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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  June 28, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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turkey is the corley state prison with relevant experience on these two transformative issues.with relevant experience these two transformative issues. secular government and religious constituency and the elected governments on the other. turkey has enormous stability and democratic progress. turkey will be forced to make very difficult choices. for turkey to take the high road
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on regional strategic differences and approaches and for washington to practice collaborative and realistic diplomacy will be two components of an affective plan for the region. thank you very much. [applause] >> ambassador ross wilson of the atlantic council. >> thank you. it is a pleasure to be here and my thanks and congratulations to the middle east institute, collaborating in this conference. my remarks will cover a little bit of the same round but i will comment and a slightly different
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way and illustrate what i hope are not substantively that different in terms of conclusions. i was struck by a phrase, how pivotal u.s./turkish relations have become for the united states and turkey in a very troubled part of the world. i am sure ambassador in the dividend to 21 would agree that it didn't work that way in 2005 to 202007 or 2009-2010. the disagreement over iraq in
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2003 was an important watershed in the region. we dominated u.s./turkish relations from march of 2003 to before that. at least until the end of the george bush administration. sharp disagreements. the disagreement over the invasion of iraq is not going away. rob bits that remain in u.s./turkish relations related to the iraq problem and the pkk presence in iraq. sharp disagreements over iran and i was struck in 2005 by a limited extent, and bilateral discussions and for period we were able to get our kids -- power things reasonably in sync
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but things fell apart in 2010. the huge disconnect. whatever the sequence of events a huge and profound dissonance between our two countries. disagreements on a range of other kyushu's in 2005 prior to my going to turkey. in the united states and turkey for 2005-2004, plans to visit damascus as part of turkey's out reach to president assad who so many people villified extensively this morning. disagreements about the caucuses, issues related to armenia, syria, difficult differences on the issue of the black sea and how people were
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talking about the black sea. a seeming accentuation that adkins and flowed throughout these periods but differences and accentuation of grievances. able popular mythology that became associated with this and aggravated anti-american that turkey somehow supports the pkk or had senate hidden agenda in our efforts in iraq to dismember the country, that the george bush administration's north africa initiative was part of a bigger plot to remake turkey in the american image of modern islam. i wanted to go over those things because it wasn't very long ago. it was the world i had to deal with and ambassador pearson had to deal with an vestiges of
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these things continue even today. even on syria in the early part -- syria and libya, pretty sharp disagreements between occa and washington how to deal with that. i was there in 2007 when there was a fiery speech at the world political forum, first world political forum in istanbul, a fiery speech coming strongly against the idea of any nato involvement in libya. so what change? what can go wrong today? this will reduce some of the themes that ambassador pearson has touched on. one thing this conference is reflecting off of is the arab awakening and the opportunities and threats and complications
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that that presents for turkey, opportunities and complications it presents for american policymakers and after this course correction what looks to me like a course correction on turkish foreign policy with respect to the arab beginning in 2011, a real sense if not exactly identical goals certainly pretty similar interests in efforts to try to collaborate more decisively and substantively the policy change was to shift turkey more decisively in favor of support for democracy and democracy movement as opposed to relations with autocrats, just as they have been of through the united states and others in syria and elsewhere. so both of us made that shift and found ways to work together.
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in an increasingly complicated region. a corollary of that is the u.s. withdrawal from iraq. it does simplify certain things and added to the states, met turkish leaders felt in involving turkey directly or more directly in the iraq project involved directly in baghdad and baghdad politics, communal conversations with shea at and sunni and the stakes went up for turkey working better with the united states on matters related to iraq. a corollary to that is the pkk. the initiation in december of 2007 of u.s. intelligence and other assistance to turkey and
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going after pkk encampments in northern iraq, that allow different kind of behavior by turkey for the united states on matters related to iraq and also facilitated a sea change of turkish relationships with kurds, iraqi kurds that also had some beneficial effects in terms of u.s./turkish relations but some other pieces are further afield. 100% by the argument but actually i want to entertain the argument that the difficulties between turkey and the european union may have held to foster better u.s./turkish relationship. the dramatic slowdown of the turkish session bid, and increasingly brittle dialogue on a range of other things that
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culminates with the french meeting in paris on the crisis in the arab region and forgets to invite turkey. the feeling in turkey they needed to shore up their relations with the one western ally on whom they thought they could count a little bit more. i wanted to entertain the idea that the slowdown has helped us. development of a whole set of economic dialogue with reference to this and earlier sessions and elaborate but that is quite new. a whole range of economic issues that are now on the table because our relations previously were so dominated by military security matters or in my time by iraq on may 24th/7 basis.
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but there are a couple other pieces of want to refer to. one is a big change in the way washington and turkey deal with one another. in my time turkey -- turkish relations run through the embassy's. the turkish embassy also played a big role. today there's a proliferation of ties of communications and things going through different channels on the phone, e-mail, meetings from talking to my counterparts. and what else is going on that they don't know about. and part of what and investors the -- ambassador supposed to do this piece together -- secretary
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gates came to turkey. thought he was shocked when i told him he was the first secretary of state to visit turkey in six years. astonishing. gates and panetta repeated the visited turkey. secretary rice, secretary clinton for a number of times, u.s. c r ron kirk and acting commerce secretary blank are there now but a range of other things. assistant secretary for the middle east and counter terrorism matters and economic and business and so on and so on. a lot of things going on that gives a different fabric to our relationship. and west i think turkish leaders came to value somewhat more than they did earlier in this decade or in previous decades the value of a close relationship with the united states that bears success. i would apply this to the
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present government. their success regionally depended in some significant measure on having a good relationship with the united states. what can go wrong? there is what. some of that has been talked about in portions of this that i missed but to identify a few things. whatever happens in our presidential election will almost certainly be very significant personnel changes throughout the hierarchy of people, particularly civilian officials for that deal with turkey. i would say that even if president obama is reelected. follow the pattern in 2008 -- 2005. a whole series of appointments be personal assistant secretaries, new secretary of state in all likelihood. that will introduce a personal discontinuity that will have to be -- going to have to be stitched back together. much more the case if mitt
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romney wins election. second, a second thing that can go wrong, a whole series of things can blow up. what happens if armenia goes to war which could happen? i wouldn't exclude it. what happens may be somewhat less dire if russia in vegas. . 2008 a tough year in u.s./turkish relations. turkey looking like it was on the front lines of a read developing cold war. several scenarios you can imagine that difficult and complicated. what if israel or the united states strike iran? big problem. in a conference the year from now or a year after that takes
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place talking about/-- u.s./turkish relationships will have a different tenor. differences may be merged over syria, or worsen over israel. a whole series of things can go very wrong. the e.u. may come back together and that may change turkey's calculations or calculations of turkish leaders where they need to make investments of time. we work 24 hours a day but there are only 24 of them so if you spend more time with the e.u. you by definition spend less time on other matters and that can be a factor. there is a problem that ambassador pearson referred to which is expectations.
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there is an expectation that it continued to be great and everything will be wonderful. relations only got to be better because of concerted efforts by a lot of senior people in the united states and turkish governments to put it right. what takes a long time to get right can be broken quickly intentionally or unintentionally. the relationship to succeed will require a very sustained effort whose nature and sustainability make it more complicated after november of 2012. thank you very much. [applause] >> i would like to ask former foreign minister yashar yahkish to address this please.
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>> i have certain questions that were not appropriately covered for our subjects the nation may be needed. on the turkish american relations there is a saying that international relations over the right thing. but tested all the other options. the distinguished ambassadors who served in iraq in certain times in certain periods, united states was trying the other options so it was a difficult task, diplomats served turkish
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american relations and if turkish american relations continues to improve to the level that it has reached so far it is thanks to the efforts they have done during the service in ankara. i worked with both of them and ambassador pearson with the turkish parliament so it continued. is there anything left the done? of course. in between two countries with so many diverse interests.
