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ACET Board addresses the SBA 8(a) Certification for Tribes and Tribal Citizens

posted Feb 7, 2020, 1:14 PM by John Norwood

ACET RESOLUTION #2020-02-05B

Title: Calling on the Small Business Administration to Clarify and Affirm Eligibility Requirements for the 8(a) Program as Pertaining to American Indians

WHEREAS, the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes (ACET) represents the interests of indigenous Tribes that have continuously existed since prior to the colonial era of the eastern and southern seaboard of the continental United States, which share a common history of pre-colonial, colonial, and federal governmental contact, including, but not limited to, colonial treaties, colonial era reservations or designated “Indian towns,” enrollment in federal and closely associated Indian mission boarding schools, or listing as tribal communities in federal records, reports, or studies prior to 1960; and

WHEREAS, Articles 3, 4, 5 and 23 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) affirm that American Indian tribes and their citizens have an inherent right to develop their economic wellbeing, create and strengthen economic institutions that support self-determination and self-governance; and

WHEREAS, the United State Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program (CFR Title 13: PART 124) supports the ability of tribes and tribal citizens to establish and strengthen both tribally owned and individually owned American Indian enterprises and provides set-aside and sole-source contracting opportunities with federal agencies; and

WHEREAS, eligibility to participate in the SBA 8(a) program includes business entities that are majority owned by economically disadvantaged minorities, with special provisions including American Indian tribes or tribal citizens meeting the program’s definition of “Indian,”  which is an American Indian citizen of, or tribe that is an “… Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any ANC, which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians, or is recognized as such by the State in which the tribe, band, nation, group, or community resides” (CFR Title 13: PART 124 Subpart A—8(a) Business Development, Provisions of General Applicability, §124.3); and

WHEREAS, tribal governments and their individual citizens have benefited from SBA 8(a) program participation, meeting the purposes of the program; and

WHEREAS, there have been some reports alleging a lack of proper program compliance regarding admission to the 8(a) program by business entities which may not meet the criteria for federal or state recognition of the tribal or individual American Indian owner, allowing for potential abuse of the program; and

WHEREAS, while ACET supports any and all efforts to ensure proper oversight and prevention of abuse by verifying official tribal status with the federal government or the government of a state, there is a concern that response to potential abuse not disadvantage or create any hardship for those eligible to participate in the program according to the current regulations; and

WHEREAS, unlike other economically disadvantaged minority owned businesses, individually owned American Indian businesses are only eligible to become 8(a) certified if the ownership is by a tribal citizen of a tribe that is recognized by the federal government or the government of a state; and

WHEREAS, ACET membership includes both federally recognized tribes and state recognized tribes, and is dedicated to protecting the inherent rights and dignity of all indigenous nations, supporting the furtherance of the SBA 8(a) program is crucial to the economic empowerment and self-determination of the tribes and individual tribal citizens that participate;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that ACET affirms calls for the federal government, through Congressional study or agency action, to address any issues of abuse of, and ensure compliance with, the SBA 8(a) program regulations; and

BE IT RESOLVED, that ACET affirms that any clarification of the SBA 8(a) program regulations does not diminish or disadvantage any tribe or individual deemed eligible under the current regulations.

BE IT RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of ACET until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.

ACET Board Addresses the Eagle Feather Petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service

posted Feb 7, 2020, 1:12 PM by John Norwood   [ updated Feb 8, 2020, 1:08 PM ]

ACET RESOLUTION #2020-02-05A

Title: Calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service to Deny any Change to the Eagle Feather Protection Act that would Extend Rights to Non-Indians

WHEREAS, the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes (ACET) represents the interests of indigenous Tribes that have continuously existed since prior to the colonial era of the eastern and southern seaboard of the continental United States, which share a common history of pre-colonial, colonial, and federal governmental contact, including, but not limited to, colonial treaties, colonial era reservations or designated “Indian towns,” enrollment in federal and closely associated Indian mission boarding schools, or listing as tribal communities in federal records, reports, or studies prior to 1960; and

WHEREAS, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has published a petition for rulemaking to have the existing regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Act), 6 U.S.C. §§ 668-668d governing the “religious purposes of Indian tribes” exception in the Act be expanded to allow any and all “sincere religious believers;” and

WHEREAS, ACET previously submitted comments to the Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs of the FWS pertaining to the aforementioned petition on June 21, 2019, which affirmed the inherent rights of all Indian tribes to possess eagle feathers recognized by the FWS, both federally listed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (federally recognized) and those recognized by the states in which they reside (state recognized), as was consistent with the Morton Policy; and

WHEREAS, the aforementioned expansion being considered by FWS goes well beyond the recommendations of ACET as indicated in the previously submitted comments, with the risk of the expansion being applied to non-Natives, potentially diminishing the rights of all American Indian Tribes due to our special status as indigenous political entities; and

WHEREAS, ACET desires to further clarify and strengthen its position regarding any changes to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act being considered by the FWS; and

