Indian Affairs

As a member of the Indian Affairs Committee, I’m working to promote economic growth in Indian Country and promote the sovereignty and self-determination of our tribes. Montana is home to seven federally recognized Indian reservations and the state recognized Little Shell Tribe, each of which holds a special role in the formation and character of our great state.

Unfortunately, some Native Americans continue to struggle economically and find it difficult to access quality health care and education. Native tribes also continue to face challenges in addressing violent crime on their reservations. I will continue working to expand economic opportunities for tribes and all Montanans through the responsible development of our natural resources and empowering our tribes to fulfill tribal needs.

Daines Talks Tribal Safety, Sovereignty, and Ag Priorities at Indian Affairs Hearing

U.S. SENATE—U.S. Senator Steve Daines today at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs oversight hearing questioned witnesses on important issues facing Montana tribes, including public safety, tribal sovereignty, water settlements, forest management and agriculture. Daines highlighted the importance of helping Montana tribes maintain their own law enforcement instead of relying on Washington, D.C. for solutions.   Daines on the Need to Give Tribes More Control Over Their Law Enforcement “Public safety has been a top priority of mine for years and yet I continue to hear the same concerns from our tribes. I’ve written countless letters and nothing changes. The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) expects us to just provide them more funding and the

Daines, Tester Introduce Resolution Designating National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week

U.S. SENATE – Today, U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester led a bipartisan group of colleagues in designating the week beginning February 5th as “National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week” to highlight the importance of higher education in Indian Country. “Montana’s Tribal Colleges support, inspire and cultivate the next generation of Montana’s leaders. Just like the Tribes themselves, Tribal Colleges are an integral part of our Montana way of life. I am glad to recognize the work they do to serve Montana students,” said Daines. “Montana’s Tribal Colleges and Universities provide a top-notch education to Montana’s students and prepare them to make a

Daines Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Protect, Return Sacred Native Objects

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today lauded the passage of bipartisan legislation to protect and return sacred tribal objects.  “Montana tribes add so much to our communities and Montana way of life – I am glad to help take this important step to protect their cultural heritage,” Daines said. Daines cosponsored the “Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2021” (STOP Act) with Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). The

Daines, Tester Recognize National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester marked the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls after introducing their resolution designating May 5th earlier this week. “While we must continue to shed light on the tragic Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis that is plaguing Montana, our native communities and families, we must also continue working to find solutions,” Daines said. “Let us remember the countless lives lost due to this crisis, including Hanna Harris, who would’ve been 30 years old today.” “Raising awareness about the MMIW epidemic in Montana and across the country is

State, Local, Tribal Support a Must for Any CMR Bison Proposal

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines is calling for the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to provide more information on the purpose and scope of what they are considering on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (CMR) and to hold a more transparent deliberation process that guarantees any proposal on the reintroduction of bison in the CMR has State, local, and tribal support. Daines’ request comes after emails became public showing activists are lobbying the Biden administration to move forward “without Montana’s permission” and concerns from local stakeholders about the public input process

Daines Doubles Down on Biden Admin to Act on MMIW Crisis Following His Efforts to Get GAO Study

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines is once again urging the Biden administration to act to address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis (MMIW). Daines is calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the Administration to implement his bills, the “Not Invisible Act of 2019” and “Savanna’s Act,” which help address the crisis. This comes after Daines successfully pushed the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review on efforts to combat the MMIW crisis and GAO released its findings this week.  “The recent GAO report found the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of the Interior (DOI) have failed

Daines to Haaland: We Need More Law Enforcement, Resources to Address MMIW Crisis in Montana

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines is urging Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland to direct the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to hire and transfer more law enforcement personnel to Montana. Increased law enforcement personnel would provide Montana tribal nations with more resources to combat the ongoing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis. “As you are aware, Indian Country is fighting an ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW). Tribal members make up 6.7% of Montana’s population, yet are 26% of our missing persons cases,” the letter states. “Our state’s Indian Reservations are hurting, and tribal leadership find themselves desperate

Daines Fights for Montana Indian Country, Urges Treasury Secretary to Establish Office of Tribal Affairs

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines joined a group of bipartisan senators to urge U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to establish an Office of Tribal Affairs to strengthen the Department’s relationship with Montana’s tribal nations and provide more in-house expertise on matters affecting Indian Country. “The recent tribal consultations and interactions between Treasury and tribal nations underscore the need for sufficient, dedicated, in-house expertise at Treasury on tribal policy matters. The establishment of such an office has support from Indian Country and would improve Treasury’s ability to fulfill its trust responsibilities to respect the nation-to-nation relationship between the federal government

Daines, Klobuchar Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Combat Fraudulent Schemes Impacting Tribal Members

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a bipartisan bill to increase awareness and reporting of fraud and scams that target Tribal members.  “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on enough hardships, and now Montana triba lmembers are being targeted by scammers,” Daines said.  “This is unacceptable, and we must do more to protect our tribes and bring awareness to these predatory acts.” “For too long fraud and scams have targeted tribal communities, and the pandemic has only made this issue worse,” said Klobuchar. “We must ensure we have policies in place to prevent future schemes and stop bad actors, and this bipartisan legislation will do just