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Leaders of the National Congress of American Indians Youth Commission opened up the State of Indian Nations with a youth commission speech Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
NCAI Youth Commission Co-President Caleb Dash called on tribes to work together to tackle the many issues they face including violence against women, Indian child welfare, and water rights.
“Our young people, our elders, our mother and our fathers are all facing the same issues and I believe the only way to solve these issues is through unity.”
The youth speech was made before NCAI President Fawn Sharp took the stage to deliver the State of Indian Nations address.
Sharp called on tribal leaders to show up saying 80 years ago when NCAI was founded there was no seat at the table for tribes, but they forged ahead.
“Today after nearly 80 years, on the front lines of policy making standing side by side with our partners we don’t just have a seat at the table we have influence, we have representation all across the federal government, all across the United States and around the world.”
Sharp touch on some of the accomplishes in the last year from securing advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service to the reauthorization and expansion of tribal provision in the Violence Against Women Act.
She also laid out a number of priorities for this year including advocating for food policy, tax issues, and land and water rights.
Tribal leaders from across the country attended the event, which was held in person for the first time since 2020 due to COVID-19.
Listen to NCAI President Fawn Sharp’s full State of Indian Nations Address as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Congressional Response:
The Tulalip Tribes and the public benefit corporation Pallet recently held a ribbon cutting and blessing ceremony for a new village of temporary shelters on the tribes’ reservation in the state of Washington.
Jill Fratis has more.
The temporary village includes 25 insulated shelters, each have a bed, heating unit, and lockable door.
The village will provide services to residents including access to the tribes’ recovery program, new medical-assisted treatment center and mental health support.
There’s also a recovery support center that includes showers, laundry, and more.
The project is a collaboration between the Tulalip Tribes and Pallet.
Rochelle Lubbers is the chief administrative officer for the Tulalip Tribes.
She says the project start to finish was a fast one.
“The project was approved by our directors in October of 2022, and 126 days later, we did a ribbon cutting, so it’s been a fast and furious project to provide this housing option for our tribal members as a low barrier housing option which we didn’t have any of.”
Lubbers says the tribes teamed up with Pallet to help work to end unsheltered homelessness among tribal citizens.
“We found that approximately half of the people in the tent communities were tribal members and the other half being either Natives from other tribes or non-Natives, and so we have a strategy to provide supportive care at this time to our tribal members and do referral systems for people who are on the reservation or not to tribal members and our outreach teams work with this population but pallet is specifically identified as a solution for tribal members at this time.”
Amy King is the CEO of Pallet and started the public benefit corporation with her husband seen years ago.
She says they were excited to partner with the Tulalip Tribes.
“I have a number of native friends and colleagues I’ve walked along side for many years, so this is a nice coming home, and an exciting opportunity to be partners.”
This is Pallett’s 100th build and one of only a few of Pallet’s projects on tribal land.
The Tribes and Pallett say homelessness is more common among Native people due to intergenerational factors like overcrowding and lack of housing.
And they say while Native Americans account for approximately 1.5% of North America’s population, they make up more than 10% of the homeless population nationally.
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