Native American Tribal Sovereignty (80573-C1-R149)
Amend Resolution No. 149
Indigenous people were once sole occupants of this continent. Scholars vary greatly in their estimates of how many people were living in the Americas when Columbus arrived in 1492; however estimates range from 40 million to 90 million for all of the Americas. 1 <> American Indian tribal populations were
as decimated after the arrival of Europeans. This decimation was rationalized according to (a) the European belief in their "discovery" of the new world, (b) the arrogance of “manifest destiny”,
(c) the cavalier destruction of the Native concept of tribal communal land, and (d) lack of immunity to diseases carried by Europeans to the Americas.
, According to the 2000 census, the American Indian population stands at 2.48 million people.
p rior to European contact, the indigenous nations of this continent were sovereign, a a utonomous and self-regulating. ; and
WHEREAS, prior to the American Revolution, the sovereign status of American Indian tribes and confederations of tribes were as recognized as sovereign indigenous nations was recognized through in nation-to-nation relationships with the major European powers. Later, t T hese relationships were maintained with the newly-formed U.S. American government, which o formulated 371 treaties with Indian nations between 1778-1871. ; and
1 MSN Encarta website 2007
t reaties are were and are regarded as binding, sacred and enduring texts by American Indians and Alaska Natives, comparable to as sacred and enduring as the the U. S. Constitution and U.S. Bill of Rights. are to all American citizens. Therefore, it wa is disturbing that the U.S government could ignored their its trust responsibilities through the violation of treaties and other promises. ; and
WHEREAS, indigenous persons were once sole occupants of this continent and estimated to number 10 million or more north of Mexico, their land base has been decimated to 2.3 percent of the U.S., and, according to the 2000 census, their population to 2.4 million. This decimation was rationalized according to (a) the European belief in their "discovery" of the new world, (b) the arrogance of manifest destiny and (c) the egregious destruction of the Native concept of tribal communal land; and
WHEREAS, t Tribal sovereignty is understood as a an inherent international right of Native nations, and it encompasses various matters, such as jurisdiction over Indians and non-Indians on tribal lands, education and language, child welfare and religious freedom. Land is both the physical and spiritual foundation of tribal identity, as stated by Kidwell, Noley and Tinker (2001) in their book, A Native American Theology: "Land is today the basis upon which tribal sovereignty rests, the rights of Indian people to live upon, use and to govern in a political sense the members of the tribe who live on the land and those whose tribal membership gives them an association with it" (p. 15). ; and WHEREAS, E e arly U.S. Supreme Court decisions support and affirm tribal sovereignty, most notably the Marshall trilogy of cases in the 19th century, and Winter v. S. (1908). Most However, recent Court decisions have have ignored previous precedent and contradicted earlier rulings and undermin ed ing tribal sovereignty. ; and
WHEREAS, a A recently survey conducted survey by an independent research firm demonstrated s that 75 percent of the American public supports tribal governance ment over Native lands, and 74 percent believe that federal and state officials should make tribal self-governance ment a priority. ; and
WHEREAS, A United Methodist R in The Book of Resolutions, R esolution 2 <>outlined 144 calls that support for be furnished for the rights of Native people relative to according to the following points (relative to self-determination and sovereignty ) , which includes the right of Native people to:
The right of Native people to be self-determining, and make their own decisions;
plan for a future in this nation, and to expect a fulfillment of commitments that have been made previously by the government, as well as equitable treatment of those who were not afforded legal protection for their culture and lands; and
The right of Native people to
2 Resolution 146 (2004 UM Book of Resolutions).
The right of Native nations to exercise their sovereignty consistent with treaty provisions, executive orders, and acts of Congress. ; and
t he National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has appealed to religious institutions and their congregations to urge the moral responsibility of the U.S. government to exercise moral responsibility in upholding treaty obligations and trust responsibilities with to Native peoples. NCAI has implemented promulgated the Tribal Sovereignty Protection Initiative as a proactive effort to counter in light of recent threats to tribal sovereignty from the federal government, especially within including a the U.S. conservative Supreme Court that has disregarded the historic agreements with American Indian tribes. ;
Therefore, be it
resolved, resolved that T :
The United Methodist Church reaffirms its support for tribal sovereignty and commends the following guiding principles for the total Church:
affirms all aspects of Resolution 144; and
1. We believe in redemption, transformation, and reconciliation; people can change and that is representative of the incarnational witness in the world.
2. We believe in John Wesley’s directive to connect social and personal holiness; that advocacy and action, speaking out in the public square, truth-telling in love are intrinsic to who we are as United Methodists.
3. We believe that the intentions and politicization of Christianity distorted the Gospel/Good News for the purpose of colonization and must be decolonized.
4. We affirm that American Indian sovereignty: -Is a historical fact, is significant, and it cannot be disregarded in favor of political expediency. -American Indians have a right to self-govern. -Preserves culture, land, religious expression, and sacred spaces. -Ensures survival-allows for the survival of American Indian people
5. We need to demythologize and move from fiction to fact in our understanding of American Indians and Indian Country.
6. We affirm the sacredness of humankind -Affirming all persons as equally valuable in God’s sight. -Resources of the world are sacred and deplore practices of exploitation
7. We reject stereotypes and frames that depict American Indians as less than sacred or in harmful or distorted ways.
8. We observe that there are belief systems of Native American Indians and non-natives and that they do not always have commonality. (i.e. “Fair play” /Justice-
e.g. land claims, treaties vs. constitutional rights, citizen’s rights)
has been distorted for the purpose of colonizationand must,Be it further resolved, that, in In response to the NCAI appeal and the Tribal Sovereignty Protection Initiative, T the United Methodist Church:
hereby alls upon urges the moral responsibility of the United States government to exercise moral responsibility in and calls upon governmental agencies and entities within the United States to upholding and honoring all treaty obligations and trust responsibilities to Native peoples;
and 2. Be it further resolved, that the Directs the General Board of Church and Society to Council of Bishops and the General Board of Church and Society, in consultation with the United Methodist Native American International Caucus (NAIC) and the National United Methodist Native American Center (NUMNAC), present this resolution to the NCAI Executive Director, the NCAI President, the Senators and Representatives of the Members of the United States Congress, the President of the United States, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior-Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Congress of American Indians and the United Methodist Jurisdictional Task Forces on Native American Ministries ; and
Be it further resolved, that The United Methodist Church hereby u Urges all clergy and laity to educate themselves and their congregations about historical and contemporary aspects of tribal sovereignty, including action steps that concerned individuals and congregations can take to support American Indians and Alaska and Hawaiian Natives.
(For resources, contact the United Methodist Native American International Caucus.)
(See R. 215)
ADOPTED 2004 See Social Principles, ¶162A.