Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association
Resolution No. 22-5-22-12 RESOLUTION OF THE GREAT PLAINS TRIBAL CHAIRMAN’S ASSOCIATION

TO CEASE UNFOUNDED DISMANTLING OF THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, TO REAFFIRM THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS TO PROVIDE THE SERVICES OUTLINED IN ITS BUDGET PROPOSALS INCLUDING ‘IT’, RESTORE SELF-DETERMINATION AND LOCAL AND REGIONAL CONTROL, TO HONOR THE TREATY AND TRUST RESPONSIBILITY OF THE UNITED STATES AND TO SEEK THE FUNDING REQUIRED TO MEET THE TRIBE’S ACTUAL NEEDS IN EACH OF THESE AREAS.

 

WHEREAS, the Great Plains (formerly Aberdeen Area) Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) is composed of the elected Chairs and Presidents of the 16 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 Sovereign Tribes and Nations and their members of the Great Plains Region which comprises the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska; and

 

WHEREAS, through its treaties, statues, Constitution, international law and well-articulated policies, the United States assumed a legal responsibility to protect Indian Tribes; provide them with certain goods and services, guarantee the right of Tribal Self-Government, guarantee the protection and safety of Tribal members, and promote the viability of Indian reservations and lands as permanent homelands for Tribes; and

 

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Indian Affairs was established to implement these core trust and treaty obligations of the United States, and

 

WHEREAS, the BIA Mission Statement is “To enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives.” and

 

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is, and has been since its inception, the primary Federal agency which is ultimately responsible for providing the Tribes with adequate education, law enforcement, burial, Tribal Governmental assistance, land and natural resource enhancement and protection, social services, and administrative support therein including Information Technology services at the Tribe, school, and agency levels, as well as many of their other critically needed services provided to the Tribes under their Treaties; and

 

WHEREAS, these monies and services are not provided by the BIA or the United States as gratuitous grants, they are instead entitlements which the Tribes of the Great Plains Region negotiated for in Treaties for the direct exchange of the land and other rights they were forced to give up in their Treaties; and

 

WHEREAS, this separates these BIA programs and services from other Federally funded programs and services to include the Department of Interior, which are currently included in the discretionary budget of the United States; and

 

WHEREAS, while all of the Federal agencies of the United States have a treaty and Trust Responsibility to the Tribes of the Great Plains Region, only the Bureau of Indian Affairs is designed, structured, staffed and funded in the manner necessary to ensure the provision of these trust and treaty based services on a constant, timely and reoccurring basis; and

 

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Indian Affairs budget has never been adequate to meet the agency’s obligations and it has actually fallen even further behind the actual need over the course of the last ten years; and

 

WHEREAS, rather than increasing the Bureau of Indian Affairs budget to address this shortfall, the Department of Interior (DOI), Indian Affairs, has started moving many of its services such as AS-IA, OST, Law Enforcement, and BIE to DOI and to other Federal entities outside of the BIA.  AS-IA, DOI, and OST do not use the Indian Preference in hiring and most of their staff consists of non-Indian employees. These employees will never work for Tribes to improve Tribal Government which is an original purpose of Indian Preference.  In addition, these offices are located in central locations which are at a great distance from the Indian Tribes and people that they serve, making it difficult for the Tribes to work directly with these divisions at the local level; and

 

WHEREAS, the DOI, Indian Affairs, has not only begun to transfer many core support services

out of the BIA into the DOI but also to other divisions in Interior and even to other Federal agencies, diluting services to Tribes; and

 

WHEREAS, because the DOI, Indian Affairs & Bureau of Indian Affairs and the present and past Administrations have failed to request the funds required to meet the United States’ trust responsibilities in these core areas, the Tribes have been forced to seek an ever increasing percentage of their core funding for law enforcement, courts, roads, education, home repair and a variety of other treaty based programs through competitive grants from other Federal agencies; and

 

WHEREAS, this movement away from adequate funding for the BIA and towards the Tribe’s need to rely on competitive grants from other Federal agencies, has led to a decrease in the services provided, and it has undermined the Tribe’s basic ability to manage their programs; and

 

WHEREAS, the Tribal and BIA programs most affected by this change in Federal policy are core Governmental programs like law enforcement, education, transportation and social services and the administrative services therein such as Information Technology, which need a stable and reliable Federal budget in order to properly operate Large Tribal Governments; and

 

WHEREAS, the Tribal Nations most affected are the Large Tribes who operate large Governments, much like states with large populations numerous Communities, extensive land base, numerous Tribal Programs, i.e. Law Enforcement Departments, School Systems, Transportation Departments, hundreds of Housing sites, water systems, etc. and,

 

WHEREAS, competitive grants are inadequate to serve the Large Governments and Sovereign Nations who signed Treaties in good faith; and

 

WHEREAS, unlike the BIA funding which is available on the first day of the fiscal year, the funding coming from other Federal agencies is often not made available until the third or fourth quarter of the fiscal year, forcing Tribal Governments to delay important procurements hire and then lay off staff, and even go into debt in order to keep their core treaty based programs operating; and

 

WHEREAS, all of this is in flagrant violation of the Federal Government’s Trust Responsibility; and

 

WHEREAS, virtually all of these changes in Federal policy have come about with a blatant disregard for Tribal Consultation, as evidenced by BIA’s IT move to DOI scheduled to begin in July 2012, prior to the last minute scheduled “Tribal Consultation” of June 2012; and also prior to the March 2012 Bronner Report in which Bronner was informed that the IT move was already decided and they were not to discuss it or mention it in their report, and that although this “Tribal Consultation” has yet to even be held, that in May 2012 the details of the BIA IT move to DOI were already briefed as final to the BIA/ASIA employees; and

 

WHEREAS, this “Tribal Consultation” of June 2012 will be held at only one location in the country, And that this location is nowhere near the Great Plains Region, which has one of the largest Indian populations, largest land bases, largest income held in trust, and largest number of Indian schools in Indian Country; and

 

WHEREAS, this action will deeply impact the Great Plains, and moreover, this failure to consult  with the Great Plains Tribes violates the stated policy of the United States, in particular Executive Order 13175 and the stated policy of Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and

 

WHEREAS, many of these Federal decisions have undermined Indian Preference, Tribal Consultation, Tribal contracting policies and jeopardized Tribal Governments; and

 

WHEREAS, collectively these decisions have the end result of diminishing the role of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and

 

WHEREAS, this latest travesty, the DOI’s decision to remove the Information Technology function           from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and move it intact to the Department of the Interior will cause the BIA to lose a large sum of funds, less service to Tribes, as funds for this IT function was intended to be channeled directly to the BIA budget and not DOI: and

 

WHEREAS, the new intended function for IT is to support the DOI’s Mission for improved DOI-wide email systems and other Departmental concerns; and

 

WHEREAS, this action will cause the neglect of Tribal trust programs, Land, Law Enforcement, Indian school functions and other Tribal Governmental services to a degree even higher than has been met by the BIA’s past history; and

 

WHEREAS, in conducting this move without full Tribal Consultation and input from the Tribes, the DOI placed itself out of compliance with the President’s Executive Order; and will heretofore be included in the DOI budget without any Tribal input or design, and will be used for purposes other than for Tribal concerns; and

 

WHEREAS, The United States Congress intended these funds to be utilized within the BIA for Tribal

concerns; and

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association calls upon the Obama Administration, and the Congress of the United States to cease this purposeful, massive dismantling of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association demands Interior adhere to Executive Order 13175 and immediately schedule a Consultation in The Great Plains Region, and

 

NOW BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association calls a halt to empire building and requests an immediate study by an independent contractor to assure adequate funds and services are going to Tribes, Tribal Schools, Law Enforcement etc. for computers, system upgrades, Trust Accounting Management Systems and other necessary functions, and

 

NOW BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association calls a complete halt to the IT Transformation with NO funds being transferred out of the BIA/Indian Affairs until the Study is completed, and

 

NOW BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IT functions be restored to the BIA at once and forevermore in order to ensure that the Trust Responsibilities of the Federal Government to Indian Tribes will no longer be purposely diminished; Indian Preference will be adhered too and the DOI will immediately cease and desist all adverse actions against current and former IT employees who have opposed this move, including those who have filed complaints with various oversight Federal entities; and

 

NOW BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that for these reasons, the GPTCA calls upon all Tribal Nations, the TIBC, other Resource Personnel and our Congressional Delegations for Oversight to stop this grave injustice which will seriously affect American Indian People and dilute the Trust Obligations to the Indian Tribes of the United States.

 

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. 22-5.22.12

 

CERTIFICATION

 

This resolution was enacted at a duly called meeting of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association held at Shakopee, Prior Lake Minnesota on May 22, 2012 at which a quorum was present, with 9 members voting in favor, 0  members opposed,  0  members not abstaining, and 7  members not present.

 

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