TITLE: To Develop and Support Substantial and Meaningful Language for Tribal Transportation Authorization and Appropriation
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, most Tribal Nations within the United States have a tremendous need for adequate funding for transportation facilities maintenance, construction, and operations within their lands; and
WHEREAS, the current version of the federal highway bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the Twenty-First Century (MAP-21) which is only authorized for two years, effectively lowered the level of funding for the Tribal transportation program that had been funded in previous bills as the Indian Reservation Roads program and with an amended formula that provided more emphasis on tribal population and miles of tribal and BIA roads that are within any given Native Nation; and
WHEREAS, the current version of the federal highway bill will expire on September 30, 2014; and
WHEREAS, nationally, the Tribal Nations need for transportation funding is far greater than what is currently authorized per year to meet the needs of transportation facilities maintenance, construction, and operations that are within the jurisdictions or authority of the tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, for all Tribal Nations to meet their transportation needs, it is critical for the transportation experts and the Tribal leaders to agree on a common strategy to improve the Tribal transportation provisions within the current federal highway bill and future highway bills, and to identify the key Congressional representatives and their staffs that will be working on the new transportation bill in the next session of Congress.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI hereby urges that a conference of tribal transportation leaders and tribal leaders be held in the very near future to discuss the language that should be inserted into the next transportation bill; to determine the level of funding and any change in language that is desired and strategies for obtaining; and to communicate the results of that conference to members of Congress and the Administration; 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 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Cox Business Center from October 13 - 18, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a quorum present.