Kamala Harris announces Native American platform to restore half a million acres of tribal lands

(Image: Kamala Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign)

Campaign also unveils tribal leadership council co-chairs

News Release

Kamala Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign

Ahead of Senator Kamala Harris’s participation at the National Congress of American Indians Convention, she is unveiling her new plan to honor tribal sovereignty and invest in Native American communities to secure lasting prosperity.

As part of her plan, she will set a goal to take 500,000 more acres of land into trust for federally recognized Indian tribes. She’ll work to make this process simpler, faster, and less costly for lands within or contiguous to existing reservations.   

She will also sign an executive order reaffirming the United States’ government-to-government relationships and ensuring meaningful and frequent consultation with tribes. She will work with Congress to exempt the Indian Health Service (IHS) from future budget sequestrations so IHS programs won't have to close their doors to the 2.2 million Native Americans they serve. 

Key aspects of the plan include:

  • Honor tribal sovereignty: Hold an annual Tribal Nations Summit to hear from tribal leaders and youth and collaborate on ways to improve Native Americans' quality of life and access to justice.
  • Restore tribal lands: Push Congress to amend the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) to clarify that tribes federally recognized after 1934 can receive land into trust; take 500,000 acres of land into trust.
  • Promote health equity: Maximize tribes' autonomy over their IHS programs so they can provide culturally competent, holistic care.

“Let’s speak truth: we have failed in our obligations to Tribal Nations,” said Harris. “We have an opportunity to chart a new course of fully empowering Native American communities and supporting their governments’ right to self-determination and self-governance. I have always stood with Native communities, and as President, I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder to solve the challenges they face and ensure our nation respects the sovereignty of Native tribes.”

In addition, the campaign is announcing its Tribal Leadership Council co-chairs. The council will advise the campaign on Tribal issues. 

The council co-chairs include:

  • Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians Chairman Mark Macarro
  • Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Chairman Kenneth Kahn 
  • Former Chief Executive of Indian Health Service and Cherokee Nation Member Mary Smith 
  • Navajo Nation Leader Kinsale Hueston

Read the plan here.

Kamala Harris 2020 logo
(Image: Kamala Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign)
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