Native American Justice
Making Amends Towards Native American Nations
Broken promises have contributed to injustice and poverty among the more than 8.75 million federally recognized, and millions more unrecognized, Native Americans living here today.
– Marianne Williamson
One of the great tragedies of American history, not only for Native Americans, but for European settlers as well, is that we denied ourselves the extraordinary cultural and spiritual possibilities of what might have been. Had a partnership rather than dominator model of social organization been chosen centuries ago, not only Native American culture, but also European American culture, would now be much more advanced. Due to increased historical and spiritual awareness, America is now ready to repair wounds both old and new, so that we can pave the way to a more enlightened future. As President, I would be honored to preside over both.
America is in the midst of a social and spiritual breakdown, and under a Williamson administration we will rebuild the fabric of our nation from the inside out. Through economic renewal, societal respect, artistic expression and – most importantly – a president intent on helping Americans atone for the true story of genocide and cultural annihilation, we will seek to heal as much as possible what has been broken and begin the historic process of writing a new American story. Through a spirit of genuine atonement, colonial America will reconcile with a horrific past relationship to Native Americans, so that we can all move forward together, as a stronger nation more unified than ever before.
Native Americans lived on this continent for thousands of years before our European ancestors “discovered” it. The wisdom of the indigenous peoples of North America graced this soil before the colonial intruders ever arrived. In 1492 there were an estimated eighteen million indigenous people who lived in the area that is now the United States. By 1890, as a result of war and disease, there were only about 250,000 Indigenous people left here alive.
Native Americans experienced both physical and cultural genocide. Over the years, the US government made various treaties with Native tribes which have been continuously broken. Our broken promises have contributed to injustice and poverty among the more than 8.75 million federally recognized, and millions more unrecognized, Native Americans living here today. In addition to higher poverty rates, reservations are hindered by lower-than-national-average education levels, poor healthcare services, low employment, substandard housing, deficient economic infrastructure – and now, as in North Dakota during the 2018 midterms, voter suppression efforts.
We must seek to overturn wrongs of the past that in many ways still linger today, and redress the problems that have been caused because of them. In the words of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, “The federal government should provide adequate funding for the essentials of life, not as a gift or as charity, but as the fulfillment of commitments made at the founding and throughout the expansion of this nation.”
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A Williamson administration will address the following concerns:
- Support tribal sovereignty, and create a task force which includes leaders of Tribal nations to discuss their needs for infrastructure, education and economic development that are currently severely underfunded and under-resourced. My administration would guarantee aid to strengthen tribal self-governance.
- The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and reparations for the history of genocide, theft, and impoverishment leveraged against our indigenous people.
- Amend the federal regulations to streamline the recognition process of Tribal Nations, and provide regulations for recognition of a Native Hawaiian Nation and other Pacific and Caribbean Islanders.
- Increasing efforts to appoint tribal citizens to Tribal liaison positions, boards and commissions at all levels of government to ensure representation in all policies and decisions impacting Tribal Nations.
- Protection of Native religious freedoms.
- Federal law which will prohibit states assuming jurisdiction over reservations.
- Legislation that reaffirms the Congressional intent of the Indian Reorganization Act, which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for all federally recognized Tribal Nations.
- Funding Native elders with resources to train and educate Native youth in their Tribal identity, history and cultural resiliency.
- Declaring the second Monday in October as “Indigenous Peoples Day”.
- Recognizing the principles in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People; tribal consent to be a prerequisite before granting permits for construction projects on tribal treaty lands, waterways, and usual and accustomed areas.
- Reversing any efforts or actions by U.S. government which reduced Tribal lands or resource rights.
- Returning dominant control of the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Sioux (Lakota/Dakota/Nakota) Nation. The Black Hills, considered sacred to those nations, were promised by treaty in 1868 and should be returned as promised.
- Protection of sacred sites and lands from sale, mining, or transfer without consultation with tribes.
- Improvement of Native lands’ justice systems, which, due mainly to chronic underfunding, make it difficult to enforce prosecution of non-natives accused of serious crimes.
- Supporting the rights of tribes to regulate and manage their own environment and natural resources, including the right to hunt, fish and gather in their traditional usual and accustomed places, and rethinking treaties that have limited Tribes’ capacity to make such decisions.
- Mandating that all property tax revenues from tribal (reservation) lands shall be shared with the tribes.
- Ensure full funding for the Indian Health Service and the establishment of at least one IHS clinic in each state, dependent on geographic area.
