TITLE: Support for Appropriate Consultation, Collaboration, and Training of Tribal Leaders and Tribal Emergency Management Officials Regarding Promulgation of the Stafford Act Amendments Recognizing Tribal Sovereignty
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, emergency planning for natural and other disasters is critical for all Tribal Nations; and
WHEREAS, a long sought goal of Tribal leaders for treatment in the same manner as a state under the Stafford Act that authorizes tribal leaders to directly seek a Presidential Disaster Declaration and for the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and other federal agencies to assist in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies was realized earlier in 2013 in passage of amendments by Congress, for which the Tribal Nations are grateful; and
WHEREAS, FEMA is now gearing up to train Tribal emergency management personnel, as well as to issue new regulations regarding how Tribes will interface with FEMA and exercise their new authority under the Stafford Act to request the President of the United States to declare a portion or all of their Native Nation as a disaster area; and
WHEREAS, FEMA should be reminded that it is essential for agency officials to consult with Tribal leaders in a respectful government-to-government and Nation-to-Nation manner to discuss the impacts of the Stafford Act provisions on tribal nations and to discuss the purpose, scope and policy behind any proposed regulations before they are published in the Federal Register or posted on-line for further comment.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National NCAI hereby requests FEMA and other relevant federal agency officials to meet and consult with Tribal leaders and Tribal emergency management personnel on a regional and national basis to provide technical assistance regarding all aspects of Stafford Act; and deliberate tribal requirements and responsibilities to ensure promulgation of efficient and effective regulations for tribal governments; 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 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Cox Business Center from October 13 - 18, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a quorum present.