Friday, May 11, 2007

H.R. 1294

H.R. 1294 passed in the House of Representatives this week. A small victory for the Virginia Indian Tribes and now the next stop will be the Senate where a discussion among the members of the Senate Indian Affairs committee will determine the next victory. The Democratic Party now controls the majority in the 11oth Congress and new possibilities exist with this change in power. Also the shift in chairman of the Senate Indians Affairs committee brings a different perspective.

The new chairman is U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan. Dorgan said he will work closely with the committee’s vice chairman, Senator Craig Thomas, to ensure it continues to operate in its traditional bipartisan fashion. Dorgan said he is hopeful that the committee will address the most critical issues that face American Indian communities.” I believe there is a bona fide crisis in Indian health care, education and housing, and this committee has an opportunity to make a real difference on those issues during this Congress,” Dorgan said. “I look forward to charting a course that will help move our American Indian communities forward.”

I wrote to Senator Dorgan to congratulate him on his appointment and quiz him about his awareness of Virginia Indian Tribes attempt to gain federal sovereignty. To date I have received no response.

Even if the both houses pass the bill the President must sign the bill to become effective.

I am concerned about the current political climate between to the two branches and threats of veto power surrounding IRAQ. I have emailed "White House Interactive Page" quizzing them on the President's position on this bill. I am not sure why its titled "interactive" their lastest posting is dated March 26, 2007 | 10:57 a.m.(EDT) and others date back to 2005. Native Americans is not on the list of topics on this website.

With Jamestown 2007 Celebration under way it will be interesting to see how fast this bill is placed on the agenda of the Senate Indians Affairs Committee.