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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 22, 2015 11:00pm-1:01am EST

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growing. and the state of indian nations grows stronger by the day. tribal nations are steadily reclaiming our rightful place among the american family of governments. and we are doing this despite antiquated ways of thinking about native peoples and tribal governments and outdated policies that belong to another century. today we are not where we want to be in our relationship with the federal government. but we are glad we are not where we used to be. [ applause ] today i bring a simple message. from the tribes of the 21st century we must tear down barriers to growth simplify regulations that are limiting
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opportunities and acknowledge that tribes have the capability of governments to oversee our own affairs. as we reach out to the federal government as a true partner we must continue to insist that the united states honors its trust responsibility to native peoples. honoring its trust responsibilities means recognizing indian country's legal authority to control its own destiny. it means respecting native peoples for who we are, not who others think we are. and it means modernizing the trust relationship between our nations. these are things we can and must
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do. as a united indian country we are determined to create opportunities for success within our borders and beyond. this is a remarkable moment in our shared history. for the 566 federally recognized tribal nations and many state-recognized tribes, for the more than 5 million native peoples living in cities or on reservations across this great land, these are the days that our ancestors prayed for. we must seize the opportunity to sustain our progress. as the 21st president of the national congress of american indians, i have been privileged to witness great progress over the past few years from our families to our tribal councils
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to capitol hill. we've worked with republicans democrats and independents in congress to make countries safer by reauthorizing the violence against women act. [ applause ] we made indian country healthier by working together to permanently reauthorize the indian health care improvement act. [ applause ] we made indian country fairer by passing the tribal general welfare exclusion act to ensure that indian people aren't unjustly taxed for benefits they receive from their own tribal governments. [ applause ] in the last six years, we have
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seen congress and this administration work together to pass an unprecedented number of bipartisan bills that will improve opportunities for our peoples. last month i was proud to join hundreds of tribal leaders from across the nation as we participated in the sixth annual tribal nations summit with president obama. and of course, 2014 was also the year that we were privileged to have president obama visit one of our homelands. the president told me his trip to standing mark reservation had a profound impact and he urged his cabinet to follow his lead and make visiting indian country a top priority in 2015.
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today i want to make a personal invitation to speaker boehner, leader pelosi, majority leader mcconnell and minority leader reid as well as every member of congress. make it a goal to come to indian country this year. this week several members of congress and several representatives of the administration will visit the navajo nation. let's make that visit the beginning of the year of unprecedented engagement between tribal nations and our federal partners. among all the gains in recent years, we've also suffered some losses. of of of of of of of of
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close to my heart and to many across indian country was the loss of my friend and mentor. he was not only a native-american hero but he was an american hero. billy frank junior. billy, like me was from the pacific northwest. his people the nas call withy nation are fishing people like my people. at age 14, billy was arrested for exercising his treaty rights by fishing the nasquale river. as billy simply put it, he wasn't a policy guy, he was a getting-arrested guy. over the years billy was arrested more than 50 times for exercising his treaty rights.
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now that's one of billy's accomplishments that i have yet to achieve. [ laughter ] and those arrests laid the ground work for a historic supreme court ruling which acknowledged that our treaties reserved our rights to fish where we had for generations. after all, our rights as sovereign nations were not granted by the constitution. they existed before there was a constitution. [ applause ] now if you don't know who billy frank was, you're not alone. the history that he lived, that our people lived to the history
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that's not often taught in schools, but it is essential to understanding the connection between our nations the trust that defines our partnership and the responsibility that is entrusted to all federal officials, especially members of congress. that's why, as long as i knew billy, billy had the same message -- tell your story. tell your story. tell your story. billy knew that no one could tell our story better than we can. for those of you who may not know, let me tell you the story of our trust relationship. if the story has a theme it's a story of pride and resilience. book ended by self-determination
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on either end. there are too many people that believe that when europeans got to this land and moved west they simply claimed empty land for themselves. but that's not true. in fact, the u.s. government signed more than 400 treaties. and today is a special day for us in the northwest. it was 160 years ago today that my dad's great grandfather calkalset signed a treaty my dad's great grandfather. my dad proudly carries on that name. dad is 81 years old. watching this speech. like his namesake he inspires
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me every single day. tribal nations like ours accepted a smaller land base in exchange the federal government made three basic promises. to guard our right to governor governor -- govern ourselves and to help manage our remaining lands and resources in our best interests. these treaties they're older than many u.s. state constitutions. in fact, our treaty, the point elliot treaty preceded the existence of the state of washington by three and a half decades decades. all of our treaties continue today to stand as the supreme law of the lands.
