FCC Establishes Office of Native Affairs and Policy Headed by Geoffrey Blackwell

NEWS
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
​Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 1-888-835-5322
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
August 12, 2010 Dan Rumelt at (202) 418-7512
e-mail: dan.rumelt@fcc.gov

FCC ESTABLISHES OFFICE OF NATIVE AFFAIRS AND POLICY

Washington, DC — In order to develop and advance an agenda aimed at bringing the benefits of a modern communications infrastructure to all Native communities, the Federal Communications Commission has established an Office of Native Affairs and Policy. The office will work to promote the deployment and adoption of communications services and technologies throughout Tribal Lands and Native communities, by, among other things, ensuring robust government-to-government consultation with Tribal governments and increased coordination with Native organizations.

“Tribal lands and Native communities suffer unacceptably low levels of communications services, especially broadband,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “Increasing connectivity in Native America is one of the FCC’s top priorities. With this new office, the Commission will work closely with Native leaders to develop and implement policies that ensure their communities enjoy the benefits of 21st Century communications infrastructure.”

The office will be headed by Geoffrey Blackwell, and will be part of the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. “The Office of Native Affairs and Policy is a historic milestone and the culmination of many years of effort by leaders in Indian Country and at the FCC,” said Blackwell. “There is a lot of good hard work that remains on the path ahead. As Tribal Nations and Native communities exercise their sovereignty and self-determination to ensure a bright future for their generations, the entire agency now has a new capability to engage with them. Many people throughout the FCC have worked diligently on behalf of Tribes for a number of years. I look forward to working with them to further advance the Commission’s efforts on behalf of Native communities.”

The Office of Native Affairs and Policy will handle ongoing consultation and coordination with American Indian Tribes, Alaska Native Villages, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and other Native and Tribal entities, and will be the official Commission contact point for these activities. It will also engage in work with Commissioners, bureaus, and offices, as well as with other government agencies, private organizations, and the communications industries, to develop and implement FCC policies regarding Tribal Nations and Native communities.

Action by the Commission July 29, 2010, by Order (FCC 10-141). Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker with Commissioner Copps issuing a statement.

— FCC —

Published by Traci L. Morris

Dr. Morris, the Director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. Under her leadership, the AIPI has grown and diversified its service to Indian Country via an MOU formalizing a long-standing partnership with the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) and forming the Tribal Economic Leadership Program offering training in Tribal Economic Governance and Tribal Financial Management; access to Entrepreneurship training and tribal business support through Inno-Nations; and Economic Development Consulting; and, the formalization of the Institute via by-laws and an advisory board comprised of both internal ASU leadership and external tribal and non-tribal leadership. In her work at both ASU and prior, Morris has worked with Native American tribes; Tribal businesses; Native American non-profits; Native media makers, artists, and galleries; written a college-accredited curriculum in Native American new media; and has advocated for digital inclusion at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill. Morris’s research and publications on Native American media and the digital divide is focused on Internet use, digital inclusion, network neutrality, digital and new media curriculums, digital inclusion and development of broadband networks in Indian Country. Her book, Native American Voices: A Reader, continues to be a primary teaching tool in colleges throughout the country. Dr. Morris is Affiliated Faculty at ASU's School for the Future of Innovation in Society, an Affiliate of ASU's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, a Senior Sustainability Scholar at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, President of the Board of the Phoenix Indian Center, Board member of the Arizona American Indian Chamber of Commerce, and on the Advisory Council of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums. Formerly, Morris served member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Labor's Native American Employment and Training Council and served a two-year appointment (2014-2016 and 2010-2012) on the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer Advisory Committee. As an entrepreneur prior to her ASU appointment, Morris founded Homahota Consulting LLC, a national Native American woman-owned professional services firm working in policy analysis, telecommunications, education, and research assisting tribes in their nation-building efforts and working with Native Nations, tribal businesses and those businesses working with tribes. Morris has an M. A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies, in addition to a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Colorado State University.

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