indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
NAHASDA clears Congress with Freedmen provision
Friday, September 26, 2008
Filed Under: National | Politics

The Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act cleared Congress on Thursday with a provision aimed at resolving a hot political issue.

The provision in H.R.2768 allows the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to receive federal funds while a controversial case plays out in tribal court. The Cherokee Freedmen, who are the descendants of former African slaves, are suing to maintain their citizenship in the tribe.

The Freedmen are being preserved by a tribal court order that protects them from being disenrolled until the case is resolved. As long as the order stays in place, or some sort of settlement is reached, the tribe can receive federal funds, according to the bill.

But even if the case ends with the removal of the Freedmen, the bill won't punish the Cherokees. The provision allows the tribe to receive funds regardless of the outcome.

"The language in the bill is a sign that Congress recognizes the sovereignty and authority of tribal courts to settle internal disputes, which should be considered a victory for not only the Cherokee Nation but all tribes," said Cherokee Chief Chad Smith.

Lawmakers could always take action if the case goes against the Freedmen but the provision appears to resolve a controversy that threatened the bill from passage this year. Tribes around the country were worried the NAHASDA program wouldn't be reauthorized even though it expired a year ago.

The House's version of the bill would have denied funds to the tribe unless the Freedmen are restored to citizenship. The funding cut wouldn't have taken effect if the Freedmen won the case.

The Senate's version didn't include any language regarding the Cherokees. When the House and Senate got together to resolve the differences, the new provision was developed.

Smith credited Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) for "proposing this solution in a way that is not punitive to Cherokees who need housing assistance, since the matter is still being decided in a court of law."

Dorgan and Murkowski are chairman and vice chairwoman, respectively, of the Senate Indian Affairs Indian Committee, which discharged the new version of NAHASDA yesterday, just in time for the Senate to take action. Coburn also serves on the committee.

"There is a bona-fide crisis in housing for Indian families across the nation," said Dorgan. "Adequate housing is the first and most necessary step in building a strong community. This bill is more than just a housing act -- it will give tribes more authority over their own land and truly help build stronger communities in Indian Country."

The bill will go to the White House for President Bush's consideration.

The provision at issue reads:
SEC. 801. LIMITATION ON USE FOR CHEROKEE NATION. No funds authorized under this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, or appropriated pursuant to an authorization under this Act or such amendments, shall be expended for the benefit of the Cherokee Nation; provided, that this limitation shall not be effective if the Temporary Order and Temporary Injunction issued on May 14, 2007, by the District Court of the Cherokee Nation remains in effect during the pendency of litigation or there is a settlement agreement which effects the end of litigation among the adverse parties.

Recent D.C. Circuit Decision:
Vann v. Kempthorne (July 29, 2008)

Related Stories:
Congressional Black Caucus to host Freedmen panel (9/24)
Freedmen dispute continues despite court decision (7/30)
Cherokee officials open to lawsuit from Freedmen (7/29)
Appeals court hears Cherokee Freedmen dispute (5/7)
Cherokee Freedmen dispute a threat to NAHASDA (4/24)
Freedmen issue weighs heavy on Capitol Hill (4/14)
Tim Giago: CBC goes after Cherokee Nation (4/14)
Cherokee Freedmen dispute up for hearing (3/27)
Cherokee Nation faulted on Freedmen (10/1)
House approves NAHASDA reauthorization (9/7)



Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Indian Country again shares stage on final night of Dem convention (7/29)
Cowlitz Tribe wins major court ruling on land-into-trust application (7/29)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe sees setback in land-into-trust dispute (7/29)
Lakota Country Times: Arts program connects with Pine Ridge youth (7/29)
Native Sun News: Native POP celebrates Native artists in Rapid City (7/29)
Clara Caufield: Tribal governments often discourage the free press (7/29)
Denver American Horse: Veterans column in the Lakota language (7/29)
Bryan Newland: Donald Trump's radical view of federal Indian law (7/29)
Tweedy Sombrero Navarrete: Christians call to protect sacred land (7/29)
Navajo Nation lawmaker accuses colleague of sexual harassment (7/29)
Editorial: County still in denial about Chumash Tribe's sovereignty (7/29)
Native Democrats make urgent case for Hillary Clinton as president (7/28)
Mark Trahant: The story is far from over for Senator Bernie Sanders (7/28)
Native Sun News: Indian Health Service eyes new hospital in Rapid (7/28)
Brandon Ecoffey: Oglala Sioux Tribe must start fitness revolution (7/28)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Show respect for sacred Lakota family unit (7/28)
Gyasi Ross: It's gonna be awhile before the first Native president (7/28)
Harlan McKosato: Violence against Native people swept under rug (7/28)
Harold Monteau: Even more lessons in indigenous law and policy (7/28)
Indian Country shares spotlight at Democratic National Convention (7/27)
Recap: Native American Council at Democratic National Convention (7/27)
Lakota Country Times: SuAnne Big Crow Center focuses on fitness (7/27)
Native Sun News: Tribal college showcases works of Lakota artists (7/27)
Vi Waln: Too many of our own people continue to smoke cigarettes (7/27)
Andre Cramblit: Growing wiser in my return to Dartmouth College (7/27)
Indian Country makes presence known at Democratic convention (7/26)
Tim Giago: Questioning the motto of GOP candidate Donald Trump (7/26)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala team lands Indian relay title again (7/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes honor author of Indian Child Welfare Act (7/26)
Delphine Red Shirt: Let's eat food that's always been good for us (7/26)
Peter d'Errico: Luci Tapahonso tackles legacy of boarding schools (7/26)
Donald Trump tried to partner with Agua Caliente Band on casino (7/26)
Native American Council meets at Democratic National Convention (7/25)
Police officer cleared over fatal shooting of Navajo Nation woman (7/25)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Donald Trump and his campaign of hatred (7/25)
Native Sun News: Tribal advocate focuses on Great Plains efforts (7/25)
Lakota Country Times: Descendants of Pine Ridge legend gather (7/25)
Johnny Rustywire: Navajo mother works hard at motel for family (7/25)
Alex Jacobs: Nation finally admits problem with policing and race (7/25)
Dwaine Perry: Ramapough Lunaape Nation marching for justice (7/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.