Working on Behalf of Native Americans
January 2000

Made a Historic Visit to Indian Country. In July 1999, President Clinton became the first sitting President to visit a reservation since Franklin Roosevelt. President Clinton visited the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota as part of his New Markets Tour to encourage private investment in Indian Country.

Moving Families from Welfare to Work. The 1996 welfare reform law provides tribes with the option to receive direct federal funding to independently design, administer, and operate the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Tribes now have considerable flexibility to provide benefits and services that help families become self-sufficient. With the President’s leadership, the Balanced Budget of 1997 included $3 billion in Welfare-to-Work grants to move long-term welfare recipients and low-income non-custodial fathers into jobs, including $30 million for tribal Welfare-to-Work grants, and provided tax credits for employers to hire and retain long-term welfare recipients.

Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. Spurring economic development in distressed communities, the Clinton-Gore Administration has created 31 Empowerment Zones and more than 100 Rural and Urban Enterprise Communities that are creating new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. President Clinton's New Markets Initiative is helping to bring economic development and renewal to communities that have not benefited from the soaring economy. Eighteen American Indian and Alaska Native tribes were selected to participate in the Round II Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZ/ECs), with Indian tribes participating in two of the five rural EZs.

Held the First White House Conference on Economic Development in Indian Country. In August 1998, the Clinton-Gore Administration held the first White House Conference on Economic Development in Indian Country, the first step in developing a strategic plan for coordinating existing federal economic development initiatives for Native American and Alaska Native communities. In July 1999, the Department of Commerce issued a report on the infrastructure technology needs in Indian Country.

Extending Wireless Services to Tribal Lands. In August 1999, the FCC began exploring a number of possible terrestrial and satellite wireless policy initiatives to promote greater access to telecommunications services for individuals living on tribal lands. The FCC is looking at ways that wireless and satellite technology can be used to provide basic telephone service and other telecommunications services to tribal lands, particularly in remote areas.

Promoted Lending In Indian Country. President Clinton signed the Community Development Banking and Regulatory Improvement Act, which promotes more lending in Indian Country.

Providing Housing Assistance To Native Americans. The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 gives Indian Housing Block Grants to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages or their Tribally Designated Housing Entities, providing communities with more flexibility than ever before to plan and develop programs that best meet locally determined needs for housing assistance. In FY2000, $620 million – the Administration’s full request -- is available to tribes.

President Clinton Met With Tribal Leaders. On April 29, 1994, President Clinton became the first President to invite the leaders of all federally recognized tribes to the White House. On this historic occasion, the President pledged that his Administration would work with Tribal leaders to establish a true government-to-government partnership.

Strengthening the Relationship Between the Federal Government and Tribal Nations. In 1994, President Clinton executed a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies directing agencies to consult with tribal governments prior to taking actions that affect federally recognized tribal governments. On May 14, 1998, he issued an Executive Order that strengthens and makes effective across Administrations the 1994 Government-to-Government Memorandum. This executive order serves to establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Indian tribal governments.

Ensuring Tribal Sovereignty. President Clinton created the Office of Tribal Justice to promote government-to-government relations with Indian tribes and ensure aggressive representation of tribal sovereignty in the courts. He also created a permanent White House working group composed of all Executive Branch Departments to advance tribal sovereignty across the administration.

Enacted Single Largest Investment in Health Care for Children since 1965. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) invests $24 billion over 5 years to provide health care coverage for up to 5 million children. Two million children have already been enrolled, and, in October 1999, President Clinton announced new outreach initiatives to enroll millions more uninsured, eligible children. In order to eliminate all financial barriers that Native American children may face in accessing health insurance coverage, they are exempt from the program’s cost sharing requirements. In addition, the Administration launched a targeted outreach effort, including airing public service announcements and distributing educational brochures through the Indian Health Service.

Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities by 2010. President Clinton's initiative targets six key health areas: infant mortality, diabetes, cancer screening and management, heart disease, AIDS and immunizations. President Clinton won a 200 percent increase for this initiative in the FY00 budget. The President also worked to win $30 million in each of 1998 - 2002 fiscal years for the Indian Health Service to promote diabetes prevention, research and treatment in Native American communities. Native Americans are three times as likely as white Americans to have diabetes and are less likely to access treatment for it.

