TITLE: Promoting Tribal Nation Access and Use of Spectrum for Communications Services
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, approximately 90% of Native Americans living in Indian Country do not have access to Internet connectivity and the economic, cultural and human significance of that fact cannot be underestimated; and
WHEREAS, connecting Indian Country to broadband with the rest of the world can reverse centuries of neglect and isolation and enable Tribal Nations to shape the future health and welfare of their communities with critical communications infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, broadband has the potential to assist Native American people in securing their rightful place in a world economy of ideas and opportunities; and
WHEREAS, access to currently licensed spectrum is absolutely necessary as many communities and entire Tribal Nations have not seen the full benefit of the services that could and should be provided on these licenses; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Office of Native Affairs and Policy (FCC-ONAP) is well positioned and respected throughout Indian Country to consult and coordinate with Tribal Nations as the FCC acts on important proceedings that impact Tribal Nations; and
WHEREAS, with the creation of the Tribal Mobility Fund together with the Connect America Fund provisions requiring engagement with Tribal Nations on many important broadband deployment issues, Tribal Nations are still waiting for the promulgation of important rules to increase tribal access to spectrum; and
WHEREAS, the attached letter dated July 19, 2012, NCAI President Jefferson Keel filed a letter to the FCC under WT Docket No. 11-40, highlighting critical issues for the FCC to act to increase tribal access to commercial wireless spectrum.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that in order to fully understand the true availability of communications service on tribal lands, the FCC must, as a threshold matter, consult with Tribal governments to ensure Tribes are receiving good faith, responsive, fair treatment and deployment of broadband infrastructure in accordance with tribal sovereignty; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI reaffirms Resolutions MKE-11-007 and LNK-12-007, and calls for the FCC to implement a Tribal Priority in the rules inclusive of commercial mobile radio services and wireless spectrum that can be used to deploy critical important and robust broadband services; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI, by our membership, adopts the comments made in the attached letter from NCAI President Jefferson Keel to the FCC; 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.