U.S. SENATE—Tribal leaders from across the nation addressed the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee on April 30. U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Chair of the DSOC and U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, hosted the meeting which focused on job creation and expanding tribal economies.
Unemployment among the nation’s 566 federally recognized Indian tribes remains as high as 80 percent on some reservations. More than one third of all Native American youth live in poverty.
At the meeting, Senator Tester stressed the importance of a continued focus on education, housing and energy development to help increase job and economic prospects of Native American communities.
“Job creation and education in Indian country are critical to the success of Indian communities,” Tester said. “In order for tribes to create new economic opportunities and provide jobs, Indian Country needs adequate infrastructure such as housing, sanitation, telecommunications and roads to attract businesses and workers. An educated workforce also plays a key role in ensuring a more promising future for the tribes.”
Tester is scheduled later in the day to chair a hearing in his committee on responsible energy development in Indian country.
Participants in today’s meeting included:
—Mr. Kevin Allis, Executive Director, Native American Contractors Association
—The Honorable Dave Archambault II, Chairman, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
—The Honorable Mark Azure, Tribal Council President, Fort Belknap Indian Community
—The Honorable Melanie Benjamin, Chairwoman, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
—Ms. Cheryl Causley, Chairwoman, National American Indian Housing Council
—Ms. Marissa J. Chaudhuri, Director, Pribilof Islands Aleut Communities of St. Paul and St. George Islands
—Mr. Gary Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development
—Mr. Christopher Dawson, President, Dawson Technical
—Mr. Dante Desiderio, Executive Director, Native American Finance Officers Association
—Senator Byron Dorgan, Chairman, Board of Advisors, Center for Native American Youth
—Mr. Larry Hall, General Manager, S&K Electronics
—The Honorable Cynthia Iyall, Chairwoman, Nisqually Indian Tribe
—Mr. Maurice “Moe” John, Chief of Staff, Seneca Nation of Indians
—The Honorable Alfred “Bud” Lane III, Vice-Chairman, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
—The Honorable Carole Lankford, Vice Chair, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana
—The Honorable Mike Olguin, Acting Chairman, Southern Ute Indian Tribe
—The Honorable George Rivera, Governor, Pueblo of Pojoaque
—The Honorable Eddie Paul Torres Sr., Governor, Pueblo of Isleta
—The Honorable Benny Tso, Chairman, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe
—The Honorable Ted Whitford, Vice Chairman, Chippewa-Cree Tribal Council
About the Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee
The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and community leaders from across the nation. Each year, the Steering Committee hosts several meetings with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Democratic agenda in the Senate. The DSOCI serves as a liaison between Senate Democratic offices and advocacy groups and intergovernmental organizations. The Steering Committee is one of two Democratic Leadership Committees in the Senate. The Steering Committee is chaired by Senator Mark Begich (AK) and vice chaired by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH).