October 10, 2013
With so much happening in Washington D.C. in the past 30 days, this policy update is focusing directly on these issues. The information contained in this month’s policy update is via the National Congress of American Indians; they are on the front lines representing tribes and tribal interests in Washington D.C. Please note, some of the website links may not work; they are not broken, but the Federal government is shutting down some sites during the government shutdown. More information here. On an October 1, 2013, NCAI issued a statement urging congress to reach a long-term budget deal that meets the nation’s obligations to tribal nations.
June 19, 2013
Sequestration continues to be a topic in the news and Indian Country and the news isn’t good. Trying to make sense of the changes and then seeing the severity of the effects is frankly overwhelming. So far, health care and education in Indian Country are reeling from the cuts and the stories are starting to mount. In the words of Mark Trahant, “Indian Country funds are shackled to the sequester.” And according to his analysis, this situation likely won’t change until after the next election, despite all the stories.
May 17, 2013
As we know, sequestration is impacting the federal budget and its effects on Tribal lands continues to be a topic in Washington DC. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and Indian Country leaders met in Washington DC during the week of April 22nd to facilitate a dialogue with the federal government about trust responsibilities. In support of this, NCAI released a paper “Honoring the Promises to Tribal Nations in the Federal Budget.” This paper demonstrates the severity of the impacts of sequestration.
April 8, 2013
Violence Against Women Act
Last month we were celebrating the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. This month we’re seeing a clearer picture of implementation of the act. This legislation is historic, as the act recognizes tribal court jurisdiction (for a good overview read here andhere). However, Alaska Native communities are specifically excluded from VAWA because the provisions provide for tribal court jurisdiction on reservations only and only 1 of the 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska has a reservation (Metlakatla). This means that Alaska Natives are subject to State jurisdiction. There is quite an argument happening right now about what this means. It remains to be seen how this will work out.
March 11, 2013
This week, on March 5th and 6th, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) hosts the Tribal Nations Legislative Summit and 113th Congress Executive Council. Items on the agenda include leadership discussions with Senators and Congresspersons and updates from The President’s Office, Federal Agencies, and the Senate Committee On Indian Affairs. Confirmed speakers include: Senator Tom Udall (NM), Congressman Tom Cole (OK), Congressman Denny Heck (WA), Senator Jon Tester (MT), Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (NM), Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN), Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI), Congressman Darrell Issa (CA), Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ) and Senator Mark Begich (AK).