WHEREAS, the protected political status of tribes is fundamental to the framework of federal Indian law and policy; and

WHEREAS, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, (“IACA”) 25 U.S.C. §305e(d)(3)(B) (2000) is an applicable precedent which includes both federally recognized and state recognized tribes, applying protections based upon the protected political status of such tribes; and

WHEREAS,  extending the IACA inclusion model to protecting inherent indigenous rights of federally recognized and state recognized tribes in the possession of eagle feathers is consonant with efforts to protect cultural patrimony; and

WHEREAS, the trust relationship between American Indian Tribes is formalized by federal acknowledgment, but is not limited to federally recognized tribes and extends to American Indian Tribes that may not have been formally acknowledged by the federal government, as affirmed in Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton, 528 F.2d 370 (1st Cir. 1975); and

WHEREAS, the inherent indigenous right to ceremonial, religious and spiritual items and property is affirmed by Articles 11 and 12 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and

WHEREAS, ACET is dedicated to advocating for the inherent indigenous rights of all American Indians Nations, and includes in its membership both federally recognized and state recognized tribes;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes (ACET), hereby calls on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to apply a standard similar to that of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 in its definition of “Indian” regarding the existing regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Act), 6 U.S.C. §§ 668-668d governing the “religious purposes of Indian tribes” due to the political status of American Indian Tribes, without expanding that exception to apply to non-Indians; and

BE IT RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of ACET until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.

Virginia Tribes Recognition

posted Jan 30, 2018, 1:25 PM by John Norwood

Forwarded by Patricia Ferguson of Arizona State University


Congratulations to the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indian Tribe – Eastern Division, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahonnock Tribe,  Monacan Indian Nation, and Nansemond Indian Tribe!   The President signed the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 into law today! 

 

President Signs Virginia Tribes Recognition Bill

Authored by Wittman into Law

REP. ROB WITTMAN·MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2018

WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) applauded President Trump for signing H.R. 984, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 into law today. This legislation, championed by Rep. Wittman, grants federal recognition to six Virginia Indian tribes. Rep. Wittman introduced the bill in February of 2017 and today, nearly one year later, it is receiving the president’s signature.

 

“Today we celebrate a decade of hard work. Our ‘first contact' tribes of the Commonwealth of Virginia will finally receive the recognition they deserve,” Rep. Wittman said. “This is an issue of respect; federal recognition acknowledges and protects the historical and cultural identities of these tribes. Not only will it affirm the government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Virginia tribes, but it will create opportunities to enhance and protect the well-being of tribal members. I want to thank Senators Kaine and Warner and Representatives Scott, Beyer, and Connolly for supporting my efforts as we finally give these tribes the recognition they have long deserved.”

This law grants federal recognition to the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond tribes. These tribes received official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia but had faced barriers preventing them from receiving federal recognition due gaps in official records. The Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 rights this wrong.

Federal recognition grants Virginia’s tribes legal standing and status in relationships with the U.S. government. This status enables the tribes to pursue repatriation of historical and cultural artifacts, comment on federal agency actions that could affect their future, and gain access to a number of federal programs.

Rep. Wittman introduced H.R. 984 on February 7, 2017. The bill passed the House by voice vote on May 17, 2017 and the Senate by Unanimous Consent on January 11, 2018. President Trump signed the legislation into law this afternoon.

Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

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Pocahontas and the President

posted Nov 27, 2017, 1:41 PM by John Norwood   [ updated Nov 27, 2017, 1:43 PM ]

submitted by Dr. J.R. Norwood, ACET General Secretary

In a ceremony at the White House honoring Native Code talkers, who are known to have been vital to the success and victory in World War II (and a lesser known fact is that code talkers even were used to aid the victory in World War I), President Trump decided to deviate from the focus on their valiant service to take a swipe at a political opponent, once again making a reference to Senator Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas" (see link below).  After his initial use of this reference during his campaign, numerous American Indian organizations denounced the manner in which the name was used. There are some who ignored the response from Indian Country and defended Mr. Trump, both then and now, with the excuse that the name "Pocahontas" is not a racial slur. When honorably referencing the actual historic figure, this indeed is true. However, the name becomes a derogatory racial reference when used as an insult. American Indian names, whether they be historic or contemporary, are not meant to be used as insults.  To do so is to reduce them to racial slurs. There are many in Indian Country who have given various perspectives on Senator Warren's claim of an American Indian ancestor. There are many non-tribal Americans who make similar claims of indigenous ancestry. Sometimes it is a matter of documented genealogical fact and sometimes it's merely a matter of family lore. Such private claims, when not used to claim the legal protections or benefits of the citizens of American Indian Nations, cause little or no harm to tribal people. However, degrading an American Indian name or historic tribal reference by using it as an insult is making a racial slur, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The right to determine if it is a slur belongs to those who have been insulted, not the one who made the insult.  The appropriate and mature response when one is made aware of such an insult to an entire race of people is to apologize and to not do it again. An even better response after the apology is to try to understand and learn more of the proud heritage of the people that were insulted and why the manner in which you used the reference may be viewed as an insult.  Such a response would unite instead of divide.  It would heal instead of hurt.  This is a "teachable moment" that could be transformed into something positive, if America and its president are willing to learn.  We can only hope.

- Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas' at event honoring Native Americans http://nbcnews.to/2zJNqjn
- World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) tweeted at 2:52 PM on Mon, Nov 27, 2017: MOMENTS AGO: Pres. Trump at White House event honoring Navajo code talkers, makes joke about "Pocahontas" Sen. Elizabeth Warren. https://t.co/PgdhbxBrfT
(https://twitter.com/ABCWorldNews/status/935234798045446144?s=09)

ACET is a NCAI Mid-Year Conference Sponsor and has a Bag Insert

posted Jun 9, 2017, 8:35 AM by John Norwood   [ updated Jun 9, 2017, 8:41 AM ]


A Position Statement on “Indigenous Peoples Day”

posted Jan 11, 2017, 7:07 PM by John Norwood

From the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes

Indigenous Peoples Day is being promoted by many people of conscience as an alternative celebration to Columbus Day. There has been an increased awareness and sensitivity to the atrocities committed by Columbus and others during the so-called “age of discovery.” Many American Indian tribes and tribal people reject the celebration of Columbus as the discoverer of the Americas, given that indigenous civilizations thrived across Turtle Island for millennia prior to his arrival. Columbus presided over the inhumane treatment of tribal people and territorial theft of tribal lands. Moreover, the doctrine associated with European “discovery” of non-European people has served as the foundation for the continuing oppressive impact of colonization. Many tribal people are confused and offended as to how Christopher Columbus is presented as a hero while Adolph Hitler is accepted as a villain, when both initiated and participated in crimes against humanity and instigated genocide.

While we applaud the awakening of the conscience of some across the United States in regard to this issue, we approach the establishment of Indigenous Peoples Day with some caution. While celebrating the cultural heritage of the many indigenous peoples of the hemisphere is a worthy initiative, the danger is that the history and continuing issues of our people may come into focus for a day and then go out of focus for the rest of the year in the minds of the general public. This concern also includes celebrating our people, nations, and culture only in the “past tense,” while ignoring the continuing heritage of the many of us who still remain. While a heightened awareness and celebration of indigenous people and culture on a single day is a good thing, it is much more important that an effort be made to educate about the true history, ongoing challenges and struggles of the original people of the Americas. The catharsis of a single day celebration could lead some to erroneously believe that enough has been done to correct the atrocities of over half of a millennia… or that an apology and commemorative annual day is an adequate replacement for the establishment of justice.

Acknowledging that Christopher Columbus should not be viewed as a hero and teaching the truth of his arrival and activities in the Americas is long overdue. An annual Indigenous Peoples Day can also aid in overturning misconceptions, stereotypes, and miseducation that perpetuate the mistreatment of the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island – if it is well thought out and well planned. Or, it could promote the very errors and behaviors which continue to do harm to indigenous people.

Whether an annual Indigenous Peoples Day is established locally or nationally, it is vital that communities learn about the indigenous heritage of their areas and gain understanding of tribal nations and peoples that have continued there. Learning the truth of that history, and the current realities of such continuing historic tribal communities, is far more crucial to respectful interaction with indigenous peoples and can lead to the better establishment of justice for indigenous peoples.

ACET Passes Water Protector Resolution of Support

posted Jan 11, 2017, 7:03 PM by John Norwood   [ updated Jan 11, 2017, 7:03 PM ]

The ACET Board passed a resolution of continuing support for the Standing Rock Sioux Water Protectors who have bravely stood against the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Even in the wake of the government's withdraw of the permits for further development, many of the protectors are standing guard through the transition of presidential administrations.  The ACET resolution urges continued vigilance and also encourages an environmentally friendly conduct of the ongoing protest regarding the camp's waste.  The full resolution is posted on the ACET website's Resolutions page.

ACET Adopts UNDRIP and OASDRIP through Official Resolutions

posted Jan 11, 2017, 6:57 PM by John Norwood

During their December 2016 meetings, the ACET Board formally adopted both the United Nations and the Organization of American States Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Both declarations have been used by ACET and its member tribes in statements and resolutions, but it was determined that official adoption should take place.  Both resolutions can be found on the Resolutions page of the ACET website.

ACET Board Passes a Resolution Against an Action of the State of Oklahoma

posted Jun 8, 2016, 1:36 PM by John Norwood   [ updated Jun 8, 2016, 1:37 PM ]

Resolution # 2016-06-08 “Against any action seeking to limit the definition of American Indian Oklahoma Legislature and the Changing Definition of ‘Indian’” regarding the recent passing of the policy and state of Oklahoma redefining “American Indian” to exclusively mean a member of a BIA-listed tribe. Read the resolution by clicking [here]

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