WASHINGTON—On September 24th, President Joseph R. Biden signed S.325, a bill to amend the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act (P.L.114-244). P.L.114-244 created a commission charged with developing a report for Congress and the President on federal, state, and tribal programs to develop national policy related to Native children and recommend improvements that integrate the cultural strengths of Native American communities. S.325 extends the three-year deadline defined in P.L.114-244 to five years.
“The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission has a critical responsibility to report to Congress on the unique issues facing Native children and recommendations to address those issues,” said Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “But COVID-19 has disrupted the Commission’s regular business and impacted its ability to complete its work on schedule. The law signed by President Biden today ensures the Commission has the time it needs to compile a full report that best serves Native children’s interests.”
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez echoed Senator Schatz’ comments adding, “The Navajo Nation values its children as the path to our future and survival as a people. We are pleased that the Commission will have more time to prepare a comprehensive document that will result in expanded benefits for generations of young Navajos in ways that truly reflect our culture and unique ways of life.”
The Navajo Nation Washington Office appreciates the efforts of Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) for championing this amendment, as it will bring experts in juvenile justice, social work, education, and behavioral health together to help move the priorities of children in Indian Country forward.