TITLE: In Support of Universal Broadcast Service Over Tribal Lands
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 U.S. Congress through the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as amended, declared “it is in the public interest to encourage the growth and development of public radio and television broadcasting, including the use of such media for instructional, educational, and cultural purposes;” and
WHEREAS, fifty-three Native licensed radio stations currently serve Tribal Communities across the United States providing critical news, information and Native language programming to over half a million listeners on the terrestrial network alone; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress according to the 1967 Act appropriates funding on an annual basis for public radio and television through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) “to complement, assist, and support a national policy that will most effectively make public telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States;” and
WHEREAS, thirty of the fifty-three Native licensed non-commercial educational radio stations are in the CPB’s Community Service Grant program receiving over $4 million in critical annual funding support; and
WHEREAS, the proposed sequestration of federal funding at 8.2% will result in a reduction of CPB’s funding of $36 million for both radio and television stations and a reduction of 8.2% overall for Native radio stations who rely on CPB funding for their annual operations; and
WHEREAS, the Native radio stations serve the most invisible, unserved and underserved populations in the United States and are among the most vulnerable to funding cuts due to the economic, rural and challenging nature of the tribal communities Native radio serves; and
WHEREAS, the Native radio stations are often the only means of news and information for tribal communities located in some of the most rural and geographically isolated regions of the United States.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI urges Congress to support the CPB in providing a funding safety net for Native radio stations to ensure that these stations will remain on air to provide vital and critical programming including public safety communications for tribal communities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the CPB engage in meaningful consultation with Tribal Nations on the future of public broadcasting that promotes greater universal service of valued public service media to current and more tribal communities; 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.