FCC Establishes Office Of Native Affairs And Policy
August 13, 2010 at 4:29 AM (PT)
The FCC has established an Office of Native Affairs and Policy to oversee the promotion of communications services and technologies throughout Tribal Lands and Native communities. GEOFFREY BLACKWELL has been named to head the new department, which will operate as part of the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
"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 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," added 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."
Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS issued a statement reading, "This is a day I have long hoped and worked for. The opening of an Office of Native Affairs and Policy to serve Federally-recognized Tribes and other Native organizations is one of the central objectives announced in the National Broadband Plan. The hard work --- and I mean really hard work -- is still ahead of us. I have seen first-hand the unacceptable state of communications throughout much of Indian Country. In so many places where Native Americans live, poverty endures, unemployment is at levels no society should tolerate, education languishes, and basic public safety falls far short of what people have a right to expect. Too many promises have gone unfulfilled, too many grand pronouncements have fallen by the wayside, over generations of our history. Now is the time to redeem those promises, building a trust relationship and using the revolutionary state-of-the-art technologies available to us to make all Americans the beneficiaries of Twenty-first century opportunity and a more fully-shared democracy. I believe we can make it happen."