Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Resolution on Senate Special Investigations Committee focus and work.
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    A F F I L I A T E D   T R I B E S   O F   N O R T H W E S T   
                           I N D I A N S

                      1989 Winter Conference
                        Tacoma, Washington

                         Resolution #89-06


     We, the members of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians 
of the United States, invoking the divine blessings of the Creator 
upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves 
and our descendants rights secured under Indian treaties and 
agreements with the United States, and all other rights and 
benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution 
of the United States and several States, to enlighten the public 
toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve 
Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the welfare of the 
Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following 

     WHEREAS, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) 
are representatives of and advocates for national, regional, and 
specific tribal concerns;  and 

     WHEREAS, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is a 
regional organization comprised of American Indians in the states 
of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, northern 
California, and Alaska;  and 

     WHEREAS, the health, safety, welfare, education, economic and 
employment opportunity, and preservation of cultural and natural 
resources are primary goals and objectives of Affiliated Tribes of 
Northwest Indians;  and 

     WHEREAS, Congress has passed Resolution (S. Res. 473) in 
February of 1988 that authorized a Special Committee on 
Investigations to conduct a comprehensive and intensive 
investigation of the entire spectrum of the federal government's 
relationship with American Indians;  and 

     WHEREAS, the Special Committee on Investigations original 
objectives were: (1) to study the Department of Interior's 
exercise of trust responsibilities, and (2) to investigate the 
allegation of fraud and mismanagement of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, and other Federal agencies administering Federal Indian 
programs;  and 

     WHEREAS, this Special Committee is specifically authorized 
to: "Study or investigate any and all matters pertaining to 
problems and opportunities of Indians and the Federal 
administration of mineral resources, including but not limited to 
resource management and trust responsibilities of the United 
States Government, Indian education, health, special services, and 
other Federal programs, and related matters.";  and 

     WHEREAS, this investigation was initiated following the 
controversy resulting from articles published by the Arizona 
Republic and other newspapers regarding allegations of fraud, 
mismanagement, and failure to successfully implement federal 
programs designed to improve the life and welfare of Indian 
people;  and 

     WHEREAS, ATNI is deeply concerned about the direction, 
approach, and impact of the study outside of its stated purpose 
and mandate;  and 

     WHEREAS, the general public has a basic misunderstanding and 
lack of knowledge of the obligations of the United States due to 
Treaties, Federal Statutes, Executive Orders, and other 
Congressional Acts regarding trust relationships with Indian 
Nations;  and 

     WHEREAS, ATNI is concerned that the Investigations Committee 
is entertaining testimony from Indian individuals who do not 
represent any Indian Tribal governments and do not have a 
background in implementing the Tribes' understanding of Self-
Determination and Self-Sufficiency;  and 

     WHEREAS, ATNI is concerned regarding the dangerously 
misleading impressions and images of Indian Governments, as well 
as the damage and unjust impacts on Indian Governments that can 
result from testimony of such individuals;  and 

     WHEREAS, ATNI is concerned over the media portrayal of any 
alleged improprieties of a few Indian leaders and is concerned 
that the media does not create a generic view of Indian leaders 
and governments due to these alleged improprieties.  We are 
concerned that the media coverage will critically damage the 
general public's view of the integrity and competence of Indian 

     NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that ATNI does urge the Special 
Investigations Committee to return to its focus, attention, and 
review on its original objectives, i.e. (1) studying the 
Department of Interior's exercise of trust responsibilities, and 
(2) the allegations of fraud and mismanagement of the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs, and other Federal agencies administering Federal 
Indian programs;  and 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that ATNI does hereby urge the Senate 
Special Investigations Committee to scrutinize carefully the roles 
and leadership positions of the individuals testifying before the 
Committee to assure that the voices heard by Congress are those of 
Indian leaders democratically chosen by the Indian people, so that 
the Committee can keep in perspective the true conditions, needs, 
problems, expectations, and solutions to the existing system that 
serves Indian people;  and 

     BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that ATNI encourages the Committee to 
focus on the positive progress of the Tribes in the United States 
in their pursuit of Self-Determination and Self-Sufficiency.  That 
when the findings of the study focus on the Tribes, as opposed to 
the Federal agencies, the emphasis must reflect the accomplishments 
and successes.  The Tribes must be provided an opportunity for 
their testimony to be recognized and to balance the negative 
findings with the success of the majority of the Tribes despite 
the dismal conditions and ineffectiveness of the federal programs 
designed to assist Tribal Governments in returning to Self-
Sufficiency, Self-Determination, and Self-Governance. 


     The following resolution was adopted at the 1989 Winter 
Conference of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, at the 
Executive Inn Hotel in Tacoma, Washington on February 1-3, 1989 
with a quorum present. 

_____________________________       _____________________________ 
   Joe DeLaCruz, President          Georgia C. George, Recording 

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