Policy and Advocacy

The rights of sovereign tribal nations have been too often at the whim of whoever is in the White House. While President Biden has taken historic measures to protect tribal rights and respect sovereignty, federal legislation is needed to strengthen these protections.

Congress must take immediate action to uphold the rights of tribal nations. Congress has an obligation to protect and uphold tribal sovereignty through this legislation.

Consultation with tribes is required by the Constitution and yet, too often, tribes aren’t given a seat at the table where decisions are being made about the future of their territories. The nation-to-nation relationship depends upon federal departments engaging with tribes and gaining their input and approval on key decisions and projects.

Federal agencies play a central role in upholding tribal sovereignty.

Native Organizers Alliance supports legislation that improves nation-to-nation relationships between Tribal governments and the United States.

Current Policy Advocacy Efforts:

  • Tribal Cultural Areas System Act
  • Advancing Tribal Parity on Public Lands Act

Sacred Water Bundle Project

The Yankton Sioux tribe in South Dakota are developing a long-range project to define and understand water quality on their reservation, in partnership with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. The tribe wants to develop a co-management plan for the Missouri River Bioregional watershed that will restore traditional Native practices of water and land management.

Native Organizers Alliance is partnering with the Brave Heart Society of the Yankton Sioux Tribe to support the creation of a new model of co-management of the Missouri River Basin. The model connects two core elements of transformational environmental justice organizing: the role of Native grassroots community and the potential power of tribal elected governments to exercise their sovereign right to co-manage the land, water and air in accordance with traditional teachings and values. The project is called, Mni Wizipan Wakan, the Sacred Water Bundle.

As part of Mni Wizipan Wakan, NOA is creating organizing trainings rooted in an understanding of relationality, kinship and other traditional practices. Strategic campaign planning and the trainings use popular education techniques to strengthen a theory of change premised on knowledge growing out of practice to strengthen and protect traditional culture while responding to 21st Century conditions.

Indigenous Futures Survey

The Indigenous Futures Survey (IFS) is a collaborative effort of IllumiNative and Native Organizers Alliance in partnership with the Research for Indigenous Social Action and Equity (RISE) Center Director, Dr. Stephanie Fryberg (Tulalip) at the University of Michigan and Dr. Arianne Eason at the University of California-Berkeley. Each partner contributes their unique expertise in every step of this groundbreaking research to lift up the voices of Native people. Together we are putting research into action to achieve equity for our people.

The purpose of IFS is to gather and share critical information and strategies about the priorities and needs of Native communities. It is the first survey in Indian Country that provides an opportunity for all Native peoples to be a part of shaping our future on critical issues impacting Indian Country that can be used to motivate change.