Appreciation for Robert Holden

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TITLE: Appreciation for Robert Holden

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 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 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, Robert Holden, the Deputy Director of NCAI, is preparing for a well-deserved retirement; and

WHEREAS, Robert started at NCAI in 1984 and for 33 years has graciously shared his tenacity, resilience, intelligence and compassion to make lasting change for tribal nations; and

WHEREAS, Robert’s leadership and commitment to the mission of NCAI has stabilized the organization through many internal and external changes; and

WHEREAS, for more than a decade Robert managed the important National Indian Nuclear Waste Policy Committee, with Russell Jim of the Yakama Nation serving as Chairman, at a time when Congress was considering the creation of a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain and the movement of significant amounts of high-level nuclear waste across many reservations; and

WHEREAS, Robert Holden has been a leader in promoting emergency and radiological preparedness and transportation safety and urged proactive steps to address impacts on Indian tribes and provide emergency response capabilities; and

WHEREAS, Robert Holden’s work led directly to the Stafford Act amendments authorizing Indian tribes, as sovereigns, to make disaster declarations directly to the President of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Robert has been consistently committed to working with Native Veterans, and the expansion of tribal veterans services and Robert has kept forth issues such as the Native Code Talker Bill and a National Indian Veterans Memorial, and fought to keep the Veterans Committee going for every veteran to attend at no cost; and

WHEREAS, Robert has maintained exemplary commitment to voting participation in Indian Country; and

WHEREAS, in all of Robert’s work, his support for the capacity of tribal government to take on challenges of increasing technical complexity has been one of the anchors of the Self-Governance movement, particularly in law enforcement and public safety; and

WHEREAS, Robert has developed and maintained hundreds of relationships with tribal leaders from around Indian country, building trust with NCAI; and

WHEREAS, Robert plans to continue as an ambassador for NCAI, participating in the NCAI gatherings, continuing his lifelong commitment to advancing tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and the federal trust responsibility; and

WHEREAS, words cannot capture the immeasurable spirit and incomparable contributions of Robert Holden to NCAI and to the whole of Indian Country.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) expresses deep appreciation, love, gratitude, friendship, and respect for Robert Holden.