Sen. Smith is proud to represent and advocate for the seven Ojibwe tribes, the four Dakota tribes, and the vibrant urban indigenous community in Minnesota.
When Senator Smith first joined the Senate, she asked to serve on the Indian Affairs Committee because she’s heard time and time again from leaders in Indian Country who are frustrated that policy decisions are being made without bringing tribes to the table. There are tremendous needs in Indian Country, and Sen. Smith understands that leaders in Indian Country often have answers for how the federal government can step up and fulfill its trust responsibility to tribal communities.
Sen. Smith wants to make sure programs in Indian Country or that directly impact tribes from energy and economy development to health and education are adequately supported. She believes we need to address the effects of the opioid crisis on tribal communities, especially on mothers and children. We need to address the lack of housing in Indian Country, which makes it harder to attract teachers, law enforcement officers, and health care workers that reservations need.
Sen. Smith believes we also need to give tribes the tools to develop their workforce and attract business and investment, while also investing in basic infrastructure like roads and broadband.
U.S. Senator Tina Smith Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Coordination Between HHS and Urban Indian Organizations
WASHINGTON, [02.21.23] – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would help federal programs – from substance use treatment to Medicare and Medicaid – meet the unique needs of Indigenous communities and improve care. The Urban Indian Health Confer Act would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to confer with urban Indian organizations regarding health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in urban areas – a critical step that will improve care for Indigenous communities and create parity between urban Indian organizations (UIOs) and other components of the Indian Health System. “American Indian and Alaska Native people living in urban areas deserve an active voice in the policies that affect them,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “The bipartisan Urban Indian Health Confer Act will help give them one by facilitating the open and free exchange of information and opinions between federal agencies and urban Indian organizations. It is a critical step towards creating parity within the Indian Health System.” “Urban Indian Organizations play a critical role in providing health care services to Indian Country,” said Sen. Markwayne Mullin. “It is essential that the Department of Health and Human Services consult with these UIOs to improve patient access to high-quality, affordable, and consistent care. I’m proud to represent a state home to the second-largest Indian population, many of whom will benefit from this bill. Thank you to Senator Smith for joining me on
U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Significant Federal Funding for Tribal Nations and the Native Community in the Twin Cities
WASHINGTON D.C. [1/13/23] –– U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that she helped secure over $8.6 million for Minnesota Tribal Nations and communities in the Twin Cities metro area. These funds will support the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Prairie Island Indian Community, the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, and the Native American Community Clinic. Senator Klobuchar also worked to secure this funding. “For too long, Native communities have experienced negative impacts of federal underinvestment and underfunding of critical services. I’m proud to have worked with Tribal leaders to help secure funding for projects that will address some of these disparities,” said Senator Smith. “These are significant investments that will increase access to Indigenous health services, expand Tribal housing opportunities, and invest in clean energy, carbon reduction, and protecting waters. I look forward to seeing all the good these projects will do for Minnesota’s Tribal and Native communities.” This federal funding will help further the following priorities: Expanding health care access and upgrading health care facilities: $2.25 million for the Indian Health Board in Minneapolis to support the Menaandawiwe Wellness Campus vision to provide traditional healing methods and establish a connection to nature for Native people living in the Twin Cities metro area. $1 million to expand the Native American Community Clinic’s capacity by adding ten additional medical rooms, five dental exam rooms, expanded laboratory and diagnostic services, and establish a better clinic flow to improve efficiency. $850,000 for the Leech Lake
U.S. Senator Tina Smith Applauds Passage of Key Tribal Priorities From Mental Health Care to Homeownership in Government Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. [1/13/23] — U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) applauded the bipartisan government funding bill, which includes a number of key Tribal provisions she has authored or championed. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which was signed into law by President Biden two weeks ago, will take important steps to help Native families achieve homeownership, provide culturally competent mental and behavioral health services, and provide adequate funding for the Indian Health Service. “This bill is a historic investment in hard working families in Minnesota and across this country,” said Sen. Smith. “It gives us the tools to make significant progress on upholding our
Klobuchar, Smith Secure Federal Funding for Projects Benefiting Twin Cities and Surrounding Areas
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant federal funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 federal budget to support local projects benefiting the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. These projects will bolster the region’s infrastructure, help expand health care access and upgrade health care facilities, address affordable housing needs, and improve public safety. “From making infrastructure improvements to expanding access to health care and affordable housing, these projects will help address key issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with local leaders to secure
Senator Smith, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill Giving Tribal Colleges and Universities a Stronger Voice in Education Policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), along with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mon.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), introduced bipartisan legislation – the National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act – aimed at giving Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) greater input over federal funding and policymaking that impacts them. “Minnesota’s Tribal Colleges are important institutions that serve Native and non-Native students alike in some of the most impoverished and geographically isolated regions of the country,” said Smith. “These institutions deserve a seat at the table when federal agencies make decisions that impact
Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce Significant Investments to Support Economic Recovery for Tribal Nations in Minnesota
WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced significant funding to help Tribal communities in Minnesota recover from economic dislocation caused by the pandemic. Nearly $5 million in grants will go towards projects that help people most impacted by the pandemic in the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – White Earth Band. “This federal funding will make a real difference for Tribal communities across our state, helping connect them to high-quality job opportunities in high-demand sectors,” said Klobuchar. “I’ll keep pushing to ensure our Tribal communities