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Governor Bill Richardson Announces Results of First State-Tribal Leaders Summit

For Immediate Release

Contact: Caitlin Kelleher, 505-476-2299
                Rima Krisst, Indian Affairs PIO 505-795-5049

Governor Bill Richardson Announces Results of First State-Tribal Leaders Summit

SANTA FE -- Governor Richardson met earlier this week with leaders of 21 of the Tribes, Nations, and Pueblos of New Mexico at the first State-Tribal Leaders Summit. Hosted by the Pueblo of Acoma, tribal and state leaders met to promote dialogue and collaborative problem-solving for a number of issues raised by both the tribes and the state.
“I am very pleased at the success of State-Tribal Leaders Summit and the dialogue we had on important issues and needs in tribal communities,” said Governor Richardson. “I am furthering my commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationships with all the tribes and to addressing the issues that were presented at the tribal Summit.”
Both tribal leaders and Governor Richardson committed to work on a number of issues in the coming year related to tribal economic development, healthcare, tribal infrastructure, Indian education, and DWI. For the State, Governor Richardson committed to:

* Direct the Department of Finance and Administration and the Indian Affairs Department to work with tribes to develop by September 1, 2009 legislative proposals and options to increase funding and create a permanent funding source for the Tribal Infrastructure Fund.

* Work closely with the tribes to ensure that tribes compete for and receive the maximum amount of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding available. The Governor also added two Native Americans representatives to the federal stimulus funding Competitive Grants Advisory Team.

* Direct state agencies to review policies and procedures to ensure that tribal communities have increased access to New Market Tax Credits and Industrial Revenue Bonds. Governor Richardson also will ask agencies to research leveraging resources to develop broadband technology to benefit tribal communities.

* Create a State-Tribal Taskforce on Economic Development to work on legislative proposals for Native American Enterprise Zones and to look at other incentive
options to bring high wage jobs to Native American communities, including through Gross Receipt Tax incentives.

* Direct the Public Education Department to convene a summit to address the achievement gap and education disparities among Native American and Hispanic students. Additionally, the Governor asked PED to work with other agencies to continue developing culturally relevant curriculum which supports Native languages, culture, and history while still meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. This Taskforce will further look for ways to recruit and retain Native American teachers.

* Order the Departments of Health and Indian Affairs to develop innovative programs that support the recruitment and retention of Native American health professionals.
Governor Richardson also solicited tribal participation and commitment to a number of issues. The Governor:

* Requested each tribe nation and pueblo submit their top priority water project to the Indian Affairs Department for review and consideration by the state. He also pledged to work with the Water Trust Board to make Native American water projects a priority for funding.

* Requested tribes work to expedite capital outlay projects so that appropriations are spent down in a timely fashion.

* Asked to hear from tribes about how they can best benefit from the tourism resources provided by the state, including resources for eco-tourism. Further,
Governor Richardson also noted that while film is an important part of the state’s economic development efforts, many tribes have largely missed out on this opportunity. He noted that there are state resources available for training, career and workforce development, and location filming.

* Finally, in continuing efforts to reduce DWI fatalities in the state, Governor Richardson also asked tribes to consider submitting tribal arrest records to the state to assist with state driver’s licenses revocation hearings; participate in statewide “Super Blitz” efforts; develop more cross commissioning agreements with the state and local communities; allow state/local/tribal patrols to take place in and around tribal lands; and increase tribal participation in the State-Tribal DWI Taskforce.

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