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Policy changes recommended to support Tribal families

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From 2019 to 2024, the congressional Commission on Native Children was tasked with examining federal, state, and tribal youth programs across the nation.

As a Commissioner on this commission, I can attest that most of the witnesses chosen by federal agencies received federal funds in one manner or another. Recommendations include increased funding, a new federal office, wrap-around care, and a requirement that tribal language and culture be taught in every school district across the United States and every teacher in the United States be certified to teach a tribal language and culture, whether or not there are any tribal members living in the district. “Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI)” would be the institutions to do the certification training.

Some of the recommendation have nothing to do with protecting tribal youth from the high incidence of crime, physical abuse, sexual abuse, addiction, violence, and suicide on many reservations.

Moreover, a Minority Report explains how an “iron triangle” involving academia has affected federal Indian policy over the last decades and allowed for implementation of laws and policies that negatively affect reservation economies and quality of life.

Some tribal members report that current policies are controlling, oppressive, and unconstitutional to Native American families and have a devastating impact on well-being. To avoid these policies and their repercussions, some families, over generations, have left the reservation system. In fact, 75% of tribal members do not live in Indian Country.

This minority report includes recommendations for policy changes that support tribal members as individuals, families, and communities, and can be accessed at

Elizabeth Morris

Hillsboro, ND

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