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Cole, Haaland Host Indian Country 101 Training for Congressional Staff

June 4, 2019
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today, Representatives Tom Cole (OK-04) and Deb Haaland (NM-01), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus hosted Indian Country 101, a briefing for congressional staff. The training aimed at educating staff who work for members of Congress on the trust responsibility, land protections, self-governance and health care issues in Indian Country.

“While the relationship between tribal nations and the federal government can be difficult to comprehend, all Americans stand to benefit from learning about the intricacies of this unique relationship. This week, I am proud that the Congressional Native American Caucus hosted an educational briefing for legislative staff on the role of tribal sovereignty and trust responsibility,” said Congressman Tom Cole. “Thank you to NCAI and NIHB for partnering with the caucus to offer this informative crash course on tribal issues.”

“All staff should have a basic understanding of Indian Country and what it means to develop policies ensuring tribes have a seat at the table. But, Native American history is not included in most curriculums across the country, so when folks get hired to work in congressional offices they have little to no knowledge about the federal government’s trust responsibility and meaningful tribal consultation required by the Constitution, treaties and federal law. That’s why Indian Country 101 is so important,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland.

The training was facilitated by The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), who provided historical, cultural and policy information to the staff who attended. The training was part of the Congressional Native American Caucus’ efforts to educate members of Congress and their staff and encourage an open dialogue about issues affecting Native Americans.

“NCAI appreciates all attendees of today’s Indian Country 101 briefing and finds it encouraging that policy decision makers at the local, state and federal level are taking the time to understand the United States’ unique relationship to tribal governments, as well as our place in the American family of governments. We view learning about Indian Country as a major step toward understanding and engaging effectively with contemporary tribal nations, and always welcome the opportunity to educate about the federal government’s trust responsibilities, as well as raise awareness around some of Indian Country’s most pressing issues.”