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Native American Legislative Update

July 2018

By Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco , July 11, 2018

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).

Picture: Hominy

Picture from Hominy

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.

Monthly Action:

Tell Congress To Support The Survive Act

Act 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.

We succeeded!

  • 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.

Bill Tracker

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.
Latest update: We have a new House cosponsor! Chellie Pingree (D-ME)

SURVIVE Act (S.1870/H.R.4443):

The bill authorizes a permanent five percent tribal set-aside in the Crime Victims Fund.
Latest update: The House and the Senate drafts of the FY 2019 appropriations bills include a five percent tribal set-aside. We will continue to lobby Congress throughout the appropriations process to ensure that the five percent set-aside remains in the final bill. In the meantime, we continue to advocate for the permanent tribal set-aside provided in the SURVIVE Act.

What We’re Reading and Hearing

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Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco

  • Congressional Advocate, Native American Advocacy Program

Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco managed the Native American Advocacy program from 2017-2019. In that capacity she lobbied on legislation that affects Native communities and built connections between tribes, tribal organizations, and non-Indian allies, particularly among a wide range of faith groups, to ensure tribal needs were addressed.