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the economic, political and cultural and other levels at the regional level i would not say international because turkey is not yet at the point where it could assume global rules. the country which is starting to assume regional responsibilities and covered the long distance in this direction but countries like iran which is actually poised to become a nuclear power and egypt now having gone through is also gaining its
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identity with the military maintaining certain laws but egypt is going to remain a very important country in the region so turkey has to compete with iran and egypt to become an important factor in the region and has advantages and disadvantages and turkey can perhaps for the regional roles, american vested interest in the middle east, in certain parts of the balkans and central asia. on the specific project of iran,
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turkey thought that its contribution if it tried to make the initiative regarding slowing down -- regarding taking under the control of the iranian program in iran, by volunteering to mediate that the iranians should stop or suspend the uranium enrichment program, and they were going to stop this, they were going to enrich the uranium to the country, turkey or other country and other countries were going to provide uranium rods in which 21% for
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the medical purposes. turkey took this initiative in cooperation with the united states and when turkey achieved or persuaded or was able to persuade iran, america at that time, it would be more appropriate not to go along with this program or this initiative or to impose sanctions on iran -- the time -- and the
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opportunity. and this came to the agenda, and up to 21% so let that time, 3% or 4% there was something to offer to iran. now that iran has overreached 51% enrichment the west is deprived of any concession it could make to iran. so the proposal that was made by turkey was a good opportunity. we should not assess relations
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between two countries like turkey and the united states on specific issues like this. this is one example that was not elaborated so my perception of it there may be details during the discussion periods if there are questions on this subject. those are more noticeable than may contributes. iran -- turkey sir sees the benefit of iran becoming a nuclear power because it upsets the balance in the middle east to the detriment of turkey and in favor of iran.
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what was established since the 1920s when the ottomans withdrew from the middle east. there was a balance of power between iran, turkey and other countries. especially after the withdrawal of the united states from iraq and with uranium in iraq less if this nuclear program continues like this, iran becoming nuclear power, or it can become a nuclear power, the balance will not continue to be there any longer. if the regime in syria is maintained, the russian and iranian support then this
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balance will be changed in favor of iran because iranian political influence will expand all away from iran to the mediterranean -- the only missing link for iran to expand influence is syria. the presence in iraq and lebanon and has bolo so the missing link is syria and this to maintain the syrian regime in place is important for iran. it is a strategic goal. the same applies to russia because russia wants to contact the middle east and it had to withdraw or perhaps bring down its visibility in the middle
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east to lead this membership of the soviet union. russia has achieved control -- it wants to go to the middle east and the country that could be used as the best setting from the middle east is syria because of relations from the time of the soviet union and syria is in dire need in support of a country like russia so russia wouldn't like to miss this important initiative and give the utmost support to the present syrian regime to continue. this brings us to the question of what type of solution should
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turkey and the united states be looking for for syria. military intervention? truly a bridge of international rules. international legitimacy, security council resolution means that russia should not use its veto. under the present circumstances i cannot figure out how russia will give up this idea of preventing resolution which will allow outside military action in
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syria. therefore, corollary or another version of the 6.9 plan, another version of it that the international community will accept won't have to be used as a solution for syria. when you look at it, when you clear from the details looking at and negotiated settlement. date negotiated settlement what it means is negotiation between fractions in the opposition and negotiation with the regime so it presumes that the regime would have to be made part of the solution, not part of the
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problem. turkey and the united states will have to cooperate with the international community. in this case i will say a few words regarding turkey's relations with the european union. the presence of the e.u. mentioning the problems. one thing that is perhaps important is the council suspended the negotiations for the opening of eight chapters in negotiation with turkey to the opening of the turkish airport
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to greek ships and aircraft. turkey has something. yes, i will do it, it is my commitment stemming from this, the european union has also a commitment. what is this commitment? in 2004 when the greeks were against this unknown plan. ..
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>> has the obligation to adopt all the coe that was accumulated by the time without any discussion. so this decision to enter into direct trade with the turkish -- [inaudible] was a decision binding -- [inaudible] so turkey said that i will open the harbors and the airports. at the same time that you implement your own decision. and this proposal is valid, is on the table since the beginning of the year 2006, and we are waiting whether european union will one day see this offer. thank you very much. prison -- [applause] >> thank you, mr. minister. let me, um, take the moderator's prerogative to ask the first question, and then we will open
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up to questions. we will be just for you all to know, we will, um, have until 3:20 instead of 3:15 on the schedule. they've given us an extra five minutes. i would like to ask eve of you the same -- each of you the same question. if you had a golden bullet of advice, that is, if you could give a bit of advice that would be followed to either the e.u. or to turkey or to the united states as you look at turkish relations with the u.s. and europe, what would you consider to be the most important piece of advice you could give, um, that if it were implemented would make progress on this overall subject that we've been discussing? is -- and let's go in reverse order from the original presentations. mr. minister? >> [inaudible] >> if you like. >> the present circumstances
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does not allow to revise despite the positive agenda which is, which is being implemented nowadays. i don't see that the accession process will change in nature soon in the days to come. because european union has its own problem and perhaps it is better for turkey to put more order to its interior. when i was chairing the european union commission in the turkish parliament for last eight years, i always said that turkey should set, put aside all that angela merkel says today or sarkozy said yesterday and should try to use the accession process in order to put more order to its
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interior. to make turkey a first class democracy, to make turkey a country where fundamental rights and freedom are enjoyed better, to make turkey a country with more transparent market economy, less corruption. and when turkey achieves all these things, perhaps it will not be that much important whether it joins the european union or not. we are still there. and turkey's performing very well in the economic field, and some portion of the turkish public opinion believes that rather than pushing in the membership today let's leave it to later where turkey's bargaining position will be stronger. in the future turkey will be in a better position. today it may be forced to make certain concessions. in the future, it will not. in the turkish/relations, i
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think that we talked with you before the meeting. there's a volatility in the public perception dimension rather than the official level. it is more or less there are zigzags, but more or less at a certain level it depends upon the circumstances in the region and international landscape. so if we can add to the present relations, not the political one, not the military one
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>> on quite a regular basis. for turkey and the e.u., i think they both need to work hard to enrich this foreign policy dialogue that our colleague referred to earlier. the asession process be needs to go forward, hopefully it will at some point. but if that's all that there is, it won't work.
