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house Bill H.R. 3684

Should Outdated Federal Laws Relating to Native Americans Be Repealed?

Argument in favor

Outdated, discriminatory laws relating to Native American tribes should be repealed to correct the historic injustices they helped perpetuate.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
11/27/2019
Discrimination laws need to be repealed and removed across the whole system. The discrimination laws against the First Tribes, African Americans, Women, LGBTQIA+... there are a number of groups that have had laws enacted against them simply for existing. They all need to go.
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jimK's Opinion
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11/27/2019
Getting rid of discriminatory or obsolete laws is a responsibility of Congress. They can have staffers collect the pertinent legislation, put it all in a package or categorical packages and with a single bill eliminate the bunch. I certainly do not want some clever legal justification for improper acts based on laws pertaining to the details of life in the 1800's - particularly laws that run counter to current practice - and especially discriminatory laws. I do not like having to take out the garbage, but it has to be done at least eventually. This is no different: Congress take out your garbage before some legal rats can scurry around and feast on your discarded scraps.
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RjGoodman's Opinion
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11/27/2019
This is a good start. Next would be to get rid of all of the laws discriminating against people of color, gays and other groups.
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Argument opposed

Since the laws this bill would repeal aren’t enforced, there’s no practical reason for wasting Congress’s time with this pointless legislation.

Caren's Opinion
···
11/27/2019
No, to wasting time by Congress. They waste enough time as it is getting nothing done. Native Americans (Indians) are Americans. They vote and are privy to all benefits in this country. Ultimately, what are their wishes and desires. Do they want to live as other Americans or do they need special privileges? Do they want to be segregated or not? Before anything is done there needs to be a determination of what is needed and why. This country is far beyond what happened historically. I certainly believe it is wonderful that their rich cultural unit is maintained. Again, what is needed, if anything, to determine if anything needs to be done. I don’t think socialist support and encouraging dependence on the government ultimately does them any favors and certainly does not encourage effort in being independent and motivated to do anything other than watch TV or play video games. Just a thought.
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Gregory's Opinion
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11/28/2019
More do nothing but wasting time and money by the democrats. Pass the trade agreement.
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thomasjmerfeldsr's Opinion
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11/27/2019
I would be compelled to vote no mainly because if such an Act. Would not substantially impact the US Federal Budget. It must be in need of review and rewriting.
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What is House Bill H.R. 3684?

This bill — the RESPECT Act — would repeal a number of outdated laws relating to Native American education, forcible relocation of Native American children to boarding school, and withholding of money and resources from American Indian tribes dating from 1862 to 1913.

The laws this bill would repeal are: 

  • 25 U.S.C. 302 Indian Reform School: This law gives the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, authorization to take Native American children from their parents to places them in boarding schools, known as “Indian Reform Schools.”
  • 25 U.S.C. 72 Abrogation of treaties: This law authorizes the president to declare all treaties with tribes at war with the U.S. government null and void.
  • 25 U.S.C. 127 Moneys of annuities of hostile Indians: This law ends payments to tribes at war with the U.S. government.
  • 25 U.S.C. 128 Appropriations not paid to Indians at war with the United States: This law ends appropriations to the Indian Service (Bureau of Indian Affairs today) for any tribe at war with the U.S. or the white citizens of any U.S. state or territories.
  • 25 U.S.C. 129 Moneys due Indians holding captives other than Indians withheld: This law authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to withhold money due to tribes holding non-Native captives until the captives’ return.
  • 25 U.S.C. 130 Withholding of moneys of goods on account of intoxicating liquors: This law prohibits the provision of annuities, money and goods to Native Americans while they’re under the influence of alcohol or able to easily access alcohol. 
  • 25 U.S.C. 137 Supplies distributed to able-bodied males on condition: This law requires able-bodied Native American males to work on reservations for their own and their tribes’ benefit as a condition of receiving supplies and annuities on the reservation.
  • 25 U.S.C. 138 Goods withheld from chiefs violating treaty stipulations: This law ends delivery of goods and merchandise to tribal chiefs if they’ve violated treaties.
  • 25 U.S.C. 273 Detail of Army officer: This law authorizes the Secretary of the Army to detail an officer of the Army, not above the rank of captain, for special duty with reference to Indian education.
  • 25 U.S.C. 283 Regulations for withholding rations for nonattendance at schools: This law allows the Secretary of the Interior to establish regulations preventing the issuance of rations or subsistence (such as money or in-kind resources) to the head of any Native American family if their children didn’t attend school as required in the previous academic year.
  • 25 U.S.C. 285 Withholding annuities from Osage Indians for nonattendance at schools: This law authorizes the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to withhold any annuities or other payments due to Osage Indian minors above six years of age whose parents fail, neglect, or refuse to place them in school. 

This bill’s full title is the Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes Act.

Impact

Native Americans; federal law; and repeal of outdated federal laws relating to Native Americans.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3684

$0.00
Last Congress, the CBO estimated that implementing this bill wouldn’t have any effect on the federal budget.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) introduced this bill to repeal outdated laws relating to Native American education, forcible relocation of Native American children to boarding schools, and withholding monies and resources owed to Native American tribes

“The laws we are fighting to repeal are a reminder of the hundreds of years of persecution, humiliation, and hostility Native Americans faced at the hands of our government. History shows the treatment of Indian Nations and Tribes has never been anything less than tragic, and we now have a responsibility to address it. I am proud of this bipartisan, bicameral effort to eliminate these outdated laws and to show our respect for Indian Country.”

