tv Washington Journal Fawn Sharp CSPAN August 1, 2021 1:20am-2:00am EDT
real experience as a member of congress and, we were kind of watching them and talking to my fellow colleagues about what we could do to try to stop this. >> what were those conversations like? tell us about them. >> i remember a conversation i had with marjorie taylor greene. marjorie was a freshman, very active during the orientation. she was very upset about what was going on. she said, what can i do? i said, what if you go back to the courtroom and film a video and tell them to stop. she did that. announcer: you will also hear from democrats from pennsylvania and california. january 6, views from the house, sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. host: this 25,000 pound total
pole arrived in d.c. earlier this week. joining us to talk about the purpose of the total pole coming to d.c. and native american issues is fawn sharp, the president of the national council of american indians. thank you for joining us. guest: thank you. i am happy to be here. host: can we start a little bit about your organization? what do you do? guest: the national congress of american indians is the oldest and largest national organizations of sovereign nations in this country, founded in 1944. we are very active in staging and advancing native americans. host: can you describe the red road to d.c.? guest: the red road to d.c. began on the west coast and
traveled across the country raising awareness that we must all, not just native americans, but all across the country protect sacred sites. it was a call to action and unify the country and raise awareness about the state of emergency regarding our sacred sites and the environment. host: we showed the total pole that has been traveling across the united states in a washington, d.c. can you talk a little but -- a little bit about the pole and what it symbolizes with the issues you are concerned about? guest: with respect to the pole itself, it is a product of the vision of an elder who is a master carver and founder of the house of tears. he carved a number of total polls during various points in time, one for 911, and this one to draw attention to sacred sites in the environmental
crises we are facing in the pacific northwest. back in 2019, and orca carried her dead calf for 17 days in the sea. we have all of these signs from nature, hurricanes, magnifiers, all of these are indications we must stand up for our environment and be the voice of all those who can't speak. this was an opportunity to raise awareness and unify the country to stand up and honor the vision of our ancestors to protect our natural world for future generations. host: it was making its way across the country and ultimately made its way in washington, d.c. i would suspect it is used to foster political conversations in washington, d.c. what is that? guest: the total pole is a story and historically we carve stories to mark a point in time.
for this totem, it is an opportunity for us to share our story with elected officials in washington, d.c. i had a meeting this week with secretary john kerry to talk about the role of tribal nations in international climate negotiations. i had a conversation with senator elizabeth warren and senator elizabeth markowski and alaska, because -- in alaska, and it offered bipartisan conversations to advance the interests of tribal nations and a matter of foreign policy. there are countries outside of the united states that understand the disproportionate effect of climate change to indigenous peoples globally. we have an opportunity to restore the united states' standing for climate for indigenous peoples. host: if you want to ask about
concerns of native americans, you can do so on the line (202) 748-8000 four democrats. (202) 748-8001 for republicans. you can also text us. because of the pole coming to d.c., did you hear directly from the biden administration on these issues? guest: yes, absolutely. secretary holland stood and received on behalf of the biden administration, the totem and received the prayers that came from all four directions and answered our call to action to stand up to protect sacred sites. she delivered a powerful message. we received a response in answer to our call to action and that subsequently led -- i had a meeting with secretary haaland
to forward our agenda. host: here is the secretary from the ceremony from the total pole. here are some of the remarks she made. >> the fact that we are not -- we are all here is not insignificant. the policies were intended to exclude us, to assimilate us. it and policies were written without considering indigenous communities' challenges or their strengths. we are working hard to undo so many consequences of these actions. today and every day we break barriers to those institutions and systems that were designed to keep us out. our past is coming together in a new era. an era of truth, of healing, of
growth, and era in which our indigenous knowledge is valued and respected in which indigenous leadership has a seat at the table to make decisions about our communities, in which we have an opportunity to rise above the challenges our people face and build a brighter future for all of us. host: and fawn sharp, to those challenges, she talked about the idea of the native american indians and tribes being able to control what goes on in the land. that land held in a trust by the federal government. how much essay does a tribe half when it comes to the management of their land? guest: right now we have say but we do not have decisive say. in the u.n. declaration, and the rights of deck durations -- and the rights of in did need is
people, it means no other sovereign should be able to take unilateral action on tribal lands without their explicit consent. we see as an example the dakota access pipeline. they are over the objection of all of our friends and allies globally and over our objection unilaterally a pipeline was constructed right to their water. so we want to ensure -- and that policy is something we are explicitly advancing. i had conversation with members of congress about that, both domestically and internationally. there are countries outside the united states that understand these issues transcend national borders. they are fundamental to who we are as sovereign tribal nations. we should have a decisive say in what effects are people, land, territories, resources and sacred sites. host: what is the ideal situation you would see?
