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Issues

Tribal Relations and Sovereignty

Governments must respect Native American nations, oppose attempts to diminish sovereignty and cultures, and educate the general population of the inherent and sovereign treaty-based rights of Native American people. This is an important step toward open and meaningful relations that reaffirm rights derived from sovereign treaties and state compacts.

We call for:

  • Recognition of all federally recognized Tribal Nations that meet the minimum threshold of the Department of the Interior;
  • Tribal Nations as having inherent sovereignty with the rights to self-governance, self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency;
  • Government-to-government relationship between Tribal Nations and the Washington State and the federal government;
  • Consulting with tribal leaders prior to proposing or supporting legislation/policy that may impact Tribal Nations;
  • Legislation to institutionalize consultation with tribal nations per Presidential Executive Order 13175;
  • Tribal Nations efforts in cultural preservation, religious freedoms, and overall welfare in meeting of trust obligations included within compacts, executive orders, and treaties;
  • Elevating the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs to a cabinet-level department to accommodate the unique relationship of all recognized tribes in WA;
  • Advancing the socioeconomic condition of Tribal Nations, including in urban & off/on reservation environments, including funding for cultural, health, and other social service organizations;
  • A stronger effort to appoint Tribal Members on all boards, commissions, committees in state, county, local governments to provide equitable and fair representation in these policy and decision making entities;
  • The rights of Tribal Nations to regulate and manage their air quality, natural resources, and protection of sacred and cultural sites;
  • The right to hunt, fish, and gather at all traditional usual and accustom places for subsistence living in ceded areas;
  • Adequate funding for all state and federal programs and services that impact Tribal Nations;
  • Local, regional, and state dialogue on the issues of racism and cultural appropriation;
  • Tribal Nations having the flexibility to develop their economies by streamlining state and federal programs and removing the regulatory barriers that continue to impede economic development;
  • Tribal Nations’ access to traditional financing tools (e.g., tax-exempt financing, the New Markets Tax Credit, Section 1603 grants, as well as tribes’ ability to monetize tax credits, or transfer those credits to minority equity partners);
  • The full funding of Tribal Law & Order Act programs and public safety initiatives for Tribal Nations;
  • The prosecution of non-Tribal members in Tribal court, for alleged violations not covered in the Federal Major Crimes Act;
  • The institutionalization of Tribal Nations’ involvement in the work of the Council on Environmental Quality’s Climate Change Adaption Task Force;
  • Creating a federal Tribal Nations commission to ensure compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • The United Nations allowing Tribal Nations to participate in UN Forums as Nations, rather than as non-government organizational representatives;
  • Working in close consultation and collaboration with Tribal Nations to facilitate effective data collection, especially through testing improvements in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey;
  • Including “American Indians and Alaska Natives” in national data sets and collecting comprehensive data from tribes;
  • Revising the laws to ensure equitable sharing, with tribal governments, of revenue collected by local, county, state, and federal governments on tribal lands.

We oppose:

  • Abuse of any treaty or tribal agreement by any party or tribal government;
  • The efforts by any groups or organization that support forced assimilation and its distortion of U.S. history;
  • The legacy of racism in sports and harmful “Indian Sports Mascots”;
  • The U.S. Attorney’s annual declination disposition reports without adequate and accurate data concerning violence against women.