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and u.s -- turkish and e.u. relations and interests, i think, will suffer as a result. so both sides need to work harder to enrich this foreign policy dialogue outside the accession process and make that work. >> mr. pearson? >> thank you. mine would really be process focused and that is to say what's often missing is what i would call active listening to the other side. often in these dialogues i see people quite anxious to clarify what it is they want and they think. and i actually believe that a little more commitment to active listening and a willingness to act on what you hear would be an excellent prescription for all the parties involved. thank you. >> mr. political counselor? >> thank you very much. i think i would join most of the comments already said. i think perhaps what's important now is to set aside populism and
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to work on improving perceptions. and that means working concretely on achievements that we can have. i would, of course, have my mind fundamentally on the u.k. relationship there. we have a lot of work ahead of us to transform what the situation actually is and to change perception. and i believe in -- [inaudible] perhaps i will contradict you, minister, that as a matter of fact turkey getting a lot readier and having transformed a lot itself will become a lot more attractive for the e.u.. >> thank you. okay, let's follow this same pattern that michael used this morning. we'll call on two people at a time, one from each side. please, identify yourself. be brief and ask a question rather than make comment, please. so on this side first. >> peter -- [inaudible] i'm an intel analyst. minister yakis, you mentioned
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you saw no circumstances under which russia would surrender its veto. i believe there are two circumstances. one would be for the united states to surrender its missile defense shield or at a minimum integrate russia 100% into such a system, and second of all for us in the west to extract a promise from the revolutionary forces that the russian submarine base would not be shut down. those two buttons could well move a veto to neutrality in the u.n. security council, don't you agree? >> okay, and this side, please. >> my question, actually, kind of continue his question but this way: regardless of what's going on last ten years or last 18 months in arab spring, the bottom line of my understanding is it's a barrel of influence -- battle of influence, basically, between west and east. when i say east, i'm talking about north africa, middle east
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all the way to china. so the question is, as a half american because i wasn't born in this country, but my daughter born, so i also pay taxes, my question is why have these last ten years -- to the ambassadors is -- the policymaker in the name of american interest has spent almost god knows trillions and trillions of dollars and all these lives we lost, is america or west as a whole, is it positioned influence wise in middle east compared 10, 20 years ago with today? >> thank you. >> that's the question. >> okay. mr. minister, if you want to answer the first question? i don't think you have to go to the podium for each answer. >> regarding the question of the negotiations, i mean, in which case, in which case russia wouldn't, may agree, you're right.
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i said -- i did not say that it would never agree, but it will do utmost in order to, to support the present regime. and you are right, if for bigger reasons, bigger agreements russia finds to its advantage that it is going to benefit from it, it may agree to support the full of the present regime. for this second question, second part of the question that you mentioned, if the russian naval base will remain there, it may not, russia may not agree for this concession to give up its support to the regime because russia's only interest is not
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maintaining the naval base there. it is more than that. it is to come back to the middle east. and its presence at the level comparable to the soviet time during which it had a very visible and strong presence in the middle east and especially in syria. and naval base is only one portion of it. so by giving the concession to maintain the naval base, it may not be with sufficient. thank you. >> thank you. i think the second question was directed to both ambassadors wilson and pearson. >> okay. i'll go first, thank you very much. i would say that the more important question is not influence. influence goes up and down. but whether the interest of the u.s. are the same today as they were 20 years ago. i would say that they are, and
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there are three. one is to avoid a general war in the middle east. the second is to encourage the economic development of the region. and the third one is to make it possible for i'll say democratic or pluralistic governments to gradually assume power through the region. so those three interests were, have been there for 50 years, and i predict they'll probably be there for the next 25. thank you. >> i would only add that i think it's probably incorrect to assume that what's going on in the arab awakening countries is a one-way trip down the tubes for wen interests -- western interests and western influence in that region. i think that's a profound misreading of what has given rise to the revolts that have taken place, and i strongly suspect it's a misreading of where the new leaders will want to take their countries.
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they will want their countries to succeed, and among other things that will require a strong relationship with the united states and with the west. >> okay. next round of questions. on this side, please. >> my name's erin petri, and i just wanted to ask a question in regard to this ongoing theme today of this strong u.s./turkish relationship that's developed over the past couple years. now, if it's a strong relationship between the u.s. and turkey, is that a possible challenge to the turkish bid for e.u. accession? because i know ambassador wilson spoke to the fact that there's only 24 hours in a day, and they have to, turkey needs to figure out where they really need to spend the most time. >> okay. and from this side? >> hi. dwight -- [inaudible] george mason university school for conflict university. my question, actually, dose both to u.s.words -- goes to both u.s. ambassadors and the representative from the e.u. delegation. it's been argued that the turkish armed forces, basically
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i, come under the direct control of the turkish government. there is an observable democratization process in turkey. none the heads, at this point there's -- nonetheless, at this point there's a close to i think the number now is close to 100 journalists in jail and 3,000 turkish politicians are in prison. and in the past decade when we looked into the e.u. records, there was also a criticism in the tate of human rights in turkey. but recently that criticism has become less and less. and i would also like to hear from the u.s. ambassadors on their opinion about the state of human rights in turkey. thank you. >> okay. and the first question, it wasn't directed to anyone. anyone who wants to answer that, please, feel free. >> [inaudible] >> okay. >> if i understood the question,
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the first question properly, it was about whether the american/turkish relation is a substitute with turkey's relation with the e.u.. no, on the contrary, turkey believes that its relations with any country in the world be countries of the middle east, balkans, and in central asia or the major powers like the united states, such better relations is not a substitute for turkey's registration with the e.u -- relation with the e.u.. on the contrary, it is a complimentary dimension of it for the follow reason. the european union will take turkey more seriously if turkey maintains better relations with the countries of the region and with the united states. and both the united states and
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the regional countries will take turkey more seriously if its relations with the european union goes better. thank you. >> thank you. and i think for the second question he wanted to rare from both -- hear from both concern. [inaudible] and one of the american ambassadors. >> thank you very much. if i can actually react very quickly on the first point in saying it can only be good to see the u.s. and turkey, and i would not see any particular element of competition between these factors. in relation to fundamental rights, i mean, i don't have here a specific answer to the individual cases you raised but to say that we are seeing, definitely -- [inaudible] in our dialogue. as i mentioned, i think current intervention b having a discussion with this was one of the first topics and elements
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that we choose in discussions with turkish authorities under the agenda. i'm not 100% familiar with the ongoing reforms, but i understand there is a quite important judicial reform package which is in discussion within the turkish parliament, and it's, as i say, it's something that we are strongly encourage, and we're encouraging our efforts to -- [inaudible] the judicial reform package that would follow on and we hope these elements would actually improve the situations you mentioned. >> i'll just say that i think the u.s. and the e.u. share -- and many, many, many millions of turks share the vision of a turkey where there is a robust freedom of speech and a lack of concern about the consequences of speaking out and protection under the law for that freedom.
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and i do believe that the e.u. process is very helpful in that regard, and i think that turkey has continued to have those discussions, and i think you have seen some responses to it. there is widespread concern in the united states about the journalists. i can't comment on individual cases either. there are reliable reports that circulate of journalists being forced to give up their jobs and of people being intimidated because of allegations made against them when they wish to exercise their freedom of speech. and i share minister yakis' point that that's -- to deal with those issues directly and fairly and justly is an ambition that turkey has, and i applaud that ambition. thanks. >> thank you very much. okay. we have four minutes left which would be time for probably one very quick question and, um, i'd
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like to choose somebody who's not asked a question in any panels yet today. >> thank you. this is for foreign minister yakis. what are your thoughts on how to improve israeli/turkish relations? we heard this morning from the current ambassador who said, well, the way to do this is on the table, israel can kind of take it or lee it. i wonder if you have further remarks. >> please. >> actually, the government's position was explained a few moments ago in his skype program. i am one of those who believe israel and turkey need each other. i never enter into discussion of which one needs the other more.
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it is like husband and wife, who needs the other more. but in case the two countries overcome their emotional dimension of their problem it is not a substantive problem to resolve. perhaps the present governments are not ready for it because they have committed themselves perhaps to an extent they cannot -- [inaudible] otherwise the solution, it's not an unsolvable, unsurmountable difficulty, and when this difficulty is eliminated, both countries will benefit to a very large extent both at the level of bilateral relations and also at the regional level.
