The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: In Support of Public Service Media Programs for Alaska Natives and Tribal Peoples
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 State of Alaska is home to 229 federally-recognized Alaska Native Villages, and there are 337 federally-recognized tribal nations in the contiguous United States; and
WHEREAS, Alaska public media including radio and television serve more than 95% of the state’s population, including communities and Native villages in some of the most isolated and remote geographic locations within the U.S. and where broadband has yet to reach many of these communities; and
WHEREAS, all the 53 Native radio stations serve high percentages of tribal populations rely on locally owned and operated public media for information about their public safety, education, economy, health, and cultural and language programming; and
WHEREAS, public media stations in Alaska, Hawaii, and the contiguous U.S. rely on critical funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to provide vital programming services for tribal peoples; and
WHEREAS, recent challenges to cut, reduce, or eliminate funding to the CPB will severely impact Alaska’s public media stations including cutting off the primary source of media communications for many Alaska Native communities; and
WHEREAS, these concerns were realized when Sequestration was triggered in 2013 and there was a five percent reduction in funding from CPB, which affected 30 of the 53 tribally-operated radio stations; and
WHEREAS, CPB funding is also critical to the operations of Native Public Media, Inc. and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation because they ensure that Native radio stations stay “on-air” by providing assistance to maintain compliance with the Federal Communications Commission, and other federal rules and regulations, and by providing the training and support broadcasters need, and programs and content produced by Koahnic and other producers.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI conveys to Congress the critical need to sustain annual funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports Alaska’s public radio and television stations, Native Hawaiian public media services, and tribal radio stations in the contiguous U.S.; and
BE IT FURTHER 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 2014 Mid-Year Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center, June 8-11, 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska, with a quorum present.