Our citizenry is our greatest Resource. The primary objective and ulterior design of our Federal Government is to secure the rights and safety of our citizenry under its jurisdiction. The Republican Party Platform of 1856 (Convention, 1856) states “that, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it by positive legislation…”
Whereas; The United States government has given tribal governments the right to decide their own membership criteria; and the United States government has given tribal governments exclusive jurisdiction over any child deemed a member by tribal government, affording tribal governments the right to involve themselves in and interfere with private family matters anywhere in the country; and has given tribal governments the right to take children against family wishes;
And Whereas; many Indian Reservations are struggling with epidemic gang activity, child abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, corruption and violence.
And Whereas; tribal members living on a reservation, although U.S. Citizens, are not afforded the protection of the Bill of Rights. Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Press have been abridged and freedom of Religion infringed upon;
And Whereas; The Bureau of Indian Affairs holds land in “Trust” for tribal members; allows tribal governments management of the land, and tribal governments can arbitrarily remove land and property from a member at any time; and Tribal members have been deprived of liberty and property without due process of law;
And Whereas; many Tribal governments have no system of checks and balances; and many tribal governments have been found to commit election fraud in relation to tribal government offices; and most tribal governments, claiming tribal sovereignty, refuse oversight or audit; and spurious executive officers have been set over tribal members, tyrannical and unconstitutional laws have been enacted and enforced; and tribal members have no recourse against tribal leadership and its control;
And Whereas; the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been shown to have mishandled millions of dollars in tribal funds, and tribal governments receive more money per head, as much of the federal funds tribal governments receive are based on the tribal membership numbers or the U.S. census;
And Whereas; Financial benefits for most Reservations were supposed to end after twenty-five years according to the vast majority of treaties, and the continued gifting of funds from the federal government to tribal governments has continued despite not being a treaty right;
And Whereas; the effects of decades of victimization and stewardship by two governments has affected people emotionally and spiritually, bringing some to believe they are incapable of managing their own family affairs;
And Whereas: Equal Protection and Freedom of Association are constitutional rights, and more power given to tribal leaders means less freedom and constitutional rights for tribal members;
And Whereas; 75% of tribal members do not live in Indian Country – and many have deliberately taken their children and left in order to protect their families from rampant crime and corruption of the reservation system;
And Whereas; Congress, has plenary authority over tribal governments and reservation systems, and through statutes, treaties, and the general course of dealing with Indian tribes, has assumed the responsibility for the protection and preservation of Indian tribes and their resources, although does not have financial responsibility;
And Whereas; campaign contributions to federal candidates from Tribal Governments, Tribal Gaming, and their associates and agents has reached millions of dollars each campaign cycle;
And Whereas; Abuses are rampant on many reservations because the U.S. Government has set up a system that allows extensive abuse to occur unchecked and without repercussion;
‘Dakotans for Honesty in Politics’ asserts that all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction, and procurement of the Federal Government and Congress is responsible for this crime against the Constitution, the Union, and humanity.
Be It Resolved: ‘Dakotans for Honesty in Politics’ requests Congress, before the country and before the world, acknowledge the value of our entire citizenry and move to protect every citizen with the full force of law. We ask for a stop to current federal Indian policy which denies millions of people their full constitutional rights. We advocate equal protection under the law.
Be It Resolved: ‘Dakotans for Honesty in Politics’ insists the Federal government honor treaties which state federal funds were to end over a century ago, and cease putting a price on the heads of our children and families by giving federal funds tied to tribal membership rolls and U.S. census to tribal leaders. By tying federal funds to a head count on tribal rolls, federal government officials have encouraged tribal governments to view our children as dollar signs and chattel. The financial motivation for tribal governments to seek and claim children who have tribal heritage but whose families have no political connection to Indian Country will be recognized and abolished.
Be It Resolved: ‘Dakotans for Honesty in Politics’ insist on complete constitutional and civil rights for persons of Native American heritage living inside and outside of reservation boundaries, including the right of all parents and relatives of any ancestry to arbitrarily refuse jurisdiction of a tribal government over their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
‘Dakotans for Honesty in Politics’ support the protection of all citizens living on or near Indian reservations from discrimination by United States, State and Tribal laws and policies.
- We support the original intention of the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement (ANCS), an act dissolving the reservation system and establishing Tribal assets as corporations and declaring all Alaskan tribal members to be stockholders of those assets as well as US and State citizens, entitled to all the protections therein.
- We support a study of how the ANCS fared over the years, and what positive and negative effects it had on the tribal population, including those who left the communities to live their lives elsewhere.
- We support a study to be done on groups of people of Native American heritage who have never been part of a federally recognized tribe and compare their physical, emotional, and financial health to those who are members of federally recognized tribes to ascertain the practical benefit of current federal Indian policy.
- We support the possibility of using the Alaskan Act as a template, with improvements, for federal Indian Policy across the nation. This would allow tribal members independence, self-sufficiency, and the full protective cover of the United States Constitution.
To further protect children in the Dakotas and across America, we ask Congress to:
- Guarantee protection for children of Native American heritage equal to that of any other child in the United States.
- Guarantee fit parents, no matter their heritage, have the right to choose healthy guardians or adoptive parents for their children without concern for heritage.
- Recognize the “Existing Indian Family Doctrine” as a viable analysis for consideration and application in child custody proceedings. (See In re Santos Y, In Bridget R., and In re Alexandria Y.)
- Guarantee United States citizens, no matter their heritage, have a right to fair trials.
- When summoned to a tribal court, parents and legal guardians will be informed of their legal rights, including USC 25 Chapter 21 1911 (b) “…In any State court proceeding for the foster care placement of, or termination of parental rights to, an Indian child not domiciled or residing within the reservation of the Indian child’s tribe, the court, in the absence of good cause to the contrary, shall transfer such proceeding to the jurisdiction of the tribe, absent objection by either parent…”
- Under the principles of comity: All Tribes and States shall accord full faith and credit to a child custody order issued by the Tribe or State of initial jurisdiction consistent within the UCCJA – which enforces a child custody determination by a court of another State – unless the order has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Article 2 of the UCCJA.
- Include well defined protections for Adoptive Parents.
- Mandate that a “Qualified expert witness” be someone who has professional knowledge of the child and family and is able to advocate for the well-being of the child, first and foremost.
- Mandate only parents and/or legal custodians have the right to enroll a child into an Indian Tribe. Because it is claimed tribal membership is a political rather than racial designation, we are asking that parents, as U.S. citizens, be given the sole, constitutional right to choose political affiliation for their families and not have it forced upon them.
- Remove the words “or are eligible for membership in” 1901 (3)
- Remove the words “eligible for membership in” from 1903 (4) (b), the definition of an ‘Indian child’ and replace with the words “an enrolled member of”