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the -- [inaudible] countries will benefit as well because turkey was playing a very important role as message carrier between israel and syria, and now these countries are also deprived of this opportunity because turkey has no access, has lost this leverage. so it is not only for the bilateral regions, but it is for the entire region that it is very important. and i still expect that either one of the parties will give up or some sort of dilution and erosion of this emotional things will be eliminated, or we will see other political development which will make it easier. thank you. >> thank you. i'd like to thank all four of our panelists, um, not only for their informative and perceptive comments, um, but also for sticking is so closely to the time limits that were imposed on
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us. again, join me in thanking them. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> in a few moments, a hearing on federal recognition of native american tribes. and the senate's back in session at 9:30 eastern to continue work on the flood insurance program. while members await final legislative of language on agreements on student loans and the surface transportation conference report. >> the supreme court is expected to announce it decision this morning in the case challenging the constitutionality of the new health care law. c-span3 will have live coverage at 10 a.m. eastern as the final decisions of the court's term are released. >> this is the conversation we need to have in this country that nobody is willing to have.
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finish okay? what role should the government play in housing finance. >> in reckless endangerment, pulitzer prize-winning new york times columnist gretchen morgenson detailed the 2008 financial meltdown and one continuing issue, government sub is sitized homeownership. >> if you want to subsidize housing in this country and we want to talk about it and the populace agrees that it's something we should subsidize, then put it on the balance sheet and make it clear and make it evident and make everybody aware of how much it's costing. but when you deliver it through these third party enterprises, fannie mae and freddie mac, when you deliver the subsidy through a public company with private shareholders and executives who can extract a lot of that subsidy for themselves, that is not a very good way of subsidizing home ownership. i think we've seen that, the end of that movie, in 2008. >> more with gretchen morgenson
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sunday at 8 on c-span's "q&a." >> now, a hearing on federal recognition of native american tribes. members heard about a dispute between several towns in california and a tribe that lost et tribal status in 1959. this is an hour and a half. [inaudible conversations] >> committee will come to order, and first let me welcome the new ranking order. in the position he's had, it makes me feel good about that side to have aisle and the people that have worked with me over the years. i'm going to miss mr. bourne, but i am confident this young man will fill his shoes.
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if he momentum, i'll use the gavel, and that'll take care of it. welcome. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the subcommittee has come to order to hear testimony on the authorization of standards and procedures on whether and how and when indian tribes should be newly recognized by the federal government. on committee rule 4f, opening statements are limit today the ranking member, however, i include any other member's opening statement if submitted by the clerk by the close of business today. hearing no objection, so ordered. i ask unanimous consent that mr. whitman from california, mr. thompson and mr. miller be allowed to join us on the dais and participate in the hearing. without objection, so ordered. in today's hearing we'll hear the perspective of several groups seeking recognition as indian tribes under central law. we'll also hear concerns over a federal recognition process. the purpose of the hearing is
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not to determine the fate of any petition, but the other facts that may inform the committee. tribal recognition is one of the most solemn issues this committee deals with. it has impacts on the federal budget, on the government's trust responsibility and other recognized tribes and on states and their political subdivision. rightly or wrongly, the executive branch has wrestled control over the congress rather than establish the recognition policy thorsed by statute. the department considers recognition cases a closed and unaccountable system. i acknowledge that the department regulation setting forth mandatory for a group to be recognized to make some sense. a few people question the motives of the small but dedicated staff of the professionals who are tasked with reviewing recognition petition and making recommendations for them. the basic problem, though, with tribal recognition is that the decisions are ultimately made by
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political appointees and not by elected officials like the senators who are accountable to the voters for the decision they make. in fact, the department occasionally ignores its own regulations and decides recognition cases outside of any statutory process. this does not tend to increase mix confidence. public confidence. unfortunately, the interior department declined my invitation of being a witness today. they all have scheduled conflicts. i cannot accept this as a valid excuse. the department's failure to appear and answer questions sounds something like the secretary has something to hide, and that disturbs me. several of whom of the witnesses today had to fly great distances to be here today. when someone from the department
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can make available and answer questions. i think that is extremely important if i may add -- ad lib a little bit. there's no justification for the recognition process. why some were denied and some were accepted. and that's why we're trying to make it a standard rule because it's not the role of the secretary to make these decisions. t the role of congress to accept or not accept the standards as a tribe. i look forward to hearing our witnesses and now recognize the ranking member for five minutes for any statement he might make. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to say how much i look forward to working with you and to thank you for your leadership. my recent appointment to this position by natural resources committee ranking member markey is a great honor, and it's truly a privilege to serve native communities in this leadership role and to work towards strengthening the trust relationship.
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it's an important goal of my office and one of this administration, and i will work diligently to achieve it by representing the need of all native communities in my new role. the administrative acknowledgment process as we know it today began in 1978 when the department of superior promulgated rules. in the letter to the then-secretary of the interior andros president carter stressed that the new federal acknowledgment regulations reflect high standards by which tribal groups must be evaluated. today these standards are based on historical indian records, genealogy, anthropology and other scientific methods. recognizing the need for methodical and detailed acknowledgment process in addition to and where appropriate in lieu of the legislative recognition, president carter's message still resonates today. a tribal group should be able to account for it continuous existence, and it's petition for
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recognition and standards for evaluating that account must be in place. federal acknowledgment establishes a government-to-government relationship between a tribe and the united states and makes such a tribe eligible to receive certain federal protection, services and benefits by virtue of the unique status as indian tribes. federal recognition is, therefore, extremely important and valuable to a tribe's economic and social condition, but that is not to say that the administrative processes and standards should remain static or ignorant to logistical realities. the current acknowledgment regulations b have been updated once, and it is my understanding they are currently under review for further changes. while i believe the federal acknowledgment regulations should require a tribe to support its petition for acknowledgment, i also believe these requirements must evolve to respect conditions and circumstances of the day. for instance, if a tribal group can't produce a particular set of historical documents as a
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consequence of war, the tribe should be able to produce equal value documents that are available to them that produce the same result; proof of their continual existence as a political entity eligible for federal status. high standards can and should be taken, any and all compelling evidence on a case by case basis. i'm a supporter of federal tribal recognition whether it be by judicial decree or administrative acknowledgment. and each path has it drawbacks, but all three should be available to groups seeking to restore their government-to-government relationship with the united states. to do so is quite simply a matter of respect for those tribal groups whose lands were taken, a native language is lost as a consequence of the establishment of our great nation. i look forward to hearing from our tribal witnesses today, and i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. and now we'll call our witnesses
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up before the table. chief steven adkins speaking on behalf of the six virginia tribes. chairman scott gabaldon who's accompanied by his attorney. chairman ann tucker, muscogee nation. chief weaver of the choctaw indians and supervisor diane dillon, napa county, district three. and i do thank all my witnesses. all our witnesses your written testimony will appear in the hearing record, so we ask you to keep your statement to five minutes as i outlined in rule 4a. our microphones are not automatic so, please, press the button when you're ready to begin. i also want you to explain how our -- want to explain how our timing lights work. our clerk start the timer, and a
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green light will appear. after four minutes a yellow light will appear and you will begun to conclude your statementment at five minutes -- statement. at five minutes the red light will come on. you may complete your sentence, but i will ask you to stop. keep in mind all of you at the table, i'm very strict about procedures. dignity to the house of the representatives preserved, not to assume that the house conducts it business -- to make sure the house conducts business in orderly fashion and to allow the members to properly participate in this businesses of the house. i want to remind our witnesses require that they not engage in personalities towards a member or a senator. i wouldn't mind if you did this to a senator, but to house members, that's a no-no. this behavior includes a question for personal motives, referring to a member or another one of those people in a derogatory fashion or accusing a member of senator of a falsehood
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or deception. any witness who branches this decorum, this committee will be called to order, and i will actually remove you. so the witnesses have been placed, and i will begin with steven adkins, chief of the chickahominy tribe. you're up. >> okay. thank you, chairman young, and other distinguished members of this congressional house subcommittee for inviting me to speak to this very important subject which looms large across all of indian country. i seek to provide a voice for those tribes looking to be so far nations regardless of what they are pursuing. however, in some areas i'm speaking on behalf of the six tribes named in h.r. 383. chairman young, the virginia indians, indian tribes are honored to represent the very
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essence of freedom and democracy as we participated both in the commonwealth of england and the united king tom. we took pride in representing the commonwealth of virginia and the unite of america descendants of those tribes to welcomed the first settlers to virginia. however, when all the hoopla subsided, the festivities were over, we remained unrecognized as southern nations by the united states of america. virginia indians lived under the treaty of 1677 which ironically was called the articles of peace until the formation of the united states. signatories were deemed sovereign subjects of the crown. as recently as the first decade of the 21st century, and now we are now recognized by the commonwealth of virginia, federal recognition continues to elude us.
