- Native Americans
Native American Legislative Update
Welcome to FCNL's Native American Legislative Update! The NALU is a monthly newsletter about FCNL's Native American policy advocacy and ways for you to engage your members of Congress. FCNL's Congressional Advocate for Native American policy is Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco (Shinnecock/Kiowa).
Visiting My People
This past month, I attended the Great Plains Yearly Meeting in Hominy, Oklahoma. This Yearly Meeting was on the Osage Reservation and is tied to the Osage Community. I connected with FCNL’s Quaker Membership and with my roots.
Tell Congress To Support The Survive ActAct Now
My father is Kiowa and I have family all over “Kiowa Country” in Southwestern Oklahoma. I spent a couple of summers with my Oklahoma family when I was a kid. I haven’t visited in over a decade. My schedule is always packed when I’m on the road for FCNL, but fortunately, I had time to reconnect with my family. There’s nothing quite like spending time with loved ones to keep a person focused and motivated. Connecting with my family and my tribal community reminds me why I became a lobbyist in the first place. The policies I work on affect the ones I love. They’re the reason I keep on advocating for policies that help Native peoples, my people.
Major Legislative Win
Tribal Set-Aside of the Crime Victims Fund
The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 created the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). It provides grants to support victim services such as domestic violence shelters, counseling, and court advocacy. All money in the fund comes from criminal fines and penalties, not taxpayer money. Despite the high rates of victimization, tribes have been unable to directly access the CVF.
While an authorization bill, the SURVIVE Act, provides a five percent tribal set-aside from the CVF has been submitted, advocates are also pushing for a tribal set-aside though the appropriations process. FCNL has advocated for this tribal set-aside through letters of support to Congress, organizational sign-on letters, and action alerts to FCNL constituents.
The FY 2018 omnibus bill has a 3 percent CVF tribal set-aside
In the FY 2019 draft appropriations bills, a five percent CVF tribal set-aside was included.
While we celebrate these appropriations wins, FCNL still continues to lobby for a permanent fix to the Crime Victims Fund through the SURVIVE Act. Contact your member of Congress today and let them know you support the SURVIVE Act.
Savanna's Act (S.1942/H.R.4485):
The bill addresses the crisis of missing and murdered Native women by creating a standard protocol for law enforcement. It also expands tribal access to criminal databases.
SURVIVE Act (S.1870/H.R.4443):
The bill authorizes a permanent five percent tribal set-aside in the Crime Victims Fund.
What We’re Reading and Hearing
My article on missing and murdered Native women was published in the Billings Gazette, Montana.
Indian Country Today published an article about America’s history of separating families of color -- at the border and at boarding schools.
National Public Radio reports that a record number of Native women are running for office. This is in response to a president who does not understand the Native American community and the government’s responsibility to honor the more than 400 US-Indian treaties.
Mary Annette Pember, of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, writes about mascots and white hegemony. She said “We will continue to ignore supporters’ insistence that the mascot honors Native people. We are not feeling the honor at my house; an expression of esteem is only valid if the recipient embraces it."