Happy New Year!

Friends,

Yesterday President Obama issued “A Renewed Era of Federal-Tribal Relations”, a progress report on the activity his Administration undertook during his eight years.  During his tenure, President Obama met annually with tribal leaders at the White House – this has never happened before.  He signed Executive Order 13,647 on June 26, 2013 creating the White House Council on Native American Affairs whose purpose is to bring together Federal Departments and Agencies to break down the siloes in order to better serve Indian Country.

The report “intends to set a baseline of progress for Tribal nations to reference in their ongoing work with the federal government” and “shares priorities that the WHCNAA will continue to work on as a result of Tribal leaders’ recommendations.”  The WHCNAA is a product of an Executive Order which could be rescinded by the incoming President as could  Executive Order 13, 175 on Tribal Consultation.  These Executive Order’s have been critical to achieving the successes we have seen under President Obama.  However, it is incumbent on us to remain vigilant in continuing to advocate for the type of progress we saw under President Obama.  In 16 days, we will have a completely new Administration with new people to educate while advocating on behalf of our communities.

I attended the President-Elect’s Tribal Listening Session in Washington, D.C. before Christmas and was encouraged by the number of tribal leaders and representatives present at the meeting.  But we cannot afford to lose any  momentum gained under President Obama.  This means being present and vocal in Washington D.C.

2016 was a real roller-coaster.  Here’s hoping 2017 is smooth sailing….

In peace with hope for good year,

L

 

The 8th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference is coming up soon!  If you are interested in attending the Conference and surrounding events, it is critical to make your hotel reservations NOW!  On Saturday, September 24 is the opening of the National Museum of  African American Art and Culture on the Mall and it will be a huge event with President  Obama speaking at the opening.   As with the opening of the NMAI, there will be several days of events.    Also on Saturday the 24th is the National Book Festival at the Convention Center which draws about 100,000 people although that might not affect hotel reservations.  These events will cause travel overlap and shortage of in-town hotel rooms.

The 8th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference will be held on September 26-27, 2016 in Washington DC. This will be President Obama’s eighth Tribal Nations Conference, bringing tribal leaders from across the country to interact directly with high-level federal government officials and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs.

NCAI will co-host a Tribal Leaders Preparatory Meeting on Sunday, September 25, 2016 from 10:00am-5:00pm. The meeting will be at the Washington Plaza Hotel located at 10 Thomas Cir, NW, Washington, DC 20005.  There will also be a reception following the Conference.

For questions about the White House Tribal Nations Conference itself please go to: www.whitehouse.gov/tribalnationsconference 

For a recap of last year’s meeting and to review the 2015 tribal leader’s briefing book, please visit the 2015 Tribal Leaders Conference Event Page on NCAI.org.

Let us know if we can assist,

L

On June 22, 2016, the President signed HR 812 as PL 114-178, the Indian Trust Asset Reform Act (Act). The Act reaffirms the responsibility of the United States to Indian tribes; authorizes a demonstration project for tribes to voluntarily negotiate with the Secretary of the Interior to manage their own trust assets; creates the option for the Secretary to establish an Under Secretary for Indian Affairs; and sets up a process to terminate the Office of the Special Trustee.

In other words, this is a VERY big deal.  There have been numerous lawsuits filed against the federal government for failing to appropriately manage tribal trust assets and, in the spirit of self-determination, this legislation begins to hand some of that management back over to tribes.  In a Congress bogged down by election partisan politics, Indian Country continues to chip away at issues important to us and find some success.

HR 812 was introduced by Representatives Simpson (R-ID); Cole (R-OK); and Heck (D-WA). Companion legislation was introduced by Senator Crapo (R-ID). A copy of HR 812, as presented to the President for signature, is here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114hr812enr/pdf/BILLS-114hr812enr.pdf

Read more from our General Memorandum here

Happy Tuesday!
Lael