U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) chaired a productive field hearing for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, focusing on how Tribal Nations can utilize funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Senator Smith helped pass this historic investment in our country’s infrastructure last fall. The hearing was hosted by Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community at the Mystic Lake Center in Prior Lake.
The purpose of this hearing to understand how these transformational infrastructure investments can benefit Tribal Nations in Minnesota. This bill has $13 billion for Tribal-specific programs and set-asides. I am committed to making sure this funding is equitably distributed and accessible to Tribal Nations, and that it makes lasting impact.
These $13 billion will help address the longstanding infrastructure inequities in Tribal communities—inequities that impact the health, economic well-being, and safety of Native peoples. Here are some highlights:
- There’s $3.5 billion for Indian Health Service sanitation facilities—that will make drinking water safe and improve sewage and waste disposal systems.
- There’s $3.8 billion for roads and bridges on Tribal lands, to make roadways safer for cars and pedestrians.
- There’s $2 billion for broadband on Tribal lands, which will improve access to education, telehealth, and economic opportunities.
- There’s $200 million for climate resilience, so that Tribal Nations can plan for and implement responses to climate change.