Support for Tribal Governments Exercising Sovereignty in Food Production and Food Systems to Promote Strong Culture and Healthier Communities

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TITLE: Support for Tribal Governments Exercising Sovereignty in Food Production and Food Systems to Promote Strong Culture and Healthier Communities

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, misguided federal policies have stripped tribal nations of land and access to healthy traditional foods; and

WHEREAS, as a result of these federal policies, all tribal nations face health inequities such as alarmingly high rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses that stem from the limited access to traditional indigenous and healthy foods; and

WHEREAS, there is an urgent need for tribes to devise strategies that strengthen their agriculture, food systems, economies, and the health and well-being of Native children, families, and cultures; and

WHEREAS, tribal governments are seeking to regain control over administration of the food systems that govern their citizens; and

WHEREAS, tribes can exercise “food sovereignty” by focusing on food production for tribal citizens, valuing tribal food providers, localizing food systems, exercising sovereignty through food policy, and building knowledge and skills.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) endorses the exercise of tribal sovereign rights as it relates to food production and food systems, and urges tribal governments to exercise that sovereign right in order to support positive health outcomes among their citizens through protecting, promoting and growing traditional and healthy foods and adopting policies that support their own efforts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI supports and encourages tribal collaboration to strengthen indigenous food systems, and urges all partners and stakeholders in Native health—tribes, federal government, and philanthropic organizations—to consult and cooperate on efforts to prioritize traditional foods, support tribal producers in government food programs and subsidies affecting tribal communities, and support tribal management and control over food, nutrition, and food production programs; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.