File #: Res 0198-2022    Version: * Name: United States Secretary of the Interior to assemble a group of tribal leaders to consider renaming the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs to include the phrase Indigenous People(s).
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations
On agenda: 6/2/2022
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the United States Secretary of the Interior to assemble a group of tribal leaders to consider renaming the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs to include the phrase Indigenous People(s).
Sponsors: James F. Gennaro, Rita C. Joseph, Sandy Nurse, Lincoln Restler
Council Member Sponsors: 4
Attachments: 1. Res. No. 198, 2. June 2, 2022 - Stated Meeting Agenda, 3. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 6-2-22

Res. No. 198

 

Resolution calling upon the United States Secretary of the Interior to assemble a group of tribal leaders to consider renaming the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs to include the phrase Indigenous People(s).

 

By Council Members Gennaro, Joseph, Nurse and Restler

 

Whereas, In 1775, Indian affairs in the United Colonies were governed by the Continental Congress who formed the Committee on Indian Affairs which was overseen by Benjamin Franklin; and

Whereas, In 1778, the first United States (U.S.) treaty with an American tribe was ratified with the Lenape tribe of Delaware in hopes of gaining the tribes’ alliance in advance of the imminent Revolutionary War; and

Whereas, The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, permitted Congress to make all laws pertaining to Indian trade and included the regulation of commerce with foreign nations, commerce among the States and commerce with all Indian tribes; and

Whereas, In 1824, the Bureau of Indian Affairs was created to oversee and carry out Federal government trade and treaty relations until 1849 when the Bureau was transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior; and

Whereas, Since 1849, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been known by a variety of names including the Indian Office, the Indian Bureau, the Indian Department and the Indian Service until it was formally given the name of Bureau of Indian Affairs on September 17, 1957; and

Whereas, The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ stated mission is to enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity and carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives; and

 

Whereas, The Bureau of Indian Affairs has historically been staffed by American Indians who have reported the agency has a long and complicated history with Indigenous People having first been established under the War Department in 1824 with the explicit purpose of assimilating Native Americans into non-Native culture; and

Whereas, Advocates for Indigenous people have long sought to reclaim the right to self-determination, sovereignty and gain federal recognition with regard to internal tribal matters; and

Whereas, The colonizers used the term Indian or American Indian to describe the Indigenous people of the United States, however the preferred terminology among Indigenous people is to be called by their specific tribal name whenever possible; and

Whereas, There are currently 547 federally recognized tribes in the United States who are eligible for grants, funding, contracts and compacts; and

Whereas, There are eight federally recognized Indian tribes in New York State including the Cayuga Nation of New York, the Oneida Nation of New York, the Onondaga Nation of New York, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York, the Seneca Nation of New York, the Shinnecock Nation, the Tonowanda Band of Seneca Indians of New York and the Tuscarora Nation of New York; and

Whereas, The tribes of the Lenape, the Rockaway and the Carnarsie people once occupied what is now New York City; and

Whereas, According to the 2020 Current Population Survey (CPS), within the five boroughs of New York City, 180,866 New Yorkers-or two percent of the population-identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native; and

Whereas, On March 15, 2021, the first Indigenous woman, Deb Haaland, was confirmed to lead the Department of the Interior as Secretary; and

Whereas, Secretary Haaland is the first Secretary of the Interior with a lived understanding of tribal sovereignty and has the opportunity to reshape the federal government’s approach to working with Indigenous Peoples; and

Whereas, In 2021, New York City public schools officially replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day in an effort to put a spotlight on the history, cultures and traditions of Indigenous people; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the United States Secretary of the Interior to assemble a group of tribal leaders to consider renaming the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs to include the phrase Indigenous People(s).

 

CD

LS 7703

4/29/22