THERMAL, CA – Today, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo visited two Tribal nations in southern California: the Agua Caliente Tribe, and the Torres Martinez Tribe. The visit was the Deputy Secretary’s first to Tribal lands. Last year, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen visited the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, marking the first time a Treasury Secretary had visited a Tribal Nation.
During today’s visits, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo witnessed first-hand the impact American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) resources are having on Tribal Nations and discussed Treasury’s ongoing commitment to strengthening relations with Tribes. The American Rescue Plan, signed into law nearly two years ago, included $30 billion in funding for Tribal nations to help them recover from the pandemic and invest in long-term community development, the largest-ever single infusion of federal funding into Indian Country. The Treasury Department has played a pivotal role in administering these resources. Tribal governments have planned or begun implementing over 3,000 projects and are providing essential services with the funding, improving the health, safety, and quality of life for millions of Tribal citizens. The Torres Martinez Tribe has invested approximately $1.3 million in job training programs; budgeted over $1 million to provide broadband access across all areas of the reservation; and partnered with the All Mission Indian Housing Authority to administer ARP’s Housing Assistance Fund (HAF) and Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs, the latter of which has helped over 900 Tribal households.
Over the past two years, the Treasury Department has prioritized strengthening relationships with Tribal Nations. Last year, in addition to Secretary Yellen’s visit to the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Lynn Malerba, Lifetime Chief of the Mohegan Tribe, became the first Native American Treasurer of the U.S., and Treasury established the first Office of Tribal and Native Affairs, which Chief Malerba oversees. Earlier this week, the Office, which is charged with coordinating Tribal relations throughout the Department, announced its first Director. The Office is also responsible for overseeing the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee, which advances the policy priorities of Tribal communities by engaging with various Treasury departments on policy, guidance, and regulations. Treasury has also worked to increase direct engagement with Tribal leaders and has hosted over 40 formal consultations and over 300 information and training sessions with Tribes to support economic development. Treasury is also consulting with Tribes on the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes Tribal-specific funding to address climate-related impacts in Native communities.