Blog Posts Related to the Native American Community

  • American Indians and Alaska Natives: How to Use Your New Health Insurance

    Since many American Indians and Alaska Natives have used the Indian Health Service all their lives for health care, using health insurance can be an unfamiliar challenge. You can still use it when you visit IHS, and you can use it to access health services with other providers and facilities.   

    If you now have access to health insurance, through the Affordable Care Act, your job or your Tribe, using your coverage for the first time can be confusing.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services has developed a great brochure entitled From Coverage to Care and has even developed a Tribal version of this document that:

    • Contains information and tips on how to understand and use your health insurance
    • Serves as a very helpful roadmap with suggestions on how to choose providers and how to prepare for your health care appointment
    • And is also tailored to provide you information on special benefits and resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives 

    For more information, go to www.healthcare.gov or https://marketplace.cms.gov/outreach-and-education/special-populations.html

    Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., is Senior Advisor to the Secretary for American Indians and Alaska Natives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Creative Entrepreneurial Energy, Smart Economic Development, and Cutting Edge Innovation at the Reservation Economic Summit

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Small Business Administration's blog. See the original post here.

    In my position at the U.S. Small Business Administration, I have the honor of serving the American people and enjoy meeting thousands of individuals around the United States on an annual basis. I am fortunate to work for a President and an SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, who both have as a pillar of their domestic agenda making our collective and individual prosperity more broadly shared. Principally this means promoting accessibility in every sense of the word in every field of endeavor, geography, affinity, and focus. Our economic engine is fueled by entrepreneurial drive, individual ambition, creativity and broad economic participation.

    With that backdrop provided, I wish to share my experience this week at the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas. Along with my colleagues Chris James and John Shoraka, we discussed economic and small business issues with tribal leaders and Native American-owned small businesses. We emphasized our commitment to providing tools and resources to our American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian communities through business development, entrepreneurial development, lending, and procurement programs. We also launched the American Supplier Initiative which facilitated over 400 meetings between small business owners and federal/private company buyers during our first event held March 9, 2015, which was held at the conference.

  • The White House Launches the “Generation Indigenous Tribal Leader Challenge”

    The White House is announcing the next step in the Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative with a Gen-I Tribal Leader Challenge. This challenge comes on the tail of the February 12 launch of the Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge and is part of a series of challenges that encourage youth, individuals, tribal leaders, organizations, and other groups to support opportunity for Native youth.  

    The White House is inviting tribal leaders to take concrete steps to engage with Native youth in their communities and help them complete the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge. To accept this challenge, visit www.cnay.org/Challenge.html, to sign up for the challenge and become a part of the National Tribal Network, a collaboration between the White House, The Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), and the Department of the Interior. Then, take one or all of the following steps within the next 30 days:

    1. Work with youth in your community to create a youth council.
    2. Host a joint meeting between youth and tribal leaders in your community.
    3. Partner with youth to plan a program to support positive change in their community.

    Remember, by accepting the Gen-I Challenge, signing up for CNAY’s National Native Youth Network, and helping youth in your community complete the Native Youth Challenge, the youth in your community may be invited to attend the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2015!

    The following tribes have already accepted the Gen-I challenge and we hope you will too!

    • Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska
    • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
    • Gila River Indian Community
    • Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin
    • Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
    • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
    • Three Affiliated Tribes

    Jodi Gillette is Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs in the White House Domestic Policy Council. Raina Thiele is Associate Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

  • Making Native Communities Safer

    When President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on March 7, 2013 (VAWA 2013), he stated that “tribal governments have an inherent right to protect their people, and all women deserve the right to live free from fear.” 

    Two years later, we have reached a significant milestone.  As of March 7, 2015, all tribes that meet certain criteria are now eligible, under VAWA 2013, to investigate and prosecute certain non-Indian defendants who commit acts of domestic violence or dating violence, or violate certain protection orders in Indian Country.  This is an important step to address the overall public-safety challenges in Indian Country.

  • Investing in the Future of Tribal Nations

    As part of his commitment to strengthening nation-to-nation relationships with Indian tribes, President Obama hosted his sixth White House Tribal Nations Conference in December 2014. The Conference built on the President’s trip to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation last summer, where he dedicated efforts to improve opportunities for Native youth and affirmed his promise to work together with tribes on education and economic development in Indian Country.

    In addition to hosting the Conference, the White House released its 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference Progress Report, Investing in the Future of Tribal Nations. The report highlights the Administration’s progress and accomplishments in Indian Country over the past year.

  • Young Native Americans Share School Culture Experiences with Secretary Duncan

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Education's blog. See the original post here.

    Secretary Duncan talks with students about the importance of school culture

    During the session, students discussed the importance of school culture. (U.S. Department of Education)

    While many students face challenges when it comes to growing up and pursuing academic success, Native American and Alaskan Native youths are more likely than most of their peers to experience poverty and trauma, and to drop out of high school. Their school environment has a significant role in their development.

