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Interior hosts second Tribal Nations Summit

President Biden delivers his remarks at the 2022 summit. (Native News Online)

The Biden administration held its second White House Tribal Nations Summit at the Department of Interior (DOI) in Washington, D.C., Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 – the first to be held in-person. Last year’s event was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The summit served as a setting for tribal leaders across Indian Country to engage with senior administration officials. Biden and members of his cabinet used the event to tout a list of accomplishments, as well as announce new initiatives it expects to undertake.

President Biden said he has prioritized relationships with tribal nations that are “built on respect for tribal sovereignty and self-governance, honoring federal trust and treaty responsibilities, protecting tribal homelands, and conducting regular, meaningful, and robust consultation.”

Indian Country has been included in the administration’s economic packages at historic funding levels. It includes $32 billion in the American Rescue Plan, $13 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and $700 million in the Inflation Reduction Act.

“I made a commitment that my administration would prioritize and respect nation-to-nation relationships, and I’m going to make sure that happens,” Biden said in his remarks at the summit. “I hope our work in the past two years has demonstrated that we’re meeting that commitment. On my watch, we’re ushering in a new era for the federal government to work with tribal nations.”

Biden said that beginning with his nomination of Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) to lead the DOI, he now has more than 60 Native American appointees in his administration and in federal court positions.

The two-day summit covered a wide range of topics, including initiatives in broadband, public safety, education and Native languages, health, housing, international and border issues, public-private partnerships, climate change, and economic development, energy and infrastructure.

Summit announcements included a presidential memorandum on uniform standards for tribal consultation, new best practices for tribal treaty and reserved rights, implementation of tribal co-management and co-stewardship of federal lands and waters, new Indigenous knowledge guidance for federal agencies, access to capital, a 10-year national plan on Native language revitalization, new regulations and processes for fee-to-trust land acquisitions and gaming compacts, a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve law enforcement coordination, and a national, comprehensive study of Native American education.

For more information and to watch the summit via YouTube, go to and search for “2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit.”

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at