- Increasing and expanding community health centers and behavioral and mental health services for Native youth within Tribal communities and school systems.
- Ensuring that all reservations have adequate federally funded medical facilities.
- Expanded funding of programs that combat economic, behavioral and social health problems such as substance abuse, homelessness, suicide prevention and food insecurities.
- Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and ensure its reauthorization in 2027 when it is set to expire. VAWA helps with the issues related to Savannah’s Act, and reflect the disturbing levels of unaddressed abuse and sex trafficking against all genders of Indigenous people in some Native American communities.
- Expand VAWA to include funding for judicial training.
- Ensure the rights of Tribal Nations to investigate and exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Native citizens who commit domestic violence on Tribal lands in accordance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
- Maintaining and authorizing the VAWA to fund and expand the specific Tribal Nations’ provisions, such as judicial training.
- Form a commission to study the distorted representation of Native women in the mainstream media, including negative stereotypes and other biases which are a contributing factor not only in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis in the United States, but also in the way the crisis is reported in the news media.
- Ensuring correct classification of Missing and Murdered Native women in the federal record. Often, Native women are misclassified as Asian or Hispanic or other racial categories on missing-person forms. Training and support must be provided to coroners and police departments to avoid this.
- Federal recognition of the crisis that Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples’ and their families’ rights have been violated due to their Native identity and race.
- Identifying pipeline culture as an intrinsic factor in the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and mandate oil companies expend resources for crisis prevention.
- Federal recognition that acknowledges the harmful impact of all levels of law enforcements’ disregard of missing and murdered Indigenous Peoples.
- Improving state-federal-tribal relations to avoid bias and discriminatory community policing through law enforcement training and cross-cultural education with Tribal Nations.
Urban Indian Affairs
- Expanded funding of Urban Indian health organizations to enable them to address the health needs of Native Americans in urban areas who may not have access to Tribal health facilities.
- Funding Indian Health Service’s (IHS) trust responsibility for Urban Indians; whereby, IHS funds should never be taken from the Federally Recognized Tribal allotment to fund Urban Indian Health Care.
- Acknowledging that some Urban Indians have been systematically disenfranchised from the Federal trust responsibility and support, and must not remain invisible to local, state and federal governments.
- Recognizing that Urban Indians make up a disproportionate percentage of the homeless population.
- Combating gentrification in Tribal and poor communities which leads to people being priced out of their communities.
- Combating the treatment of Urban Natives as invisible due to forced assimilation by the government through prior discriminatory Acts of Congress and racist policies throughout U.S. history.
- Support all states with Developing and funding an Urban Indian Liaison Office as part of the to improve community relations with Urban Indians.
- Removal of policies and practices that create barriers in upholding Native voting rights at all levels of government.
- Many homes in reservations do not have street addresses, therefore posing a challenge for the Native communities to register to vote, or get access to mail-in ballots. I will work with tribal communities to determine the best resolution to this issue, in order to ensure all Native Americans are able to exercise their right to vote.
Education and Child Welfare
- Ensuring that the Department of Education fully funds and includes Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum developed by Tribal leaders in all states.
- Support increasing and expanding community health centers, behavioral and mental health services, and chemical dependency and suicide prevention programs for Native youth within Tribal communities and school systems.
- Implementing the essential role of Native families and parent committees in the decision-making process of their children’s education, health and well-being as defined by the Indian education legislation.
- Providing funding for judicial training on the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 to eliminate the loss of Native children’s ties and identities to their families, cultures and homelands.
- Improving and aligning government policies and efforts, including data collection, to appropriately identify and classify American Indian/Alaska Native and multi-racial students to adequately support the distinct education criteria, funding and programs.
- Expand funding for Tribal Compact Schools.
- Increasing funding for housing Native youth attending schools, youth groups, and living within Tribal communities.
- Improving the disproportionate rate of drop-out, expulsion and suspension rates of Native students at the K-12 level.
- Expanding access to Tribal Colleges and Universities, as well as Indian Studies programs within mainstream Colleges and Universities, in their recruitment and retention of Native students towards earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in a learning environment in which culture, traditions and Native experience is emphasized.
- Providing federal support for tribal members to continuing education in state schools and universities.
- Acknowledging Indians, children lost to adoption under the Indian Relocation Act of 1952, Tribal members who are dis-enrolled and the United States policy to terminate Indian Tribes from mid 1940 thru mid-1960, prior to the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 and require reunification with their tribes and families.