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every member of congress and federal official is responsible for carrying out that trust, whether the member has a tribe in their district or not part of their job description is to make sure that the united states of america honors its commitment and lives up to its word. after all, this trust, it's not a handout. it's a contract. it's a commitment. it's their duty to honor it. so why do i mention this history now? the nation to nation relationship between the united states of america and indian country has reached a crossroad. many tribes today are on the forefront of innovative 21st
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century governance. but don't take my word for it. as i mentioned earlier, i invite you to come and see for yourselves. come to the ok pueblo where you will see 700-year-old homes being rehabilitated. the name of the pueblo says it all -- place of the strong people. come to shack tu lek, alaska, where you will meet the first cavity-free elementary classes. [ applause ] this is a success story. this is the direct result of the dental health therapist workforce, the first of its kind in the nation. to date, 40,000 people have been
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treated at 30% of the cost. now other states are studying how they can replicate the success that alaska has achieved. come to the lemmy nation where you'll see the first tribally developed and operated commercial wet land mitigation bank in the united states. more than 2,000 acres that are creating income streams for the tribal government while preserving fishing streams for salmon and shellfish. many are engines of economic growth not just for native people but for non-native people also. in fact there are nearly a quarter million native-owned businesses across the united states. the five tribes in idaho.
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they contribute more than $850 million to the state's economy. and have increased statewide employment by more than 10,000 jobs. 11 tribal nations in minnesota have collectively contributed more than $2.7 billion to the local economy while employing 41,000 native and non-native minnesotans. these are more than native-american success stories. they are american success stories. and we're ready to write many more in the years to come. of course, there is much more work to be done. too many of indian country's
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reservations and communities are a long way from prosperity. too many tribal communities are still plagued by high unemployment rates. high dropout rates. rampant drug and alcohol abuse. and an appalling suicide epidemic. together we must believe that we can overcome those challenges. of course, trust itself is based on respect. and part of modernizing our trust relationship means modernizing the way native people are respected and our civil rights are upheld. [ applause ]
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for this reason i twooptswant to address an issue the american congress of american indians has worked on for almost 50 years. i want to talk about the negative stereotypes that native peoples continue to be subjected to in our society. in particular i want to talk about the name of the washington, d.c. football team. allow me to read from the pages of a minnesota newspaper, published one september day in 1863. and i quote the state reward, the state reward for dead end
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yans has been increased to $200 for every red skin sent to purgatory. this sum is more than the dead bodies of all indians east of the red river are worth. history is clear. on what that vile word meant. it was the scalped head of an american indian man, woman or child that trappers and hunters sold to the government like beaver pelts for money. let me be very clear. the single most offensive name that you can call an american indian is red skin. thank god today a majority of
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people agree. in a recent national survey 83% of americans said they wouldn't use the "r" word to a native-american's face. [ applause ] we know the team owner stands on the wrong side of history. he has of dug in his heels and refuses to change. but why do you do it fedex? you point with pride to your policy and diversity inclusiveness. yet, your name on the stadium how do you defend perpetuating every kind of racism that 40% of your workforce has faced in one form or another. and why do you do it coca-cola?
