fbpx
facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1
 
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, Representative Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a bill that acknowledges “the chronic failures” of the federal government to fulfill its trust and treaty agreements with tribes and to “ensure progress towards trust and treaty obligations.”


The bill—named the “Honoring Promises to Native Nations Act”— addresses “chronic underfunding” and barriers to sovereignty faced by Indian Country due to the federal government’s failures. 

In December 2018, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report titled Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans. The Commission found the government’s failures to include: improper funding of federal programs designed to support the social and economic well-being of Native Americans, la ack of accurate, consistent, and comprehensive records of federal spending on Native American programs, and a lack of full recognition of the sovereign status of tribal governments by state and federal governments.

Kilmer and Warren’s legislation implements the recommendations of that report.  

In 2019, in response to the release of the Broken Promises report, then-Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Senator Warren released a legislative proposal for this bill to further the process of receiving feedback and input from tribal stakeholders. Senator Warren and Representative Kilmer, who succeeded Congresswoman Haaland as the bill’s House lead, have continued to receive feedback to inform the development of the legislation.

“For generations, the U.S. government has clearly failed to fulfill its commitments to Tribal Nations,” said Sen. Warren in a statement. “This bill is sweeping in ambition to make good on those commitments and empower Native communities, and it provides a much-needed legislative blueprint to deliver significant, long-term funding for the advancement of Native Americans. I won’t stop fighting to ensure the U.S. government honors its promises.”

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Commissioner Karen Narasaki, who was the lead on the Broken Promises report, said in a statement that the Commission recommends the federal government provide ‘steady, equitable, and non-discretionary funding’ to tribal nations. 

“Non Discretionary funding is essential to long-term planning for tribal governments and respects tribal sovereignty,” she said. “It protects essential programs from the partisan gamesmanship that all too often has resulted in appropriations stalemates and left Native Americans as a whole with a dramatically lower quality of life across every dimension the Commission evaluated as compared with non-Native Americans. The Honoring Promises legislation would ensure that the United States will finally live up to its trust and treaty obligations.” 

More Stories Like This

At Least 10 States Quietly Own Lands Within Indian Reservations — and Profit from Them
It is time to heal old wounds’ | Sovereignty is Once Again on the Table for Maine’s Tribes
Second Annual Wisconsin Cannabis Industry & Policy Summit Set for Feb. 29th
Legislation Filed in Illinois Would Help Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Reclaim Stolen Land
NINE LITTLE GIRLS

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

 
About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].