TITLE: Calling on Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to Allow All Federally Recognized Tribes to Access the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of the youngest federal agencies and engages with tribal nations and thousands of tribal citizens on a daily basis; and
WHEREAS, under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 ( Act), Congress and DHS have provided funding to tribal nations through the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP); and
WHEREAS, the THSGP is the only major source of funding for tribal nations to address all of their homeland security needs; and
WHEREAS, under the Act, only “directly eligible tribes” may apply for the THSGP; and
WHEREAS, in addition to the “directly eligible tribes” limitation, DHS has added an extra requirement that tribal nations must be located on or near 50 miles of an international border or coastline bordering an ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico, or international waters to be eligible to apply for the THSGP; and
WHEREAS, under both limits only approximately 50 of the 573 federally recognized tribal nations may apply for the THSGP leaving the majority of Indian Country without any funding to meet their homeland security needs; and
WHEREAS, tribal nations have been largely left out of Homeland Security funding and efforts, making Indian Country a weak link in the National Security Plan, which could be remedied by proper investments into tribal nations; and
WHEREAS, DHS has a trust responsibility to assist tribal nations in protecting all citizens, Indian and non-Indian who are within their tribal jurisdictions.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) calls upon Congress to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 Act to eliminate the “directly eligible tribes” limit and allow all federally recognized tribal nations the chance to apply for funding under the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls upon the Department of Homeland Security to immediately rescind its additional 50 mile requirement for tribal nations to apply for the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program as the additional requirement has no relation to the national security needs in Indian Country; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2019 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, October 20- 25, 2019, with a quorum present.