The Native Nations Communications Task Force's mission is to provide guidance, expertise, and recommendations to specific requests from the Commission on a range of telecommunications issues that directly or indirectly affect Tribal governments and their people. This will enhance the Commission's ability to carry out its statutory responsibilities to ensure the availability of communications by wire and radio, and encourage broadband deployment, to all Americans. The Task Force consists of up to 26 Tribal and eight FCC senior staff members, each serving a three-year term. The Task Force meets twice a year, once in person in Washington, DC and once in Indian country. These meetings are supplemented by video/teleconferences throughout the year. At the first meeting of each iteration of the Task Force the Tribal members select a Tribal Co-Chair; the FCC Co-Chair is selected by the FCC Chair.
The current Tribal Co-Chair is Sam Cohen, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the current FCC Co-Chair is Bambi Kraus, Office of Native Affairs and Policy. In August of 2022, Chairwoman Rosenworcel extended the original term of the Task Force to October 24, 2023 to provide additional time to further the Task Force’s contributions to the FCC.
The Native Nations Communications Task Force met at the FCC with Commission staff on Nov. 5-6, 2019.
June 1, 2022: The FCC posted a Handbook on Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands adopted by the Tribal members of the Task Force on May 16, 2022. The Handbook is intended to bring awareness of the various steps involved in broadband deployment, whether wireless or wireline, including developing networks, forming partnerships, establishing sound regulatory policies and practices, and creating sustainable business models. It also provides guidance related to assessing both current and future needs and designing systems to meet those needs, whether a Tribe seeks to provide communications services itself or through a third party.
February 2, 2022: In a Public Notice, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the appointment of eight new Tribal members to the FCC's Native Nations Communications Task Force.
June 28, 2021: In a Public Notice, the FCC announced a 12-month extension of the original three-year term current Native Nations Communications Task Force. The term, which was set to expire on October 24, 2021, will now expire on October 24, 2022. This extension takes into account the expansion of the Task Force during its current term, and will allow the expanded Task Force additional time to complete its assigned tasks.
Dec. 31, 2020: The FCC posted a report approved on Dec. 30, 2020 by the Tribal members of its Native Nations Communications Task Force entitled "Recommendations for Improving Required Tribal Engagement Between Covered Providers and Tribal Governments" (download PDF). The report addresses how the Commission can improve engagement over the five elements required by its Universal Service Fund rules, and recommends several additional actions the Commission can take, including the provision of additional guidance, initiating changes through rulemaking and conducting educational outreach programs aimed at producing better and more effective engagement between providers and the Tribes they serve.
May 4, 2020: Tribal Task Force Members' Letter to Chairman Pai Recommending Three-Month Extension of 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window. (PDF)
December 4, 2019: The FCC posted a report from the Tribal members of its Native Nations Communications Task Force entitled "Improving and Increasing Broadband Deployment on Tribal Lands" (download: Word | PDF). The report addresses how to close the persistent digital divide between Indian country and the rest of America. It highlights Tribal success stories and provides potential solutions for policymakers that could benefit residents of Indian Country.
October 24, 2018: Chairman Ajit Pai announced the appointment of Tribal members and FCC members to the FCC's renewed Native Nations Communications Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of elected and appointed leaders, or their designees, from a broad cross section of Native Nations, as well as senior staff and decision-makers from across the Commission. Chairman Pai also named Matthew Duchesne, Chief of the Commission's Office of Native Affairs and Policy, as Co-Chair. The Task Force helps the Commission fulfill its commitment to increase access to broadband and other communications infrastructure deployment and services on Tribal lands.
February 8, 2018: The Commission issued a Public Notice announcing the renewal and renaming of the Task Force and seeking nominations for membership from Tribal Nations. Originally created in 2011 as the Native Nations Broadband Task Force, the Task Force was renamed to reflect its involvement in issues including, but also reaching beyond, broadband deployment. Members serve for three years.
MEMBERS OF THE NATIVE NATIONS COMMUNICATIONS TASK FORCE
Sam Cohen, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Tribal Co-Chair
Honorable Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
Honorable Joe Garcia, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo
Honorable Joey Whitman, Gila River Indian Community
Cliff Agee, Chickasaw Nation
Bill Bryant, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Damon Day, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservations
Daniel Gargan, Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Kristan Johnson, Tohono O’odham Nation
James Kinter, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
Donald Long Knife, Fort Belknap Indian Community
Marissa Merculieff, Aleut Community of St. Paul (ASCPI), AK
Will Micklin, Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians
Allyson Mitchell, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
Travis Noland, Cherokee Nation
Dr. Stacey Oberly, Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Robert Pollard, Blue Lake Rancheria
Theron Rutyna, Ponca Indian Tribe of Nebraska
Kevin Shendo, Pueblo of Jemez
Teresa Taylor, Lummi Nation
Jimmy Williams, Choctaw Nation
Jon Walton, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Karen Woodard, Morongo Band of Mission Indians
The Federal Communications Commission members are:
Bambi Kraus, Office of Native Affairs and Policy, Commission Co-Chair
Derik Goatson, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Sue McNeil, Wireline Competition Bureau
Susan Mort, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
Lisa Scanlan, Media Bureau
David Furth, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
Jim Schlichting, International Bureau
New Appointments to the Native Nations Communications Task Force
FCC Extends Nominations Deadline for Native Nations Task Force
Native Nations Communications Task Force Vacancies
Native Nations Communications Task Force First Meeting Date Change
Native Nations Communications Task Force Notice of First Meeting
New Appointments to the Native Nations Communications Task Force
FCC Renews and Renames Native Nations Task Force
Chairman Wheeler Renews FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force
Application Deadline for FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force
Seeking Nominations for FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force
Chairman Genachowski Names Members to the FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force
FCC Extends Deadline for Nominations of Tribal Representatives to Serve on FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force
EXEMPTION FROM THE FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT
Pursuant to the "intergovernmental communication" exemption of UMRA, the Task Force is not subject to, and is not required to follow, the procedures set forth in the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. App 2 (1988).
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to email@example.com or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice) or (202) 418-0432 (TTY).
For further information, please contact: Janet Sievert, Legal Advisor, Office of Native Affairs and Policy, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, (202) 418-1362, firstname.lastname@example.org.