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Opinion
Harjo: Resolve to help Native people in 2007


"In the spirit of resolute commitment to realistic goals, here are some 2007 resolutions that won't force others to crash diet - just to do a few healthy things for Native peoples. All are priorities; put them in the order that suits you.

110th Congress and White House: Resolved, to establish legislation to combat climate change, cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy. Alaska Native people and polar bears in a shrinking ice world are running out of time for action, and the rest of us may not be far behind. If California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can turn greenish and sign the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, 2006), what's stopping everyone else?

110th Congress: Resolved, to enact emergency legislation reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Indian people of all ages need this law, but Native elders and children are bearing the brunt of continued inaction.

Office of Management and Budget and Department of Justice: Resolved, to stop threatening to veto the health-care law's reauthorization. Indian people need prevention services and treatment now. It's true that some people who are sick will only get sicker and costs may escalate as conditions worsen. It's also true that funerals cost less than long-term care. But has the cost/benefit analysis of reauthorization really come to this?

White House and 110th Congress: Resolved, to provide increased training and financial assistance to tribal and federal responders to situations involving abuse of Indian elders and children, domestic violence and youth suicide attempts; the meth crisis in Indian country; and desecrations of ceremonial grounds and ancestors.

110th Congress, White House and Interior Department: Resolved, to develop protections for traditional sacred places in consultation with Native peoples and to enact a cause of action for Native nations to defend sacred places in court. The issue was used as a political trade bead in the 109th Congress with only token participation of Native peoples. Native sacred places and peoples deserve better than that.

110th Congress and the departments of Justice, Interior and Treasury: Resolved, to address the merits of the Indian trust funds case and either 1) enact a just settlement of the lawsuit or 2) let the litigation run its course."

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Realistic New Year's resolutions for others (Indian Country Today 12/29)

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