Tribes Air Concerns About Federal Infrastructure Decisions

By Carrie Jung
Published: Friday, October 14, 2016 - 11:12am

Tribal leaders from across the country got a chance to air their concerns about how federal decisions are made at a first of its kind meeting this week. It was scheduled in response to issues raised by the Dakota Access Pipeline project and a proposed copper mine near the Oak Flat Campground.

The meeting with the Army, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice was held at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention in Phoenix.

The discussion was closed to the press but NCAI President Brian Cladoosby said tribal leaders biggest concerns were that they don’t have the same rights as other governments.

"Far too long it has been this paternalistic attitude for the last 200 years toward tribes," said Cladoosby. "Where our trustee came with the documents already printed and in hand saying this was the way it was going to be. And it was pretty much a take it or leave it."

Cladoosby said he is encouraged that the Obama administration is at least trying to improve the process. He added this session was a precursor to a series of meetings the federal agencies will be hosting over the next six months to continue the discussion with tribal leaders around the country.

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