On April 7, 2022 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a request for nominations to form its first standing Tribal Advisory Council (TAC) expected to be composed of a diverse group of tribal leaders (elected or appointed by Tribes); an elected or appointed leader of a state-recognized Tribe and/or Native Hawaiian Organization; and advisors who are experts on tribal and indigenous issues. Urban Indian leaders are encouraged to submit nominations to elevate the voices of the over 70% of American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in urban areas. Nominations should be submitted to TAC@gao.gov no later than May 20, 2022, to ensure adequate opportunity for review and consideration.
Background on GAO TAC
GAO is an independent, non-partisan agency that works for Congress. GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, non-partisan, fact-based information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.
To do so, GAO conducts reviews of federal agencies and programs, including those that serve Tribes, their citizens, and descendants. (GAO generally does not audit Tribes’ activities.) GAO reviews span a broad range of topics of concern to Tribes, including health care, education, economic development, environmental protection, justice, and infrastructure, among others. GAO’s oversight of federal programs that serve Tribes and their citizens aims to help the Congress determine how best to meet the government’s longstanding commitments to federally recognized Tribes.
The TAC will advise GAO on vital and emerging issues affecting Tribes and Indigenous peoples and provide input into GAO’s strategic goals and priorities with respect to the agency’s related work. This may include informing GAO of emerging topics of interest or concern, helping identify relevant stakeholders to ensure GAO work includes a diverse range of tribal and indigenous perspectives, and providing advice to GAO on its process for working with Tribes.
The TAC is expected to be composed of up to 15 members including elected or appointed leaders from federally recognized Tribal entities; an elected or appointed leader of a state recognized Tribe and/or Native Hawaiian organization; and technical advisors who may be representatives of a national or regional tribal or Native-serving organizations or subject matter experts on topics relevant to Tribes and Indigenous peoples.
Call to Action
NCUIH encourages interested UIO leaders to submit nomination materials to GAO by May 20, 2022. AI/ANs living in urban areas face many of the same barriers to accessing resources or representation that AI/ANs living in Tribal communities and reservations face. NCUIH also notes that because approximately 70 percent of AI/ANs live in urban areas, including leaders from urban AI/AN communities will help GAO build on existing strategies to identify solutions directed toward the particular needs of all AI/ANs.