indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Eyapaha Today: Oneida singer follows in mother's footsteps (10/22)
Native Sun News: Candidate seeks investigation into program (10/22)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Lakota people disrespect our language (10/22)
Cedric Sunray: Standing together to fight tribal disenrollment (10/22)
SCIA to hold listening session at NCAI on Indian education bill (10/22)
FNDI urges passage for Indian Teacher Loan Forgiveness Act (10/22)
Chumash Tribe praises BIA movement on land-into-trust bid (10/22)
Steven Newcomb: The role of Latin in empire and colonization (10/22)
Christopher Chavis: Navajo court got it wrong in fluency case (10/22)
Navajo Nation presidential hopeful to be removed from ballot (10/22)
Aging BIA school on Navajo Nation awaits replacement funds (10/22)
Review: NMAI treaties exhibit underscores misunderstandings (10/22)
Alaska Native elders and youth share issues at annual meeting (10/22)
Shinnecock Nation allows felons to hold office in certain cases (10/22)
2nd Circuit hears appeal from former chairman of Pequot Tribe (10/22)
Rep. Don Young criticized for comments to high school students (10/22)
Candidates differ on Spokane Tribe's off-reservation casino bid (10/22)
Poarch Creeks to add hotel to casino with $65M expansion plan (10/22)
Salt River Tribe concerned about Tohono O'odham Nation casino (10/22)
North Fork Rancheria blames rival tribes for holding up compact (10/22)
Ballot proposal authorizes more Class III games in South Dakota (10/22)
Blog: Predictions for gaming with Hillary Clinton in White House (10/22)
Native Sun News: Activists take annual swim to Alcatraz Island (10/21)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives ready for conference and election (10/21)
BIA announces consultations for secretarial election regulation (10/21)
Chelsey Luger & Gyasi Ross: From slow suicide to slow healing (10/21)
Bill John Baker: Addressing breast cancer in our communities (10/21)
ICT interview with Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn of BIA (10/21)
Navajo Nation court still mulling decision in presidential case (10/21)
Column: Billy Mills still inspires 50 years after Olympic victory (10/21)
Editorial: Winnebago Tribe's business makes a big contribution (10/21)
Lincoln Indian Center adopts permanent alcohol ban after party (10/21)
Suquamish Tribe shares fish from hatchery at annual giveaway (10/21)
Editorial: Bad move by Northern Arapaho Tribe on joint council (10/21)
Wisconsin court to hear appeal over Oneida Nation waste plant (10/21)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe reaches out to family that lost home to fire (10/21)
Closure of Chukchansi Tribe's casino affects reservation water (10/21)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe considers casino on ancestral Ohio site (10/21)
Town meeting for Lac Vieux Desert Band off-reservation casino (10/21)
North Fork Rancheria won't give up off-reservation casino plan (10/21)
Tohono O'odham Nation was looking for off-reservation casino (10/21)
Poarch Creeks won't confirm or deny talks for gaming compact (10/21)
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.