Support for adequate funding for job training programs, including the Workforce Investment Act, and opposition to HR 3610 in the 112th Congress which would eliminate authority for programs that benefit Tribes and Tribal citizens
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, the United States has recognized the sovereign status of Tribal Nations through the U.S. Constitution, treaties and by numerous federal statutes, and as a result, has established a political relationship with the Tribal Nations, as is set forth in treaties, decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, laws and policy; 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; which has been carried out for more than 40 years through such programs as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and its predecessor programs, that operate job creation, job placement and training programs in many communities and states throughout the United States where American Indians and Alaska Natives live; and
WHEREAS, the WIA programs throughout the United States that benefit Indian Country have provided tens of thousands of jobs for unemployed American Indians and have allow their families to escape poverty and become useful, taxpaying citizens within their communities; and
WHEREAS, despite these programs, real unemployment in many parts of Indian Country, including among American Indians in the Great Plains, is often greater than 50% of the adults in the workforce capable of working; and
WHEREAS, in the 112th Congress (2011-2012), several bills in the U.S. House of Representatives have been introduced which would eliminate even the modest WIA programs that are available in Indian Country, including HR 3610 and HR 3611, and place these programs under the control of often unfriendly state governments; and
WHEREAS, As a result of placing all programs within the administration of the state, HR 3610 would consolidate all WIA programs within a state program, eliminating all WIA programs that exist for the benefit of Tribal citizens and American Indians wherever they are located through repeal of Section 166 of the WIA Act, including the WIA program at United Tribes Technical College and the WIA programs that assist the Tribal Nations throughout the Great Plains and elsewhere in the United States; and
WHEREAS, HR 3610 would also drastically reduce the available authorization for funding for the WIA programs, making the program effectively useless in rural areas such as the situations that Tribal Nations find themselves in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states and elsewhere – the total allocated to assist Indians, administered through state programs, would be 1.5% of approximately $535 million for the next four (4) fiscal years; and
WHEREAS, HR 3610 also proposes to repeal critical authority for most programs that benefit Indian Tribes within the United States, including a repeal of the Snyder Act (25 USC Section 13), which authorizes funding for the United States to fulfill its trust responsibility to the United States; and the Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, 25 USC Sections 450a et seq., an Act which is the centerpiece of President Richard Nixon’s new policies towards American Indians that has permitted Tribal Nations to control much of the resources that are allocated to them by the United States Congress; and
WHEREAS, HR 3610, if passed in its entirety, alters, ignores and largely destroys the basic political relationship between the United States and the Tribal Nations within its boundaries, and, through its repeals of statutory authority, virtually makes it impossible for the U.S. to carry out its trust responsibilities to Tribal Nations and Tribal citizens.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) hereby supports increased funding for all Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that GPTCA opposes vigorously HR 3610 in it entirely, particularly the sections of the Act that would eliminate the trust responsibility of the United States to develop economic opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives, and those sections of HR 3610 that would repeal the laws that provide authorization for funding for programs that allow the United States to carry out its general trust responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that GPTCA hereby requests all of its member Tribal Nations to pass similar resolutions opposing HR 3610 in its entirety and to make sure that all appropriate Committees of the House of Representative to which HR 3610 has been assigned receive copies of such resolutions regarding HR 3610, along with the Congressional delegations of North and South Dakota and Nebraska; 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 9 members voting in favor, 0 members opposed, 0 members abstaining, and 6 members not present.
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