Thank You and Happy New Year!
Dear NARF Supporter,
With January having sped by so quickly, we are already focused on our work in 2017. But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the successes of last year – made possible thanks to the unfaltering support of friends like you.
Here are some highlights from 2016, all of which the Native American Rights Fund played a role in:
• Executive Order Creating North Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area – The Executive Order establishes an important set of policies aimed at promoting resilient tribal communities and protecting the Alaska Native subsistence way of life in the face of increasing effects of climate change. It also, for the first time, creates a formal role for the region’s tribes in federal decision-making, so as to ensure that Native voices continue to be heard as they deal with the increasing pressure on their resources.
• North Dakota Voter ID – North Dakota House Bills 1332 and 1333 put in place the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation. NARF filed suit claiming that the new law disproportionately burdened Native Americans and denied qualified voters the right to vote. Federal Judge Daniel Hovland wrote, “[t]he record is replete with concrete evidence of significant burdens imposed on Native American voters attempting to exercise their right to vote in North Dakota.” On August 1, 2016, the court enjoined the law and provided fail-safe mechanisms for voters in the November 2016 elections.
• Tribal Trust Funds – NARF represented 10 tribes in a lawsuit against alleging trust fund and asset mismanagement by the United States. The Tribes sought historical accountings of their trust accounts, funds, and resources. NARF’s successful representation allowed for NARF’s Tribal clients to reach settlement agreements of all their claims against the United States.
Now, with advocates like you by our side, we are energized to tackle the challenges ahead in 2017. Thank you for helping us protect and advance Native sovereignty and Native rights!
John E. Echohawk
Executive Director, Native American Rights Fund