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Almost every issue that Congress addresses affects Native American communities — land and natural resources; relations with other governments; and financial resources for education, healthcare, housing, and economic development. FCNL offers support as an enduring ally in our advocacy on these issues.

Rock formation in the desert

The story of first encounters between Europeans and Native peoples on this continent is not the kind of story we would wish to pass on to our children. Even more distressing, the early teachings of European superiority have been perpetuated through laws and actions for centuries.

In that time, the federal government actively carried out policies designed to weaken and destroy tribal communities and identity. Living still with this history of violence and oppression, Native Americans today are left with just a fraction of their land and weakened authority. Culturally, too, much has been lost.

But the story isn’t over. Today, many Native American communities are using access to their own resources to invest in the needs and aspirations of their communities, and to recover and reclaim languages, customs, spiritual traditions, justice systems, and hope. While these resources are not universally shared among all tribes, those who can are building schools, health care facilities, community programs, and businesses that provide visible signposts toward a future with room for pride and possibilities.

The U.S. government can be a partner in Native Americans’ efforts to rebuild and thrive.

The U.S. government can be a partner in Native Americans’ efforts to rebuild and thrive. In FCNL’s Native American advocacy work, we look to tribal leaders, teachers, communities, and organizations to identify how the federal government can fulfill promises made in exchange for lost land and resources, and provide necessary support for Native communities reclaiming their strength.

Almost every issue that Congress addresses affects Native American communities — land and natural resources; relations with other governments; and financial resources for education, healthcare, housing, and economic development. FCNL offers support as an enduring ally in our advocacy on these issues — as we have since 1974, when Nebraska Yearly Meeting donated the proceeds of a field of corn to support a lobbying program on Native American concerns.

We coordinate faith partners to bring additional voices to many of these issues, taking our cues from the priorities articulated by Native American organizations and tribes. We illuminate opportunities for investment that the federal government might overlook or underfund and provide information, where possible, on the continuing struggles of Native peoples. Members of Congress have heard from us on issues ranging from Native language preservation and tribal governance of children’s programs to Indian school reconstruction and support for victims of violent crime in Indian Country.

Since the year 2000, relations between the U.S. government and tribes have improved, building a foundation of mutual respect and a shared recognition that strength lies in the ability to control one’s own future. Yet the fundamental problem is the U.S. government’s historic taking of Native lands and resources, compounded by a continuing lack of respect for treaty and moral obligations. Our advocacy seeks to address this injustice.

In FCNL’s Native American advocacy work, we look to tribal leaders and organizations to identify what Native communities need to reclaim their strength.

Ruth Flower

Ruth Flower

Annual Meeting 2018 Keynote Speaker, Consultant, Native American Policy
Ruth’s work with FCNL began in 1981, when she joined the staff to lobby on domestic issues. After a decade with the American Association of University Professors, she rejoined the staff in 2006 to lead FCNL’s domestic lobbying team.

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