TITLE: Support for Parity and Fairness in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
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, NCAI recognizes the important role that food, agriculture, and nutrition play in the social and economic well-being of Indian communities; and
WHEREAS, tribal governments understand and that each have roles and responsibilities in ensuring their citizens have access to healthy and nutritious food; and
WHEREAS, the Indian tribes administer the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) that provides feeding program services and food packages for the most food insecure tribal citizens; and
WHEREAS, the shutdown of the federal government, including major portions of the FDPIR feeding program, the WIC program, and related feeding programs affecting their most vulnerable citizens because food assistance cannot continue without funding or rollover funding; and
WHEREAS, FDPIR programs cannot reject damaged or spoiled food and have to pay for unusable food products which leads to waste of resources on unusable food products; and
WHEREAS, the number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants are expected decease and the continuing “food desert” circumstances in Indian Country persist, the number of tribal citizens participating in FDRIP will increase, making it, in some circumstances, the only food program for tribal citizens in need.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, NCAI calls on the Administration and Congress to: (1) allow full parity in the administration of the FDPIR with states that administer the program to ensure that tribal governments are allowed to carry forward unused funds to establish contingency planning in the event of a funding gap or emergency; (2) amended contract provision related to food delivery to locations and tribal management sites so tribes can reject spoiled or damaged food products; 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.