January 26, 2012 –
NCAI Response to State of the Union – “Free Our Economies”
2012 State of Indian Nations to focus on Election Year and Tribal Economies
Washington, DC – The leading organization representing tribal governments and Native Americans has released an initial response to the State of the Union and will outline the State of Indian Nations in a speech this Thursday. In a nationally webcast and radio address, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) will respond to President Obama’s State of the Union and chart a path for tribes to play a vital role in building America’s 21st century economy. The speech will be delivered by the President of NCAI Jefferson Keel, Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. Republican Congressman Tom Cole (OK) an enrolled member the Chickasaw Nation, will deliver the Congressional response to the State of Indian Nations.
“President Obama outlined a clear path for the economic future of America in the State of the Union – we support these efforts as Indian Country is integral to revitalizing the American economy. We call on the Administration and Congress to free our economies and create a more flexible government that honors the ability of Tribal Nations to determine our own future,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI. “Members of both parties in the House and Senate have shown that issues affecting tribes are nonpartisan. The President has shown outstanding support of tribes. The time to act is now. In our national address we will outline legislation and action the federal government can take right now, to make Indian Country even stronger.”
According to the 2010 Census, American Indians and Alaska Natives represent 5.2 Million people in the United States, 1.7% of the U.S. population. There are currently 566 federally recognized tribal nations in the United States and an estimated 10% of the natural resources located within the United States are on tribal lands.
President Obama referenced Native Americans in the State of the Union by highlighting the military service of Natives. Currently over 24,000 active duty American Indians and Alaska Natives serve in the Armed Forces – representing the highest service per capita of any other group. At the State of Indian Nations, President Keel will be introduced by a tribal citizen and an active duty member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Key government officials including Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and John Barrasso (R-WY) of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, DOI Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk, and White House officials, will attend the live address. The 2012 State of Indian Nations Address will be broadcast live online and on a delayed broadcast to radio stations reaching tribal reservations, Alaska Native villages, and urban areas with large American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Broadcast live from the Newseum in Washington, DC, viewers can watch the Address on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. (EST) on www.livestream.com/ncai or via the Native Voice 1 Radio Network.