Increasing Funding to the Indian Health Service. The Indian Health Service saw an increase of $144 million over FY98. This increase will assist in providing much-needed quality health care to Indian communities. The FY 2000 enacted level is $2.4 billion, an increase of $150 million over the 1999 funding level.

Indian Health Service Contract Support Costs. The President's FY00 budget supports tribal self-determination by proposing a $35 million increase for contract support costs, to cover the administrative costs of existing tribal contracts and compacts. The FY2000 Conference bill contained an objectionable provision to extend a contract moratorium that would prevent the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service from entering into any new or expanded self-determination contracts or self-governance compacts with tribes. This contract moratorium provision contravenes tribal sovereignty and the Federal government's policy of encouraging self-governance. The Administration was ultimately successful at removing this objectionable provision and obtaining $229 million for contract support costs.

Providing Access to Health Care Services for Uninsured Workers. Last year, the President proposed and won $125 million in funding for a program to coordinate systems of care, increase the number of services delivered and establish an accountability system to assure adequate patient care for the uninsured and low-income. This year, the President has proposed funding this initiative at $125 million, representing a substantial down payment on the President’s plan to invest $1 billion over 5 years.

Improving the Mental Health of Native American Youth. At the White House Conference on Mental Health, the Administration announced a $5 million inter-agency initiative that will develop innovative strategies to address the mental health, behavioral, and substance abuse needs of Native American young people in Native American communities over a three-year period. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2000, the tribes will be able to apply for competitive funds through a coordinated grant process.

Strengthening Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-Funded Schools and Colleges Serving Tribes. The 2000 enacted level provided $519 million for the operation of elementary and secondary schools, tribally controlled community colleges, and assistance to Indian children attending public schools. This represents an increase of $21 million for these activities in 1999.

Repairing and Modernizing Schools on Reservations. The 2000 enacted level provided the Bureau of Indian Affairs $133 million ($46 million over 1999) to replace 3 older, unsafe, and dilapidated schools on Indian reservations and to provide much-needed health and safety-related repairs, improvements, and maintenance that together comprises a roughly $700 million backlog.

Signed Historic Executive Order on Native American Education. In August 1998, President Clinton signed an executive order designed to improve the academic performance of American Indian and Alaska Native students in grades K-12. The order focuses special attention on improving student achievement in reading and mathematics and increasing high school completion rates.

Training and Recruiting New Native American Teachers. Only two-thirds of Native American students successfully complete high school – far fewer than other students. To address this challenge, the President and the Vice President fought for and won $10 million in FY2000 to begin the training and recruiting of 1,000 new teachers for areas with high concentrations of American Indian and Alaska Native students.

Linking BIA-Funded Schools To The Internet. The Administration’s BIA started the Access Native America initiative in 1997 to connect 185 BIA funded schools to the Internet. As of June 1999, 120 schools have been cabled and 89 schools in some of the most rural, remote areas of our nation's Indian reservations, have been connected to the Department of the Interior network.

Putting 100,000 More Police on the Streets. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration met its commitment to fund an additional 100,000 police officers for our communities. As a part of the COPS Program, the President announced new grants to increase community policing in high-crime and underserved neighborhoods. To help keep crime at record lows, the President won funding in the FY 2000 budget for the first installment toward his goal to hire up to 50,000 more officers by 2005. Since the start of the COPS program, the Department of Justice has provided grants of almost $100 million to Indian Country to help hire over 1000 additional police officers.

Comprehensive Approach to Public Safety. The Department of Justice’s Consortium of Indian Reservations Cooperating in Law Enforcement (CIRCLE Project) is a demonstration project which takes a comprehensive and coordinated approach to law enforcement and public safety in Indian country. DOJ has provided enhanced technical assistance and funding to three Indian communities in order to help them identify their crime and public safety problems on a community-wide level and develop plans to address those problems.

Joint DOJ/DOI Law Enforcement. The 2000 enacted level provided DOJ and BIA a total of $336 million ($52 million over 1999) to address high crime rates in Indian Country by providing more resources for officer hiring and retention, drug control and youth crime prevention programs, law enforcement equipment, construction of detention facilities, and crime reporting surveys.


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