Kayenta IHS Job Announcement – Security Guard

Job Announcement:  IHS-14-KA-1175267-ESEP/MP

Job Title:  Security Guard

Duty Location:  Kayenta, AZ (see job announcement for further details)

Open Period:  Monday. July 28, 2014

Closing Date:  Friday, August 8, 2014

Vacancies:  Two (2)

Please apply at www.usajobs.gov

Website:  https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/376581100

Interior Extends Comment Period on Proposed Federal Acknowledgment Reform

Proposed rule would address arbitrary, inefficient process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn today announced an extension of the public comment period and additional tribal consultations and public meetings on proposed regulations to reform the process by which Interior formally and officially recognizes Indian tribes.

Due to significant public comments and interest, the comment period deadline has been extended by 60 days.  Two additional tribal consultations will be held via teleconference on August 18th and 20th for tribal leaders, their representatives and staff. Two additional public meetings will be held via teleconference on September 3rd and 5th. Written comments may now be submitted through September 30, 2014.

“With this extended comment period, the Department is providing more opportunities for comment and suggestions from tribes and the public than any other rule issued by Indian Affairs during this Administration,” said Assistant Secretary Washburn. “Input from tribes, including the 17 that have been recognized under the regulations, states, local governments, the public and non-federally recognized tribes will result in a better final rule.”

The existing regulations governing federal recognition of Indian tribes were originally adopted in 1978 and updated only once 20 years ago.  Prior to 1978, the Department of the Interior addressed requests for acknowledgment on a case-by-case basis.  While the regulations established a structured procedure for evaluating federal acknowledgment (“the Part 83 process”), this system has been widely criticized as being too time-consuming, sometimes arbitrary and generally “broken.”

This proposed rule to reform the 35-year old process, released for public comment on May 22, 2014 would make the procedure more transparent, efficient, timely, and flexible, while maintaining the integrity of the process. Some key features of the proposed rule are that it would promote transparency by updating the Part 83 criteria to include objective standards, promote efficiency by requiring a petitioner to show community and political influence/authority from 1934 to the present rather than from as early as 1789, and eliminate the need for a petitioner to demonstrate that third parties identified the petitioner as a tribe from 1900 to the present.  The proposed rule would also make changes to the petitioning process that facilitate the timely issuance of proposed findings and final determinations and allows for an administrative judge to conduct a comprehensive hearing and review of a negative proposed finding.

In recognition of the high level of interest in the acknowledgement process, the Department has used a transparent approach and significant outreach effort. The Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs has been conducting tribal consultations and public meetings on the proposed rule in the South, Pacific, Northwest, Midwest, California and the Rocky Mountain Regions. A public meeting will be held on July 29th from 8:30 am to noon EDT and the tribal consultation will be held on July 29th from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm EDT at the Mashpee Wampanoag Facility, Mashpee, MA.  

Newly announced additional tribal consultations will be held by conference call on August 18thand 20th from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm EDT at the following number:  1-888-323-4307.  Use participant passcode 4823348.  Tribal consultations are open only to representatives of federally recognized Indian tribes. 

And, the new additional public meetings will be held by conference call on September 3rd and 5th from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm EDT at the following number: 1-888-323-4307.  Also use participant passcode 4823348.  Public meetings are open to everyone.  Transcripts of all tribal consultations and public meetings will be posted on the Indian Affairs website.

The Office of Indian Affairs has established a website, where the public can access the proposed rule, a frequently asked questions (FAQs) document, and other information at:  http://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/AS-IA/ORM/83revise/index.htm

Shiprock High School graduate attends town hall with President Obama

WASHINGTON—Shiprock High School graduate Justin Begay participated in a town hall meeting today with President Obama, who announced new commitments in support of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative aimed at providing opportunities for young men of color. Begay was accompanied by his father Ned Begay and will attend Stanford University this fall.

Saying, “America will not succeed unless you succeed,” President Obama announced new commitments including a five-year mentorship program launched by the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association. The partnership will call for 25,000 mentors to connect with men of color. AT&T announced an $18 million commitment earlier this year to support mentoring and other education programs with a mentoring component as part of the company’s $350 million Aspire initiative – focused on high school success and workforce readiness for students at risk of dropping out of school.

The president touted his recent trip to Indian Country and his meeting with young Native men and women when asked about what he would do to preserve Native languages and culture. The president encouraged Native people to learn math, science and engineering and connect it back to Native culture.

Also in attendance at the event were leaders from 60-plus school districts across the country with the Council of the Great City Schools, parents, business leaders, athletes, mayors and lawmakers.

“The Shelly-Jim administration is pleased to have a Navajo youth at this town hall meeting with President Obama. We thank the president and his administration for launching this effort five months ago to bring opportunities to our youth,” said Navajo President Ben Shelly.

