Legal

Summary of Letter: SUPPORT LETTER FROM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

CURRENT WITH CIVIL RIGHTS ACT: Department Of Justice Executive Orders: EO:13175

The United States is home to over two million Aboriginal Indigenous Native Americans, 565 federally recognized Indian tribes, and other indigenous communities. U.S. support for the Declaration reflects the U.S. commitment to work with those tribes, individuals, and communities to address the many challenges they face. The United States aspires to improve relations with indigenous peoples by looking to the principles embodied in the Declaration in its dealings with federally recognized tribes, while also working, as appropriate, with all indigenous individuals and communities in the United States. 

The United States underlines its support for the Declaration’s recognition in the preamble that indigenous individuals are entitled without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples possess certain additional, collective rights. The United States reads all of the provisions of the Declaration in light of this understanding of human rights and collective rights.

It is in this spirit that the United States today proudly lends its support to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration) On July 29, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA).  This comprehensive bill is aimed at improving public safety on tribal lands.  The statute gives tribes greater authority to prosecute crimes and increases federal accountability for public safety in the county.

The Departments of the Interior, Justice, and Health and Human Services are engaged in an unprecedented effort to consult with tribes to develop policy and implement this new law EO:13175.


Department Of Transportation: EO13175

Foster meaningful government-to-government relations by:

  • Ensuring participation by Department officials at national tribal conferences, tribal/state meetings, summits, and conferences discussing tribal issues.
  • Establishing direct contact with Indian tribal governments, including visiting tribal governments at reservations, Native Villages, and communities.
  • Seeking tribal government representation in meetings, conferences, summits, advisory committees, and review boards concerning issues with tribal implications.

Housing Authority: EO:13175

  • Department issued a more comprehensive Tribal Government-to-Government Consultation Policy (66 FR 49784, Sept. 28, 2001) that comports with the enhanced consultation and coordination requirements expressed in EO 13175.
  • HUD is now reassessing this policy in response to the President’s Memorandum, and will revise it, after appropriate consultation with tribal government officials.
    Guiding Principles: The guiding principles that originally shaped HUD’s 2001 Government-to Government Tribal Consultation Policy remain viable today.
  • HUD is cognizant of the unique legal and political relationship that exists between the United States and Indian tribal governments, as established by the U.S. Constitution, treaties, statutes, executive orders, and judicial decisions.
  • HUD strives to honor the government-to-government relationship, promote tribal self-determination, and ensure that communication and consultation between the Department and federally recognized Indian tribes occur on a regular and meaningful basis. Therefore, it is an appropriate time to revisit HUD’s existing policy and, in consultation with the stakeholders, revise it.

As President Obama noted: ―Washington can’t – and shouldn’t – dictate a policy agenda for Indian Country. Tribal nations do better when they make their own decisions. The record over the forty years since the United States adopted its policy of greater tribal autonomy is clear.

– Tribal self-determination has enabled tribal governments to establish, develop, and enhance tribal institutions and infrastructure ranging from those addressing the health, education, and welfare of their communities to those such as tribal courts, fire protection, and law enforcement. The clear lesson is that empowering tribes to deal with the challenges they face and that taking advantage of the available opportunities will result in tribal communities that thrive.