indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Appropriations measure takes on Alaska Native funding
Thursday, December 4, 2003

The $328 billion omnibus funding bill that faces important tests in Congress in the coming weeks includes provisions that might surprise some in Indian Country.

First, the good news. Language that would have forced the Bureau of Indian Affairs to pay for 21 tribal trust mismanagement lawsuits appears to have been deleted. The rider would have used at least $3.1 million in Indian program funds to reimburse government attorneys.

Second, the bad news. A provision requiring a report on "possible illegal activity" of Indian casino has been retained. But lawmakers adopted it by reference -- meaning it's still in there, it's just not as noticeable.

Third, the interesting news. If the bill passes, the White House Office of Management and Budget will be required to consult with Alaska Native corporations. This rider, which has not been seen before, treats the corporations "on the same basis" tribes under Executive Order 13175, the government-to-government consultation order.

Finally, the big news. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has dropped a rider that would have outright denied federal funding to Alaska Native tribal courts and law enforcement. He faced heavy criticism, including accusations of racism, for saying the tribes threatened the state by exerting their sovereignty.

What he's drafted now is something more complex. The new version will deny funding to tribes with less than 25 members. But it also applies to tribes located within a specified list of seven municipalities, cities and boroughs. A number of Native villages with more than 25 members -- for example Seldovia with more than 300 members -- are located within these jurisdictions yet they would be denied money.

To address the greater issue of funding to more than 220 Alaska tribes, Stevens is calling for the creation of the "Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission." It would be composed of tribal, state and federal representatives.

At the annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) conference in October, delegates endorsed this concept. They sought to examine ways to improve accountability and delivery of services. But that's about where AFN and the new rider depart.

The commission would be charged with reviewing all civil and criminal matters affecting tribes and villages. By May 1, the panel will make recommendations on creating a "unified law enforcement system, court system, and system of local laws or ordinances for Alaska Native villages and communities of varying sizes including the possibility of first, second, and third class villages with different powers."

The rider goes on to require a General Accounting Office (GAO) study on how federal funding for rural Alaskan communities is being used. GAO "shall determine the number of houses built by each Native housing authority including the cost per house," it states, a reference to claims made by Stevens that tribes are wasting federal funds.

"[W]e found one area of Alaska, we did fund those and there wasn't a house built in four years, but there's all those people out there hired to help them," he told Alaska reporters in October.

The omnibus appropriations act, H.R. 2673, is set to go before the House on Monday. According to press accounts, Republican leaders will try to pass it without a roll-call vote.

A similar tactic in the Senate is seeing resistance from Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He said yesterday that he would not agree to a unanimous consent motion when the bill is brought up next year.

Get the Bill:
MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2004, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (House Rpt.108-401)

Related Stories:
Tribes lobbying against 'harmful' appropriations riders (11/10)
Stevens unapologetic in speech to Alaska Natives (10/27)
Stevens remarks on Alaska Natives draw fire (10/7)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
9th Circuit won't stop repatriation of Kumeyaay Nation ancestors (8/27)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation puts youth to work for summer (8/27)
Gabe Galanda: Academia won't tackle tribal disenrollment issue (8/27)
Misty Lynn Ellingburg: 'Four Winds' is a literary magazine for us (8/27)
Declination rates for Indian Country crime steady for third year (8/27)
DOJ awards grants to address violence in Bakken energy region (8/27)
Another pipeline spills saltwater on reservation in North Dakota (8/27)
Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary (8/27)
Once rival factions of Chukchansi Tribe agree to 2015 election (8/27)
Three brothers on the ballot for Passamaquoddy Tribe election (8/27)
Daily Beast: Border Patrol runs free on Tohono O'odham Nation (8/27)
KTOO: Cook Inlet Tribe turns to video game to represent culture (8/27)
Former IHS information security officer convicted for child porn (8/27)
Crow Reservation murder defendant to make court appearance (8/27)
Texas authorities seek information about skull at Goodwill store (8/27)
Cherokee Nation police find man who disappeared 37 years ago (8/27)
9th Circuit sets oral arguments in Big Lagoon Rancheria dispute (8/27)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe cuts gaming payment to state (8/27)
State raises concerns about Chumash Tribe's casino expansion (8/27)
Cowlitz Tribe sees setback in infrastructure plan for casino site (8/27)
Native Sun News: Tribes take on Air Force over expansion plan (8/26)
Charles Trimble: Pine Ridge -- the Hollywood of Indian Country (8/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois on both sides for War of 1812 (8/26)
Heather Kendall-Miller: GOP candidate a threat to Native rights (8/26)
Fired Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer indicted for taser incident (8/26)
Sen. Jon Tester to hold session on trafficking in Indian Country (8/26)
Hoopa Valley Tribe takes action due to large number of arsons (8/26)
Non-recognized tribe in Texas hails ruling in eagle feather case (8/26)
Jodi Lee Spotted Bear: Supporting Native language immersion (8/26)
Proposal filed for Wampanoag language public charter school (8/26)
Gila River Indian Community mourns loss of first female leader (8/26)
Jose Barreiro: Indigenous leaders hold historic meeting in Cuba (8/26)
Tribes use reservations to restore rare and endangered species (8/26)
Rival factions unite in takeover attempt within Chukchansi Tribe (8/26)
Darlene Miller seeks to be first female Seneca Nation president (8/26)
7th Circuit bars tribal jurisdiction in Indian payday loan dispute (8/26)
Law school in Colorado sets conference on sovereign immunity (8/26)
Mississippi Choctaw family believes same person behind deaths (8/26)
Cherokee Nation to break ground on casino on Indian allotment (8/26)
Stillaguamish Tribe finally secures reservation status for casino (8/26)
Mashantucket Tribe to open retail concourse at casino on Friday (8/26)
Opinion: Predatory gaming companies exploit tribes and patrons (8/26)
Caesars Entertainment debuts $442M urban casino in Baltimore (8/26)
Tim Giago: Farewell to my childhood friend Eugene Long Soldier (8/25)
Mark Trahant: Tapping the power of social media for Native vote (8/25)
Native Sun News: Laguna Pueblo still affected by uranium mine (8/25)
Oliver Semans: Seeing the light on Native voting rights struggle (8/25)
John Hopkins: Navajo Nation Council delegate makes bad choice (8/25)
James Mills: Non-Indian firm helps tribes create stronger nations (8/25)
Navajo voters to narrow field of 17 candidates for president's job (8/25)
Judge Humetewa hands down sentence in Indian child abuse case (8/25)
Scientists publish lengthy book based on study of Kennewick Man (8/25)
Rival tribe spends big in fight over Tohono O'odham Nation casino (8/25)
Eastern Cherokees resist Catawba Nation casino in North Carolina (8/25)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe seeking investors for Class II facility (8/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.