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for generations you have been the company that taught the world to sing. why do you defend a name that teaches the young generation to hate? why do you do it, verizon? or best buy? or hp? or united airlines? many of us associate your companies with great american success stories. but think about it. doesn't your defense of this name hearken back to the worst of america's failures? we as american indians, we are appropriately honored as soldiers and teachers, students and first responders, ceos and
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community leaders. there is no honor in the name of that team. it's long past that washingtonians begin to see their fellow citizens through the eyes of respect and not asthmas cots for a football business that doesn't even have a fraction of the resilience, pride or strength of character of any tribal nation in the united states. [ applause ] now i know many of you say there are other issues that indian countries should focus on. my response is simple. this issue is no different than issue, any issue that we work on every day at the national congress of american indians. as we have since 1944, we will
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stand for the rights of native peoples in every corner of our society, whether it's under the bright lights of the nfl or in the voting booths of south dakota. this isn't a partisan issue. this isn't an issue of political correctness. we're not trying to make news or make noise. we're trying to make progress. we're standing up with partners, like the leadership conference on civil and human rights. the naacp the national council of loraza. the fritz pollard alliance and senators and congress men. we're standing with religious leaders and journalists and form former nfl stars and calling on
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all fair-minded americans to stand with us. [ applause ] to sustain our progress and build on it, we must rid ourselves of the old ways of thinking about our relationship. we must modernize our trust relationship. the next step in strengthening that relationship is for the federal government to trust tribes to determine their own future. this is about more than tribes having a seat at the table where decisions are made. this is about having policies and procedures that treat tribal nations as partners in governing. while we have a unique relationship with the federal government that will never end, it is time that our relationship
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reflects the true meaning of the word trust. the federal government needs to recognize tribal governments as true partners supporting the citizens of our nations. it needs to update its laws and regulations to reflect that 21st century partnership. in fact, i got a call last week from the 19th and 20th century, and they said they wanted their rules and regulations back. [ laughter ] [ applause ] we need a relationship that's based on deference and support not paternalism and control. whether policy-related, to the keystone pipeline, or renewable energy, health care or education, privacy rights are
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immigration. too often policymakers fail to surround themselves with people who understand tribal's perspectives or seek input from tribal leaders and citizens. we don't want the federal government to solve our problems or dictate our future. we want to solve our own problems. we want to build our own future. we strongly believe that the greatest source of solutions that work for indian country is indian country itself. [ applause ] in fact, we are already charting this future. the native vote is influencing important elections, electing republicans, democrats and independents who stand with indian country and uphold the
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trust responsibility. a growing nullmber of native people hold elective office. i'd like to take a moment to congratulate my good friend and alaskan native lieutenant governor byron malott. [ applause ] byron not only embodies that tlingit culture but also that native issues aren't partisan issues. the power of the native vote shows that when we base our work on the principle that our voice can and must be heard we can work together to tear down the barriers to growth for tribal economies. we can give the next generation
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a better chance to work hard and see that work pay off. to that end i see three important ways that we can modernize the trust relationship. simplifying and streamlining government regulations improving education and focusing on the talents of tribal nations to create economic growth. let me start where ronald reagan started, with simplifying government. part of our frustration today is similar to the frustration felt by state governments, forced to live under regulations that were written for another age and time. i often speak about how our tribe lost a major contract with a large retailer. it happened because the federal government sat on our application that they had to
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approve for two years. until the economy crashed. and the retailer pulled out of the deal. many tribal leaders have a similar story. the fact is that the federal agencies that oversee indian country are not equipped to deal with all the decisions necessary to build an economy in the 21st century. congress and the administration need to find ways to bring federal agencies out of the 19th century and into the 21st century. we need them to be partners for growth. and not barriers to growth. take access to capital, the ability to issue tax-exempt bonds to fund construction
