Sen. Kyl: Legislative successes for Indian Country
"Amid all the recent headlines regarding the economic crisis, some legislative victories for Arizona’s Native American community have been overshadowed.

In early September, White Mountain Apache Tribe Chairman Ronnie Lupe and I testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in favor of S. 3128, The White Mountain Apache Tribe Rural Water System Loan Authorization Act, which I introduced. The bill authorizes a federal loan to the White Mountain Apache Tribe for the planning, engineering, and design of the Miner Flat Project – a key drinking water project on the tribe’s reservation. Congress passed the bill on September 29.

The White Mountain Apache Tribe is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona and has approximately 15,000 members. The majority of the reservation’s residents currently obtain drinking water from a small well field, and according to the tribe, well production has significantly decreased over the last few years, leading to drinking water shortages.

Earlier this year, South Dakota Senator John Thune and I were successful in securing a $2 billion authorization for public safety, health, and water projects in Native American communities.

Under our measure, up to $1 billion will go to fund law enforcement and health projects, of which 18.5 percent will be used for detention facility construction, rehabilitation, and replacement; 15.5 percent will go the Bureau of Indian Affair’s Public Safety and Justice Account, which funds tribal police and courts; 1.5 percent will be used for investigations and prosecutions of crimes in Indian country; 1.5 percent will be used by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Program for Indian and Alaska Native Programs; and 0.5 percent will be used for cross deputization or other cooperative agreements between state or local governments and Indian tribes. Another $1 billion is authorized for water projects."

Get the Story:
Sen. Jon Kyl: Legislative Victories for Arizona’s Native Americans (The National Ledger 10/11)

Related Stories:
White Mountain Apache water bill sent to Bush (10/6)