Secretary-Treasurer Beaudin Shares Her Experience on Trip to DC
By Michelle Beaudin
I have been honored to represent our Tribe and our Tribal members this week in Washington D.C. at National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). We have had a very full week of meetings with Directors of Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, Indian Health Services, Health & Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Office of Indian Energy, and the Tribal Liaison of the Executive Office of the President.
We had presentations from Congressman Raul Grijalva, Frank Pallone, Jr., David Joyce, Deb Haaland, Don Young, Paul Cook, Dan Kildee, Derek Kilmer, Denny Heck, Tom Cole, Gwen Moore, Speaker of the House-Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and Senators Kamala Harris, Martin Heinrich & Jeff Merkley. Many of these Congressmen have sponsored bills in support of Indian Country.
There were many consultations and listening sessions that all the tribes participated in and gave testimony and advocacy for on the subjects of protecting our sacred burial sites that have been desecrated by construction of the border wall as well as other construction across America, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Native Child Nutrition Discussion, USDA Food & Nutrition Service, Improving Indian Affairs Delivery on Law Enforcement, US Patent and Trademark Office WIPO Negotiations in regards to Native Artists, VA & HIS/THP Care Coordination, Task Force on Violence Against Native Women, Tax and Finance Task Force, Transportation, Native Vote & Census, Caucus on Northern/Southern Border, Improving Indian Affairs Delivery of Energy Development Services, Set Aside funding for Crime Victims, TSA focus on Flying while Indian, Supreme Court cases related to Tribes, Repatriation of the return of our ancestors that are still in museums.
I was very proud to be able to advocate for better health care for our Veterans and tribal members, ask for the expansion of Joint Venture for more facilities, to allow Veteran’s the ability to buy and build homes with VA loans and grants on the reservation, fund behavior health fully and telehealth, to expand services to include in-home care for our elderly and disabled instead of forcing people at the end of their lives to have to go to nursing homes – help them stay in their homes or with family with financial assistance for care, allow billing for Traditional healers including their time to collect and make traditional medicines.
I spoke about releasing our funding before the fiscal year begins so we do not suffer while waiting for congress and the president each year to approve a budget. I spoke about expanding our services to domestic abuse victims to include those that are homeless as there is predominately number of homeless that have some form of abuse or trauma. I also exerted our sovereignty by demanding that they do not send our funding from Department of Justice for Victims through the states and to deal directly with Tribes on a nation to nation basis and having the funding follow the same process as well as allowing us to determine what the needs are of our people in using those funds without the budgeting process as they do with states, and that our tribes should determine their population and that the Justice department should provide more trainings for tribes and technical assistance. I advocated for more health care and I spoke about supporting tribe’s initiative on ending homelessness and hunger from our children to our elders. I addressed the opioid issues that we have the affect all our people of all ages and we need the independence to administer our programs that work for our people to include our culture and traditions and to have the flexibility to bridge services and funding sources.
I met many tribal leaders from tribes all over the United States and heard their stories, challenges, and tribulations. I was so very honored to be able to speak along side of all of them on behalf of my tribe.
Miigwetch to all of you for that honor!
Photo from Michelle's Facebook page speaking in DC