TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY &
NATIVE AMERICAN ISSUES
The 1st Congressional District is located on the original ancestral, territorial and contemporary land of the Anishinaabek, originally inhabited by the people of the Three Fires Confederacy - the Ojibwe, the Odawa and the Potawatomi. All Americans can learn from Indigenous culture. Native Americans are the largest ethnic population in the First Congressional District and ancestors and relatives of the Anishinaabek.
American Indian Cabinet Position
Appoint an American Indian at the Cabinet level and elevate government to government relations with Tribal Nations
Tribal Nations are sovereign nations, and for far too long governments in Indian Country have been viewed and treated as subordinate to the Federal Government. Dana Ferguson believes we need to approach treaty-protected lands and tribal governments just as we do friendly allies across the globe. Whether by appointing tribal liaisons or a cabinet level Secretary of Indigenous Peoples, Ferguson believes the result will build cohesion and advance diplomatic coordination efforts between our governments.
The US federal government has an obligation to provide resources to tribal governments, and it’s essential we receive direct input from tribes. This is a challenge given the diversity of tribal nations and their needs. An official position within the executive branch would be ideal to ensure we hear directly from tribes.
There are 8 Federally Recognized Tribes in the 1st Congressional District
Dana Ferguson has the endorsement of the Michigan Democratic Party's Anishinaabek Caucus
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Tighten up enforcement on violence against Indigenous Women and hold non-native perpetrators accountable.
The number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is now at an epidemic rate. Criminal Justice reform is essential. No one is above the law, and systemic change is overdue. American Indian populations are especially susceptible to victimization. Indigenous women are more than twice as likely to be victims of sexual abuses and violence. 1.5 million Indigenous women and children experience violence, including sexual violence, in their lifetime.
Department of Justice: Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) needs to work in even closer coordination with tribal communities and provide adequate funding to address the problem. Dana supports Congresswoman Debra Haaland’s “Not Invisible Act” which would establish an advisory committee on violent crime comprised of law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, and survivors to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice.
Dana is excited for the opportunity to work directly with Congresswomen Haaland and Sharice Davids–the first two Native women elected to Congress–and Congressmen Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullins–the two Native men in Congress–to support the 1st Congressional District which has 8 of the 12 MI Tribal Nations within.
Stop the Trump Administration’s attacks on Tribal Land in Trust and give Tribal Nations the autonomy to make decisions
Since time immemorial, Tribal Nations have operated on land passed down from their ancestors. I applaud the efforts of the Obama-Biden Administration, moving over 500,000 acres of land into trust across the country, giving tribes freedom to make their own governmental decisions. This number is larger than several presidential administrations dating back to the 1970s.
In recent years, we’ve seen these efforts undermined by the current administration. We saw this in full effect with the Mashpee Wampanoag decision in Massachusetts, when the U.S. Department of the Interior attempted to remove the trust on tribal lands. The Mashpee Wampanoag was the tribe at first contact with settlers so this is especially offensive to tribes.
This lead to introduction of H.R. 312 which seeks to reaffirm the land trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. If in Congress, Dana would have voted in support of the legislation, just like the majority of the House did in May of 2019. Now, that bill awaits a vote in the Senate. Despite this pending legislation, attacks on the more than 300 acres of land continue in the U.S. appeals court.
Any attempt to take tribal land out of trust undermines Tribal Nations, taking away tribal autonomy to make decisions most important to them.
Protect Tribal Lands and sacred sites from exploitation for natural resources and give Tribal Nations a say in the process
Dana has consulted with Anishinaabe friends in the 1st Congressional District and appreciates and respect the ‘7 Generations’ world view including how our actions today will affect seven generations ahead of us. How we treat Mother Earth has consequences and rewards beyond our lifetime.
Sometimes well-meaning non-Native Climate Change activists fall short and assume innovation and technology is the only component to combating a changing climate. Efficiency is important, but usage reduction and energy conservation is also key. We need to encourage people to live more sustainably and limit our use of wasted energy as much as possible. Large scale industrial renewable energy needs to be balanced with cottage-based energy to avoid exploitation of our pristine North Woods for minerals and fossil fuels.
Friends have shared with Dana that the Anishinaabe Kinomaage teachings, or ‘The Earth Shows us the Way’, has incredibly impactful lessons in sustainability. Acknowledging, respecting, and honoring treaty-rights is an important part of the process.
Dana also proudly stand with Indigenous Water Protectors and would continue to advocate for their causes in Congress. He supports initiatives and grant efforts to expand awareness of decolonizing diets, fishing rights, sustainable community farming, and small scale cottage-based horticulture.
Ensure access to essential life services to Tribal Nations, as promised in the U.S. Treaties signed in the mid-1800s
In the United States today, health, education and social welfare are issues of utmost importance. Following through with funding the treaty and trust obligation is a matter of honoring the federal government’s obligation to tribes. This gives tribes the resources to stabilize their economies, to grow and to build strong futures for tribal communities. Putting safeguards on the treaty and trust obligation is at the forefront of Dana's mission regarding Native Americans.
In providing these essential life services, Dana's vision for the future includes every American but he fully understands and supports the unique obligation of the federal government to honor the treaties and he pledges to be a strong and active partner with Indian Country to do so.
As a country, we need to make good on our promises. Providing essential life services and economic opportunity to tribal communities ensures growth and sustainability for generations to come.