ONE: We’re working to legally or legislatively overturn
“Treatment Similar to States”policy for Indian tribes. This policy, being promulgated by The Environmental Protection Agency, puts tribal governments in charge of air and water quality, Superfund cleanup, and pesticide use on privately-owned lands anywhere upstream of tribal trust lands, over non-tribal businesses located within a fifty mile radius of Indian Country, and over non-member U.S. citizens who live, work, or travel anywhere within historic borders of tribal reservations. This egregious policy directly threatens state sovereignty. The EPA cannot be allowed to force citizens, business owners, and farmers to submit to rules made by a group that they cannot vote for or appeal to. We’re urging governors to work with Congress and end this policy as soon as possible, either by federal rulemaking authority,by Executive Order, or by an Act of Congress.
We’re making progress on getting tribal sovereign
waived or abrogated. A recent decision by a California Court of Appeals,
Fair Political Practices Commission v. Santa Rosa Indians,
rejected a claim of sovereign immunity. In December 2006, the California Supreme Court declared that tribes can be sued by the Fair Political Practices Commission -
this is a major win. Two earlier cases out of the 5th Circuit in Texas were also won, holding that tribal sovereign immunity does not apply in cases seeking injunctive or declaratory relief:
TTEA v. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and
Comstock Oil & Gas Inc. v. Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas,
We continue contacting governors and attorneys general to urge them to participate in litigation that will continue to define the limits of tribal sovereign immunity. Tribes should be exerting authority ONLY over their own members and lands.
We’re actively lobbying against the “tribal loophole”
in the McCain-Feingold/Campaign Finance Reform act and the rulemaking by the Federal Election Commission that exempted Indian tribes from
federal campaign contribution limits. The FEC must be formally petitioned by as many states as possible to enter into rulemaking on this subject and should hold public hearings on the “tribal loophole”.
In a key win, Legislation has been introduced to eliminate this loophole!
FOUR: We need to
level the Free Enterprise playing field
between tribal businesses and non-tribal businesses of every kind. We need to get sales and excise tax collection issues addressed through a joint federal/state lawsuit as soon as possible because a growing number of state/local governments are suffering huge budget shortfalls. It is the Indian-owned businesses directly related to tribal casinos that are primarily engaging in this illegal tax evasion.
FIVE: Reform of thetribal recognition processis a very important area that needs to be addressed both by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior and by Congress. Tribal acknowledgment is a problem in a growing number of states. There have been several House hearings on this subject over the past two years, which drew nationwide attention to how badly flawed the current process is and how urgently it needs to be fixed. Tribes as small as one to five members have been recognized and become eligible for federal benefits. Over two hundred additional groups are now seeking recognition as “tribes”. We were gratified when the Department of the Interior Board of Indian Appeals resoundingly overturned the BIA recognition of two tribes in Connecticut. This is hopefully a start at correcting the abuses that have been rampant in the BIA.
SIX: Americans have a right to know that their homes and businesses are safe from government seizure. Tribal governments are now using
“Eminent Domain” powers to evictprivate landowners from properties owned for generations in the States of New York and California, usually for the purpose of expanding casino operations. The House passed legislation by a vote of 376-38 (H.R.4128) “The Private Property Rights Protection Act” to deny federal funding to state and local governments who partner with tribes in this egregious practice. We cannot allow the Kelo v. New London decision to stand.
OUR APPROACH: One Nation United is defending our individual rights, equality under the law, and a strong free enterprise system operating within an open, transparent government.
The problem is political and legal.
A corrupt Federal Indian Policy was created by a misguided political process - a classic example of the law of unintended consequences.
Federal Indian Policy can be reformed for the benefit of Indians and non-Indians only by a strong political effort.
Our political efforts are supported by litigating carefully chosen cases.
We lobby Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. We conduct public education campaigns on the extremely serious problems with Federal Indian Policy. We’re the nation’s leading nonpartisan, grassroots umbrella group addressing this major problem. We’ve built and are expanding a diverse nonpartisan national network of concerned citizens, elected officials, lawyers, academics, law enforcement officials, clergy and community leaders to shape the debate on this issue. We will maintain a strong lobbying effort in DC,
with your financial help!