Opinion

Bryan Brewer: Oglala Sioux Tribe backs bill to stop harassment





Bryan Brewer, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, says H.R.3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, will prevent the Internal Revenue Service from harassing tribes:
For the past 10 years, the IRS has made life harder on Indian lands and reservations by coming out to our tribal governments, “camping out” at our tribal offices for weeks at a time and “fishing” for issues concerning tribal government programs and services, seeking to tax our tribal citizens. The IRS does this even though many of our tribal citizens are among the poorest people in America. From our point of view, the IRS actions violate our fundamental right to self-government, which extends down to us from long ago as the legacy of our first grandmothers and grandfathers. We cannot allow this invasion of tribal self-government, this violation of our treaties.

That is why the Oglala Sioux Tribe, joined by our sister Sioux Tribes and neighboring Indian nations and tribes in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, has been seeking legislation to honor tribal self-government, honor treaty rights and recognize our right to provide government programs and services for our own tribal citizens, without interference by the IRS. We have a right to work to improve our homelands, to make our reservations livable homes for our people. We call upon our sister Tribes throughout America to stand together to defend our freedom, fight for our self-government, and tell the IRS, “Respect Native Nations and our Treaties.”

We thank Congressman Nunes, his friends and colleagues for their good work in introducing H.R. 3043, and we call upon our Representatives and others to work together to ensure passage of this fundamental human rights legislation. As the United States honors its own freedom, it must honor the original freedom of Native nations. After all, in a Democracy, self-government is the foundation for Freedom.

Get the Story:
Bryan Brewer: Oglala Sioux Back Bill to Stop IRS Harassment of Tribes (Indian Country Today 9/5)