Luján Participates in First Indian Affairs Hearing Focused on Tribal Priorities
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, participated in a crucial hearing on Tribal priorities during the 117th Congress. Senator Luján spoke on the importance of infrastructure funding, water assistance, and broadband investments to Tribal governments and communities.
The witnesses included of Fawn Sharp, President, National Congress of American Indians; Leonard Forsman, President, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians; Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, Chair, Board of Trustees, Office of Hawaiian Affairs; and Julie Kitka, President, Alaska Federation of Natives.
“President Forsman, one of the questions that I have for you, sir, is the importance of access to broadband and making sure that we’re connecting communities. Can you just speak to the importance of the program now at NTIA, which is the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and the importance of making sure that we have an FCC that is functioning, and also that we have a strong NTIA program that will deploy broadband to Tribal communities,” Luján asked.
Forsman answered, “This is crucial of course not only for our governments to operate, but for us to be able to participate on virtual platform, but also as we all know for schools, for telehealth, and for communication for homebound elders … and one thing we find is that there’s a lot of variety throughout Indian Country, as you know. There are places that are severely underserved and other places where there might be partially good service and poor service in other areas.”