TITLE: In Support of a Dedicated Annual Budget for the Federal Communications Commission, Office of Native Affairs and Policy
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, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Office of Native Affairs and Policy (FCC-ONAP) to meaningfully engage with Tribal Nations on a government-to-government basis to address the dire nature and deep void of communications services on Tribal Lands; and
WHEREAS, since its establishment, the FCC-ONAP has consulted with Tribal Nations across the United States resulting in the most comprehensive engagement of Tribal Nations on the deployment and adoption of communications services on Tribal Lands; and
WHEREAS, the tribal engagement and consultation by the FCC-ONAP has resulted in rules that include Tribal Nations in the National Broadband Plan, the Connect America Fund and Tribal Mobility Fund, reforms to the Lifeline and Link Up Programs, other universal service reforms, and further rulemakings; and
WHEREAS, in the short two years since its establishment, the FCC-ONAP has assisted Tribal Nations by ensuring that their voices are included and present in all relevant FCC proceedings and initiatives; and
WHEREAS, the FCC-ONAP does not have an annual dedicated budget and this in turn results in a heightened level of uncertainty as to whether the FCC’s engagement with Tribal Nations will continue on critical, current and pressing communications matters; and
WHEREAS, NCAI previously adopted Resolutions RAP-10-006 and MKE-11-006 in support of dedicated funding for the FCC-ONAP, recognizing the integral role the FCC-ONAP plays in ensuring tribes are included in FCC proceedings and initiatives.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the leadership of Tribal Nations through the NCAI, implore the FCC to prioritize and fully fund the FCC-ONAP on a dedicated and annual basis so that it will continue the progress of its important work in engaging Tribal Nations on current and critical communications issues; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI reaffirms Resolutions RAP-10-006 and MKE-11-006 in support of funding and fully staffing the FCC-ONAP; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI urges the FCC to dedicate $2 million annually to the FCC-ONAP budget in support of the FCC’s outreach, training, and consultation with Tribal Nations; 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 2012 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Sacramento Convention Center from October 21-26, 2012 in Sacramento, California, with a quorum present.