Voting Rights

Lakota Law

The fierce attack on American democracy didn’t end with Donald Trump’s eviction from the White House. It didn’t end when Biden moved in or after the Georgia runoffs. And it won’t end as long as conservative state legislatures are allowed to make laws limiting the vote for people of color. The good news is, you have the opportunity to fight back.

Right now, Congress is considering the most comprehensive suite of civil rights and voter protection legislation since the 1960s. Please tell your congressional reps to push for House Resolution 1 (H.R. 1) until it becomes law. It’s critical for the wellbeing of future generations that we seize this moment. If we fail to protect voting rights now, we may not get another chance.

Watch: My colleague, Chase Iron Eyes, talked about the importance of voting rights on yesterday’s Cut to the Chase webcast.

Over the next year and a half, you can help us register Native voters throughout South Dakota and partner again with tribal nations — like we did at Standing Rock in 2020 — to turn out the Indigenous vote come election time. We’re also joining a lawsuit with Native American Rights Fund and Demos over South Dakota’s violations of the National Voting Registration Act. 

There’s so much we can do together in the months to come. But, right now, I hope you’ll flood your reps with messages in support of H.R. 1. Because even with all the incredible progress we have recently made — Deb Haaland, everybody! — the potential rollbacks in voting rights for minority communities mean we are still in a very scary moment. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and move things in the right direction.

Wopila tanka — thank you for protecting the vote for Native people and all Americans.
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Help Needed for Deb Haaland

Lakota Law

Over the past few days, instead of confirming Native New Mexico congresswoman Deb Haaland as U.S. Secretary of the Interior, some senators are focused on obstruction. A full Senate hearing is now scheduled for Monday, but two oil-bought senators, Steve Daines (R-MT) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), have placed a “hold” on her confirmation. Ultimately, we believe Deb’s chances of victory are strong, but nothing is guaranteed. We’re grateful that your support has helped Lakota Law become one of her most vocal champions, and we definitely can’t slow down now. The finish line is in sight.

Please contribute what you can right now to help us keep the pressure on. Your gift today will help us continue to blitz social and traditional media with messages of solidarity and, importantly, make sure that senators in every state keep feeling the pressure to vote yes until Deb is finally confirmed.

Lakota Law

You’ve already helped us be very effective on Deb’s behalf. Lakota Law’s efforts were recognized by the New York Times as playing an important role in motivating President Biden to nominate her to begin with, and we haven’t let up. Supporters like you have sent nearly 13,000 letters telling senators to confirm her for the job she was born to do.

It’s critical that we punch hard until this fight is won. Deb’s confirmation will be one of the biggest leaps forward for Indian Country in the history of this nation. With more debate now scheduled for early next week, we must ensure that critical swing votes remain in our column. 

I have spoken multiple times personally with Deb Haaland, and I have heard her knowledgeable perspective on climate issues and other topics of utmost importance to Native populations. She deeply understands the twin priorities of protecting both tribal sovereignty and the health of our planet by transitioning to a clean energy economy. She will be a friend to us if she gets the job. Let’s be the best friends we can to her and make sure that happens.

Wopila tanka — thank you for standing with Deb for Native and environmental justice!
Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Haaland´s Appointment is on Monday, March 15th

https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/deb-haalands-final-senate-vote-set

Rep. Deb Haaland’s historic appointment to lead the Department of the Interior will happen Monday afternoon.

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer released new details Thursday indicating that Haaland’s confirmation will move forward, setting up a final Senate vote on Monday at 5:30 p.m. E.T.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=%40aliyahjchavez&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1370118021612765184&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Findiancountrytoday.com%2Fnews%2Fdeb-haalands-final-senate-vote-set&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

Deb Haaland’s full Senate confirmation hearing
Date: Monday, March 15, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. E.T.
Livestream: bit.ly/3tacnvj

Also Thursday, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on Haaland’s nomination by a 54-42 vote. This essentially ends debate on her nomination and advances it forward. 

Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblos, would become the nation’s 54th Secretary of the Interior and the first Native American in history to be named to a Cabinet position, if she receives a majority of votes. Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have already indicated they support her confirmation.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=%40aliyahjchavez&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1370080200747319299&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Findiancountrytoday.com%2Fnews%2Fdeb-haalands-final-senate-vote-set&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

Earlier this week Schumer, a New York Democrat, filed a motion of cloture on Haaland’s nomination.

“Despite Republican obstruction, Representative Haaland will be confirmed by the Senate to be Secretary Haaland,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor. 

More on clotures

Schumer filed cloture on Haaland’s nomination after Republican Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming put holds on Haaland’s nomination. The hold means that Haaland’s nomination would force a debate of up to 30 hours.

Daines defended his decision to put a hold on the nomination, tweeting that Haaland “opposes pipelines & fossil fuels, ignores science when it comes to wildlife management & wants to ban trapping on public lands.”

