indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Apology offered to girls who were forced to change Navajo hairstyle (2/5)
Mark Trahant: Bernie Sanders campaign starts Indian policy group (2/5)
Charles Trimble: Taking responsibility for upkeep of our cemeteries (2/5)
Mary Annette Pember: Memorial to Indian genocide eyed in Russia (2/5)
Terese Marie Mailhot: I guess I'm just one of those 'crazy' Indians (2/5)
Judge weighs compromise for $380M in leftover Keepseagle funds (2/5)
Blackfeet Nation welcomes movement on water rights settlement (2/5)
Yakama Nation wins decision on cost of cleaning up contamination (2/5)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe confident of casino bid despite lawsuit (2/5)
Arizona sees 6.9 percent boost in gaming contributions from tribes (2/5)
Cowlitz Tribe close to reaching agreement with city for new casino (2/5)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation questions exclusion from casino process (2/5)
Tribal leaders question management changes at IHS in Great Plains (2/4)
IHS chief medical officer apologizes for comments about newborns (2/4)
Group sues IHS for records about water pollution on Yakama Nation (2/4)
Sen. McCain still bothered by failure to block Arizona tribe's casino (2/4)
Gun Lake Tribe announces retirement of longtime chair DK Sprague (2/4)
House Natural Resources Committee passes Indian bills at markup (2/4)
Samuel Winder: Indian defendants face harsher criminal penalties (2/4)
Charles Kader: Tribal burial grounds in Florida are being desecrated (2/4)
Roger Chelsey: Pamunkey Tribe clears last hurdle for federal status (2/4)
Reno Sparks Indian Colony mourns passing of leader William Coffey (2/4)
Native students convince school to name Indigenous People's Day (2/4)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe supports move to Indigenous People's Day (2/4)
Coquille Tribe donates $100K to help college with health programs (2/4)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes help inmates reintegrate (2/4)
Little River Band hails BIA movement on off-reservation casino bid (2/4)
Lac Vieux Desert Band reopens hotel after disease scare at casino (2/4)
Eastern Cherokee council revives plan for bowling alley at casino (2/4)
Mark Trahant: Self-determination should be on table for campaign (2/3)
Bernie Sanders won Democratic precinct on Meskwaki Reservation (2/3)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee passes two water bills at meeting (2/3)
House committee approves Lytton Band bill with casino limitation (2/3)
Wounded Warriors Family Support reaches out to tribal veterans (2/3)
James Giago Davies: Only one candidate can help Indian Country (2/3)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation creates opportunity with casino (2/3)
Laura Waterman Wittstock: Horrors at facility for 'insane' Indians (2/3)
Tim Evans: Menominee Nation loses contract support costs case (2/3)
Indian Health Service makes changes ahead of big SCIA hearing (2/3)
Native man from Canada charged over death of eagle in Nevada (2/3)
Choctaw Nation plans work on $219M headquarters next month (2/3)
Federal judge dismisses Freedmen historical accounting lawsuit (2/3)
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians see turnaround at golf course (2/3)
4th Circuit won't recognize tribal authority in online lending case (2/3)
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.