TITLE: Support for Providing Relief for American Indian and Alaska Native Farmers and Ranchers with Keepseagle Settlement Funds Prior to Creation of a Foundation
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, farming and ranching have been an integral parts of the economic and social development of many tribes and remain essential to the economic growth of Indian Country; and
WHEREAS, the Keepseagle v. Vilsack class action lawsuit (“Keepseagle”) was filed in 1999 in United States District Court on behalf of all Native American farmers and ranchers who had been discriminated against and denied equal access to credit by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) in the USDA Farm Loan Program; and
WHEREAS, a $760 million Settlement with the USDA was reached in Keepseagle in 2011 (“Settlement Agreement”) to $760 million in monetary relief, debt forgiveness, and tax relief to successful individual Native American farmer or rancher class claimants; and
WHEREAS, many American Indian farmers and ranchers may not have filed claims during the original claims period.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI supports the reopening of the claims process of the Keepseagle Settlement Agreement to additional Track A claimants prior to the creation of a foundation recommended in Resolution #TUL-13-048; 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BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.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.