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please allow me to cite a current example of why the process fall short in embracing the realities the virginia indians face. in 1912, a man became head of -- [inaudible] plaquer was a rabid, white separatist. he supported -- [inaudible] this led to legislation, a companion bill which was a sterilization act which called for the forced sterilization of feeble-minded inmates. the racial integrity act -- [inaudible] is either white or colored. from 1924 official records of the commonwealth of virginia did not allow virginia's native american tribes to list indian or native american or any other tribal affiliation on their birth records. this act, this act served as the official policy of virginia for
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five decades remaining in effect until 1967. sadly, there was one exception to this rule. many of the so-called first families of virginia -- and i find that ironic since natives had been there for 10,000 -- but many first families in virginia claimed to be descendants of pocahontas. this law allowed white families in virginia to be listed as white despite the one drop rule while they were still claiming to be descendants of pocahontas. plaquer and the bureau of statistics even went so far as to retroactively change the vital records of many of our ancestors so that only white or colored were listed. as part of the indian reorganization or act in 1934, united states government officials contacted the commonwealth of virginia regarding its indian population. the state registrar advised
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there were no indian tribes in virginia. the federal government officials -- [inaudible] conducted interviews and photographed people, places and things substantiating our existence. have supported the fact that virginia tribes have endured over time. provided funding for transportation and tuition -- [inaudible] in addition to oklahoma, the commonwealth paid for indians to attend schools in other states. additionally, the federal government provided funding for indians to attend government schools. so on the one hand we were acknowledged de facto, i would suspect, by both the federal and state government. in 1999 the head of the bia, the assistant secretary of indian affairs advised a tribal delegation that many of those people assembled on that day
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would not live long enough to get federal recognition through the administrative process. that proved prophetic. we have buried many chiefs since then. the administrative process for people in the southeast has been very low. several factors contribute to the low success rate. lack of resources needed to ferret out the requisite information to be comply with the the process geared more towards post-790 tribal histories, perceived low value for tribal history and failed administrative process to recognize that one size does not fit all. in many cases it takes over 20 years to go through the administrative process. it takes a lot of money, a lot of cost, and a lot of tribes cannot afford the cost. criteria appear to be geared toward those tribes encountered following the formation of the united states. and i'll skip over to my closing remarks. regarding when indian tribes
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should be newly recognized by the federal government, let me put it this way: tribes that have been able to maintain their identity over hundreds of years, who have faced puce and insult -- abuse and insults of their heritage, who have seen their ranks decimate today the point -- decimated to the point that native americans comprise less than 1.4% of the total united states population, folks have lost more citizens per capita fighting for their country than any other group in the union and to resolutely salute old glory and display pride and love for their country. to win, to recognize, newly-recognized tribes, that answer is now. that answer is today. and i, again, i want to thank you for allowing me to speak to you today. i would say my testimony would be incomplete if i did not cite a common thread that exists among atlantic coast tribes and
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even some girl coast tribes -- gulf coast tribes, our respective ties to colonial governments. from colonial times forward by those in authority, there's been a concerted effort to eliminate these tribes through deed and through documentation. the history of the virginia indian tribes predates 1607. the first sustained -- >> you've run out of time. >> okay. thank you. >> you did well. >> thank you for you time. >> by the way, i have to remind you that we did pass and recognize you out of this congress last year, and we're going to do it again. and that -- [applause] thank you. that dark hole over there we call it, i don't know what you say, you've got to go over and jerk them around a little bit too. >> thank you so much for your time. and when i heard that you were going to be on this committee, i have good friends in alaska, and i just -- my confidence soared. >> i appreciate that. next witness is from scott
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gabaldon from the mishewal wappo tribe. you're up. >> good afternoon. i am a wappo indian. i'm the elected chairman of the tribe of alexander valley. i would like to thank the committee for this opportunity to represent my people. on the onset, let me be crystal clear: our tribe was wrongfully terminated and deserves its status restored. that is a fact and its only focus right now. our history is 10,000 years of ancestry. the name napa valley itself is derived from our language meaning land of plenty. although the county of napa boasts the wappo indians as part
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of it heritage, there are those who don't want us to be more of a memory. people like diane till loan and -- dillon and mike thompson. the inconvenient truth of opposition to what is clearly an injustice done the wappo people is that those who oppose us are rich profiteering politicos. minimum wage earners do not oppose us, nor do any of the tribes in our area, and there are six of them. it is the wealthy that bear the political agenda to stand to lose a tiny bit of political power in napa county when our tribe is concerned. the wappo word for shame on you is -- [inaudible] today i say to those who would rather profit than seek justice -- [inaudible] and to those i believe misstated the facts to the press i say --
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[inaudible] we are not a new tribe. we were here before the nixon nixon/peabodys of the world. we were here before even the state of california. the lives the california ranchers were told by an agency desperate to satisfy a political agenda are nothing compared to lies being told to the court, the citizens of the counties and now the subcommittee. why have we sued in federal government? litigation was not our first attempt to get federal recognition. to correct this mistake. the record shows we tried many avenues bringing this lawsuit, including trying congressional support in 2000, 2003 and 2004. litigation is an unavoidable method of restoring our tribal status. we want the government to acknowledge it mistakes and terminating our people as well as many other tribes who were affected by this justice and
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restore our tribal status, benefits and land rights. two facts dictate that justice must be served. fact one, we were unlawfully terminate inside 1961 at the request of a non-wappo indian who ultimately received two-thirds of our tribal lands. fact two, have many attempts at tribal restoration, we decided to sue the federal government. therefore, with all other options exhausted or unavailable, in 2005 the lawsuit was filed in an open, public forum with a neutral party deciding the outcome. since 2005 i have personally tried to build a relationship with three interveners, meeting all of them in private before the lawsuit with the federal government. at all of those meetings, they all expressed one concern: land. they have worked hard to e -- to prevent our existence. they are not concerned with four
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generations of native americans being deprived of what they should actually have. we are concerned with education. the counties are concerned about land use, we're concerned about housing for our elders. the counties are concerned about environmental impacts. we're concerned about our tribal health care. it seems since we have filed this haut, it appears we are winning -- and we are winning, everyone wants to attack us. including not only the counties and a local coalition of vicinitier ins, but even you, mr. young, wrote a letter rejecting our restoration. in conclusion, i'm not here today to explain the laws of the land to you, i'm merely here to explain our position. we will fight to have our rights restored, and that includes litigation, although i do feel it would be in the best interests of the united states to admit its errors and settle with my tribe. therefore, i truly hope this committee takes what i say here close to heart and takes action setting policies not only for my
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tribe, and the newly-recognized tribes, but for the unlawfully terminated tribes. we have suffered enough injustice from this nation long enough. thank you. >> next witness will be -- i don't know how to pronounce that nature -- that name, but will you introduce the next witness? >> ranking member lujan, congratulations. members of the subcommittee, i am pleaded to join you today to introduce ann tucker, chairman of the tribal council of muscogee nation of florida, the florida tribe of eastern creek indian. chairwoman tucker has served her tribe for over 30 years. she has in-depth knowledge of the federal tribal issues that are unique to northwest florida, and you'll find her testimony to be a telling one. i've had the opportunity to meet with the chairwoman on several
