TITLE: Supporting the Utilization of U.S. Census Data for Updating the Johnson-O’Malley Student Count
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 National Johnson-O’Malley Association (NJOMA) is the elected advocate representing students, ages 3 through high school, who are enrolled in or eligible for enrollment in Federally-recognized tribes and not attending or served by Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, and currently being served from respective tribal jurisdiction boundaries and service areas; and
WHEREAS, NCAI and NJOMA have established a consensus that the academic, social and economic well-being of our Indian and Johnson-O’Malley (JOM) students are our highest priority; and
WHEREAS, the JOM funding and the certified student count of 278,000 has been frozen at its 1995 level; the current student count of 321,250 was updated by the BIE in 2012; however, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 798,486 American Indian and Alaska Native alone students in the age group eligible to receive JOM assistance, and 1,469,722 American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in any combination students, 93 percent of whom attend Public Schools, which leaves more than 400,000 students with unmet needs; and
WHEREAS, without continued and appropriately assumed levels of annual Congressional funding, JOM programs that foster specialized, culturally sensitive and unique educational programs that develop leadership skills of future tribal leaders necessary to promote positive academic, social and economic changes in Indian communities will slowly cease to exist; and
WHEREAS, the United States Congress is not being annually informed of positive impacts and outstanding achievements of the supplement education programs provided by JOM funds; nor are sufficient steps being taken to insure the full participation of all eligible Indian students and the public schools they attend.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI joins NJOMA, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) and the Tribal Education Departments National Association (TEDNA), in support of efforts to use U.S. Census data for a student count for the JOM program and for funding level determinations; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls for the use of a uniform allocation funding formula based on U.S. Census data as it is currently being the most accurate projection of the JOM-eligible student population; and work with tribal communities to identify their actual count; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI welcomes the opportunity to work with NJOMA, NIEA, USET, TEDNA and other stakeholders in developing and enacting federal policy and regulatory measures the modernize and position the Supplemental Indian Education Program (known as the Johnson-O’Malley Program) as a sustainable program whose future funding levels are adequate for assistance of all eligible students to achieve academically so they may become the future leaders of tribal nations and promote positive academic, social and economic changes for future generations; 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 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.