Supporting Secretarial Authority in the Department of Interior

Download PDF

The National Congress of American Indians
Resolution #PHX-16-048

TITLE: Supporting Secretarial Authority in the Department of Interior

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 government to government relationship that is established between tribal nations and the federal government is dependent on federal support of tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and the trust responsibility of tribes; and

WHEREAS, Executive authority in Indian affairs is unquestionable due to the extensive legal precedent that has been relied on throughout U.S. history; and

WHEREAS, diminishing Secretarial authority infringes on the government to government relationships where tribes are sovereign nations; and

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court and Congress have recognized that the power of the Executive Branch to engage in diplomatic relations and recognize the existence of a foreign state or an Indian tribe; and

WHEREAS, tribes are sovereign nations that are recognized by the federal government based on treaties, trusts, and federal law that has been reinforced throughout history; and

WHEREAS, tribes are recognized as sovereign entities that are equivalent to nation states.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians does not support any congressional efforts to diminish Secretarial authority in any government to government interaction; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.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 2016 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Phoenix Convention Center, October 9th- 14th 2016, with a quorum present.