is there a framework or plan to make that happen? guest: yes, there is. in the state of washington we are committed to the climate act. the provision was vetoed by our governor but has opened up an opportunity for us to advance in the next legislative session. we are continuing to work on that policy locally, regionally, and internationally, and we help with those two efforts we can work with this current administration to understand and appreciate make another advancement toward that ideal. do i think we will accomplish it with this administration? i am optimistic if we don't we will lay the foundation for the next generation. we must continue to aggressively work to honor that which our creator intended us to have. that is our sacred right and a duty. host: as far as your efforts,
what is your presence in washington, d.c. to help advance those causes that you and other native americans find important? guest: yes, we have a very strong presence in washington, d.c. we have an embassy of tribal nations that has been there in washington for decades. we have a tribal nation routinely come to washington. we gather for an executive winter session to address our strategic legislative agenda and platform. throughout the year we work with the regional vice president to meet the unique needs and elevate the issues nationally and to bring the indian people together who are facing challenges and lobby those interests we know are defined in advancing tribal sovereignty. host: as far as the white house itself, what does the president and secretary haaland do for
that? guest: it is key and powerful. she currently chairs the white house counsel counsel in native american affairs, counsel started under the obama administration. president trump acted to convene it in the last six months of his term, but we never had direct engagement with the top administration. when president biden came into office, he made it clear it will be a priority of his. he reinstituted the white house counsel on american indian affairs and the member are at every cabinet level across the family federal government's. the council is chaired by secretary deb -- governments. that consul is chaired by secretary deb haaland. they answered by forming a committee on international relations with direct engagement with the u.s. state apartment as
a matter of foreign policy. this administration is very responsive. we have an open door and are able to have multilateral conversations with the united states government, as it should be. host: 56 million acres of american is a rations and areas according to ncai and the villages control 44 million acres. it makes the indian country the fourth-largest state in the united states. for those areas within state, how much state control doesn't have -- how much state control do they have over state land? guest: when it comes to regulatory powers, we have shared responsibility with various states and it is agreed by which a state controls and indian country. there is a foundation of several laws that govern the extent.
