Sen. Dorgan NYTs Op/Ed: “Broken Promises” Attacking Sequestration

Here. An excerpt:

Tribal leaders, parents and some inspiring children I’ve met make valiant efforts every day to overcome unemployment, endemic poverty, historical trauma and a lack of housing, educational opportunity and health care.

But these leaders and communities are once again being mistreated by a failed American policy, this time going under the ugly name “sequestration.” This ignorant budget maneuvering requires across-the-board spending cuts to the most important programs along with the least important. American Indian kids living in poverty are paying a very high price for this misguided abandonment of Congressional decision-making.

Senate Passes Apology Resolution

From the NYTs:

The Senate has approved a resolution apologizing to American Indians for years of “ill-conceived policies” and acts of violence by United States citizens. Lawmakers said the resolution, included in a military spending bill, was a symbolic gesture meant to promote a renewed commitment to tribal communities. It was introduced by Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, and Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. The Senate approved a similar resolution in 2008, but the House did not act on it. Lawmakers are also developing legislation to improve health care and public safety on reservations.

Senator Dorgan Introduces Carcieri Fix

Carcieri Fix Bill

Carcieri Floor Statement – final

From Sen. Dorgan’s statement:

Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a technical amendment to the Act of June 18, 1934.

On February 24, 2009, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Carcieri v. Salazar case.  In that decision the Supreme Court held that the Secretary of the Interior exceeded his authority in taking land into trust for a tribe that was not under federal jurisdiction, or recognized, at the time the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted in 1934.

The legislation I’m introducing today is necessary to reaffirm the Secretary’s authority to take lands into trust for Indian tribes, regardless of when they were recognized by the federal government.  The amendment ratifies the prior trust acquisitions of the Secretary, who for the past 75 years has been exercising his authority to take lands into trust, as intended by the Indian Reorganization Act.

On May 21, 2009, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing to examine the executive branch’s authority to take land into trust for Indian tribes.  At that hearing, it became clear that Congress needs to act to resolve the uncertainty created by the Supreme Court’s decision.  Therefore, this legislation was developed in consultation with interested parties to clarify the Secretary’s authority.

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Biden Promises More Justice on Reservations

Biden promises more justice on reservations
By JODI RAVE of the Missoulian

KALISPELL – On Sunday, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joe
Biden said an Obama-Biden administration would increase federal
prosecutions in Indian Country and strengthen tribal court
jurisdiction over crimes occurring within reservation borders,
regardless of the race of the criminal.

“There will be a much, much, much heightened sensitivity to
legitimate causes within reservations that, quite frankly, we’ve just
been taking advantage,” said Biden, author of the 1994 Crime Bill.
Tribal justice systems “should have greater say. I tried to get that
in the original crime bill when I wrote it. I find it absolutely
fascinating that we have this dual jurisdiction.”

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Sen. Dorgan Concept Paper on Violent Crime in Indian Country

From Sen. Dorgan’s office:

November 7th, 2007 – Over the past year, the Senate Committee on
Indian Affairs has held three oversight hearings, a series of
listening sessions, and multiple meetings with tribal leaders to
discuss the longstanding problem of violent crime in Indian Country.
Senator Byron Dorgan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian
Affairs, has developed a concept paper which has been sent to tribal
leaders. The concept paper, found here, is a compilation of comments
from tribal leaders that examines the problems and lists a number of
proposed solutions to law enforcement issues in Indian Country.

The Committee will continue to meet with tribal leaders over the next
few months in the development of legislation to address this issue.
For those who wish to provide additional comments, we invite you to
share your comments and ideas with us through our website. Please
click on the link below and share with us your thoughts on this
important matter. However, if you wish to submit any documents in
addition to your comments, please e-mail
with both your comments and attachments. Similarly, you may fax the
information to (202) 228-2589.