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occasions and have seen firsthand her tribe's great work and the impact that they have had on the local community. i know of no better person than ann to join you here today to share with you the many hardships that her tribe has faced under the current federal recognition process. i want to thank you for holding this important hearing and appreciate the opportunity to join you today, mr. chairman and the ranking member, to listen to chairwoman tucker, the people of the muscogee nation of florida and their continued efforts that i hope will lead, ultimately -- although i know that's not what this hearing is about -- but the proper federal recognition for which they have long awaited. and with that, i introduce chairwoman ann tucker. >> ms. tucker, thank you. and if you've been doing this for 30 years, you must have started in elementary school. you're welcome to speak. >> chairman young, ranking member lujan, honorable
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committee member, i'm chairwoman ann tucker of the florida tribe of eastern creek indians. i want to thank congressman miller for being here today and for hid continued support of this tribe's recognition. we are the people known as petitioner 32 to the office of federal acknowledgment. in 1978 when part 83.7 was created to -- [inaudible] tribal recognition, there were 40 tribes with evidence already file inside the bia. we were one of those tribes. our people have lived on the same homelands in walton county, it'll florida, since 161. we are -- 1863. we have lived together, worked together, kept our traditions through the harshest of circumstance. in florida there is no commission to keep records on indian people. no treaties and no state reservations. we did not have a federal indian tribe until 1957 when seminole tribal florida was recognized by congressional action, the same year the elders of our tribe received notice that they would
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share in land claim settlement from the treaty of force jackson. we have struggled for 34 years in the current process. the bia does not grandfather in petitioners. our papers were returned in 1978 with new guidelines on a letter telling us to start over. we have started over many times, and we have seen many things. we are a poor tribe that can no longer adjust our petitioning document from the procedural changes caused by court cases, interior findings or new in-house directors on how criteria are evaluated. what we know about this process is that a lack of the select standardized documentation for every decade from 1900 to present, from rivers, swamps in northwest florida does not mean that we did not continuously exist as an indian tribe. what it means is that the types of evidence required for external identification will not reflect who we are because in 852 -- 1852 it became illegal
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under penalty of death to be an indian living freely in the state of florida. that's a law that stayed on our books until the 1964 civil rights act. we were racially terminated. we moved to active consideration status on december 5th last year. we are grateful for grant from the administration from native americans that enabled staff the fiscal means to send 14 more banker boxes of revised data and cds. after 34 years we know we're too fiscally challenged to compete in what we've watched this process become over the last 20 years. my testimony must address why our tribe has h.r. 2591 introduced for federal recognition. we did not petition congress to circumvent the administrative process. people that only support tribal recognition through this singular process are people that support a process determined to beer revocably broken 11 years ago. there have been many hearings,
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but today i find my people are in the same process with the same issues in the same offices. the only difference is this time the broken process will be used to determine this tribe's sovereign future. even if we receive a positive finding from the osa, that does not mean we'll be federally recognized. the last tribe with a positive finding was turned down by interior. after generations who have lived through andrew jackson's removal policies, racial eradication, and a broken process that cannot be fixed, our question has changed. it has become one of who really makes this decision based on what else. to date, we've had no contact with the three people assigned to our petition. we are concerned that active consideration means nothing more than actively looking at ten-year increments of government paper rather than visiting on site with our tribal government to understand how we functioned and survived.
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we are concerned that an expediteds process means criterion a for external identification will be used to expeditiously eliminate us by disregarding state statute's impact on the mandatory evidence that is required. the 1947 land claims gave my great grandfather a vehicle to stand, challenge and changer interior's historical attitude that there were no creek indians left in florida. we are still here, and it was not easy. we have petitioned congress for relief because we have no choice. we can be contempt to be eliminated in the process based on gaps created by state statutes, or we can come here. we can sit around until another process is created for us to start over in, or we can come to congress. we can be a tribal government whose hands are tied while our impof riched people live in sub standard or conditions, or we can ask you for immediate relief and honor that comes from a
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government-to-government relationship using the same methods that many tribes east of the mississippi have depended on. when the mechanism used by the agent is broken as the gao report states, then our only alternative is to place our case at your door. we're the oldest petitioner left, and if we fail in this process, it will be because we are exactly what we claim to be: an indian tribal community and tribal government that lives separate and distinct in a world perverted by jim crow law. i respectfully request this committee approve h.r. 2591. we have participated in this process long enough to know that our fate lies in your actions. thank you for allowing us here today. >> thank you, ms. tucker. framon weaver, chief of the powa band of choctaw indians. >> thank you, mr. mr. chairman, mr. ranking member mr. lujan,
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committee members and staff. my name's framon weaver. today i'd like to say a few words about what the process has done to us as a tribe. it is clear that our tribe, the mowa band of the choctaw indians, are the poster child for the structural failures effort in the federal process. as the only tribe in the nation to have exhausted all three -- [inaudible] federal lawsuit, congressional bills, we're well aware of the the inherent bias, corruption and campaigns waged against he psychiatry mate historic nonfederal tribes. we are the second longest -- [inaudible] only north carolina have petitioned longer. our initial attempt at federal recognition began in the early 900s with our mass community attempt to be admitted to the middle role.
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[inaudible] twelve congressional bills and federal lawsuits run out on the statute of limitations arguments, we understand that the current process only open to those with millions of dollars. we now have children throughout our long journey in the process, not to ally ourselves with numerous gaming suitors. some way call this ignorant to the realities of the process. we choose to call it what it is, integrity. we need, the need to align with gaming bankers come propoises every -- compromises every aspect of the process and makes it illegitimate. the only avenue is with the united states congress can. ofa has no place in this process and the integrity of the leadership and this organization is not something that can be fixed. lawsuits like the ofa process, they are economically prohibitive for petitioning tribes. congress must make determinations based on fact and
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facts only, no political unnuance. no back door letters from tribes attempting to defend gaming zones from perceived competition. it's time for congress to act and to solve this problem. there exists numerous keys that -- [inaudible] tribal commitments but we will discuss only a small number here. clients who attended indian schools can document this -- [inaudible] should be placed on the federal register immediately. tribes who live in longstanding hi to havic colonial or state-recognized reservations should be placed on active consideration immediately. language is an irrefutable proof of tribal existence. racial bias toward tribal communities in the east and in
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the south in particular must be abolished and completely e limb thatted -- eliminated. two examples i've cited, and this is in the written testimony. i won't go on that. genealogical evidence should be included, and tribes who petition prior to gaming area, the gaming era should not have any gaming tribes be able to comment on their petition in any form. congress needs to appoint an independent board of approximately 10-20 individuals within evenly distributed mix of predominantly federal and historic nonfederal tribal members with expertise in various academic and research areas. a at the brief overview, the ones who meet one or more of the following criteria should be move today the front of the line. -- moved to the front of the line. all tribes can show an association with any of these nine criteria should be evaluated. and these nine criteria are
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attending an indian boarding school, having a state recognized or mission -- reservation or mission lands, language retention, bia or oia-funded school and community during the era, pree-1970 state recognition, prohibition from area black and white schools. like most tribes, we attended a third school system just for native americans, and we were not allowed to attend the black or the white schools. so -- [inaudible] with federal tribes and other historic tribes which occurred at the beginning of new process in 1978 prior to this time period. ..