in some instances, the court has recognized powers of state government in their regulatory powers within indian country, but over time we have worked to ensure that is a shared power and that those issues that directly affect our land, our citizens within our borders and territories, we have exclusive control. it is the result of a long history of federal policies, whereby the federal courts acknowledge and recognize that at times there are nontribal presence within our borders and they question whether a tribal nation should exercise jurisdiction over nontribal citizens within our borders, which in and of itself is not right nor appropriate. the united states would not govern u.s. citizens within the border of canada, so we are working aggressively to reshape that policy, those policies were
adopted during a time when there wasn't a recognition of tribal sovereignty and they were very archaic and paternalistic. that is another way to write the past round -- to right the past wrongs. host: this is a question asked, can the federal government use eminent domain to take indian controlled land? guest: the federal government has plenary powers over tribal nations. from our perspective, the land we have secured by treaty have long -- have belonged to us when time began. seven generations ago, our leaders had the foresight that we need to reserve these lands for our generation and for future generations. within those reserve areas of land that are secured by treaty, the united states has never
owned nor occupied those lands. that represents the fourth are just part of the united states. in those areas, the united states does not have the ability to exercise eminent domain. we reserve those and they belong to us exclusively. host: i suspect the biden administration on keystone xl factored into perhaps your perception of what they will do, particularly on native american land. can you talk about that? guest: we are hopeful and optimistic that the federal process of committee will once again acknowledge the presence of tribal nations, our interests, perspectives, traditional science, legal arguments, public-policy points that we make to advance our interests. we are not only hopeful and optimistic, but are able to collaborate on many of the issues confronting indian
countries and all parts of the united states. each time we enter -- interact with the biden administration, we recognize a government to government relationship and the political equality and standing of tribal nations that we have not displayed over the last four years. host: outside of her work as the president of the national congress of american indians, can you tell us about your nation? guest: it is the most beautiful, and i may be a little biased here, the most part of the world. we occupy 31 miles along the pacific ocean and the youthful pacific northwest on the olympic peninsula. we have lakes, rivers, mountains, a rain forest. it is beautiful, gorgeous, and studying -- stunning. back as early as the 1920's,
because we were organized, we operate independently. when we passed the constitution and any amendments, we do not need the bureau of indian affairs constitution. we have a long legacy of exercising our independent, inherent powers and authorities. we recognize the united states has a crossed -- has crossed lines, we call them on the breach of trust when widespread logging was permitted across the nation that desecrated our rivers and streams. we have been effective in holding the united states accountable for its treaty. we have people with a very bright vision, not only for our people but citizens having to work with us and join with us in advancing a very sacred agenda. host: how much money does the
federal government spend to maintain or manage the land within the trust? guest: yes, so the federal government, that fluctuates year-by-year. in total, we secure federal block grants through the bureau of indian affairs and through the health and human services through self-governance contracts. those are things, advancements that were made during the administration of our former president here and former president delacruz, the self governance determination act. prior to that, we managed and administered through contracts. we are moving to a place where tribal nations secure millions of dollars to fund basic services that are secured by treaty and responsibility. we are working to expand that
beyond ihs and beyond the bureau of indian affairs into areas like justice, housing. all of these federal programs we have come to know to help restore our tribal nations have been lacking. there was a report for the u.s. commission on civil rights that determine what -- not one federal agency is living up to its responsibility. when you look at funding levels at ihs for alcohol and drug treatment, even though we have the highest numbers we have the lowest rate per capita. an independent commission look at the state of indian country from the federal government is not only breaching its promise, but that's what let us be vulnerable to covid-19 and why you see high numbers of covid infections in indian countries, the highest number of death per capita is the indian country because our trustee has failed
to not only treat us as they should based on treaties even treat us as basic human beings as they do the average citizen in the united states. many broken promises across many generations. it is millions of dollars. it falls incredibly short and we are working to not only hold them accountable but exercise our own inherent powers to raise revenues like any other government. we are frustrated in that process when state and local governments effectively hijacked our revenues in tax within our borders and attempt to tax are commercial enterprises even off of the reservations. those are things we are working towards. millions of dollars. host: let's hear from jeff in missouri. caller: i was just interested in how the tribal areas affect our
elections? do their votes succumbed the same as every under individual in the united states? guest: jeff, excellent question, and thank you for even thinking about the role of native americans as full participants in this democracy. historically, [no audio] host: i think your audio is fading out. as she does that, we are talking of fawn sharp, the president of the national council of american indians. democrats (202) 748-8000, republicans (202) 748-8001, an independents (202) 748-8002.
