“We witnessed significant sacred ancestral sites blown to bits and federal protections wrongly stripped from sacred lands. In addition, we saw the failure of federal public health guidance during the pandemic result in the loss of tribal elders and community members,” Grijalva said in a statement, pointing to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Native Americans. “Tribes must always have the seat at the table,” his statement said. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Sedona, said he was “heartened” by the Biden memo and that he is “looking forward to working with the president to safeguard tribal sovereignty at all levels.” “I have worked to ensure Congress lives up to its treaty and trust obligations and fosters positive nation-to-nation relationships,” O’Halleran said in an emailed statement. Supporters called the memo a good first step, but said the federal government needs to follow through. Grijalva cited proposals like the RESPECT Act, which he said in his statement will codify the language of the executive orders and “ensure that tribes are proactively consulted,” while also streamlining bureaucracy tribes have to deal with and standardizing the consultation process. Morris said it is “a little early to tell” what the next steps might be, but she said something permanent needs to be done for the government to live up to its obligations to tribes. “I think in the long run, we really do need something that is meaningful and measurable for tribes because it’s not just picking up the phone and calling the first tribal person you meet, or sending an email to somebody in a department,” she said. “It really is in cooperation with government to government.” For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.
Under Trump, we witnessed significant sacred ancestral sites blown to bits & federal protections wrongly stripped from sacred tribal lands.— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) January 26, 2021
My bill, the RESPECT Act will codify this requirement & ensure tribes are proactively consulted. #ProtectTheSacred https://t.co/FGhdQ3qt9Q
Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News. It is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
Gaylord News: Muscogee Nation debuts new logo and seal in rebranding effort
Cronkite News: Alaska Native illustrator makes history with ‘Water Protectors’ book
Lakota player lands spot on professional football team
Native America Calling: Billions to the rescue
Lakota couple sues school district for hair-cutting incidents
NAFOA: 5 Things You Need to Know this Week
Chuck Hoskin: Cherokee Nation seeks to strengthen sovereignty
Native America Calling: Hope for clean water infrastructure
People’s World: Native people march for missing and murdered loved ones
Native America Calling: Has the pandemic forever changed dating?
Indian Country cheers nomination of Muscogee Nation citizen to federal bench
Cronkite News: Religious groups join fight to protect sacred Apache site
Gaylord News: Native-owned brewery overcomes challenges amid COVID-19
House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States: Environmental Justice in Indigenous Communities