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 Demands Accountability at Indian Health Service

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines sent a letter to Rear Admn. Michael Weahkee, the Acting Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), demanding answers on Stanley Patrick Weber, a former pediatrician at IHS who was recently convicted of sexually molesting children while working on the Blackfeet Reservation. “While justice is being served in the court of law, accountability must be demanded of IHS and the individuals who enabled Mr. Weber to continue molesting children for over two decades,” the letter states. “Our Native youth are already a uniquely vulnerable population facing severe social and economic challenges. Our Indian population, especially

Daines Introduces Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Steve Daines today introduced the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. Daines’ bill would clarify that the definition of “employers” in the National Labor Relations Act includes federally-recognized tribal governmental employers on tribally-owned land.  “For far too long, the federal government has infringed on the rights of our tribes in Montana. It’s time the government gets out of the way, and empowers tribes to determine their own destiny and create good-paying jobs for their citizens,” Daines said. Full text of the bill can be found here.    Daines’ bill passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in February 2017. As a member of the

Daines Successfully Secures U.S. Senate Hearing on Missing and Murdered Persons in Indian Country

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing this Wednesday on the issue of missing and murdered persons in Indian country. The announcement comes after Daines sent a letter to Committee leadership requesting a hearing.     “We face tragedies from across Montana where tribal citizens, particularly women and girls, go missing without a trace,” Daines said. “We must do all in our power to curb the crisis of American Indians and Alaska Natives who disappear and whose cases never see justice. I’m glad to see that the committee is treating this issue with

Daines Leads Charge against Harassment within Bureau of Indian Affairs

Daines Secures Interior Nominees’ Commitment to Maintain Harassment-Free Workplace  U.S. SENATE — Today, during a hearing in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, U.S. Senator Steve Daines, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, secured Interior Department nominee for Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney’s commitment to maintain a harassment-free workplace at the Department. During the hearing, Daines highlighted that the BIA reports the highest rate of harassment of any agency within the Interior Department. Ms. Sweeney assured Daines she would maintain a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind. Watch video HERE. Download

Daines to DOJ: Uphold Your Responsibilities to Indian Tribes

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) responsibilities under the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA), urging the DOJ to uphold its responsibilities to Indian tribes and implement the recommendations outlined in that report as quickly as possible.   “The DOJ must fulfill its responsibilities to Indian tribes,” said Daines, “There is an epidemic of violent crime in Indian country and action must be taken immediately to strengthen law enforcement and provide justice for victims.” Read the letter below:  Dear

Democrat Minority Blocks Daines’ Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Jobs on Indian Reservations and Tribal Sovereignty

U.S. SENATE — Today, U.S. Senator Steve Daines released the following statement after a Democrat minority in the Senate blocked his bipartisan bill to promote jobs on Indian reservations and tribal sovereignty, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. “It is time the federal government step out of tribes’ way so they can make the right decisions for their communities and create good-paying jobs for their citizens,” said Daines. Prior to the vote, Daines spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate, urging his colleagues to support his bill. Watch video HERE Download video HERE   ##

Daines Champions Priorities for Tribal Communities in Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hearing, Healthcare Bill Passes Committee

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines’ legislation to improve the Indian Health Service passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs today. Immediately after the vote, Daines championed priorities important to Montana’s Indian tribes in a committee hearing, including funding for the Blackfeet water settlement and maintenance improvements at Bureau of Indian Education schools. This week, he also sponsored a bill to provide Indian tribes much-needed tax relief. Funding Priorities Important to Montana Indian Country Following Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to the Blackfeet Reservation last month to authorize the first transfer of funds for the Blackfeet water rights settlement, which Daines and

Daines, Tester Introduce Bill to Make Indian Coal Production Tax Credit Permanent

U.S. SENATE —Montana’s U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today introduced legislation to permanently extend the Indian Coal Production Tax Credit (ICPTC).  The ICPTC provides a crucial tax incentive to level the playing field for future development of tribal coal resources that are currently subject to more regulatory requirements than comparable development on private, state or federal lands. ICPTC credit protects the economic viability of existing tribal coal mining projects, which support much-needed tribal jobs and provide a major source of non-federal revenue for coal-producing tribes.  “The Crow Tribe in Montana has the potential to develop 10 billion tons

Daines Implores Indian Health Service to Immediately Fund Repairs to Chippewa Cree Tribe’s Water System

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today urged the Indian Health Service (IHS) to comply with Chippewa Cree Tribe’s request for emergency funding to repair the on-reservation water system in light of recent breakages and contamination. In a letter to Mary Smith, the Principal Deputy Director of IHS, Daines implored her to immediately act on the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s request to ensure water delivery and water safety.  “I write to implore your swift and immediate action in response to the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s urgent request regarding the tribe’s water service,” Daines wrote. “This matter is of utmost importance and must be addressed immediately.”