TITLE: Amending the Alaska-Specific Provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act to Include All Federally Recognized Tribes and Afford Flexibility in the Design of Tribally Administered TANF Programming
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, tribes administer programming and providing effective services to move their members from welfare to work under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA); and
WHEREAS, under the Act, the overwhelming majority of all Native Temporary for Needy Families (TANF) are being served through innovative, tribally designed and tribally administered programming; and
WHEREAS, the Act includes two provisions regarding tribal administration of TANF programs which are specific to federally recognized tribes in Alaska; and
WHEREAS, the act redefines and lists tribes in Alaska as the Metlakatla Indian Community of Annette Islands Reserve and 12 specific regional Alaska Native nonprofit corporations; and
WHEREAS, only one of the 229 federally recognized tribal governments in Alaska is authorized to receive direct funding to administer TANF programming; and
WHEREAS, the act requires that tribal TANF program plans in Alaska provide services comparable to those provided under the states TANF plan; and
WHEREAS, under the act none of the 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska are afforded the same degree of flexibility to design their own individualized plan of program plans as other tribes, states and territories; and
WHEREAS, under the PRWORA all states all territories and all other federally recognized tribes (except tribes in Alaska) are afforded government to government recognition, access to direct funding and full authority to design individualize plans according to the broad parameters of the statute; and
WHEREAS, the Alaska specific provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act minimize Alaska Native tribal recognition and application of the government to government relationship between the federal government and federally recognized tribes and are contrary to the long-standing federal Indian policy of self-determination.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the current federal statute mandates that funding for tribes under the PRWORA is based upon the amount of funding spent on their population in their service area in 1994 and shall not be affected if federally recognized tribes in Alaska were afforded the authority to administer their own tribal TANF program, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI call upon Congress for the Alaska specific provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act to be amended so that tribes in Alaska can be afforded the same flexibility to design and administer TANF programming as all other federally recognized tribes, states and territories; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Alaska Regional Native Non-Profit organizations cited in the statute must be authorized to administer programming under the PRWORA through resolution by the federally recognized tribes included in the service area of their TANF plan; 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 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.