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Your statement indicates that the freezing or cutoff of these funds after has brought about a great disruption of the program for the education of your children. And it seems to me if there are any peonle that Conaction of cutting off funds which are necessary for the carrying out of this program for the education of the Indian children.
to Indian children wherever they are that an element of accountor ability to the Indian community was built into the law. The law
follows the lead of Ramah Navajo High School by allowing for people Roz like Mrs. Bertha Lorenzo, who is a grandmother and school board 12 member to be involved in the process of deciding how the educational
moneys should be best spent.
It was only after an examination of the dismal failure of the
Indian educational programs as was documented in the book, “An te Even Chance," that à law was designed which placed the educational in needs of Indian children above the monetary needs of school districts.
Further, the law provides for an upgrading of Indian education at el the U.S. Office of Education by instituting the Indian Education
Office with bureau level status, by providing for the appointment of a
Deputy Commissioner of Indian Education, and by establishing a de National Advisory Council on Indian Education.
Because of these provisions of the law and the status of Indian education, there is no justification for the claim by the administration that there is overlap. There is no justification for placing this program in the category of "unneeded funds." There is no justification for placing this program in the category of the “poorly designed" or "unproductive."
Gentlemen, the only reason the administration has for its actions is that the President opposed the Indian Education Act and has seen fit to exert his will over the will of Congress. We believe that there is sufficient evidence to substantiate this. Indeed, on Friday, December 23
, Mr. Bradley Patterson of the White House staff, when asked by Mr. Gerald Clifford if funds would be released, stated: “Well, you know the President opposed this bill from the beginning.” The implication is obvious; there will be no funds precisely because of this
In conclusion, we point out to you that we understand your deep concern over the erosion of congressional powers by the executive branch. We understand this as do so many of the poor people, the old people, the sick people, the minorities, and the Vietnam veterans. We anderstand this because it is affecting our lives directly. If the President has determined that he has a mandate from the people to act independently of Congress, we remind you of your constitutional responsibilities. The integrity of Congress can only be maintained by your actions to stop this misuse of power and violation of the U.S. Constitution. We hope for the sake of our children as well as for the sake of the Nation as a whole that whatever be the final content of S. 373, that you act to retain a Government accountable to the
Senator Chiles. We thank you very much for that statement. Senator Ervin. I want to commend the excellence of your statement. gress owes a great debt to it is the Indian people, and I deplore the
I have a great deal of sympathy for the Indian because we have at least a band of Cherokee in my State and I have many friends among them and we also have Indians in the eastern part of North Carolina. I think you have made an exceedingly fine statement.
Mr. CLIFFORD. Mr. Chairman, as a matter of fact, we do have a member of the coalition, there is an alumni group, a group of North Carolina members of the coalition. One of the things I would like to emphasize that Congress has under proper authority exercised plenary power in Indian affairs and the power of Congress sets U.S. policy and the Executive carries it out.
I would like to submit supplementary material afterward to amplify and clarify the role of Congress and the authority or which it is based
Senator Ervin. It seems to me this particular program constituted an assurance to the Indians that the program would be carried out at least to the extent of the appropriation, which has been frozen. The program not only provides for the appropriation, which was signed into law by the President, but it also states, in substance, that this was not a pledge for the continuance of the program after the end of the fiscal year. So it seems to me, as far as this program is concerned, that the funds which have been appropriated ought not to have been frozen prior to at least the end of the year for which they were appropriated.
Mr. CLIFFORD. I am sure you understand our concern in the time element that is involved since the Appropriations Act is such that the moneys have to be obligated in this fiscal year. I don't know to what extent that Congress can act but
Senator CHILES. We run into the same problem in the clean water bill. We now think regardless of even if the President wanted to reverse himself now, we have already lost $6 billion under that act because of the fact it wasn't obligated at the time it was supposed to be obligated by the deadline. The same thing is probably true, as you are pointing out, with your funds.
Mr. CLIFFORD. Yes, sir.
Mrs. LORENZO. Mr. Chairman, I certainly appreciate having an opportunity to read the testimony. For years and years we have been trying to get a better education for our children but it seems like its been going on too long and we have no help from other places and from the BIA, so I know very well, because I started working on this in 1935, and ever since that just went on, until 1970. That is the time when we made a contract with the BIA and we got to start our own high school and this school was closed at one time and even my people in the community put it through the court, but we had no success. Then we went to the BIA and this week we finally got it, and we got all of our children back from other schools and we have been operating this school for going on 3 years, and our school is making hig progress in our programs and also the children are changing their health too. This is what I think about this education legislation, it went throughout Congress and the President signed it and now we heard that it is cut down. What is going to become of our education for our children? We don't feel that when we are just starting to work ourselves to give a good education to our children that we should put
down what we have started. Now this has happened, and what is worse, everything is gone, and we would like to get all the support from the President to carry on what we have gotten, because we are doing it ourselves and we are making progress. Why should we put it down? We feel that we should be carrying on, because this years' money went two ways. We never got what we wanted, and now, when we had the chance to we wanted to continue with this. This is all that I have got to say, and we want this to be considered. Thank you.
Senator CILES. Thank you very much.
Mr. PLUMMER. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to say that there is a very basic principle involved in this, as you heard Mrs. Lorenzo so submit testimony, in that for once a people who have been suppressed and compressed, and everything else, were able to begin to get education for themselves, relevant education for themselves. There was great hope for this new Indian education bill, in that for once control could be put into the hands of Indian people to direct their education, but just all of a sudden, at somebody's whim, the hopes were dashed and are now pretty much dead unless you as a Congress can whittle down some of those powers that the President has taken upon himself, so that people like our people here can begin to direct their own education.
