NEW TOWN Representatives of five tribes with the Coalition of Large Tribes, who say they are not pleased with the overall lack of consultation with tribes by the federal government, agreed they need to be proactive in dealings with the Obama administration.
"Lack of consultation equals lack of respect. We are sovereign nations; the actions of these federal agencies are illegal and disrespectful," said Tex Hall, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes.
The tribal representatives from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (Three Affiliated Tribes), Blackfeet, Ute and Crow nations and the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. met at Three Affiliated Tribes' headquarters west of New Town Tuesday and Wednesday.
The representatives' consensus was to let the federal government know that tribal lands are sovereign and for the exclusive use of the tribes and public lands are for the use of the American public, according to a news release issued by Hall's office.
The representatives focused on three issues: taxation, natural resource management and tribal
sovereign nation status.
More specifically, the topics included:
Inequities caused by Bureau of Land Management's application-for-permit to drill fees.
Indian lands are not public lands.
Affirm exclusive tribal authority to tax activities on Indian lands.
Confirm tribal jurisdiction over rights-of-way.
Provide 638 contracting for implementation of Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and other treatment-as-a-state authorities. Public Law 638 the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act authorizes Indian tribes to contract and operate federal service programs within the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service.
Permanently repeal the "Essential Government Function" test for tribal economic development bonds.
Overall lack of consultation on road issues.
Lack of tribal consultation in development of new hydraulic fracking rules.
President Bill Clinton signed Presidential Executive Order 13175 Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments on Nov. 6, 2000.
"President Obama's Administration states he follows 13175 in dealing with Indian tribal nations. However, actions of those heading federal agencies in this administration contradict that statement," the news release said.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed Order No. 3317, Department of Interior Policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes, on Dec. 1, 2011.
The five nations from COLT are calling on Salazar to make sure the Interior Department management engages in meaningful consultation with tribes.
"The COLT tribes said the consultation policy has not been followed in developing new rules on hydraulic fracturing. Further, DOI management should clarify their statement of tribal consultation. None of the COLT tribes have been consulted," the news release said.
More meetings of the COLT tribes are being scheduled to act on the issues.