WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) received the 2022 Congressional Leadership Award from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) during the 2022 State of Indian Nations & Executive Council Winter Session this week. The award recognizes members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership in and are champions of issues important to tribal nations.
Grijalva, who serves as House Natural Resources Committee Chair, said of the award, “We are looking at an opportunity to really make some meaningful gains for Indian Country … to redefine sovereignty as we see it and as it is practiced; to codify into law what [tribal] consultation means, so accountability extends to all levels of the federal government; and to fully integrate the needs of Indian Country – whether they’re [members on] tribal land … or members that are not on tribal land and are in our urban cities or rural America – and to begin to address those needs in a systemic way.”
Grijalva has been a long-time champion and advocate for issues affecting Indian Country. One of his major priorities, H.R. 3587, the Requirements, Expectations, and Standard Procedures for Effective Consultation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act, will codify into law the requirement for federal agencies to conduct tribal consultation before taking any significant agency actions with potential tribal impacts. The bill also lays out standards defining how this government-to-government consultation should occur. The Natural Resources Committee held a legislative hearing on the bill on May 20, 2021.
Grijalva introduced two other tribal-related bills that successfully passed the House this year: H.R. 5221, the Urban Indian Health Confer Act, and H.R. 4881, the Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act. Grijalva also recently championed the House passage of a provision in the America COMPETES Act, which will create the Office of Education Technology in the Bureau of Indian Education.