Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced legislation that would permanently establish an Office of Tribal Relations within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This legislation would not cost taxpayers any additional dollars and instead requires USDA to use existing resources to establish the office.
Such a permanent entity within USDA will help improve communication between USDA and Tribal nations, as well as ensure South Dakota's Native Americans have access to USDA's programs. The Tribal Relations office would be within the Office of the Secretary, ensuring that the head of the USDA would be advised on policies related to Indian tribes.
"This legislation underscores the importance of the nation-to-nation relationship we have with our tribes," said Rep. Noem. "By establishing this permanent office at USDA, we can ensure that Native Americans have one point of contact for the opportunities available to them through the Department of Agriculture. This office would also be responsible for increasing communication between USDA and tribes across this country. I am optimistic that we'll get this common sense legislation included in the Farm Bill."
Rep. Noem previously introduced this legislation last year as an amendment to the House Agriculture Committee passed version of the Farm Bill. The amendment was adopted and included in the Committee's Farm Bill legislation.