Interior Department Announces $2.5 million to Promote Tribal Control and Operation of BIE-Funded Schools

Funding Opportunity Part of Bureau of Indian Education’s implementation of American Indian Education Study Group’s “Blueprint for Reform;” Sovereignty in Indian Education grants will promote tribal self-determination in education through tribal control of BIE-funded schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the Obama Administration’s historic commitment to ensure that all students attending Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools receive an effective education delivered to them by tribes, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced that the BIE will fund $2.5 million in Sovereignty in Indian Education competitive grants. The purpose of these grants is to provide funding to federally recognized tribes and their tribal education departments to promote tribal control and operation of BIE-funded schools on their reservations.

In 2013, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan convened the American Indian Education Study Group to propose a comprehensive reform plan to ensure that all students attending BIE-funded schools receive a quality education. Based on listening sessions held throughout Indian Country, the Study Group issued a Blueprint for Reform on June 13, 2014.  The Blueprint recommends that BIE support tribal nations in their efforts to assume control over BIE-funded schools.

“We believe strongly that American Indian children deserve an academically rigorous, culturally appropriate education.  Beyond providing the skills to succeed economically, honoring tribal cultures and languages is vital to the longevity of tribal traditions, identity and self-confidence,” said Secretary Jewell. “Increasing tribal control over BIE schools recognizes the sovereign status of tribes, provides them with greater discretion in determining what their children should learn and helps increase accountability throughout the BIE-funded school system.  This grant program is one small step towards an important process of supporting more effective and relevant education for American Indian children, with more to come.”

“The American Indian Education Study Group made serious recommendations for improving how federal education services and resources are delivered in Indian Country, and the Sovereignty in Indian Education grant program responds to their concerns,” said Assistant Secretary Washburn.

“With greater tribal control of schools, tribes have more power to infuse schools with tribal cultural values and native languages, both of which can engage children better and help them to succeed.”

The purpose of the Sovereignty in Indian Education grants is to support tribal capacity to fully manage and operate tribally controlled, BIE-funded schools in their communities.  Grant funds will support development of a tribal school reform plan with the goals of improved educational outcomes for students and improved efficiencies and effectiveness in operating the schools.

Furthermore, by unifying a collective body of tribes, this initiative will build a collaborative network to support tribal control and stronger partnerships with BIE-funded schools.

Tribal control of federally funded government programs often improves local service delivery because tribal governments understand the needs of their communities and are more likely to be held accountable for results by their constituents.  The Department of the Interior fully supports tribes’ sovereign right to determine the structure of their own tribal governments and school systems, and seeks to strengthen that support by facilitating the sharing of information on efficient and successful school structures.

“As tribal control of education is a vital part of self-determination and self-governance, the Bureau of Indian Education is strongly committed to ensuring that tribal sovereignty over education is encouraged, supported and strengthened wherever and whenever possible,” said BIE Director Dr. Charles M. “Monty” Roessel.  “Sovereignty in Indian Education grants will assist those tribes seeking to assume operational control over the BIE-funded schools that serve them and those working to develop and build their tribal school systems around BIE schools.”

As part of the program, BIE will provide tribes with technical assistance in planning and implementing assessment and implementation plans and in strengthening tribally controlled school processes.  It also will provide a forum for tribes to work collaboratively with each other to gain insights and develop or share tribal and BIE problem-solving strategies.

Grant awards will range from $100,000 to $200,000 per fiscal year depending on the number of schools involved, number of students, complexity of creating a new tribally managed school system and a tribe’s technical approach.  Eligible applicants include tribal education departments that have three or more BIE-funded schools on their reservations. The deadline for applications is Sept. 12, 2014.

In addition to today’s grant funding announcement, BIE will hold two pre-grant training workshops on Aug. 4 in Rapid City, S.D., and Aug. 6 in Phoenix, Ariz.  For details about Sovereignty in Indian Education grants, click HERE.

Office of Public Affairs-Indian Affairs

U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C St., N.W., MS-3658-MIB

Washington, D.C.  20240

Main Line: 202-208-3710

Press Line:  202-219-4152


16 Students Graduate from Intensive NGS Training Program

LeCHEE, Ariz. ­– Fourteen men and two women graduated this month from one of the most intense training programs in the energy industry to become regular employees at the Navajo Generating Station.

The seven-week-long Power Plant Fundamentals School instructs each new employee in every phase of the power plant’s technical operation, procedures and safety.

The application period for the next Fundamentals School in September opened on July 14 and will close July 25.

To apply online, visit http://www.srpnet.com/jobs/default.aspx

Several of this class’s graduating students have engineering degrees. One has a chemistry degree. Others had years of experience at other power plants, in construction or were recent college graduates. But all agreed with what course instructor Tom Hull told them two months ago when they began.

“This will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do,” Hull said. “We basically teach two years worth of material in seven weeks. So there’s no down time. Everything we teach is important. Everything we teach needs to be learned and remembered.”

The program consists of 10 hours a day of classroom lecture and field work four days a week, about three hours of study each night followed by a weekly test.

At their graduation luncheon, each student expressed a sense of pride and gratitude to their families for support – as much as relief – at his or her successful completion of the training.

