By: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan E. Rice

When President Joe Biden took office at the height of the pandemic, tribal nations were in crisis. Indigenous people were contracting the virus at over three times the rate of white Americans. Schools and tribal economic operations had shuttered, bringing local economies to a halt. Longstanding disparities and shortages in Indian Country were intensifying.

From day one, the Biden administration has mobilized the entire federal government to address the urgent issues facing Indigenous people and to usher in a new era of nation-to-nation engagement on tribal issues.

Today, as we kick off the first White House Tribal Nations Summit of this administration – the first since 2016 – we will celebrate historic action to support tribal communities. We’re proud that this administration has already invested roughly $44 billion to help tribes recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and advance equity and opportunity – and help tribal communities overcome new and long-standing infrastructure challenges – with more to come.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden promised to “ensure tribes have a seat at the table at the highest levels of the federal government and a voice throughout the government.” In the first 10 months of the administration, the president has delivered on that promise.

Read the full oped here.

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