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projects is the bread and butter of every modern state and local government. and yet this tool is not available to tribes. the irs only allows tribes to use tax exempt bonds to fundcertain thingfund fund certain things. [ applause ] the same goes for adoption. state courts say that a parent who adopts a child with special needs is eligible to receive a tax credit to help with that care of that child. but sadly, if a parent lives on a reservation and adopts a child
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with special needs they don't get a tax credit. it's not an oversight. it's bad policy. it's outrageous and discriminatory, and it needs to change. [ applause ] or take law enforcement. despite an act of congress, the fbi continues to effectively deny tribal police access to the same national crime information center database that they make available to states to local cops to campus police, so what does that mean? it means that if a protection order is issued in a domestic violence case, the tribal court often cannot enter that order into the federal database. it means that protection might
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not follow the survivor off the reservation. and that needs to change. the same goes for the census of governments. every five years 70,000 government entities are surveyed right down to local sewer districts. but unfortunately tribal governments have never been included in this process. so when we appeal for federal resources, we do so without any of the data that every other government uses to receive funding. and that has to change. and take an especially close look at technology. the rural broadband development project regularly reviews technology access in rural america. yet the last technology census of tribal nations took place
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before google before twitter or before smartphones even existed. the best data we do have indicates an ongoing digital divide. while 73% of non-native-americans have access to broadband, sadly enough in indian country it's only 10%. in spite of these barriers tribes are maintaining their place as the first american innovators. just last week president obama highlighted a public/private partnership that brought high-speed internet access to the choctaw nation, in a community where access was once nonexistent today the tribal council has a new tool to engage citizens. the choctaw school of language is offering distance education
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courses. and broken bow school districts it serves over 1,000 students using smart boards ipads online lesson plans and tools that increase parent engagement. i urge congress and the administration to accelerate work that is under way to partner private sector to expand broadband connectivity in indian country. we also need a comprehensive and updated 12udstudy of our technology needs toadvance needs like this one to increase our participation in the digital age. of course there are more things within reach that i can discuss here, but i want to focus on two important areas where bipartisan
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solutions exist. education and economic growth. no resource is more important in america than the continued success and growth of tribal nations and the united states than our children. education is a treaty right. the greatest way to invest in this precious natural resource is to provide a high quality culturally appropriate education. one that benefits all native children and gives native students the same chance to succeed as their non-native peers. for indian country, it all goes back to trust, flexibility and local solutions. focusing on tribal control of schools promises to improve
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outcomes for our student and creating greater accountability for public schools on reservation lands will ensure that native students receive the quality education that they need and deserve. we call on congress to reauthorize the elementary and secondary education act. we call for the inclusion of tribal provisions to encourage tribal state partnerships strengthening local control of education and beginning to ep had every school deliver a high-quality education. we also call on congress to enact legislation that supports native language programs so education for our children is rooted in our history and our culture. [ applause ]
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together as a team, we should also take a hard look at the bureau of indian education schools. congress and the administration can do more to make sure that native youth that attend these schools have high-quality teachers, modern technology and the facilities to deliver excellent education. along the way, we must continue to seek innovative solutions. that is why i applaud president obama's proposal to make the first two years of tribal and community college free. it will finally make k-14 education in america a reality. i look forward to working with
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congress and the administration to make this and other necessary investments in our youth, native and non-native. after all when you think about it the relatively few dollars we spend on education today will save hundreds thousands, even millions of dollars in the generations to come. statistics prove that education destroys poverty and drug and alcohol abuse in all of our communities. likewise, when it comes to economic growth, what's good for first americans is good for all americans. but what can we do to power economic growth within tribes? growth that has ripple effects far beyond our borders?
