TITLE: Support for Executive Order Prohibiting Federal Employees from Advocating Reduction of Trust Responsibility
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, President Barack Obama has strongly supported the upholding of the United States’ trust responsibility to Indian tribes; and
WHEREAS, a disturbing trend is apparent in actions of employees of the Interior Department who advocate reduction or limitation of trust responsibilities such as placing a five year limit on the time during which tribal funds may be held in trust; and
WHEREAS, employees of the Department of Justice have advocated positions in court that would improperly limit or terminate the United States’ trust obligations concerning federal management of tribal trust funds and resources; and
WHEREAS, employees of the Interior Department have drafted and advocated legislation which would terminate the United States’ trust obligation pertaining to protections of tribal trust resources and senior tribal water rights.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI opposes the action of federal employees to limit or abolish federal trust responsibilities to protect tribal funds and natural resources; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI hereby petitions the President to issue an Executive Order barring federal employees from proposing or advocating reductions of the United States’ existing trust responsibilities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI hereby petitions relevant Congressional committees to exercise their oversight authority to help ensure that the Executive Branch brings the same honor to fulfilling and defending its trust responsibilities that the United States had when these commitments were first made so many years ago as the foundation of the federal-tribal government-to-government relationship; 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 2012 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Sacramento Convention Center from October 21-26, 2012 in Sacramento, California, with a quorum present.