if you are a native american want to give your perspective on the management of land, call us at (202) 748-8003. you can also text us at that line. let's check and see if she is back. we will continue on. we will continue to take calls. fawn sharp, are you there? guest: hello. host: you heard the guest talk about voting rights. i think we lost you midway the ability to make sure your votes are counted. guest: historically, we did not have the right to vote. in fact our citizens were serving in the military before we were recognized as citizens with the right to vote. present day we do have the right to vote and indian country is
quite active in our respective areas to ensure that every tribal citizen has the right to vote. there has been an effort to silence our vote, discredit our voting and to not count us. that is another major challenge we are confronting right now. host: we have a viewer who asked about indian land but asks, what happens to money generated and this is edward in new jersey, what happens to the money generated by gaming and why our community still impoverished? guest: what happens with revenue generated by tribal nations, under the indian gaming regulatory act, those are to be used for essential governmental services and programs for citizens, like education, health care. the federal government has not lived up to its responsibility.
our programs are in adequately funded. we have secured revenue for treaties for basic governmental functions like housing, education and health care. you see pockets of success in the indian country with the casinos, in large part near cities. but in rural areas, free hours away from seattle or in the middle of south dakota or note to coda, we do not have the large -- or north dakota, we do not have that large pocket of success. we are advancing our ability to ensure we have not only revenue secured by treaty, but our own powers to raise revenues and exercise commercial enterprises for profits to meet the needs of our citizens. host: you stressed the issue of covid before. what did the pandemic over the last year and a half plus reveal
about the state of health care and indian reservation land? guest: the pandemic lay bare the vulnerability -- laid bare the vulnerability and the world has recognized the disproportionate impact of covid-19 to indigenous peoples. but because we are not prepared and because we don't have the health care dollars that are necessary to meet basic needs, we have high rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, all of these underlying conditions within these communities are off the charts. that rendered us very vulnerable. like any other challenge confronted by the indian country, we exercise ingenuity. we have been able to exercise our sovereign powers. we followed the world health
organization strategy and strict containment process. we looked to emergency use authorization for early testing. it wasn't widely available early in the pandemic we reached out to the university of washington that had been applying for emergency use authorization, even though the united states didn't have that, we could test within our borders. we secured widespread testing and established a baseline and propped up hotels for an isolation quarantine center and every component of the world health organization strategy with little to no resources, we were able to be creative to reach out to partners like the university of washington to make sure we met the needs. even though we were critically challenged, we were aggressive in securing dollars to the cares act in the american rescue plan and effectively tell our story to ways -- to raise awareness
and tell our story and support those tribes that stood up on sovereign powers to be creative. we enlisted them to share that knowledge to protect every native american citizen in this country during a global pandemic. host: this is danny and ohio, an native american. caller: there is the name of a tribe called contho in texas and my grandfather was the leader of the tribe and he was a tribal -- and we are the last ones living by his name.
my family through the tribes are not serving enrollment papers i want to know why the tribes are denying people of their representation paperwork, their documents. host: that is danny and ohio. guest: thank you -- in ohio. guest: thank you for raising that issue. it is an issue that i have run across. we recognize the sovereign authority of every nation independently to inspect their enrollment criteria. federal courts have acknowledged and recognized that is a unique decision made by each tribal nation peered with can't tell a
tribe what to do or how to process -- nation. we can't tell a tribe what to do or how to process what we can ensure that every nation has the opportunity to not only work through their constitutions to directly engage citizens, but we do recognize that is a unique decision made by each and every tribal nation. i would encourage you to work through that process. i just want to make the point that the idea of having a pedigree is unique to indian country. no other race has to prove who they are, but that is a product of another policy of colonization, genocide, designed to eliminate our bloodline over the course of time. it has divided us within tribes, as evidenced by this caller, a
person with a bloodline who has to prove who he is. but he has the blood of his ancestors through him and his family and they are challenged to have that federal recognition. that is unfortunate and a problem of colonization running rampant to this day. host: another native american in maryland. this is robert. good morning. caller: how are you doing? host: you are on with our guest. caller: i just wanted to say to miss sharp that the problem that the native americans are having in the united states as well as other minorities is a problem that has been a problem all on planet earth of white people, does not white america but throughout history. every country in the far east chased them out.
