STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
MARCH 20, 2013
Re: Office of Native Affairs and Policy 2012 Annual Report
I would like to thank Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico for joining us, and welcome all the
Tribal leaders who are here today working to extend communications services to Tribal
communities when it is so desperately needed, and where it can do so much good.
I know many of you are here not only to support the great work the Office of Native Affairs and
Policy (ONAP) has done, but as part of the Native Nations Broadband Task Force, and I want to
thank you for your work. This Task Force has been critically important in helping us renew our
policy agenda for Indian Country and revitalize our Tribal consultation and training program.
In particular, I would like to welcome Task Force members Matthew Rantanen of the Southern
California Tribal Digital Village, Peal Mikulski of Kewarak in Nome, Alaska, and Howard
Brown of the Tulalip Tribes. Each of these Task Force members played a key role in helping us
in our consultation and training efforts last year in their respective regions of Indian Country.
The Commission’s relationship with Tribal Nations has grown very strong over the past few
As the Executive Director of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Economic Development Authority
wrote to me after meeting with our ONAP team: “I came away believing… most importantly that
we have high level knowledgeable and helpful friends at the FCC, who are genuine, and
concerned about our success.”
Specifically, since the creation of the Office of Native Affairs and Policy in 2010 and the launch
of a new regulatory agenda on Native Nations Day 2011, we have established a strong
connection with Indian Country that ensures Tribal issues are of critical concern in every major
This connection has been both broad and deep. Since the creation of ONAP, the Commission
has touched over 400 Tribal Nations.
ONAP has met with leaders of hundreds of Tribal Nations and visited 42 reservations, including
many in places the Commission had never gone before: places like the Native Village of Noatak,
100 miles north of the Arctic Circle and accessible only by air; Micmac and Maliseet lands in
northernmost Maine; and, Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok lands on the Klamath River in Northern
We held 6 regional consultation and training seminars in fiscal year 2012, three times more than
in any prior year, with four of them in places where we had never done outreach. These training
sessions were attended by representatives of over 120 Tribes.
We heard from Tribes across the country that these sessions were light years ahead of previous
efforts in their sophistication and engagement. These consultation and training sessions have
become a hallmark of the Commission’s efforts to exercise its nation-to-nation relationship with
The unique relationship we have developed has presented multiple opportunities to address the
lack of services on Tribal lands.
Building on the success of the Mobility Fund last year, which was the first ever use of a reverse
auction for universal service support, I am pleased to announce that the Commission is moving
ahead with our second USF auction, which will dedicate $50 million to expanding mobile
service on Tribal lands.
I am also pleased that the Commission was able to provide the first full power Tribal commercial
FM allotments, one in New Mexico, which I mentioned earlier, and a second for the Hualapai
Tribe, in Peach Springs, Arizona.
A theme running through all of our work is the involvement of Tribal Nations themselves in
developing the solutions. Tribal Nations have not always had a seat at the table. But the full
involvement of Tribal Nations is now recognized as key to unlocking the digital divide on their
The credit for creating these opportunities is due to the work of individuals throughout Congress,
the Commission, and beyond, but particularly the leadership of our ONAP team, and I thank
them for their efforts.
The work is not done, and I look forward to working in concert both with Tribal Nations and the
industry to create greater opportunities and incentives for Native communities.