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the epicenters around which tribal governments have proven we can do when indian country has the flexibility to pursue ideas developed at the local level. when it comes to infrastructure, tribes need safe and well-maintained transportations, options in housing, just like the rest of the country. when it comes to revenue, tribes need the authority to raise tax revenue, free from overlapping state taxation and to create incentives for business and jobs. i urge congress to take up significant tax reform this year. tax reform that includes tribes and recognizes tribal sovereignty so we can better provide essential governmental services and lay the ground work for growth i also urge congress to pass indian energy
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legislation like that proposed by chairman barrasso. his legislation would provide tribes with greater control and flexibility to develop their traditional and renewable energy resources and create careers and capital in indian country. and to further improve access to capital i urge the administration to remove hurdles in the bond guarantee program and ensure that tribes are included in the new markets tax credit program. with these tools in hand tribes can more effectively meet local demands with local solutions. today i have reviewed the history of our trust relationship and discussed the opportunities and challenges before us. ncai continues to work to convert the policy ideas that
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inspire and dwoid tribal nations today and to policy advice for the administration and congress. today, as in the past, we are releasing the report called promoting self-determine agent and modernizing the trust relationship. the report outlines our priorities for this year and identifies specific ways the united states can uphold these commitments. i urge all members of congress to read it, review it with your staff. use it as an occasion to continue the necessary conversation about how our nations can move forward together. in the end the relationship that we have inherited, like any good relationship, depends on two things -- respect and trust.
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here i have a replica wampum belt. the nations of the irkwoi confederacy continue to exchange belts like this one as a sign of peace. this recognizes the sovereignty of nations. from time in memorial we have made treaties among ourselves. treaties with the european nations and treaties with the united states of america. many generations ago we did not share a common language, but we did share a relationship of mutual respect and admiration and a belief that our futures would be closely intertwined. in 1744, kamassatago a
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representative from the irkwoi had a meeting. he said, and i quote, whatever befalls you never fall out with one another. the same wisdom applies to our nation to nation relationship today. in the spirit of billy frank junior and all those who share a common progress and common prosperity. may we work together to make progress together and build a bright future for all americans together. when we uphold this trust, we uphold the promise that our nations have always represented and the promise of brighter futures for generations to come.
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god bless the tribal nations and the national congress of american indians and god bless the united states of america and go seahawks! [ applause ] >> thank you, president for that powerful speech, and i guess you can recognize the lines that weren't prepared for the speech. as we do every year we invite a member of congress to do the congressional response. and this year we're really pleased to be able to be joined by senator john barrasso. he is the new chairman of the senate committee on indian affairs, a committee that we work very closely with.
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chairman barrasso has a long career in medicine and public service and has served the people of wyoming as senator since 2007 and is the fourth ranking republican membership. please help me welcome senator john barrasso. [ applause ] >> well, thank you so much for that very warm welcome. thank you, mr. president. unlike the president obama's state of the union, everyone stayed awake, and everyone paid attention. i did have a chance this morning to speak with maria can't well, former chairman of this committee. she says congratulations and she
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also says go seahawks. so she's with you. i want to recognize my friends from the shoshone tribe. co-chairman is here and council member jodi mcadams. so it's good to be joined with each and every one of you and it's a privilege to be here today joining all of you. i want to thank you mr. president for the invitation to deliver this congressional response to the state of indian nations and to your 81-year-old father at home who is watching i will say you should be very proud of your son. you have raised an incredible determined distinguished and disciplined leader. so thank you, sir. [ applause ] i'm also privileged to be the new chairman of the committee on indian affairs in the united states senate. i think the last time i came to this meeting in this room on
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this platform it was with senator denny akaka. i came because as so much we do in a bipartisan way. i called senator akaka not too long ago for his 90th birthday. i said you should come back to washington. we would love to see you. he said idid i would love to see all of my friends, and they can come to hawaii to see me. i want to talk about, because you talked about this unprecedented number of bipartisan bills. i want to thank senator tester who was chairman and i was vice chairman, the reversal of roles is complete and he'll be working as my vice chairman, but we are equally committed to so much of what you have raised. we have a much to be done significant amount of work, and we want to do it in a bipartisan way, because this tradition of bipartisanship is emblem attic
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of how we honor our history with indian country. the relationship between the united states and indian tribes as you have said has not always been positive, has not always served the people of indian country well. and as you said we are not where we used to be. we still have a long way to go. in recent years our shared history has experienced landmark improvements for federal indian policy, but there is still much work to do. this year will mark the 45th anniversary of president richard nixon's, what was called the special message to congress on indian affairs. his message set a new tone and federal policy to promote tribal self-determination. which is still an agenda item and high priority. that has helped tribes create economic opportunities and has given tribes greater control over federal programs. so we have moved on from where we used to be but still much work needs to be done.