We are tired of being on welfare, and getting poor education, and receiving handouts. We would like to do our own thinking, and we are beginning to do this, but then it is just like putting the plate of food before someone and then suddenly whisking it away before someone even tastes it. I think this is drastic. I think this is just a big shame that the Government, which is ultimately responsible to the Indian people has to play around with human beings like this. I think that in the development of the Indian school that is happening all over the country, there is true human development. We are proud we are doing things for ourselves but if the President continues to do this sort of thing I don't know what becomes of us. You know our history. We have been stomped on and stampeded and everything else. We would like to come out of this rut.
Senator CHILES. I think one of the great concerns of the cointroducers of the Indian bill and many Members of Congress is the fact that people are taught from the earliest time that they enter school, when the Congress passes a law, the law will be carried out and just what you are pointing out now we see is happening in all of these areas, and if the people can't have respect for law, what can they have respect for? We often speak that we are a country of laws rather than men and yet this doesn't seem to prove out on the issue of impoundment and I think one of the great concerns of the Congress and the situation you present very graphically sets forth what happens when the Congress does act and when the carrying out of that act is frustrated.
We thank you for appearing before us today. Senator ERVIN. Thank you very much. (The following was subsequently received for the hearing record :)
SUPPLEMENTARY TESTIMONY SUBMITTED BY BIRGIL KILLS STRAIGHT, GERALD CLIF
FORD, AND VINE DELORIA, JR., FOR THE COALITION OF INDIAN CONTROLLED SCHOOL BOARDS, DENVER, Colo.
The present impasse created in the field of Indian education by the refusal of the Executive Branch to spend funds appropriated by the Congress for special programs in the education of Indian children is without precedent in the field of federal indian relations. We believe that the Executive Branch is specifically without power either formally or informally by usage to impound funds directed by Congress to be spent on Indian programs. We believe that the Executive Branch is in violation of the Constitution of the United States particularly with respect to its direction that Congress by the primary policy and administrative are of the United States Government in its relationships with the American Indian tribes.
From the beginning of the Republic, the United States stepped into the shoes of its Mother Country, Great Britain, to assert its right, recognized by the European powers, to assert its title to lands within the continental boundaries of North America. As against the European nations of that day, the newly formed United States had rights to lands but as against the Indian tribes it had rights of purchase whenever such tribes chose to extinguish title to their lands. In recognition of this state of affairs the framers of the Constitution placed in the Congress the primary responsibility for dealing with the Indian tribes. In Article 11, section 8, the Constitution vests the power over Indian Affairs in the Congress by giving the Congress power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and "with the Indian tribes.” In the treaty-making power also, which the Congress exercised from the beginning of the Republic until 1871, in the form of treaties, and from 1871 to 1906 in the form of agreements, Congress has powers over the field of Indian Affairs.
Numerous pronouncements of the Supreme Court of the United States indicate that the constant interpretation of the Constitution with respect to Indian matters has always followed the construction that Congress has plenary powers over the affairs of American Indians. In Cramer v. United States (261 U.S. 219, 1923). while discussing the relationship of Indian tribes to states of the nion, the Court stated :
Congress itself, in apparent recognition of possible individual Indian possession, has in several state enabling acts required the incoming State to disclaim all right and title to lands "owned or held by any Indian or Indian
tribes". (p. 228) In 1887 the Congress passed the General Allotment Act to divide the reservations into farming allotments. In the years since that act the Executive often demanded that it have primary responsibility over Indian tribes and leading up to Cramer attempted to transfer such responsibility to the states. The Supreme Court, however, interpreted the acts of Congress consistent with one another thus reaffirming the basic Constitutional principle.
In Perrin v. United States, 232 U.S. 478, 486 (1914) when speaking of the Splenary powers of Congress over Indian Affairs the Supreme Court said:
As the power is incident only to the presence of the Indians and their status as
wards of the Government, it must be conceded that it does not go beyond what is Depuis reasonably essential to their protection, and that, to be effective, its exercise must
not be purely arbitrary, but founded on some reasonable basis. * * * On the other hand, it must also be conceded that, in determining what is reasonably
essential to the protection of the Indians, Congress is vested with a wide disfra cretion, and its action, unless purely arbitrary must be accepted and given full
effect by the courts.
We would very seriously maintain that if Congress is prevented from acting arbitrarily toward Indian matters and Congress has vested in itself the powers to control and supervise Indian matters, then how much more restricted is the power of the Executive when dealing with Indian matters, and how much less
the scope of arbitrary actions is allowed the Executive. Again, if Congress, having the acted with its wide discretion, passes legislation which binds the courts of the
land in their ability to change, adapt, interpret or negate it, should not the executive be also bound in its exercise of its power with respect to the field of Indian affairs.
We will not debate the possible constitutionality of the President impounding funds of general laws for the moment. For we maintain that even if he can impound general appropriations once Congress has appropriated funds for Indian matters it becomes a constitutional question and hence a constitutional violation if he attempts to change the will of Congress with respect to Indian matters. For while the President is bound to carry out the general laws of the land in his executire capabilities and capacities, constitutionally he is not given powers in the field of Indian affairs but only such powers accrue to him which Congress itself delegates to him.
In the Indian Education Act, the Congress has clearly spoken its will once again Trith respect to Indian matters. It then becomes the responsibility of the executire branch to carry out the mandate of Congress. The executive branch cannot, on its own initiative, make or change existing policies of Congress. We feel that the Congress must at this time reassert its role as the body charged by the Constitution with supervising and regulating the commerce with Indian tribes.
Senator CHILEs. This will conclude our hearings for today and so we will recess the committee now until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 4:05 p.m., the committee was recessed to meet the following morning at 10 a.m.)