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>> it is costing millions of dollars. [inaudible] about $65,000 a year from, e.g. meet the criteria to get it. you may or may not get it. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and members of the
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subcommittee. i am one of five selected supervisors in the county of napa. we are both the legislative and executive authority in napa county in our executive role, we approve budget. we supervise the conduct of counting officers and employees, and most relevant to you today, and our legislative capacity, we make land-use decisions. this hearing is about whether, how and when tribes should be recognized. our issue is not about whether a tragedy recognized. our issue is about how tribes are recognized. i'm very grateful to build the on behalf of both napa county and our neighbor, sonoma county. on this issue that we believe is important entrance under in interest to the subcommittee. the focus is on the process and issues of congressional authority, and we submitted approximately nine pages of written testimony.
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in short, we believe that the lawsuits, lawsuits by congressionally terminated california indian tribes in which the plaintiff tribes as the federal district court to restore their government relationship, and in which court cases the department of interior acquiesced to those requests. represent a constitutionally impermissible use of congressional authority. under the constitution, congress alone has the authority to reestablish a government to government relationship with tribes following the termination by congress. congress specifically exempted this tribal restoration power when it delegated other powers to the department of interior, but despite this very clear separation of powers the department of interior facilities restoration by inviting terminated tribes to sue the department. and then the department stipulates to a settlement
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restoring the try. in this way the department of interior achieved through orchestrated and unopposed litigation what you have not given them permission to do administratively. it is de facto a violation of the separation of power. we understand that there are tribal representatives here to register complains about how long it takes the bureau of indian affairs decide whether or not to grant and applicants request to be acknowledged or recognized as an indian tribe, and we understand those frustrations. but our situation does not have to do with that orderly, deliberate time intensive expert assessment of tribal recognition by the bureau of indian affairs. what we are talking about here is what happens when an entity, claiming to be a successor in interest we tried, terminated by congress, turns around and sues the united states to have that terminated status overturned.
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in that litigation, the federal district court replaces the indian expert bureau of indian affairs, and the tribal plaintiff legal claims are substituted for the bureau of indian affairs established tribal recognition regulation. it may come as a surprise to many of you that the tribal applicants who sue often find a friend in the federal defendant, the department of interior and senior government officials. they are partners who are prepared to stipulate to restoration without the dancing and available legal defenses, or even testing the alleged successor in interest relationship to terminated try. we believe that such statehood settlement shows the department of interior, abandoning its role as defended, and acting in concert with plaintiff to accomplish through litigation what they cannot accomplish through administrative action. and that is a violation of
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constitutional -- it violates the separation of powers. our views on this the right from our experience in litigation, in the northern district court of california involving the mishewal wappo tribe. the federal government has not advanced any of the defenses that a normal defendant would advance. there are mutual defenses that have not been advanced. there's a claim for land and fault in the lawsuit, which is not related to the recognition. the tribe was directed to go to court by an assistant secretary larry echo hawk, when he said today in a letter in 2009 that he could not, the bia could not restore their tribal status. he was correct when he asserted they didn't have the authority to restore their tribal status.
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he was incorrect when he told them to go to court. that is not, he is trying to get them to do something that congress has not given the authority to do. so, many issues here today with which you are presented, but we would ask that you do not secede authority to the bureau of indian affairs or secede authority to the court, and a story that you have a loan, which is to restore tribes that have been previously terminated by this congress. thank you very much. >> thank you for your testimony. one of the reasons i am having this hearing is that i do believe we have been neglectful as a congress. if you read the trust relationship with congress, not with the executive branch. to do action or not to do action. and that's something that concerns me. in my own case there was some tribes without consultation, or
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any activity by anyone but the department. so i have great interest in this. as customary i will recognize the ranking member for questions first. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. chairwoman tucker, you stated in your testimony that the administered acknowledgment process is broken, yet your tribe continues to pursue this path to recognition were also seeking legislative action that would establish tribal federal status. is this parallel track necessary? and also in listen to your testimony, have you been discouraged or admonished for seeking administrative relief as well, if you could touch on that? >> we have tried since we started to work at administratively, because you hate to admit that your government system is broken. we were notified by the bureau of indian affairs that the process had changed. we had been sitting and how
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original tried to recognize, and when we were notified, basically said can we develop a set of guidelines and we want you to start over and the rules can and do about this thing. we weren't really dissuaded about coming here. it just seemed like administrative recognition, and now that is impossible. in 2001 when the report came out from the gao, my tribal government met and we determined at the time that we would begin the work to petition congress for the recognition to florida is a big state, and we have had a lot of support from, from our senator and especially from congressman miller who is from northwest florida. we tried to stay in this process intelligence became apparent that we could not fiscally do this, nor if guidelines have now
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become mandatory criteria, we can't meet what a state didn't allow us to be. so that's why we are here. [inaudible] >> turn your mic back on. >> chief adkins, in your written testimony you state the administrative process failed to recognize that one size does not necessary fit all in the acknowledge the process. can you explain in what way she believe that it fails to do so? >> the administrative process asks for documentation that we just can't produce because of the destroyed court houses that have our biostatistics. because of a state that went through and sought to destroy all vital statistics that refer to us as indian people. even when the indian
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reorganization act was put in play, essay was called, the head of bureau of vital statistics of there are no indians. despite i government officials came to virginia, they interviewed people. they photographed places and things, and they said these folks are indians. even with that, the bureaucracy that had been created in the state preclude us from being part of that. so, as you look at those southern criteria that of kind of become ironclad, we don't fit into it. and that's what i say one size doesn't fit all. our situation is essential, like the one described by nantucket, -- and tucker. just does not want to move because of the situations that we find ourselves in. >> appreciate that. you certainly are owed an
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apology, as ms. tucker is when we talk about laws where people were arrested for city singular native americans. a travesty and ashamed. we need to find a way to correct. >> my parents had come to washington, d.c. in 1935 to be married as indian. they face jail time have they done in virginia. >> i read that in your testimony. i appreciate you sharing that as well. if a tribe is not terminated, should they be allowed to pursue administrative relief? >> yes. i believe that is what the law already states. >> i appreciate that. mr. gabaldon, is it your assertion that you feel that your tribe was never terminated? >> no, we believe were terminated in 1959 but it was but a non-wobbler indian. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. dinunzio? thank you, mr. chairman. let me first start by saying it is very disappointing to see that secretary salazar and the
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bureau of indian affairs have not engaged in this committee on this important issue. this is a nose has been an active constitution. but without the administration working with congress, it makes it commits a difficult to create even playing field and certainly to move forward on this matter. so i would continue to press the bia and secretary salazar to engage this committee so we could come to some resolution on some of these issues. first, chairman called upon, i want to understand about your issue of termination more specifically, you were terminated through an act of congress? >> we were terminated by the california ranch react as were 41 of the tribes in california spent and it wasn't restored under the decision? >> no, sir. we were part of that case, and we were dropped off that case in
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1987 with no prejudices. >> why? why wasn't? >> well, we believe that it was a son land allotments to be was still handled land allotments are part of it because the non-waffled indians on the land were supposed to have, we didn't have any land to proceed with the case. >> so do you hope to seek recognition to eventually get land into trust? >> well, the benefits, yes. seek trust and get the benefits of other federal recognized tribes around the nation. >> have you asked for congressman to introduce legislation so you can get that federal recognition speakers we have. and actually we have done multiple times, and over the years we have seen, i will give you a brief background. 2000, our leadership was working hard. actually we were on the bill in
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2000, and we were dropped off again. the bill was passed and we were not on a. why, i don't know. but our leadership in 2000 was working hard on a bill similar, and they were challenges in the political realm. one, partly because lynn woolsey wouldn't take our bill because she felt she was doublecrossed. mike thompson stay we need local support before we take a bill to congress. and we can say with all the local -- >> don't bring members into this right now. you can get that testimony later on. because we will say he said/she said, and i said. >> well, i have paper. >> you can submit that if you wish to do for the record. >> no worries. well, let's just say we tried to go through congress. >> you tried, thank you. >> and so why did you decide to seek litigation rather than going through congress the? >> well, we didn't only try to see going through congress, we
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also tried the ofa process but according to 25 cfr 80 3g, it makes california act committed tribe in eligible to go through the petition process. we have also asked for administration restoration, and so like i said, we also try to congress in 2000 with a bill. i mean, we went through of course we felt was the last option. in our area, there was a tribe in i believe no fault of theirs, it put a sour taste in congress for other tribes. we are the last tried to be recognized, and this is a quote from the acc ip report, which congress paid for, approved, and the quote says this. the indian committee, the
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federated indians of great, and the mishewal wappo tribe meet current -- should be community restored. both weldon and great have been restored. graton was restored in 2000 by an act of congress and wilton in 2009 use the same unavoidable process we're going through now. >> yet engaged administration on this? again, i wish that the secretary felt it was important to be here today to address this issue, but it's miles and he did address the bia and went that route as will speakers we have a letter from larry echo hawk that says, although we disagree with him not having administration power to restore us because it has been done in the past, he recommended congress or courts. and we've seen the results of trying to go through congress to be restored, and i was going to mention some names, but we will do that. >> thank you. >> there was no other option
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left for us, except the courts. which as i mentioned before, as a neutral party that will determine what law says for an illegal termination. >> thank you. and i'm about out of time but let me just ask you if you to briefly respond, if you were able to get federal recognition and put land into trust, what would your plans before the i and? >> our plans would be to build housing. we do economic development of many sorts. i don't truly believe that the only way for economic develop it for tried is through -- although it is the most economic and fastest way to do. i believe my tribe has the knowledge and business background to improve the quality of life of the tribal members, not only through a casino or whatever, but through many different economic development opportunities. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you very much.
