restricted access 194. Indian Policy: Statement of Ronald Reagan, January 24, 1983
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193. Presidential Commission on Indian Reservation Economies Executive Order 12401 January 14, 1983 Closely related to President Reagan’s statement on Indian policy of January 24, 1983, was the creation of a special commission to study economic development on Indian reservations and to indicate the obstacles that hindered that development. By the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America, and in order to establish, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App. I), an advisory commission to promote the development of a strong private sector on Federally recognized Indian reservations, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Establishment. (a) There is established a Presidential Commission on Indian Reservation Economies. (b) The Commission shall be composed of no more than nine members, who shall be appointed by the President from among the private sector, reservation tribal governments , economic academicians, and Federal employees. (c) The President shall designate a nonIndian representative and an Indian representative to serve as cochairmen of the Commission . Sec. 2. Functions. (a) The Commission shall advise the President on what actions should be taken to develop a stronger private sector on Federally recognized Indian reservations, lessen tribal dependence on Federal monies and programs and reduce the Federal presence in Indian affairs. The underlying principles of this mission are the governmentto -government relationship, the established Federal policy of self-determination and the Federal trust responsibility. (b) The Commission will focus exclusively on the following items, and not on new Federal financial assistance: (1) Defining the existing Federal legislative , regulatory, and procedural obstacles to the creation of positive economic environments on Indian reservations. (2) Identifying and recommending changes or other remedial actions necessary to remove these obstacles. (3) Defining the obstacles at the State, local and tribal government levels which impede both Indian and non-Indian private sector investments on reservations. (4) Identifying actions which these levels of government could take to rectify the identified problems. (5) Recommending ways for the private sector, both Indian and non-Indian, to participate in the development and growth of reservation economies, including capital formation. (c) The Commission should review studies undertaken in the last decade to obtain pertinent recommendations that are directly related to its mission. . . . [Federal Register, 48:2309 (January 18, 1983).] 194. Indian Policy: Statement of Ronald Reagan January 24, 1983 President Reagan’s statement on Indian policy reflected his fundamental principles of reducing reliance on federal programs while placing greater responsibility on local units and the private sector. Cuts in federal aid during his administration, however, severely affected Indian communities. This administration believes that responsibilities and resources should be restored to the governments which are closest to the people served. This philosophy applies not only to State and local governments but also to federally recognized American Indian tribes. When European colonial powers began to explore and colonize this land, they entered 302 303 into treaties with sovereign Indian nations. Our new nation continued to make treaties and to deal with Indian tribes on a government-to-governmentbasis.Throughout our history, despite periods of conflict and shifting national policies in Indian affairs , the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Indian tribes has endured. The Constitution, treaties, laws, and court decisions have consistently recognized a unique political relationship between Indian tribes and the United States which this administration pledges to uphold. In 1970 President Nixon announced a national policy of self-determination for Indian tribes. At the heart of the new policy was a commitment by the Federal Government to foster and encourage tribal self-government. That commitment was signed into law in 1975 as the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. The principle of self-government set forth in this act was a good starting point. However, since 1975 there has been more rhetoric than action. Instead of fostering and encouraging self-government, Federal policies have by and large inhibited the political and economic development of the tribes. Excessive regulation and self-perpetuating bureaucracy have stifled local decisionmaking, thwarted Indian control of Indian resources, and promoted dependency rather than selfsuf ficiency. This administration intends to reverse this trend by removing the obstacles to selfgovernment and by creating a more favorable environment for the development of healthy reservation economies. Tribal governments, the Federal Government, and the private sector will all have a role. This administration will take a flexible approach which recognizes the diversity among tribes...