities for full-time employment in the future. 

Minnesota state and tribal leaders meet with the EPA to discuss air pollutionCBS News 

  • Tribal and Minnesota state leaders recently met with the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss efforts to address pollution through funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Report: Forests managed by tribes need $100 million increase in federal fundsWyoming Public Radio 

  • Forest Management Assessment Team, organized by the Intertribal Timber Council, recently released a report that indicated Tribes need significant increases to properly manage forests. 
  • Read the full report here. 

A tribal school’s fight to save its waterRed Lake Nation News 

  • Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School on the Leech Lake Reservation found water contamination levels to be much higher than the recommended safe limit. 
  • The contaminates, polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are known as “forever chemicals” and can cause weakened immune systems and contribute to other illnesses.  

Two words that changed the farm bill ICT 

  • Article features IFAI’s Carly Griffith Hotvedt and Native American Agriculture Fund’s Tony Stanger-McLaughlin, and discusses NFBC priorities for the next Farm Bill and the Farm Bill process. 

Chef Anthony Warrior: Reconnecting with traditionICT 

    • Chef Anthony Warrior attended the Cultural Connections camp at the Neihardt Center on the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site where they taught participants about traditional food and preparation techniques.