Resolution urging the National Indian Health Board, in its national advocacy efforts, to work more effectively with leadership of Federal Recognized Tribes with significant populations in national health care advocacy efforts, and to recognize in their advocacy that it is the leaders of the various Tribal Nations in the United States that speak on behalf of Indian tribes in relation to health care issues facing Tribal Nations, not unelected officials..
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) is composed of the elected Chairs and Presidents or their duly appointed representatives of the sovereign Indian Tribes and Nations recognized by Treaties 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 Nebr.; and
WHEREAS, Tribal Nations within the United States have entered into solemn and sacred treaties with the United States in which their sovereign status is recognized, as provided in the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, Under many of those treaties, and subsequent laws as passed by the United States Congress, the United States of America has a fundamental trust obligation to the Tribal Nations of the United States regarding health care, and the U.S. and has generally failed to meet that obligation to the Tribal Nations, especially to those with large populations that are in rural areas, and to whom direct services are provided; and
WHEREAS, The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is an organization funded in part by the Indian Health Service (IHS) that exists to, among other things, provide information regarding health issues that affect Native Americans and Tribal Nations in the United States, and that assists the United States Congress to enact legislation affecting the provision of health care in Indian country and in other educational roles, but NIHB does not require that its Board of Directors be composed of elected tribal leadership; and
WHEREAS, For the past 12 years, the NIHB has played a key role in the introduction of amendments to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), a separate piece of legislation not yet enacted by Congress, and more recently has provided important legislative assistance regarding Medicare and Medicaid eligibility and repayment issues, which resulted in legislation being included in the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that will benefit Tribal citizens and health care, efforts about which the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association is appreciative; and
WHEREAS, In its various roles, and in its relations with Congress, the NIHB has often not involved or even recognized properly the elected leadership of the Tribal Nations with the largest populations and with the largest health care needs, resulting in advocacy and educational efforts that appear to favor smaller Tribal Nations who have a different relationship with the federal government than do the large population tribes whose health care needs are generally met directly by the Federal government through the Indian Health Service; and
WHEREAS, As Congress again considers introduction of amendments to the IHCIA, it is critical that the interests of those Federally Recognized Tribes with the greatest need, that have the largest populations, and which are directly served by the Indian Health Service be adequately met in the bill; and
WHEREAS, It is also important that the elected leaders of those Federally Recognized Tribal Nations with the greatest health care needs be a significant part of the discussion of how the United States can meet its health care obligation to Tribal Nations, and that the NIHB in general defer to the elected leaders of Tribal Nations with the greatest need and largest populations with regard to health care issues and legislation, including the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, that affects health care provided in those Nations directly and that will impact large number of Tribal citizens; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby directs the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) to consult more extensively and to work more closely with the elected leadership of Federally Recognized Tribal Nations who have the greatest health care needs and who have the largest populations before making legislative proposals to Congress that affect all Tribal Nations and their citizens, including those Tribal Nations whose health care needs are supplied by direct services through the Indian Health Service; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby strongly urges its member Tribal Nations to work to influence the agenda of the National Indian Health Board so that it can better serve the health care needs of those Tribal Nations with large populations and which have the greatest need for improvement in health care delivery systems; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association directs the National Indian Health Board to recognize that the NIHB or Consultants cannot, and should not attempt, to speak for all Tribal Nations in their advocacy and education efforts with the federal government regarding health issues, as that is the role of elected Tribal leadership and their representatives on a government-to-government and Nation-to-Nation basis, and that it should clearly state the limitations of its organizational status with regard to representation of the various Tribal Nations affected by such advocacy and educational efforts; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby strongly urges the Presidential Administration of Barack Obama and the appropriated elected leadership of both houses of Congress, to the maximum extent possible, to work directly with the elected leadership of the Federally Recognized Tribal Nations with whom the United States has a government-to-government and Nation-to-Nation relationship based on Treaties between Tribal Nations and the United States in regard to health care and health care reform, rather than through consultants or umbrella organizations or such as the National Indian Health Board; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby strongly urges all federal government officials, including all members of Congress, and the relevant committees and their staffs, to recognize that organizations such as the National Indian Health Board do not necessarily represent the views of elected Tribal leadership; do not necessarily represent the views of the majority of Native Americans, including the many Tribal citizens who reside on or near Indian reservations and who are citizens of Federally Recognized Tribal Nations whose populations and elected leadership are not adequately represented on the Board of Directors of the National Indian Health Board; 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.
Resolution No. 06-02-21-09
This resolution was enacted at a duly called meeting of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association held at Rapid City, South Dakota, on February 20-21, 2009, at which a quorum was present, with 13 members voting in favor, 0 members opposed, 0 members abstaining, and 3 members not present.
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