In Support of Tribal-State Data Sharing Partnerships and Cooperative Agreements

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TITLE: In Support of Tribal–State Data Sharing Partnerships and Cooperative Agreements

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, in public schools, student data is typically kept by state education agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), or institutions of higher education, even when students are citizens of or affiliated with an American Indian or Alaska Native tribal nation; and

WHEREAS, tribal nations and tribal education departments (TEDs/TEAs) often face challenges when acquiring data held by SEAs, LEAs, or institutions of higher education related to Native students; and

WHEREAS, over 93 percent of Native students across the nation attend public schools, which submit data to state and federal governments; and

WHEREAS, SEAs and LEAs often fail to disaggregate data based upon tribal citizenship or affiliation, introducing additional challenges for tribes seeking to support their students; and

WHEREAS, tribal nations contribute millions of dollars to the education of Native students and schools across the country each year – decisions that require highquality data related to tribal students; and

WHEREAS, high-quality data is critical for tribes to make informed programmatic and policy-related decisions that impact Native students and education; and  

WHEREAS, both the lack of access to and the incompleteness of tribal student data are hindering the efforts of tribal nations, TEDs, and TEAs to assist SEAs, LEAs, and institutions of higher education in their efforts to improve education and educational opportunities for tribal students; and

WHEREAS, data access and completeness challenges can and should be remedied by cooperative agreements between SEAs and LEAs and tribal nations, and also by tribal education codes and laws, that require SEAs and LEAs to share tribal student data with tribes, TEDs and TEAs, and require SEAs and LEAs to identify the tribal citizenship or affiliation of tribal students.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), in partnership with the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) and the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA), urges states to work with tribal nations to develop and enact cooperative agreements with SEAs, LEAs, and institutions of higher education that share enrollment data related to Native students that identifies the tribal students’ tribal citizenship or affiliation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI will work in partnership with NIEA, TEDNA, and other partners to support and encourage tribal nations across the United States to establish tribal laws and codes that allow TEDs/TEAs access to Native student data; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI, in partnership with NIEA and TEDNA, encourages national, state and regional Native organizations to pass similar resolutions in support of our Native students; 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.