Construction Management students build cover for NAAC sweat lodge

MSU BILLINGS NEWS—The Native American Achievement Center (NAAC) at Montana State University Billings is home to the first and only on-campus sweat lodge in the state of Montana. This January, the NAAC partnered with Facilities Services and the City College Construction program for the completion of a wooden cover for the sweat lodge, preventing damage and protecting it from Montana’s weather.

With winter weather upon us, time was limited to construct a substantial snow cover on-site at the NAAC. Facilities Services Director Chris Eagan, alongside Construction Management Instructor David Nedrow and his students were up to the challenge, managing to plan, design, gain approvals, order materials, and build the structure in under a month. After completing the necessary prep work in the shop, the group was able to move on-site and complete the structure in two working days.

This is the second collaboration between Facilities Services and the Construction Program at City College. This November, students helped to complete a storage shed at the Chancellor’s residence in a mere eight days.

Projects like these are influential to student success in the Construction Management program. The project “provides the students real opportunities to receive training and gain experience in a number of hands-on skills, many of which are impossible in our shop setting,” says Nedrow. Students in the program have been able to gain hands-on experience working for real clients, participating in activities such as excavation, concrete work, building layout, and carpentry, which would otherwise be unavailable.

“The best advantage of these projects, however, is our ability to involve the students in the site assessment, budgeting and estimating, planning, material ordering and handling, and other tasks,” shares Nedrow. Students are able to hone their communication skills involved in project management, even if just on a small scale. They are exposed to a number of challenges that real contractors face, coming up with effective ways to overcome them.

“The variety and uniqueness provide the teaching moments we need,” says Nedrow. “We’ve enjoyed the projects so far and look forward to more to come.”

Students in the program are currently working on the partial interior renovation of a 40-year-old rental home located on Rimrock. This project will serve as yet another real-life learning experience for students.

“I believe projects like these and the real world experiences they provide will help our current students learn valuable skills and build marketable resumes,” said Nedrow, “while also providing the exposure our program needs to attract the next class.”

Funds for the sweat lodge were raised by the NAAC and MSU Billings Foundation.

Contact: City College Construction Management Program Instructor David Nedrow, 247-3053, david.nedrow@msubillings.edu<mailto:david.nedrow@msubillings.edu>; Facilities Services Director Christopher Eagan, 406-657-2197, christopher.eagan@msubillings.edu<mailto:christopher.eagan@msubillings.edu>.
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The Trump Administration Deploys the First Biometric Kiosk at a BIA Agency for Foster Parent Background Checks

ANADARKO, Okla. – Today, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney praised the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Anadarko Agency for deploying the first Tribal Access Program (TAP) biometric/biographic kiosk workstation. The TAP kiosk will help process finger and palm prints, take mugshots, and access data with the national crime information databases to better ensure the safety of children in foster care. The BIA Anadarko Agency is the first of 28 BIA Agencies to make a newly installed TAP kiosk operational.

Before a Tribe can place a child into foster care, the Native American Children’s Safety of 2016 (NACSA) requires a criminal records check, including a fingerprint-based check of national crime databases of all adults in a home, and a check of tribal and state abuse and neglect registries where the individual has lived in the past five years. The Act also applies to BIA Direct Services Agencies.

The on-site kiosk at Anadarko will enable the Agency’s BIA-Office of Indian Services (BIA-OIS) Social Service Programs and tribal social services program to vet foster parents more proficiently, as required under NACSA, and will provide the Agency’s BIA-Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) law enforcement personnel direct access to Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services.

“Participation in the TAP will allow BIA-OJS law enforcement officers the ability to directly access criminal databases to keep tribal communities safe and to protect Native children in the foster care system,” said Assistant Secretary Sweeney. “The Trump Administration is proud to bring this state-of-the-art technology and instrumental resource to our law enforcement and social service agencies.”

“We are proud to partner with BIA-Office of Indian Services to deliver access to the TAP kiosk for the purposes of processing quicker background checks on prospective foster parents,” said BIA-OJS Director Charles Addington. “Ensuring the safety of children and the safety of our tribal communities are our top priorities.”

“We appreciate Assistant Secretary Sweeney and BIA-OJS for making this vital background investigation resource available for our social services programs and tribal social service programs,” said BIA-Office of Indian Services Director Spike Bighorn. “Social workers know firsthand the great importance of quickly placing children in need of our intervention into safe homes and this technology will help us accomplish that for the Native children that we serve and protect.”

The TAP kiosk at the BIA Anadarko Agency will be available for following tribes to process background checks pursuant to the provisions of the NACSA:

  1. Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
  2. Caddo Nation
  3. Comanche Nation
  4. Delaware Nation
  5. Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
  6. Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma
  7. Wichita and Affiliated Tribes

The two remaining BIA social services locations, Northern Cheyenne Agency in Lame Deer, Montana and Northern Pueblos Agency in Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico, will install TAP kiosks within the next year. In partnership with the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation, the BIA-OIS at the Fort Peck Agency will begin using the Tribe’s TAP kiosk in 2020.

BACKGROUND

On October 28, 2018, the DOI and DOJ jointly announced a dramatic expansion of DOJ’s TAP, which is offered in two versions, TAP-FULL (with a kiosk) and TAP-LIGHT (without a kiosk), at BIA Agencies. In addition to the three BIA Agencies identified to receive the TAP-FULL Kiosk, 28 BIA-OJS Agencies, including Detention Centers, will gain access to the TAP-LIGHT version by the end of FY 2020. At these agency sites, BIA law enforcement provides service and support to 64 tribes, and of these tribes, 53 tribes did not have any direct or local access to TAP at the time of the October announcement.

The TAP is the federal government’s key program that provides tribes with access to the national crime information databases, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Next Generation Identification (NGI), National Data Exchange (N-DEx), National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP) as well as other national systems such as the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets).

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