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.
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 these funding commitments, and I know that these resources will make a real difference for so many communities across the Twin Cities and surrounding areas,” said Klobuchar. “The best ideas come from the people living in communities across Minnesota. One of the best parts of my job is helping Minnesotan communities turn their dream projects into reality with federal support,” said Smith. “Health care, housing, education, and infrastructure all have daily impacts on the lives of Minnesotans. I’m proud of our work to secure these investments that will be transformational for people across our state.” Klobuchar and Smith have secured federal investments to further the following priorities: Bolstering infrastructure and community development: $7 million to replace the Eastbound Kellogg Boulevard Bridge in St. Paul with a new bridge system that includes multi-modal safety and access improvements; $5.04 million for Dakota County to design and reconstruct the I-35 and County Highway 50 Interchange; $5
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 them. I’m proud of this bipartisan effort to support TCUs and their students and look forward to getting this bill across the finish line.” “The 35 accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the U.S., which together form the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, commend Senators Fischer and Tester for their leadership in introducing this important legislation. The National Advisory Council on Indian Education Act will ensure Tribal College and University voices are included and supported throughout the council’s work, thereby strengthening the K-16 pathway for American Indian and Alaska Native students. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this much needed legislation,”said Carrie L. Billy, President and CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. The National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) advises the Secretaries of Education and Interior on programs serving Native students of all ages. NACIE releases an annual report, but neither Department has a process for considering NACIE’s
Sen. Tina Smith Introduces Legislation to Ensure Accurate, Thorough Education about Native Peoples
WASHINGTON [3.24.22] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that she has introduced significant legislation to improve public education and understanding about Native peoples and their histories. Accurate, thorough education about Native peoples benefits all students, Native and non-Native alike. Unfortunately, the education most students receive regarding Native histories and cultures is woefully inadequate. For example, nearly half of Americans say that what they were taught in schools about Native Americans was inaccurate and in most K-12 classrooms, students are not taught about Native peoples at all post-1900. Furthermore, teachers rate “history of Native American peoples” and “pre-Columbian American history
U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Bill to Give Justice to Survivors of Sexual Violence in Native American Communities Takes Key Step Forward
WASHINGTON, D.C. [2/10/22] —Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said her bill to restore Tribal Nations’ rights to prosecute crimes of sexual violence—including assault, trafficking and stalking—took a key step forward in the Senate. Currently, Native communities cannot prosecute those crimes if they are committed by a non-Native member on Tribal land. Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said her bill “Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act” was included in the legislation that will reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, legislation that expired in 2019. Sen. Smith’s bill aims to ensure justice for Native
U.S. Senator Tina Smith & U.S. Representative Gwen Moore Push to Empower Tribes to Pursue Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence
WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/7/21] —Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) —a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee—and U.S. Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) are pushing to make it easier to address violence against Native peoples by expanding Tribal jurisdiction over crimes of sexual violence. The “Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act” aims to get justice for survivors of sexual violence by restoring Tribal jurisdiction to prosecute cases of domestic and sexual assault, sex trafficking, stalking, and other related crimes committed by non-Native offenders on Tribal lands. The Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act is co-sponsored in the
U.S. Sens. Smith & Cramer, Reps. Pallone & Ruiz Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Mental & Behavioral Health Care Resources for Indian Health Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/1/2021]—U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Representatives Frank Pallone (D-N.J.-06) and Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-Calif.-36) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities, Tribal health programs and urban Indian health organizations address mental and behavioral health needs in their communities. Right now, only 39 percent of IHS facilities provide 24-hour mental health crisis intervention services, and 10 percent of IHS facilities do not provide any crisis intervention services at all. A survey conducted by IHS found that Tribes rated the expansion of inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance abuse facilities as their number one priority. The Native Behavioral Health Access Improvement