(Related: Senate energy panel backs Haaland for interior secretary)

Once Haaland is confirmed, she will resign from her seat as a New Mexico congressional representative and be publicly sworn into office the next day, sources say. 

Indian Country Today - bridge logo

Important News and Updates for March 3

NCAI Events and Resources in Preparation for Upcoming Federal-Tribal Consultations on Consultation Policy
In response to President Biden’s “Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships,” the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is announcing several events and resources to support Tribal Nations in their efforts to shape federal tribal consultation policies to reflect a true government-to-government relationship. Events and resources include (scroll down for details):
Webinar: “Federal Consultation Policies: Working towards Consent,” Wednesday, March 3, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST. Register here>
Tribal Leader Caucus hosted by NCAI in preparation for the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) upcoming tribal consultation sessions. Thursday, March 4, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST. Register here>
Tribal Leader Caucuses hosted by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI), and NCAI in preparation for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) tribal consultation sessions. Tuesday, March 9, 2021 and Thursday, March 11, 2021 from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST.
Listing of Upcoming Federal Consultations.   Please continue reading to learn more about each of these events and resources.
WEBINAR ANNOUNCEMENT Federal Consultation Policies: Working towards Consent March 3, 2021, 12-1:30 p.m. EST NCAI will hold a webinar on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 from 12-1:30 p.m. EST to discuss President Biden’s recent “Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships” and its implications for federal consultation policy with Tribal Nations. Register here >   Panelists will include: Michael Connor, Partner, WilmerHale, and previously served as Deputy Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama from 2014-2017 Colette Routel, Professor of Law, Co-Director, Native American Law & Sovereignty Institute, Mitchell Hamline School of Law Fawn Sharp, President, National Congress of American Indians, and President, Quinault Indian Nation Kim Teehee, Director of Government Relations, Cherokee Nation, and previously served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs for President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2012   This webinar will provide an overview of federal consultation policies for tribal consultation, explore ideas regarding the future of the government-to-government relationship between the U.S. and Tribal Nations, and share resources for how Tribal Nations can prepare for the upcoming series of consultations being convened by federal agencies that will focus on how to improve current consultation practices.   NCAI Contact: Ryan Seelau, Senior Researcher, Partnership for Tribal Governance, rseelau@ncai.org
REGISTER
Tribal Leader Caucus to prepare for DOI Consultation March 4, 2021, 12-1:30 p.m. EST
NCAI will host a tribal leader caucus on Thursday, March 4, 2021 from 12-1:30 p.m. EST to give tribal leaders an opportunity to talk with one another and prepare for a series of Department of the Interior (DOI) consultations that will be taking place March 8-12.   Information about the DOI consultations is available here. Registration for NCAI’s Tribal Leader Caucus is available here.   The majority of the time during this event is designed to give tribal leaders and others space to discuss the issues they see concerning tribal consultation, and to discuss strategies on how to improve government-to-government consultations moving forward.   NCAI Contact: Ryan Seelau, Senior Researcher, Partnership for Tribal Governance, rseelau@ncai.org
REGISTER
Federal Government Dates and Deadlines for Upcoming Consultations
On January 26, 2021 President Biden signed a memorandum titled “Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships” declaring, “It is a priority of my Administration to make respect for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, commitment to fulfilling Federal trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, and regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal Nations cornerstones of Federal Indian policy.” The Presidential Memorandum goes on to convey its commitment to fulfilling the consultation requirements of Executive Order 13175, a directive originally issued by President Clinton on November 6, 2000.   President Biden’s Memorandum also directs “each agency” to submit “a detailed plan of actions the agency will take to implement the policies and directives of Executive Order 13175.” These plans “shall be developed after consultation by the agency with Tribal Nations and Tribal officials”. All plans are to be submitted to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by April 26, 2021.   In March, several federal agencies are holding tribal consultation sessions and/or have deadlines related to their tribal consultation plans, including: March 8, 2021: DOI consultation focusing on Great Plains, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain Regions. March 8: 2021: Department of Defense (DOD) deadline for all written comments regarding tribal consultation. March 9, 2021: USDA consultation on their tribal consultation plan. March 10, 2021: DOI consultation focusing on Eastern, Eastern Oklahoma, and Southern Plains Regions. March 10, 2021: DOI Consultation focusing on Navajo, Southwest, and Western Regions. March 11, 2021: USDA consultation on their tribal consultation plan. March 12, 2021: DOI consultation focusing on Alaska, Northwest, and Pacific Regions. March 19, 2021: DOI deadline for all written comments regarding tribal consultation. March 24, 2021: Department of Transportation (DOT) consultation on their tribal consultation plan. March 26, 2021: DOT deadline for all written comments regarding tribal consultation.   For more detailed information about these dates and deadlines, visit NCAI’s Consultation Support Center.   NCAI Contact: Ryan Seelau, Senior Researcher, Partnership for Tribal Governance, rseelau@ncai.org