The Biden-Harris administration Thursday released the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The FY 2024 budget makes significant investments in Tribal sovereignty and revitalization, providing new and expanded funding opportunities and resources for Tribes to manage their lands and waters.
The President’s budget request for Indian Affairs programs in FY 2024 is $4.7 billion, an increase of $690 million over FY 2023. This includes $3 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), $1.6 billion for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and $109.1 million for the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration.
“The 2024 budget request makes significant investments in Tribal sovereignty and revitalization, upholding our steadfast commitment to honor the nation’s treaty and trust responsibilities and strengthen government-to-government relationships with Tribal Nations,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “This Administration’s commitment to supporting the sovereignty of Tribal Nations and addressing long-standing disparities is unprecedented and will remain an important moment in our nation’s history.”
These proposed investments include:
$717.1 million for Public, Safety, and Justice, an increase of $85.8 million above FY 2023. This includes:
- $316.3 million for Criminal Investigations and Police Services programs, an increase of $42.2 million above FY 2023.
- $154.6 million, an increase of $18.3 million above FY 2023, to support the operational needs of Indian Country detention and corrections programs encountering growing personnel, equipment, and technology costs.
- $75.3 million for construction supporting public safety and justice programs, an increase of $23.8 million above FY 2023.
Support for Families and Communities
- $78.1 million for the Tiwahe Initiative, an increase of $33.5 million from FY 2023.
- Tiwahe is an extensive and bold approach to furthering Indian self-determination and self-governance. It allows flexibility in the administration of key Tribal programs to address unique community needs, supports Tribal economic self-sufficiency, and strengthens Tribal cultural connections. Tiwahe fosters systemic change in the delivery of services to children and families through the integration of Tribal practices, customs, values, and traditions.
- The 2024 budget request further expands Tiwahe in the Social Services, Indian Child Welfare Act, Housing, Tribal Justice Support, and Economic Development programs.
- $51.3 million to improve road maintenance, an increase of $11 million, addressing a long-standing Tribal priority.
- Poor road conditions directly impact the quality of life in many Tribal communities, limiting transportation for public safety and emergency response, travel to school, and travel to work.
- Funding will also increase bridge maintenance and safety reviews of 1,100 bridges needed to inform prioritization, project selection, and planning to better implement construction funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
School construction and classroom support
- $1.6 billion for BIE programs and school construction, an increase of $209.2 million above FY 2023, to provide a strong educational foundation for Native children to succeed. Indigenous students face stark inequities in access to education, many of which were highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic.
- $508.7 million for Indian Student Equalization Program formula funds, which provide the primary support for academic activities.
- $416.2 million in annual funding for Education Construction, an increase of $148.3 million over FY 2023 that will allow BIE to support seven school and facility replacement projects.
- $189.6 million for postsecondary schools and programs, including $133.5 million for Haskell Indian Nations University and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Tribal Colleges, Universities and Technical Colleges and $56.1 million for Tribal scholarships and adult education programs.
- $98.7 million to fully fund the estimated requirement for Tribal Grant Support costs to cover the administration costs for Tribes that choose to operate BIE-funded schools.
- $33.7 million, a program increase of $5.8 million over FY 2023 to maintain support for distance learning and enhanced technology at BIE schools.
- $7.5 million for Native language immersion programs.
Subsistence practices are vital to the life ways of Alaska Native communities and people, who depend heavily on subsistence practices for their nutritional, social, economic, and traditional cultural needs. During Tribal consultations and listening sessions participants have consistently pointed to the adverse impacts the changing climate is having on Alaska Native subsistence practices and Alaska Native communities, as well as the need to expand Tribal co-management partnerships and the incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge into subsistence management. In response to Tribal recommendations heard through these engagements, the FY 2024 budget proposes to transfer the functions of the Office of Subsistence Management from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, along with a program increase of $2.5 million for the program. The requested increases directly respond to comments received on ways to strengthen the program going forward.
Tribal Contract Support Costs
Contract Support Costs funding is a critical Tribal Sovereignty payment, which enables Tribes to assume responsibility for operating federal programs by covering the costs to administer the programs. The budget proposes to reclassify Tribal Contract Support Costs from discretionary to mandatory funding beginning in 2024. The President’s 2024 budget proposes mandatory funding totaling $431.4 million.
Investing in Tribal infrastructure
Providing resources to support the construction and maintenance of critical infrastructure used in Tribal communities, Section 105(l) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act provides Tribes and Tribal organizations carrying out federal functions under a self-determination contract or self-governance compact may enter into a lease agreement with the Department of the Interior for the Tribally owned or rented facility used to carry out those functions. This critical Tribal Sovereignty payment is allowing BIA to get Tribes closer to meeting the full cost of program implementation and improve their facilities. The 2024 budget proposes to reclassify 105(l) lease agreement requirements from discretionary to mandatory funding beginning in 2024. The budget requests mandatory funding totaling $82.5 million.
Native Language Revitalization
- $34 million, a $27.5 million increase over FY 2023, to expand BIA grant awards for Tribal native language revitalization programs which are imperative to restore generational continuity and Tribal culture which help to strengthen Tribal sovereignty.
Tribal Land and Water Conservation Fund
$12 million for the creation of a new Tribal Land and Water Conservation Fund land acquisition program. During listening sessions held last year, Tribes identified having direct access to Land and Water Conservation Fund resources for conservation and recreation projects as one of their top priorities. The funding will provide Tribes the opportunity to acquire lands or easements to protect and conserve natural resource areas, which may also be of cultural importance to the Tribe or have significant recreational benefits for Tribal communities, and will further enhance the ability of Tribes to address the climate crisis.
Indian Land Consolidation & Acquisition
$30.5 million for Indian Land Consolidation, an increase of $22.5 million above FY 2023. The Land Buy-Back-Program for Tribal Nations made significant progress in reducing fractionation and achieving Tribal majority interest, but additional funds are needed to sustain the progress of the program, and ensure Tribes are able to manage their lands.
- $12 million to support the acquisition of lands for Tribal purposes including funding needed to support newly recognized Tribes without established lands.
For more information on the President’s FY 2024 Budget, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.