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indeed, mr. president, you noted that there has been remarkable, this is a remarkable moment in our shared history. it's been eight years since a republican majority was elected to lied the senate. so no matter which party is in charge, the people of indian country deserve action and solutions. [ applause ] as a doctor from wyoming i'll tell you my priority is to help people of indian country live better lives. there are two tribes in my home state of wyoming the eastern shoshone tribe. also the northern arapahoe tribe. the tribal leaders of both tribes have stated to me over the years how important it is to have good jobs health care, public safety in each and every one of their communities. addressing these fundamental needs can contribute significantly to improving the lives of indian people.
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now as chairman of the committee on indian affairs my top priorities are jobs, energy which you mentioned and natural resource development, health care juvenile justice and tribal self-governance. the more progress that i believe we can make on these issues the more progress we can make in helping families. so i'm committed to following in the footsteps of my prid sesers who have been chairman of this committee such as senator ben night horse campbell who is here today. he is a remarkable leader. [ applause ] i saw he had a cane today. and i'm an orthopedic surgeon. he had a cane instead of a motorcycle. but he's now applying the 70/70 rule. if you're over 70 years of age the only days you ride your motorcycle is when it's over 70 degrees. [ laughter ]
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we've had other senators, all of us firmly believe that the best solutions don't come from congress. they come from indian country. it is indian country that we must engage when evaluating federal policy and legislation. with that in mind, the first hearing that i have called as chairman is to receive the views of indian country on priorities for the 114th congress because many of the issues facing indian communities are not new issues. now i am impressed by the commitment expressed today the commitment to finding innovative solutions, even if it is as modest as simplifying regulations. soy look forward to hearing addition alg views at this first hearing which will be held next week. too often i have heard from tribes that agency rules are confusing, duplicative,
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complicated, contradictory or costly. in some case these burden some regulations have hindered economic development. they have prevented tribes from developing things to benefit communities. washington should be empowering tribes, not restraining them. [ applause ] appreciate the words spoken today that there must be a way to simplify federal regulations and increase local control. i'm dedicated to working with indian country to achieve these goals, and one of the first bills i have already introduced in this congress is the self-determine agent act. this will cut the bureaucratic red tape and let tribes develop their energy resources.
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it will streamline the required secretarial approvals. such as business agreements, right-of-ways and leases. it is bipartisan legislation. it will facilitate renewable energy as well by promoting biomass development. in the words of the president, these are the things that are going to provide for careers as well as capital, careers as well as capital. and they are based as you said, on respect and trust. i mean that's the way we ought to be working. [ applause ] the goal of this bill is to embauer tribes for generations to come. it puts the decision making back into the hands of indian tribes so they can control their resources, not washington. the bill has been around in some form or another for a number of times, through four congresses
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now. i urge my colleagues to join me in getting this signed into law this year. it meanspro providing accountability. it requires that tribes demonstrate a higher level of responsible governance and administration. because good governance is vital for continuing this policy of tribal self-determination. we should expect no less from the federal agencies as well. as chairman, i'm going do conduct oversight hearings on existing federal programs to eliminate waste. more importantly the committee will examine these programs to make sure they are working efficiently and productively for native americans. it means providing tools to governor through economic development, many economies are agriculturely based. that means water. careful management of water in
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indian country is sanctionessential. many ranchers and farmers, both indians and non-indians still depend on the bureau of indian affairs to deliver water for their needs. there were several projects in the late 1800s, and 1900s. in most cases the federal government did not even complete the projects. today there is a serious backlog of deferred maintenance to the tune of over $500 million. deferred maintenance means inefficient water delivery and damaged infrastructure. for wyoming alone these are perpetual problems. we talked about it yesterday in my office. the department has not developed
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a long-term strategy in managing these irrigation systems. so to address this backlog i intend to introduce legislation that would address maintenance of these irrigation systems. [ applause ] so i thank the national congress of american indians for supporting both the indian energy and the irrigation bills through their resolutions passed last october. so thank you for getting that done. these measures are small but important pieces to several tribal economies and i don't plan to stop, stop at this point. i plan to continue the conversation with indian country on economic development issues throughout this entire congress. today we heard many examples of how tribes are engines of economic growth and innovative governments. while we triumph in indian country innovation and progress. we cannot forget those that still need attention and help.
