Nat. Congress of Amer. Indians Major Policy Resolution #4 - Federal Administration & Structure of Indian Affairs 10/21/76
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               NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS

                   Major Policy Resolution No. 4

       FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION & STRUCTURE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS

      Adopted with 1 objection & 1 abstention, Oct. 21, 1976
            NCAI 33rd Annual Convention, Salt Lake City


WHEREAS, there exists a conflict of interest in the administration 
         of Indian Affairs within the United States Government 
         which prohibits the various administrative agencies 
         charged with carrying out the Federal trust 
         responsibility due Indian tribes from acting as a true 
         trustee charged with the highest degree of fiduciary 
         responsibility; and 

WHEREAS, the number of agencies involved with Indian Affairs 
         through set-aside programs or special initiatives has 
         increased sharply, making inter-agency coordination among 
         departments and agencies of equal rank a necessity 
         because of traditional bureaucratic sensitivity to agency 
         jurisdictional issues with all its implications for 
         budget, size of programs and relative rank and stature; 
         and 

WHEREAS, tribal governments have not been institutionalized within 
         the framework of the Federal Government structure on a 
         consistent basis within existing laws, statutes, policies 
         and administrative mechanisms, thereby inhibiting the 
         Executive branch of the Federal government from 
         recognizing Indian tribes as equals of state governments, 
         having all the commensurate sovereign powers and 
         authority; and 
         
WHEREAS, the American Indian Policy Review Commission was mandated 
         by the Congress of the United States to perform a 
         management study of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and 
         this study has been completed and reviewed by the Major 
         Policy Resolutions Committee of the 1976 NCAI National 
         Convention; and 

WHEREAS, the Major Policy Resolutions Committee found that the 
         study sufficiently highlights the problems of present 
         Bureau of Indian Affairs organizational structure, 
         policy, budget, personnel and management information 
         systems, but the Executive summary and recommendations 
         of the study do not, however, offer adequate and 
         consistent solutions for the problems identified; and 

WHEREAS, the Temporary Select Committee to Study the Senate 
         Committee System is moving rapidly to realign committee 
         jurisdictional authority, which will have broad policy 
         implications for Indian people and tribal governing 
         bodies, and has not provided sufficient information nor 
         an opportunity for an Indian tribe to present its views; 
         
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Congress of 
         American Indians at their 1976 Annual Convention 
         discussed the inherent conflict of interest of the 
         administration of Indian affairs and have concluded that 
         the independent agency solution of the conflict of 
         interest recommended by the American Indian Policy Review 
         Commission Task Force on Federal Administration and 
         Structure of Indian Affairs does not sufficiently 
         delineate nor adequately explain the implications of an 
         independent agency and therefore recommend that the 
         executive staff of the NCAI cause a study to be made of 
         four alternative solutions to the conflict of interest: 

         1. Improve the efficiency of the BIA within the 
            Department of the Interior, but give it authority to 
            present its views to the Congress, the courts, and 
            Federal or state agency or anyone else as trustee, 
            even in conflict with the views of the Secretary of 
            the Interior or other Federal agencies. 

         2. Remove the BIA from the Department of the Interior to 
            a separate independent agency providing all of the 
            services currently being provided by the BIA. 

         3. Remove the BIA from the Department of the Interior to 
            a separate independent agency to provide all the 
            functional services of the Federal domestic assistance 
            programs necessary and desired by Indians and Indian 
            tribes. 

         4. To recommend the creation of a Secretary for Indian 
            Affairs with Cabinet rank to be appointed by the 
            Indian tribes. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the findings of this study be 
         presented to the Indian tribes and, upon full 
         consultation, consideration and consent of the tribes, a 
         recommendation be submitted to the American Indian Policy 
         Review Commission or the Congress for their 
         consideration; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the study shall include considerations 
         of the trust counsel authority concept and the new Indian 
         agency be vested with the full authority to present its 
         views to Congress, the courts, any Federal or state 
         agency or anyone else; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an Indian Affairs Unit be established 
         within the Domestic Council to effectuate nonconflicting 
         interagency and inter-governmental coordination in 
         implementing Federal government policy to insure 
         comprehensive response to the totality of tribal needs. 
         This unit, representing senior membership of all Federal 
         agencies either now delivering or under Federal law 
         mandated to deliver goods and services to Indian people 
         shall advocate tribal interests in providing the 
         following: 

         1. Policy initiatives of an intergovernmental nature, 
            which shall be representative of the real, not 
            perceived, needs of Indian people. 

         2. Program recommendations which shall be responsive to 
            previously Indian needs and coordinated with both the 
            Indian users and the Federal agencies to facilitate   
            effectiveness. 

         3. The assignment to the reservation of at least one 
            senior intergovernmental officer approved by the 
            tribal government, selected from any agency, but 
            assigned to the Indian Affairs Unit of the Domestic 
            Council to provide the following: 

            a. Matching of Federal initiatives to tribal needs and 
               making program recommendations as to service gaps. 

            b. Coordination of Federal legal assistance for 
               treaty, trust, jurisdiction, litigation and other 
               Federally obligated legal assistance to Indian 
               people. 

            c. Monitoring Federal programs to insure Indian 
               eligibility and assistance in the intergovernmental 
               preparation of appropriate grant applications. 

            d. Assist in preparing for an conducting of Federal 
               program reviews, audits, investigations, etc. 

            e. Arranging for competent technical assistance so as 
               to promote generalized tribal planning and 
               management capacity-building with the primary focus 
               on tribal government enhancement. 

            f. Responsiveness to tribal governments in all 
               interactions with the Federal government so as to 
               operationally effectuate the spirit of the 
               partnership of government as expressed in Public 
               Law 93-638 self-determination intent. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all Federal domestic assistance 
         program statutes, administrative regulations and 
         eligibility requirements be amended to recognize tribal 
         governments and tribally-chartered organizations in the 
         same manner as states for direct access to Federal 
         domestic assistance programs; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Indian Policy Review 
         Commission take appropriate action through the United 
         States Congress and Executive branch to insure that the 
         problems identified in the BIA management Study are 
         corrected in consultation with, and consideration and 
         with the consent of tribal governments, and that the 
         corrections be made with paramount consideration of the 
         needs of tribal governments. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Temporary Select Committee to 
         Study the Senate Committee System be informed that it is 
         the wish of Indian people that a full Committee on Indian 
         Affairs be established, having full Senate responsibility 
         over all matters involving Indians and Indian country. 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Executive Director and President 
         of NCAI should immediately notify the Temporary Select 
         Committee of the Indian desires for a full Committee on 
         Indian Affairs, and if such committee is not established 
         by the Senate, the Executive Director and the President 
         of NCAI request the Senate to defer any proposed changes 
         in committee jurisdiction over Indian affairs until the 
         Executive Council of NCAI shall have had the opportunity 
         to meet and consider the proposed changes in committee 
         jurisdiction and make appropriate recommendations to the 
         Senate concerning such committee jurisdiction. 


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