Donovan Tsinnijinnie of Coppermine said despite having worked at other plants, it was necessary to study at the library, in restaurants or wherever he could.

“I have an aunt who lives here and I just slept on her floor,” he said. “I’d just go there for five hours a night and I’d wake up at 4 a.m., go to school and I’d study for basically seven weeks.”

The course outline alone is 50 pages long. It includes sections on every aspect of NGS’s parts, equipment, procedures and operations; from electron theory to the railroad that delivers coal, from physics to the properties of superheated steam, from the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902 to the history of why NGS was built where it is on the Navajo Nation.

Phillip Bedonie of Hardrock said he was working for another company when he heard that NGS was seeking applicants for the class. He made it through the competitive interview and selection process to be invited to the school.

“You could get like four to six different topics and you had to learn that within three days, three nights, and the test was on Thursday,” he said. “So definitely the stress was very high, and just to stay afloat, you had to rely on your classmates and your instructors. Sometimes you had to memorize verbatim just so you could pass that test.”

Cleveland Shortman is a father of five from Shonto. He said he’s been on “the power plant trail” for many years, working on everything from new construction to shut downs.

Like others in the class, his wife and children wanted him to be at home more.

“My wife encouraged me and said, ‘You have still enough brain cells left to give it a try and if you pass and go through, you’ll be staying home rather than be going out and traveling on the road.’”

He said he recently bought a shed for his tools but his wife moved a desk into it and told him that’s where he was going to live for the next seven weeks to study. So he did.

“This is something you go through, and for the rest of your life you’ll have a job, security,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Michael Tsingine of Coppermine said everyone in the class was dedicated and motivated to succeed. He said he worked diligently, calling the class a miraculous life-changing opportunity. 

“I did everything I can, and so when the opportunity came back up again, I had no option but to pass this class,” he said. “If I fail this class, that is just like water running through your hands.”

He said he worked two jobs for nine years to provide for his family – which cost him most of the time he had to spend with them. He said his wife Loreal was his inspiration to persevere and succeed.

“You’re going to have to find that reason to do this, and that’s going to have to be your fuel, your motivation, even if you’re running off fumes,” he said.

Mario Gorman of Leupp received his Northern Arizona University civil engineering degree in December. In some ways, he said, this class was tougher than college.

“That was the most writing I’ve done,” he said. “Trying to focus, comprehending what is just being spoken to you, trying to transcribe that and trying to comprehend all that at the same time, you’ve got to make that effort to push yourself, to learn what’s being taught. If you don’t do that you fall behind.”

Cory Stingley of Holbrook applied after his mom showed him an ad in the newspaper. He, too, wanted to end a succession of jobs on the road 

“I’ve worked as a pig farmer, I’ve worked at fast food, I’ve worked construction, concrete, framing, little bit of roofing, did some dry walling,” he said. “And all that wasn’t really as complex as this was.”

Stingley said he has worked at several Arizona power plants. But none impressed as much as NGS, he said.

“I was really amazed,” he said. “All of those plants are nothing compared to this one. This is the cleanest. Spotless. And it’s been running since the ’70s. Some of these plants are newer than that and nowhere compared (to) how nice and clean and kept this facility is.

“You can tell that people take pride in their work out here, and that’s one thing I like,” Stingley said. “I’m looking forward to 20-plus years here.”

Currently, 430 – or 88 percent – of NGS’s 487 employees are Navajo.

This year’s graduates assigned to the Operations Department include Orrin Billy, Colby Gilmore, Mario Gorman, Jeremy Mountain, Shon Redshirt, Durwood Tallsalt, Michael Tsingine, Donovan Tsinnijinnie and Dexter Williams.

Graduates assigned to the Maintenance Department include Bing Bizardie, Phillip Bedonie, Cory Stingley and Tallia Tsinnijinnie.

Graduates assigned to the Railroad/Heavy Equipment Department include Francine Hatathlie, D’Armond Chee and Cleveland Shortman.

NEW GRADUATES – The newest graduates of the NGS Power Plant Fundamentals School are (front row left to right) Dexter Williams, Mario Gorman, Shon Redshirt, Cleveland Shortman, Michael Tsingine, Tallia Tsinnijinnie, D’Armond Chee, Jeremy Mountain, Francine Hatathlie, (back row left to right) Donovan Tsinnijinnie, Jared Fowler, Orrin Billy, Cory Stingley, Bing Bizardie, Phillip Bedonie, Durwood Tallsalt, Colby Gilmore.   George Hardeen Photo

NEW GRADUATES – The newest graduates of the NGS Power Plant Fundamentals School are (front row left to right) Dexter Williams, Mario Gorman, Shon Redshirt, Cleveland Shortman, Michael Tsingine, Tallia Tsinnijinnie, D’Armond Chee, Jeremy Mountain, Francine Hatathlie, (back row left to right) Donovan Tsinnijinnie, Jared Fowler, Orrin Billy, Cory Stingley, Bing Bizardie, Phillip Bedonie, Durwood Tallsalt, Colby Gilmore. George Hardeen Photo