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president franklin delano roosevelt said the test of progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. it is whether we provide enough for those who have little. [ applause ] i cannot think of any more deserving of our attention than the most vulnerable indian children. indian country innovation and input will be critical in reversing federal policies that have worked to the detriment of indian people and have not worked at all for indian children. in particular, we will draw upon indian country's experience to strengthen accountability measures. for example 2010 i co-sponsored and congress passed a tribal law & order act. this established the indian law & order commission to examine various aspects of criminal justice in indian country, moirls notably juvenile
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justice. the commission report highlighted alarming juvenile justice issues. alarming. according to this report, end january juveniles are held in detention at higher rates and for longer periods of time than any other juvenile population in the united states. too often these young people are not provided the educational or rehabilitative services needed to help them turn their lives around. tribal leaders have expressed concerns that a significant portion of their younger generation is being lost to the juvenile just sis system. many may end up in the adult justice system at some point in their lives. this has been too long overlooked. so i urge indian country to join the committee in examining these problems, finding a path forward for these young people. the indian population is increasing and becoming younger. the life expectancy of native-americans is unacceptably
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low. alcoholismage suicide, as you have mentioned, mr. president are some of the leading causes of death. and on the wind river reservation, my home state of wyoming, the average age of death is 49 years old. this type of lowlife expectancy is similar in other reservations. so we should not be satisfied that congress passed a law called the indian improvement act. we must remain diligent in ensuring that these measures are working for the benefit of indian country to decrease the death rates and juvenile issues. [ applause ] i recognize that the evolution of the federal tribal relationship remains a work in progress. i intend to lead these efforts in a continued government-to-government relationship respecting the power of each indian tribe to
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govern itself. i am confident that we will continue to find common ground which improves the lives of indian people. together we can make progress in helping indian countries succeed in celebrating the promise of our shared values. again, thank you so very much for allowing me to be here with you today. i look forward to working with you in the years ahead. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you senator barrasso. at this time, we'd like to welcome any questions that may come from the press here in our audience. and if any of you have any questions, a staff member will come to bring you a microphone right here in the front. if you could please state who
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you're with. and as i said earlier if we could make sure that we keep our questions brief, that would be helpful. do you need a microphone? you're still waiting for one right here in front. thank you. >> good afternoon. i'm levi rickert. this is for the president. you mentioned the emphasis that nci will put on the washington nfl team. and you mentioned fedex. do you think it's time for tribes around the united states to boycott the fedexs of the world, coca-colas of the world? >> like i said, we have to tell our story, tell our story, tell our story. all too often people don't understand the history of and the genesis of it. it is our opportunity to educate
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fedex, let them know how harmful that is it's connected to the genocide of our people. and lord willing they will make the right decision. we haven't gotten to the point your we have started talking about boycotts, but that's definitely got to be in the conversation. >> but there are tribes that are making some personal choices already and organizations, ncai stopped using fedex last year.
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