Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Quick - how is having your region targeted for an Indian casino like contracting a herpes virus?

Because, aside from having to endure regular and irritating flare ups, you'll need to remain eternally vigilant to prevent it from spreading.

To be sure, the Supreme Court of the United States did present the afflicted with the closest thing to a cure with it's decision in Carcieri v. Salazar - but this hasn't stopped certain forces from working behind the scenes to bring on a relapse.

And so, once again my friends, we are called upon to pick up our pens, our telephones and our laptops and contact our representatives in Congress.

And we have to do it quickly! There's no time to waste!

Several bills and devices designed to create an end-run around Carcieri are being debated as we speak.

These are:
Cobell v Salazar, settlement
S.1703 (Carcieri fix)
H.R.1711 (Akaka bill)
H.R.3690 (The Indian Tribal Federal Recognition Administrative Act - Section 14)

Write your Congressmen immediately and tell them to oppose these bills.

Explain what living with the threat of a tribal casino has meant to you and your family. And, what the potential of living next door to a tax-free sovereign nation could mean for your community, economy and environment.

If you'd like to include more information, please read what Governor Carcieri has had to say about the bill that carries his name, including
  • Why the IRA was never intended as, nor has it been, a blanket authorization for trust,
  • How amending the IRA to permit the secretary to take land into trust for all federally recognized tribes could undermine numerous Indian claims and settlement acts - including those here in Massachusetts,
  • And why a one-size-fits-all amendment to the IRA ignores States' unique political and geographic circumstances
Here are the mailing addresses for our State senators.

Senator John Kerry
218 Russell Bldg.
Second Floor
Washington D.C. 20510
(202) 224-2742 - Phone
(202) 224-8525 - Fax

Senator Scott Brown
Senate Russell Courtyard 1
Washington D.C. 20510
(202) 224-4543

To find your Congressional district representative and his or her contact information
click here

And hey, if you voted for any of these guys, let them know you did!!

Plese find a more detailed description of each bill below. And most importantly, never forget to stay vigilant!!

Cobell v Salazar, settlement

Cobell v. Salazar, one of biggest class-action lawsuits ever brought against the United States, was litigated for a full 15 years before it's parties reached a hurried settlement on Dec. 8th of last year to the tune of $3.4 billion dollars - a settlement which must be approved by Congress before February 28th 2010.

Our objection to Cobell isn't the settling of historic accounting claims by Individual Indian Money (IIM) Account Holders - it is the unnecessary addition of truly objectionable, non-related issues to the “Settlement”.

Addendums have been added to the settlement which appear to eviscerate established constitutional separation of power and states rights while making an end run around 50 years of congressional acts (Dawes Act, IRA, ILCA) and Supreme Court settled law (Sherrill, Carcieri, Hawaii and Navajo Nation).

These added Addendums actually increase the scope of the federal mismanagement of Indian Trust Obligations.

In other words, it's your classic "end-run" plus a sucker punch for good measure.

So, quickly contact your Congressmen asking that he or she definitely not rubber stamp this "settlement" - and to DEMAND there be full disclosure to the public and to Congress before considering action it.

· Executive Branch removal of the legislative authority from the fee to trust process by inserting amendments into the settlement which have nothing to do with the original lawsuit. These amendments must be perceived as a new land acquisition program creating a major change in Federal Indian land policy, which establishes new authority in the executive branch (DOI, DOJ, White House), while removing that authority from the Congress.

· Unlimited power granted to the Secretary of Interior for the transfer of land status from state jurisdiction placing it under Federal control of the Executive Branch.

· Expansion of a seldom used congressional program which allocated 2 Million dollars of federal money per year for purchase of land for Indians to 2 BILLION tax dollars. In addition, the oversight and authority of the expenditure is removed from congress and placed under the sole discretion of the Secretary of the Interior.

· A panicked rush to pass this “Settlement” by the end of 2009 in response to a court case that has been 15 years in litigation is inconceivable. Incorporating schemes which were never an original part of the case into its’ “settlement” not only lacks transparency but also nullifies the current trust process and evades all accountability to the People and Congress while establishing unlimited Secretarial discretion.

