Tex Hall - 'America, You Have to Do Better At Home!'
Hall implored Congress not to back away from its contractual and funding responsibility for the country’s more than 562 tribal governments. As tribes diverse needs increase, many federal funds are decreasing. “The United States can’t do good around the world unless we first do good at home.”
He added, “That means tribal citizens must be afforded the opportunity to attend safe schools, drink clean water, receive quality health care and live and work in a safe community. In other words, the social crisis is not just an Indian problem, it is a world problem. America, you have to do better at home. "
Joni Ramos, president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community which has about 8,000 enrolled members said she was shaken by one portion of Hall’s report when he stated federal statistics show that one-third of Native women will be raped in their lifetime and that nine out of the Indian victims of rape and assault are attacked by non-Indians. “We need laws that will prosecute these offenders.”, stressed Ramos.
“Tribes don’t have jurisdiction over non-Indian violent offenders,” Hall said, calling on Congress to pass legislation giving tribes the legal tools to address mistreatment of women.
Other requests include:
1. Creating fair rules for tax exempt-bond financing in Indian country so tribes can raise funds as other government entities do for schools, raids, h\jails, and other infrastructure.
2. Improved telecommunications on reservations, whose remoteness and lack of basic infrastructure hurt many tribes economically.
3. Passage of the Tribal Homeland Security Act to fund tribal homeland security as other states receive.
4. Better funding for education, health and housing.
5. Better management of tribal and individual trust accounts, the responsibility of the Department of the Interior.
Despite those economic needs, Hall stressed gains in the Indian income and a lowering of
poverty that was reported by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.
According to Hall, the most fascinating thing about the economic gains is that there is very little difference between those tribes with gambling operations and those tribes with no gaming.
Hall lauded the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian last year and the strong voter registration and turnout among Native Americans for the general election with special recognition to the Tohono O’odham Community for registering 1,300 voters.
He concluded with ”We have faced the worst that could be thrown at us and survived and we will ensure that future tribal governments will become stronger.”
This story has been edited for length and content from an Arizona Republic report bylined John Stearns.
From Roscoe Pond:
The Second Annual Native American LA Film and TV Awards will be held Tuesday, February 15th t the Holiday Inn, Burbank Media- Center from 2 to 4 p.m. located at 150 E. Angeleno in Burbank.
For more information, contact Roscoe at 1-213-387-5772.
Business attire is requested.
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Healing Pathways for Native Americans with Breast Cancer.
Prevention Treatment and Recovery on March 25th and 26th at the Radisson City Center - Tucson, 181 W. Broadway, Tucson, AZ 85701.
For more info. or to attend, contact Russ Johnson, Native Solutions - (520)887-4343 for an application form.