Support for adequate funding for the Native American Business Enterprise Centers (NABEC), including the one at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) that serves North and South Dakota, and expressing concerns about proposed changes in the program that would expand its scope without adequate funding increases
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) is composed of the 16 elected Chairs and Presidents or their duly appointed representatives of the sovereign Indian Tribes and Nations recognized by Treaties entered into with the United States that are within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association was formed to promote the common interests of the Great Plains sovereign Indian Tribes and their members in the states of ND, SD and NE; and
WHEREAS, because the United States exists on lands taken from the Tribal Nations, it has assumed a fundamental trust responsibility for the Tribal Nations and their citizens, regardless of where they live; and
WHEREAS, one of the trust responsibilities is to develop economic opportunity for Tribal citizens, and a part of this responsibility has been carried out through the creation of Native American Business Enterprise Centers, (NABECS), which are scattered throughout Indian Country and administered by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a part of the U.S. Commerce Department, but which is not specifically authorized in Federal law; and
WHEREAS, the NABEC that serves North and South Dakota is located at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), and has been operation for at least the past 25 year, and assisted in the creation of several hundred business creating thousands of jobs within Indian Country in our Region; and
WHEREAS, the NABEC at UTTC has carried out its responsibilities even though it has received declining funds and has been burdened with increased reporting requirements and metrics which do not effectively measure the impact of the new businesses in Indian Country and in the rural areas in which these businesses are located; and
WHEREAS, the MBDA has now proposed drastic and substantive changes to the NABEC program, which would increase the scope of its services, both programmatically and
geographically, change its name to MBDA Business Centers, which would only have an “emphasis” on serving Native Americans, while only providing a modest increase in the already too low funding levels for the programs; and’
WHEREAS, the reasoning behind the change is to create a “more cohesive program” and to “expand into the promotion of export initiatives and international deals in alignment with President Obama’s National Export Initiatives.”; and
WHEREAS, the goals of the changes may be laudable but such changes may place unnecessary burdens on the NABECs; including a dilution of their functions and effectiveness within Indian country, particularly in a region such as the Great Plains where long distances and difficult weather provide additional barriers to effective use of the limited funds available; and
WHEREAS, UTTC is providing comments opposing the proposed changes without substantial additional funding, and also opposes the rebranding of the NABECs as MBDA Business Centers; and urges the Great Plains Tribes to similarly oppose the suggested changes to the NABEC program, or at least to wait to make such changes for an additional three-year cycle of funding, while at the same time recognizing the need for the NABECs to work together and to take advantage of export and international deal opportunities as they arise; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Commerce does not yet have a consultation process for working with Tribal Nations, more than two years after being required by President Obama to develop such policy, and has not adequately considered the views of Indian Country and Tribal Nations in relation to the proposed changes to the NABEC program.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) hereby supports increased funding for the NABEC program as administered by the MBDA under the U.S. Department of Commerce; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that GPTCA hereby opposes the suggested changes to the NABEC programs, including the rebranding of the programs, until such time as adequate consultation is conducted with the affected Tribal Nations in the Great Plains and elsewhere, and adequate funding is available to ensure the efficacy and usefulness of the changes proposed, and urges its member Tribal Nations to pass similar resolutions of concern and opposition to the proposed changes in the NABEC programs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that GPTCA hereby urges its member Tribal Nations to comment on the proposed changes to the NABEC programs, and authorizes its Executive Director to communicate its concerns about the proposed changes to the NABEC programs to the MBDA, the Obama Administration, and to the respective Congressional delegations of North and South Dakota; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution shall be the policy of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association until otherwise amended or rescinded or until the goal of this Resolution has been accomplished.
This resolution was enacted at a duly called meeting of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association held at Ft. Yates, North Dakota on March 16, 2012 at which a quorum was present, with ___ members voting in favor, ___ members opposed, ___ members abstaining, and ___ members not present.
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