DHHS Eagle graphic
ASL Header
Mission Nav Button Division Nav Button Grants Nav Button Testimony Nav Button Other Links Nav Button ASL Home Nav Button
US Capitol Building
HHS Home
Contact Us
dot graphic Testimony bar

This is an archive page. The links are no longer being updated.

Testimony on the President's FY 97 Budget Request for the Administration for Native Americans by Gary Niles Kimble (ACF)
Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
April 19, 1996

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am pleased to present the President's budget request of $38,382,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 1997 for the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). This funding level reflects the Administration's strong commitment to address the crucial issues that confront Indian Tribes and Native American organizations. We are continuing our efforts to strengthen the programs within ANA to support this commitment.

ANA programs are the only Federal programs serving all Native Americans regardless of where they live or their tribal or group affiliation. These programs provide financial assistance for social and economic development and governance; training and technical assistance; research and demonstration and evaluation projects. ANA serves over 520 federally-recognized Tribes (including over 200 Alaska village governments), about 60 Tribes that are State-recognized or seeking Federal recognition, Indian and Alaska Native organizations, Native Hawaiian communities, and Native populations throughout the Pacific Basin.

ANA's funding policy is to assist Indian tribes and Native American organizations to plan and implement their own long-term strategies for social and economic development. This funding policy is based on the premise that the local Native American community has the primary responsibility for determining its own needs, planning and implementing its own programs, and building an economic base from its own natural, physical and human resources. This approach moves the focus from increasing dependency on Federal social services programs to increasing the productivity and independence of both individuals and local communities.

The FY 1997 budget request will allow ANA to continue our efforts to enhance economic security and independence of Native Americans at the community level through implementation of the three major ANA program goals:

  • Self-governance - by strengthening Tribal governments, Native American institutions and local leadership to assure local control over all resources;

  • Economic development - by fostering the development of stable, diversified local economies to provide jobs and reduce dependency on welfare services; and,

  • Social development - by supporting local access to, and coordination of, services and programs which safeguard the health and well-being of Native Americans.

Specifically, ANA's self-governance projects involve the development of new and existing tribal constitutions and by-laws, as well as the establishment of tribal zoning, tax, environmental and other codes. These governance projects assist in creating a stable climate and the necessary legal infrastructure for villages and reservations thus encouraging economic development and outside investment. For example, the Santa Ana Pueblo project in New Mexico is underway to enhance the biological quality of the Santa Ana and Rio Grande Forest ecosystems through development of an integrated resource management and geographic information system for those areas under the jurisdiction of the tribe.

Status clarification is another important step towards self-governance and economic and social development. ANA funds projects which assist Tribes, Indian groups and villages to petition for Federal recognition. Subsequently, successful groups obtain assistance and resources from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and health and environmental services from the Indian Health Service and other Federal agencies. A project with the Caddo Adais Indians, a non-federally recognized Indian tribe located in Robeline, Louisiana, will assist the tribe in researching and implementing a computerized genealogical system to help them during the Federal acknowledgment process.

In addition, grants made under the Native American Languages program help to ensure the preservation and enhancement of native languages. The native language program brings older and younger Native Americans together to facilitate the transfer of native language skills to future generations. This program also helps to train Native Americans to teach, interpret, and translate native languages, and to compile, transcribe and analyze oral testimony to record and preserve these native languages. Under this grant authority, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of Washington will attempt to develop a language interface for computers to be used in language immersion programs for adults and students on the reservation.

Finally, grants made under the Indian Environmental and Regulatory Enhancement program enable tribes to plan, develop and implement programs designed to improve tribal capabilities to regulate environmental quality on Indian lands, in accordance with Federal and tribal laws. This environmental program also provides financial assistance to Tribal and Alaska village governments to develop local environmental programs that respond to tribal environmental needs and goals. In Arizona, the White Mountain Apache Tribe will develop and revise existing ordinances and guidelines in critical, program areas, including wetlands conservation, sensitive plant and animal species protection, water quality protection and protection of sites which are of high cultural and aesthetic value to the tribe. The project also will include development of a tribal review process to ensure that all future projects undertaken on the reservation will receive a thorough review by the tribe.

Before closing, I would like to discuss briefly the impact of the numerous short-term Continuing Resolutions (CRs) and the two Federal Government closures, as requested by the Committee in your invitation letter. There have been many hours of lost work as a result of the two shutdowns and the multiple short-term CRs have created on-going confusion, uncertainty and anxiety for ANA and the Indian tribes and Native American organizations we serve. Fortunately, because of the funding cycles used by ANA, none of the funding for our programs has been directly affected yet.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate the Administration's commitment to continue to build on our successes in working with Native American communities to achieve self-sufficiency by encouraging local strategies in economic and social development. I look forward to working closely with this Committee so we can continue the progress on this important work.

I would be happy to answer any questions at this time.

Privacy Notice (www.hhs.gov/Privacy.html) | FOIA (www.hhs.gov/foia/) | What's New (www.hhs.gov/about/index.html#topiclist) | FAQs (answers.hhs.gov) | Reading Room (www.hhs.gov/read/) | Site Info (www.hhs.gov/SiteMap.html)