Joe Valandra: Paternal systems are still alive and well at the BIA
Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012
"The Bureau of Indian Affairs website declares, “The United States has a unique legal and political relationship with Indian tribes and Alaska Native entities as provided by the Constitution of the United States, treaties, court decisions and Federal statutes.” It goes on to detail the type of relationship fostered: “Indian Affairs provides services directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts to 566 Federally recognized tribes with a service population of about 1.9 million American Indian and Alaska Natives. While the role of Indian Affairs has changed significantly in the last three decades in response to a greater emphasis on Indian self-governance and self-determination, Tribes still look to Indian Affairs for a broad spectrum of services.”
Superficially, these are admirable statements of principals and implementation.
The BIA has a legal duty to fulfill the obligations of the President of the United States contained in “the Constitution of the United States, treaties, court decisions and Federal statutes.” Yet, when the BIA does not meet those obligations, it is more difficult for Tribes and Tribal leaders to effectively govern and provide for the welfare of their people. It puts at risk the very lives of people whom the federal laws and obligations were intended to protect."
Get the Story:
Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Government: No More Talk, Action Required
(Indian Country Today 7/13)
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