Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Rahall Introduces Bill Upholding Federal
Trust Relationship with Indian Country
"When the federal government interacts with Indian tribes, it does so on a government-to-government basis. This, combined with the history of treatment of Indian tribes by the United States, imposes a moral obligation on the federal government to consult with Indian tribes before enacting policies that have a direct effect on them. Yet, this Administration has shown a clear disregard for that legal, political and moral responsibility," he continued. The Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments Act (H.R.5608) reaffirms and puts into statute much of Presidential Executive Order 13175, signed in November 2000 by President Clinton, which requires consultation with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis - an order that the current Administration has flagrantly ignored. A January 2008 Interior Department Guidance Memo that was issued without any tribal input, and that changed federal policy toward Indian tribes, is the latest example of this Administration's disregard for its responsibilities.
"Far too often, the Bush Administration has taken and continues
to take actions that have serious and negative consequences on
Indian country, without any consultation at all from the tribes
themselves. Clearly, this should not be the case," Rahall said.
The Rahall legislation will require the Department of the
Interior, the Indian Health Service, and the National Indian
Gaming Commission to enter into a true consultation process with
Indian tribes and Alaska Natives before new policies or actions
are taken that will directly affect them. "In the end, this bill
will ensure that the United States, as a government, sits at the
table with Indian tribal governments when decisions are to be made
affecting the lives of our First Americans. We cannot afford to
repeat the mistaken policies of the past where the federal
government makes decisions and policies in a vacuum," Rahall said.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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