Back to The Forefront
August 2, 2011
Indian Country Looks Forward Following Debt-Limit Deal
Indian Country Looks Forward Following Debt-Limit Deal

NCAI calls for the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to Consider the Federal Obligations to Indian Tribes

Washington, DC - The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in a statement released today acknowledged the hard work of the President and Congress in averting a debt default by the United States. Immediately following the signature of the bill into law by President Obama, NCAI called on leaders of Congress and the President, to ensure members appointed to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have significant experience with the constitutional federal trust responsibility to tribal nations.

"President Obama and members of Congress worked hard to protect the economic security of our country. Now, there is much more work to be done. As members of the American family of governments, tribal nations will continue the effort to strengthen our economies," said NCAI President Jefferson Keel shortly after President Obama signed legislation to avoid financial crisis. "In order to do so, we call on Congress to appoint members of the new Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction who are well versed in the federal trust responsibility to Indian tribes."

Tribal governments are essential components of the American governmental framework, as assigned in the constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court. It's essential that the commitments to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are honored when appropriating dollars and evaluating spending for education, law enforcement, emergency and disaster funding, infrastructure, health care, and social services.

"Tribal economies have felt some of the most significant pain in this recession. However, we've stayed optimistic about the opportunities available to create greater economic prosperity and we can't let our momentum slow," continued President Keel, the Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. "We are dedicated to engaging in the new energy economy, developing infrastructure, strengthening our schools, and contributing to the economy of the United States. Good fiscal policy for America considers and invests in the unique opportunities presented by the innovation of tribal governments."

Keel concluded by stating, "Tribes understand the need to make government more efficient, however if tribal nations aren't adequately represented on the Joint Committee, the United States will be weaker as a result."

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