· The court approve this Settlement in its entirety before revealing the full details to congress or the public.

S.1703 (Carcieri fix)

Title: A bill to amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes.

Sponsor: Sen Dorgan, Byron L. [ND] (introduced 9/24/2009) Cosponsors Akaka, Baucus, Bingaman, Franken, Inouye, Landrieu, Tester, Udall. Related Bills: H.R.3697, H.R.3742

SUMMARY AS OF: 9/24/2009--Introduced.
Amends the Act commonly known as the Indian Reorganization Act to apply the Act to all federally recognized Indian tribes, regardless of when any tribe became recognized. (This effectively overrules the Supreme Court's decision in Carcieri v. Salazar, which held that the Secretary of the Interior could not take land into trust for a specified tribe because that tribe had not been under federal jurisdiction when the Act was enacted.)

Latest Major Action: 12/17/2009 Senate committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee on Indian Affairs. Ordered to be reported with amendments favorably.

(Note-- 27 States attorneys’ general are opposed to this bill.)

H.R.1711 (Akaka bill)

Title: To express the policy of the United States regarding the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians, to provide a process for the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government and the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian government, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] (introduced 3/25/2009) Cosponsors Bordallo, Faleomavaega, Hirono, Kildee, Moran, Sablan, Young. Related Bills: H.R.862, H.R.2314, S.381, S.708, S.1011 (Akaka bill passed out of SCIA committee Dec. 2009)

Latest Major Action: 3/25/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

SUMMARY AS OF: 3/25/2009--Introduced.
Establishes the U.S. Office for Native Hawaiian Affairs (Office) within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior.

Requires the Attorney General to designate a Department of Justice official to assist the Office in the implementation and protection of the rights of Native Hawaiians and their political, legal, and trust relationship with the United States.

Establishes the Native Hawaiian Interagency Task Force to:
(1) coordinate federal policies or actions that may significantly or uniquely affect Native Hawaiian resources, rights, or lands;
(2) assure that each federal agency develops a policy on consultation with Native Hawaiians; and
(3) assure the participation of such agencies in the development of an annual report on the Task Force.

Establishes a process for development of a membership roll for organizing a Native Hawaiian Interim Governing Council and for election of a Native Hawaiian government. Recognizes the right of the Native Hawaiian people to adopt organic governing documents.

Extends federal recognition to the government as the representative governing body of the Native Hawaiian people upon election of officers and certification by the Secretary.

Permits the United States, upon federal recognition of the Native Hawaiian government, to enter into an agreement with the state of Hawaii and such government regarding the transfer of lands, resources, and assets dedicated to Native Hawaiian use.

Prohibits the Native Hawaiian governing entity and Native Hawaiians from conducting gaming activities as a matter of claimed inherent authority or under any federal law, regardless of where the gaming is located. Related bills.
H.R.862, H.R.2314, S.381, S.708, S.1011



Title: To establish a Commission on Recognition of Indian Tribes to review and act on petitions by Indian groups applying for Federal recognition, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Faleomavaega, Eni F.H. [AS] (introduced 10/1/2009) Cosponsors Abercrombie, Hirono, Rahall.

Latest Major Action: 10/1/2009 Referred to House committee on Natural Resources.

RED ALERT: A "Carcieri Fix" is quietly tucked into this bill at section 14.

The Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 461 et seq.; popularly known as the `Indian Reorganization Act'), is applicable to all tribes recognized by the Commission, without regard to whether such tribe was under Federal jurisdiction as of June 18, 1934.


FrankD said...

Gladys, thanks so much for the break down. I encourage (challenge)everyone reading this to start writing asap. We have come to far in this fight to allow for a "Carcieri Fix". We will only have ourselves to blame.

Mark Belanger said...

From Rep. Barney Frank's contact page
If you would like to ask Barney to support or oppose a bill, the best way to reach him is to send an email. Or you may also call the Washington office at (202) 225-5931. We discourage constituents from sending postal mail because House security procedures can delay delivery for up to several weeks.

Here is the page where you can contact any US Representative.