the same thing in egypt and india. countries in africa, the same problem, native americans having with white people. historically it is the same problem all over the planet. she shouldn't fear their problem is unique. it is a problem with white people throughout the planet. thank you. guest: yes, thank you for recognizing that the broad and global scale of the challenges of indian country here you are absolutely right that this country, the united states, was built on a foundation based on the airport federation, the foundation that -- the iroquois federation, that the foundation that every person hasn't individual right to life, liberty, and happiness. the fundamental values uniquely
the united states of america that made us so strong and vibrant and the envy of all of the world. that was the foundation upon which this country was built. we have seen generation after generation, through the systemic racism, this country becomes unhinged from that foundation. it is our generation that i believe has been called to ensure there is a truth and reconciliation to that foundation, because we are so far unhinged from that basic understanding of this country and basic recognition of the inherent and equal right of every citizen to be free and to be able to live in a land where they are treated with respect, dignity is upheld and honored. but we do not live in that place right now, but we have a asian. -- a vision. we know that is the value and
strength of this country and we have joint all of our equity partners across every sector to join us to ensure this generation does draw the line to ensure we enter this moment of hard, cold truth and we also do the heavy work and necessary work to reconcile that which is left unhinged and broken at this moment. host: there is a story in the washington post that highlights the fact that in 2010 the appropriations of fatcat language concerning native american saying it recognizes -- congress recognizes there have been years of ill-conceived policy and breaking of covenants of the federal government regarding federal indian tribes. it as an apologizes on behalf of the people of the united states to all native people for the many instances of violence, maltreatment on native people made the story goes on to say that even though this was tucked
into the act, the words have never been said aloud by an administration why is that? guest: yes, and thank you so much for drawing everyone's attention to that very important language. we had worked -- there was a group that worked on that link which for probably a decade at least leading up to that piece of legislation, and i have been in touch with some of the folks who are still wanting to make that statement public and call upon this administration to publicly say those words, to acknowledge those words. i have also received recommendations that last -- previous presidents address it in both houses to deliver the state of the nation's and to call on congress as it --
nations intercom on congress. i cannot explain why we have -- nations and to call on congress. i cannot explain why this congress and administration, timing is always an issue. who is in the room and how we are able to advance things pay that is a priority of ours peered want to have a national recognition. i think the most recent discovery of children in boarding schools in canada is igniting that conversation. i am hopeful and optimistic we will elevate -- that is a priority of ours. we want to have a national recognition. i think the most recent discovery of children in a boarding schools in canada is igniting that conversation. i am hopeful and optimistic we will elevate that. host: the next is kim. go ahead. caller: they cute for answering
my call. i would like to make a statement about the constitution and where it calls for native american indians, i will to have that removed. that needs to be removed. guest: yes, thank you. i couldn't agree more. if you look at history and decision in federal court and state supreme court's, some of the language -- courts and some of those language when you think about the implications of the highest places within our democracy to utilize that language in reference to native americans is disgusting, vile, and wrong.
you are right. those are the things we need to correct in all areas. host: this is fun sharp, the president of the national american -- the national congress of american indians. >> then some folding from the national visibility institute talks about the 31st anniversary of the americans with disabilities act and the challenges that remain for disabled americans. watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern sunday morning and join the
discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts, and tweets. ♪ >> sunday night on q&a, gary ginsberg, author of "first friends." >> i started to work on campaigns and worked on the clinton administration. i started to notice this dynamic between the leader's best friend and the leader himself and how the best friend could speak in a way that no aide or staffer could, he could act more naturally. i would fly in for major campaign event and speak to the candidate in a way that no one else around him could and he would say all the -- stop acting like a politician, gary. but he would listen and
change the way he spoke. i also saw how he would relax, with late night conversations, like dinners, then i saw the same dynamic in the clinton campaign. they were of equal stature. what that allowed -- >> gary ginsberg talks about the political influence wielded by confidants and close friends of the u.s. presidents sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. you can also listen to q&a as a podcast wherever you get your podcasts. ♪ >> the chair of the federal trade commission and her fellow commissioners testified before congress about protecting consumers' personal data.