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for 48 years now i've been involved in trying to bring justice to the sovereign tribes, indians of this country. and they are sovereign. you know, i have to citizenships. i'm a citizen and the state of michigan and i'm a citizen of the united states. you have three real sovereign citizenships who are citizens of the united states. you show that. certainly during our wars, the numbers many of you thought. you are a citizen of the state which you live, and you are a citizen of your sovereign try. you have three citizenships, and those are real citizenships. those are just fancy get well cards. they are in the constitution of the united states. so the congress should have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the
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several states and with the indian tribes. they put you on the same level as france or germany. your sovereign, recognize that congress has the power to regulate commerce with these three types of governments, sovereign governments. and also the constitution says this constitution in a loss of united states which shall be made in pursuit of their of and all treaties made or shall be made under the authority of the united states shall be the supreme law of the land. the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. so virginia could not use its power to set aside that federal
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power of recognizing your sovereignty. and it's extremely important, you have to keep fighting for it. john marshall upheld this, famous decision with andrew jackson, unfortunately didn't follow. john marshall says the indian nations had always been considered as distinct independent, political communities, retaining their original natural rights, as -- from time and memorial. retaining. it's not a granted sovereignty. it's not something we gave you. we had it -- you had a before we ever landed a. it's a retain sovereignty. that word retained its extreme import. you are not asking for something you don't already have, and recognized by the constitution of the united states and john marshall's decision. so you have a moral obligation, a legal obligation to fight for
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your sovereignty. and sometime it's been awful, bitter fight. but they can be done. and the state legislature, people told me this could be done. i had introduced a bill about 48 years ago when i was in the state legislature. [inaudible] a treaty, and it said that indians who were deprived of their land would be given in turn education and perpetuity. bad law is still the law of michigan. -- that's a lot is still the law of michigan to any indian could attend public colleges in michigan and the state pays for tuition because of that treaty.
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those treaties are real. i just want to commend you, what you are doing. this is retain sovereignty that you have an obligation to your people, to yourself, both morally and legally to fight for that. and we, if the supreme court does something we don't like, a terrible mistake they make, we shouldn't do that. we can do that. we ultimately have to uphold this constitution. and i commend mr. lujan, the ranking member, and my friend, mr. young come alaska, for having recognized the justice and the obligation that we have to fight for that justice. and i'm going to leave congress this year, after serving 36 years here, but i'm going to continue to fight for indian justice. i just want to commend you for what you are doing. you really are in the right half
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that you must continue to pursue. i thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. benishek. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i certainly appreciate mr. kildee's comments as well. i want to thank the members that came forward to testify today. you know, i revisit michigan's first district. it's my first term, and we have 15 federally recognized tribes in michigan. and it's been my pleasure to work with both recognized tribes and with those tribes seeking recognition. i, along with mr. kildee, i introduced a bill, and i'm really anxious to learn more about these issues. i'm disappointed that the department of interior chose not to participate today, but i think it's very important that we as a committee to explore this issue. it seems difficult to me. i remain committed to helping
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each group, but i'd like to do so in a transparent fashion, and i don't want to be in a position of picking winners and losers between the tribes. i think we need to have an open, transparent process and i'm not sure exactly what that is, being a freshman. but i think it's important that we explored these issues. so i'd like to ask a few questions. mr. baldwin. given your experience as a tribal leader, what recommendations do you have for us to improve the process? >> i guess the only one would be her yet. because we are having elders die, and it's sad to see a lot of these elders that are dying, waiting their whole life to be part of something they once were part of. i guess the bureau of indian affairs needs to really consider
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what they are doing when they drag their feet. they think that by slowing down the strides they will run out of money. and this is assuming, i don't know. it's happening around the country, tribes aren't rich. we don't have endless amount of funds to pursue courts. it's expensive. >> let me ask you another question. what part do you think the local community has in a decision like this quick do you think this is strictly federal government issue, along with the tribe, or do you think the local community has any, like the county government or the state government, you think they have input in this? >> no. and i'm actually surprised that county officials now. they have nothing to do with our termination. i don't know why that would have something to do with our restoration. >> let me ask ms. dillon the question then. thanks for your time coming
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here. what is your position? to me it does seem to be sort of a federal issue as the tribe is recognized by the federal government, like mr. kildee said. and the heads of state issue there as well. but it seems to me it does affect the local government. what are some of the issues that you are facing in your county, ms. dillon, and relevance to this? >> thank you for the question. it is definitely a matter of local interest. it affects our local land-use. we have in particular napa county have a very strict land-use regiment which everyone is required to comply with. we have an agricultural preserve, like no other in the united states. and we are very concerned about the integrity of that agricultural preserve. so it is our desire is that
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everyone who acquires and anyone who acquires land in napa county plays by the same set of rules. again, our -- >> ms. tucker, the question i asked mr. gabaldon, what do you think we should be doing here to improve the process of the recognition? >> i think that to our, are some realizations that have to be made. the first one being, indian people are not people who are like little pigs that fit into square holes. we have the same results of what happened to us. but it doesn't happen in the same way. and when you've got that kind of situation, what happened in the great lakes is not what happened to my people to what happened in california isn't what happened to my people.
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so when you're looking at indian people, you have to look at historically where they are, what has happened to create a situation that they are in. in 1947, when we had the first opportunity to voice, it was about a treaty that had taken the indians from where we lived, the creek, and move them from oklahoma, and we've managed not to go. we felt we recognize because we had to fight. it took 10 years to prove the federal government hadn't killed us all. i have a letter for my great grandfather, -- when you look a process that is so rigid have to meet every single criteria. and you have to needed exactly criteria a, criteria be. criteria see one. you can't do that if you don't realize the differences that coming indian people. and that's the startipo

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