Protecting Our Native Heritage and Communities

Weekly Column

A key element of America’s constitution is the relationship our nation has had with Native Americans. Although there are moments in history where that relationship has been strained, the federal government today has been a usually reliable supporter of tribal sovereignty and self-government – a concept enshrined in the Constitution. Native Americans are the ‘First People’ of our land, and the federal government has a responsibility to support their sovereignty and promote their well-being as citizens of this country.

In recent years, Congress has put in place protections to help tribal communities with issues like healthcare, housing and crime. In 2013, I was proud to support the passage of the Violence Against Women Act for its provisions to help protect Native women and combat domestic violence on Indian reservations.

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