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The Office of Native Affairs and Policy (ONAP) was established by FCC Order in 2010 to further the Commission's efforts to bring the benefits of modern communications to all Native communities. ONAP assists the Commission in developing policies and programs to address the lack of adequate communications services on Tribal lands nationwide. ONAP plans and leads the Commission's outreach to Tribal governments and organizations, with the objective of increasing their awareness of, and participation in, Commission programs and proceedings. These efforts include disseminating information about Commission initiatives, and ensuring Native views and interests are heard in the decision-making process. ONAP is also responsible for overseeing the work of the Native Nations Communications Task Force.

ONAP has a dedicated staff that maintains an active Tribal consultation, engagement and outreach program in support of the Commission's efforts to close the digital divide, including on Tribal lands. The ONAP team:

  • Ensures robust government-to-government consultation with federally recognized Tribes, Alaska Native Villages, and Native Hawaiian Organizations.
  • Works with Commissioners, Bureaus, and Offices, as well as with other government agencies and private organizations, to develop and implement policies for assisting Native communities.
  • Conducts regional and national Tribal consultation and Tribal training workshops to help build understanding and knowledge of FCC policies and programs that can spur deployment of communications infrastructure and services in historically unserved or underserved Native communities.
  • Regularly represents the Commission at national and regional inter-Tribal conferences.

ONAP Staff

Proceeding of Tribal Interest

Ex Parte Reform NPRM Summary

On July 9, 2020, the Commission released an Ex Parte Reform Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020 NPRM). The Commission's ex parte rules govern when and how outside parties may communicate with the Commission about pending rulemakings and other matters. The 2020 NPRM proposed, among other things, to alter the rules governing ex parte presentations by federally recognized Indian Tribes to facilitate candid government-to-government discussions and presentations between the Commission and individual Tribes in certain circumstances. Under the proposed rule, at the Tribe's option, neither the topics discussed during the consultation nor the fact that a meeting or presentation occurred or the contents of such a meeting or presentation would need to be publicly disclosed; but the Commission would not be able to rely upon any information from the meeting or presentation in its decision making unless the Tribal government agrees to make the information part of the public record.

Obtain a copy of the 2020 NPRM. You can also review public comments on the 2020 NPRM through the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), by searching in GC Docket No. 20-221.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024