FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2018
Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s River Spirit Casino Resort Hosts 2018 National Johnson O’Malley Association Conference
TULSA, Okla. – The 2018 National Johnson O’Malley Association Conference was held April 9 – 11, 2018 at Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s River Spirit Casino Resort.
In regards to educational funding, the NJOMA Conference also discussed funding for Native American students ages three years old through 12th grade.
This year’s conference theme was “Spirit of JOM” and held general assemblies and workshop breakout sessions daily for attendees, which included tribal leaders, teachers, parents and other advocates of Indian education from across the U.S.
MCN Principal Chief James Floyd was also present during Day 1 of the General Assembly and welcomed all in attendance, as well as Jr. Miss Muscogee (Creek) Nation Iesha Phillips and the MCN Honor Guard.
Some of the workshop topics discussed were after-school programs, empowering youth through film production, preparing students for college among other forums specific to Native American students.
The conference also had a focus on the Senate Bill 943, which has been a hot topic for the JOM Program recently.
The NJOMA is a non-profit educational organization, which stemmed from the 1937 Johnson O’Malley Act to appropriate educational funding for Native Americans through a Federal Aid program.
During the Legislative 101 Workshop presented by Steve Pruitt of Watts Partners, he provided an update of where the S.943 Bill is currently standing and what it entails.
Pruitt encouraged the JOM Program advocates to write letters and reach out to local legislators and members of the Congress to encourage S.943 on the federal level.
For the past four years, the JOM Program has been working to make changes to the current funding for the JOM Program to include students with less than one-quarter blood quantum, as well as a recount of students, since there have been no changes to the census student count since 1995.
In 1995, the census data reported 272,000 Native American students eligible for JOM Program activities and funding. However, Pruitt said naturally the student count has increased drastically since 1995 and the number of Native American students able to receive assistance is not accurate.
“If you look at the census data both the 2010 raw data, the 2012 update and now the 2014 update, as well, all of that data suggests that there are over 800,000 kids who have been designated as one tribe only in the census,” Pruitt said.
“We believe right now that if you count everybody who should be currently eligible with the JOM program, there are somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 million kids who are eligible for Johnson O’Malley befits and activities,” Pruitt said. “Now that’s a big leap from 272,000.”
More information regarding S.943 is available online at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/943.