173. Establishment of the American Indian Policy Review Commission. January 2, 1975
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273 173. Establishment of the American Indian Policy Review Commission January 2, 1975 The confused state of Indian affairs in the early 1970s led Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota to promote the establishment of a commission to study the historical and legal status of the Indians and to recommend new legislation. Such a commission was authorized by this joint resolution. Joint Resolution to provide for the establishment of the American Indian Policy Review Commission . congressional findings The Congress, after careful review of the Federal Government’s historical and special legal relationship with American Indian people, finds that— (a) the policy implementing this relationship has shifted and changed with changing administrations and passing years, without apparent rational design and without a consistent goal to achieve Indian self-sufficiency; (b) there has been no general comprehensive review of conduct of Indian affairs by the United States nor a coherent investigation of the many problems and issues involved in the conduct of Indian affairs since the 1928 Meriam Report conducted by the Institute for Government Research; and (c) in carrying out its responsibilities under its plenary power over Indian affairs, it is imperative that the Congress now cause such a comprehensive review of Indian affairs to be conducted. declaration of purpose Congress declares that it is timely and essential to conduct a comprehensive review of the historical and legal developments underlying the Indians’ unique relationship with the Federal Government in order to determine the nature and scope of necessary revisions in the formulation of policies and programs for the benefit of Indians. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That— (a) In order to carry out the purposes described in the preamble hereof and as further set out herein, there is hereby created the American Indian Policy Review Commission , hereinafter referred to as the “Commission .” (b) The Commission shall be composed of eleven members, as follows: (1) three Members of the Senate appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, two from the majority party and one from the minority party; (2) three Members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, two from the majority party and one from the minority party; and (3) five Indian members as provided in subsection (c) of this section. (c) At its organization meeting, the members of the Commission appointed pursuant to section (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section shall elect from among their members a Chairman and a Vice Chairman. Immediately thereafter , such members shall select, by majority vote, five Indian members of the Commission from the Indian community, as follows: (1) three members shall be selected from Indian tribes that are recognized by the Federal Government; (2) one member shall be selected to represent urban Indians; and (3) one member shall be selected who is a member of an Indian group not recognized by the Federal Government. . . . Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of the Commission to make a comprehensive investigation and study of Indian affairs and the scope of such duty shall include, but shall not be limited to— (1) a study and analysis of the Constitution , treaties, statutes, judicial interpretations , and Executive orders to determine the attributes of the unique relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes and the land and other resources they possess; 274 (2) a review of the policies, practices, and structure of the Federal agencies charged with protecting Indian resources and providing services to Indians: Provided , That such review shall include a management study of the Bureau of Indian Affairs utilizing experts from the public and private sector; (3) an examination of the statutes and procedures for granting Federal recognition and extending services to Indian communities and individuals; (4) the collection and compilation of data necessary to understand the extent of Indian needs which presently exist or will exist in the near future; (5) an exploration of the feasibility of alternative elective bodies which could fully represent Indians at the national level of Government to provide Indians with maximum participation in policy formation and program development; (6) a consideration of alternative methods to strengthen tribal government so that the tribes might fully represent their members and, at the same time, guarantee the fundamental rights of individual Indians; and (7) the recommendation of such modi fication of existing laws, procedures, regulations , policies, and practices as will, in the judgment of the Commission, best serve to...