TITLE: Identification of Native Students
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, 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 Title VII, Indian Education program was enacted in the early 1970’s under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with the purpose to address the culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students at the K-12th grade levels; and
WHEREAS, federal funding administered under the U.S. Department of Education for the Title VII Indian Education programs is generated with 506 Forms, in which parents identify their students as Native American or Alaskan Native and provide proof of tribal enrollment of either the student(s), parents or grandparents; and
WHEREAS, recently the Seattle School District disallowed and refused to accept Tlingit and Haida students in the Title VII Indian Education program by “throwing out” the required 506 Forms that included enrollment numbers, simply because parents did not write in the official name of the tribe (for example, the name Tlingit on the 506 Form would be rejected by the school district because the parents did not expressly write in Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska); and
WHEREAS, this capricious action taken by the school district unreasonably and unfairly penalizes Native students of a culture based education by a reduction in funding, limited student services and has negatively impacted the Native community.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby urges the U.S. Department of Education to consult with American Indian/Alaska Native communities to ensure the standards of the Title VII Indian Education program are consistently applied and implemented fairly in the application of program services; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the American Indian/Alaska Natives are the ultimate authority of their tribal membership and must be afforded the opportunity to ensure their rights and privileges as tribal members are valued in perpetuity; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.