On Thursday January 14, Brian Cladoosby, President of the National Congress of American Indians and chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, delivered the 2016 State of the Indian Nations address. Cladoosby spoke at the Newseum in Washington D.C. and was welcomed by members of Congress and the Obama administration.
The central message of the State of the Indian Nations was that the United States federal government ought to honor its treaties and promises to American Indian tribes and nations across the country. This is not a new call from the native community but rather a continuation of a cry for justice that modern America first became aware of with the rise of the radical Red Power movement during the 1960s and ’70s.
“At every level of government, more and more leaders are seeing that the path to a brighter future for America runs through Indian Country,” said Brian Cladoosby said. “Imagine how much further we will go, as the next class of American legislators and policymakers further strengthen tribal self-determination.”
Cladoosby commended the Obama administration for the passage of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2010, and the Tribal Law & Order Act of 2010, as well as the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. He also called on the removal of outdated laws and regulations.
“We need to replace antiquated laws and regulations with policies that trust and empower tribes to govern,” he said. “We need a relationship based not on paternalism and control, but on deference and support; a partnership where tribes continue to meet their own challenges and chart their own path forward.”
During the speech Cladoosby invited presidential candidates to visit native communities on reservations. “While Indian Country is still recovering from generations of damaging policies, more than four decades of tribal self-determination have launched our resurgence. Today, tribal nations are innovating and leading the way.”
Cladoosby also quoted a letter from Thomas Jefferson to President George Washington: “Indians [have] full, undivided and independent sovereignty as long as they choose to keep it, and this might be forever.”
He called for a partnership between native communities and the federal government, specifically in the areas of community security; economic equality; education, health and wellness; and climate change.
While Cladoosby calls for a partnership between tribal nations and the U.S. government we should not assume that any future agreements between the two parties would be honored any more than treaties of the past have been. We should also not assume that Cladoosby and the National Congress of American Indians speak for all natives and nations, especially considering that their membership only applies to individuals or tribes who are “recognized as a tribe or other identifiable group of American Indians by the Department of the Interior, Court of Claims, the Indian Claims Commission or a State.” So for the many nations not recognized by the colonizers known as the U.S. government — their voices are excluded.
The central message of sovereignty for native communities across the United States is of utmost importance. However, we should not stop at American Indians. All human beings presently living on the landmass known as the United States should recognize their inherent right to live as free, beautiful, empowered beings. The federal government most definitely does not grant us our freedom but it is absolutely working to limit the freedom of all people on this land.
This article (National American Indian Leader Delivers Message to Federal Government) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Derrick Broze and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email email@example.com.
With many of the Activist Post contributors it is a challenge to find their e-mail address to respond to them. The deficiencies in Mr. Broze’s article are 1) No info about what benefits the tribes receive such as free housing, food stamps or some equivalent. 2) No info about educational benefits. 3) No info about productive or constructive contributions from the tribes. So, this article seem like more “yellow press” to evoke an emotional response or just fill space like so many of the Activist Post articles. The Indians need to be free and sovereign like all citizens of the United States, free from government intrusion into their lives, free from welfare, and free to work and pay taxes. The great lesson from their plight is that it is true that beggars can’t be choosers. Do you suppose there are any other minorities that would benefit from that counsel?
found it at the bottom of the article
“An omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable Principle on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception, and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of human thought — in other words
‘unthinkable and upspeakable.’
This Infinite and Eternal Cause — is the rootless root of all that was, is, or ever shall be.”