    This is just one of the reasons why ED recently invited 15 young Native Americans to attend a Student Voices Session with Secretary Duncan.

    This session was also a capstone to ED’s first-ever School Environment Listening Tour, a nine-city tour in seven states designed to identify the impact of school environment on young Native Americans.

  • Affordable Care Act: Enrollment Opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' blog. See the original post here.

    The deadline to enroll in 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces is February 15. I urge all American Indians and Alaska Natives to go to HealthCare.gov, call 1-800-318-2596, or visit localhelp.healthcare.gov to see what benefits are available to you and to ensure that you have health coverage for 2015.

    As an American Indian and Alaska Native, you may be eligible for services through the Indian Health Service (IHS), but the local facility may not be able to provide certain health care services, or you may live too far away to access those services. If you do not have other health insurance coverage, such as Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP, I encourage you to make sure you don’t miss the open enrollment deadline.

    American Indians and Alaska Natives who are Tribal members can still enroll after February 15, but if not, your only chance to enroll to purchase health insurance coverage for 2015 is during the open enrollment period, which ends in two days!

    If you are a member of a Tribe or are eligible for IHS, you can apply for an exemption from maintaining health coverage, but I hope you at least check to see what your benefits are under the Affordable Care Act before the enrollment deadline. You might find out that you can purchase a really great insurance plan for a very small monthly cost based on your income, and you might qualify for no out-of-pocket costs if you are a member of a federally-recognized Tribe.

    Please don’t miss the deadline on February 15 and #GetCovered!

    Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., is the Senior Advisor to the Secretary for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

  • The White House Launches the “Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge”

    Today, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz announced the launch of the Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge at the 2015 United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) Midyear Conference. This challenge invites Native youth and organizations across the country to become a part of the Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative by joining the National Native Youth Network — a White House effort in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

    President Obama launched the Gen-I Initiative at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference to focus on improving the lives of Native youth by removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. Through new investments and increased engagement, this initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential.  

    In addition to the National Native Youth Network, the Gen-I Initiative includes a demonstration program called the Native Youth Community Projects, administered by the Department of Education,  a restructuring of the Bureau of Indian Education, a Cabinet Native Youth Listening Tour, and the organization of the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering.  

    Also announced today was the signing of an agreement between UNITY, the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the White House, to collaborate on the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering that will take place this summer. 

    We encourage everyone to take the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge and become a part of the National Native Youth Network today!

    Gen-I Native Youth Challenge

    As part of the process of establishing the National Native Youth Network, we invite Native youth and all young people across the country to take part in the Gen-I Challenge. This call to action is the first step in engaging a broad network of people interested in addressing the issues facing Native youth and creating a platform through which Native youth can access information  about opportunities and resources, and have their voices and positive contributions highlighted and elevated.

    Here’s how it works: Youth 14-24, non-profits, and educational institutions are invited to join the National Native Youth Network by accepting the Gen-I Challenge.

    Who: Individuals, youth councils, and youth groups can participate as Challenge Acceptors. Non-profit organizations, Colleges, Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) can become acceptors by helping their youth and students complete the Gen-I Challenge! 

    Youth and others can accept the challenge by following this link and committing to take the following steps.

    Step 1: ACT. Within 30 days of taking the challenge, youth should work with other youth in their community or at their school to do something positive of their choosing (for example: completing a volunteer project with a local organization or charity, hosting a meeting with other youth to brainstorm how to address an issue of concern in their community, or becoming a mentor to a younger person).  The youth can use toolkits from the National Native Youth Network and their partners to help them achieve their goal. Their local tribal youth council, urban tribal youth group, or Native youth organization can also be a resource.

    Step 2: CAPTURE. Youth should document their community efforts and projects through a short summary (3-4 sentences) with photos and video!

    Step 3: SHARE. Youth should share their stories online using #GenI and send the National Native Youth Network their story through www.cnay.org/Challenge.html. The National Native Youth Network or the White House may even feature their story.

    Step 4: PARTICIPATE. By participating in the National Native Youth Network, youth may be invited to apply to send a representative to the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2015.

    Organizations, colleges, universities, and TCUs can take the Gen-I Challenge too by committing to help their youth and students complete the Gen-I Challenge!  They just follow this link to get signed up.

    The following organizations have already committed to take the Gen-I Challenge and get their youth onboard.

    Gen-I Native Youth Challenge Early Acceptors

    • American Indian College Fund
    • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
    • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
    • Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
    • Close Up Foundation
    • National Congress of American Indians
    • National Indian Child Welfare Association
    • National Indian Education Association
    • National Indian Health Board
    • United National Indian Tribal Youth