1. Native American Legislaive Update
  2. Native Americans

Native American Legislative Update

November 2016

November 18, 2016


Congress has reconvened after the elections. In the few remaining days of the “lame duck” session, several important issues are brewing for Native Americans.

"Water is Life" -- at Standing Rock and across Indian Country. Native American programs had looked for funding increases in 2017 - what happened? Congress could pack a lot of action – both welcome and unwelcome – in the lame duck session. Here's what's going on -- and here are some things you can do -- both now and over a longer term.

Update Watching the Final Days 

of the 114th Congress

When a Congress emerges from an election period and it faces the final few days of a session, it is called a "lame duck" Congress. But Congress is anything but lame during these seasons. Typically, members compress a lot of activity -- not all of it good -- into the final days.

Update Follow the (Trickle of) Money 

Once again, Congress did not complete its core task of funding the government. Instead the leadership will continue last year's funding until March 31, 2017.

Update Water Is Life at Standing Rock 

The prayer camps at Standing Rock are places for ceremony, learning, and respect. Relations with the federal government seem to be marked by acknowledgment of history and openness to mutually acceptable solutions. But relations with the police – local, state, and private security – are increasingly marked by aggression.

Background Water Is Life - In Maine 

Update: Good News for Indian Tribes in Maine. In December, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule that applies federal Water Quality Standards to waters in Maine, including those within Indian Country. The standards specifically apply human health criteria to waters used for the exercise of sustenance fishing under the 1982 Maine Implementing Act, and six additional standards for waters in Indian lands in Maine.

Background Water Is Life - Across Indian Country 

Water is basic to life wherever you live. But in urban and suburban areas, clean and (sometimes) plentiful water is taken for granted. On far-rural reservations and other tribal lands, tribes rely on rivers, not only for drinking and crop water, but also for the fish and wildlife that rivers support.

Background What You Can Do  

as an Ally with Native Americans

The beginning is knowing -- really knowing -- and acknowledging the history we share as Indians and non-Indians on this continent. Useful action flows from that place of recognition of how we stand with each other. Here are three sets of recommendations for your next steps.