Original cosponsor House Rules Committee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) adds

“While dark chapters in our history cannot be erased, I am encouraged that the RESPECT Act would do away with some discriminatory policies toward Native Americans that are still written in federal law. Though no longer enforced, these laws are a painful reminder of the past suffering and poor treatment experienced by Native Americans. I am proud to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to introduce this important legislation, and I am hopeful for its swift passage in Congress.”

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), sponsor of this bill’s Senate companion, says

“The idea that these laws were ever even considered is disturbing,” said Rounds. “While no longer enforced, the fact that they are still on the books is a tragic reminder of past hostility and racism displayed toward Native Americans. We may not be able to rewrite the past, but we can continue to work toward furthering respect and unity for future generations. Passing our legislation is but one way to show understanding and progress.”

Original Senate cosponsor Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) adds

“The RESPECT Act ensures that we acknowledge and work to solve some of our nation’s previous belittling of Native Americans through our laws. As we continue to cultivate our national values based on respect and dignity for all people, we can and should address antiquated and offensive old laws put in place to specifically isolate Native Americans. I look forward to the consideration of our bill in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.”

The Rapid City Journal editorial board expressed its support for this bill in a July 25, 2019 op-ed

“For the majority culture, old federal laws oppressing Native Americans have faded to near invisibility. Vestiges of a time before women could vote, before people of color counted as legal equals, these laws harken to an era most would prefer to think didn’t happen. One permits Native children to be forcibly taken from parents and placed in boarding schools. Another permits the forced labor of Native Americans as a condition of benefits. They’re no longer enforced, many would say. They could never be enforced today. Let them fade like yesterday’s road signs. Let’s pretend they don’t exist. It’s less simple for those living the legacy of that oppression, who know full well these laws remain on the books, and who know that some people still regard their intent as legitimate… The past bleeds into today and informs our tomorrows. We can’t change what happened. We can, however, try to make amends. We can reconcile with each other. We can erase the living symbols of oppression. Remorse is one thing, but only the removal of lingering stains demonstrates sincerity… The RESPECT act won’t undo the wrongs of the past, but it will demonstrate a necessary measure of respect for a culture and people treated badly."

This legislation has three bipartisan House cosponsors, including two Republicans and one Democrat. Its House companion, sponsored by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), has two bipartisan Senate cosponsors (one from each party).

Sen. Rounds has introduced this legislation every year since 2016. In 2018, this legislation made it through the full Senate with one cosponsor, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), but failed to make it through the House before the end of the Congressional session. With both bipartisan and bicameral support this year, Sen. Rounds believes it could wind up being enacted.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / ilbusca)

AKA

An Act Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes

Official Title

To repeal certain obsolete laws relating to Indians.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedJuly 10th, 2019
    Discrimination laws need to be repealed and removed across the whole system. The discrimination laws against the First Tribes, African Americans, Women, LGBTQIA+... there are a number of groups that have had laws enacted against them simply for existing. They all need to go.
    Like (104)
    Follow
    Share
    No, to wasting time by Congress. They waste enough time as it is getting nothing done. Native Americans (Indians) are Americans. They vote and are privy to all benefits in this country. Ultimately, what are their wishes and desires. Do they want to live as other Americans or do they need special privileges? Do they want to be segregated or not? Before anything is done there needs to be a determination of what is needed and why. This country is far beyond what happened historically. I certainly believe it is wonderful that their rich cultural unit is maintained. Again, what is needed, if anything, to determine if anything needs to be done. I don’t think socialist support and encouraging dependence on the government ultimately does them any favors and certainly does not encourage effort in being independent and motivated to do anything other than watch TV or play video games. Just a thought.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    Getting rid of discriminatory or obsolete laws is a responsibility of Congress. They can have staffers collect the pertinent legislation, put it all in a package or categorical packages and with a single bill eliminate the bunch. I certainly do not want some clever legal justification for improper acts based on laws pertaining to the details of life in the 1800's - particularly laws that run counter to current practice - and especially discriminatory laws. I do not like having to take out the garbage, but it has to be done at least eventually. This is no different: Congress take out your garbage before some legal rats can scurry around and feast on your discarded scraps.
    Like (63)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a good start. Next would be to get rid of all of the laws discriminating against people of color, gays and other groups.
    Like (55)
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    Share
    It takes no time to repeal outdated laws, but it makes a lot of difference to those who were affected by them. I expect this to pass unanimously. I hope my legislators are listening.
    Like (41)
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    How about going through all laws and get rid of all the outdated laws like the anti Gay laws , for instants and the anti Black laws etc
    Like (37)
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    One of the best and easiest thing I hat Congress can do is to stoop voter suppression in Native American communities
    Like (32)
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    While not currently relevant, these laws could be used as justification for unjust practices in the future.
    Like (21)
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    Yes If anybody is owed anything in life, Native Americans are owed 10 times more.
    Like (21)
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    It’s absurd these laws are even on the books. They should have been gone years ago.
    Like (21)
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    Outdated, discriminatory laws relating to Native American tribes should be repealed to correct the historic injustices they helped perpetuate.
    Like (20)
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    The RESPECT Act, HR3684, should be passed. A read of the list of provisions that this repeals indicates that if this is even coming up as a question in 2019, then it’s blatantly obvious that Congress has failed in its job for well over 100 years, something most constituents of either party would tend to agree with. The Nay recommendation against passage states that the laws are no longer enforced, therefore no need to change anything. Right. You are as aware as I that laws are selectively enforced, whenever they may happen fit the enforcers’ plan. Please vote in favor of passage now to avoid the possibility of future uncertainty and potential discrimination that the existing provisions would allow if invoked and you will have taken a first step toward cleaning up decades of neglect. Thank you
    Like (17)
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    Of course these outdated laws regarding indigenous people’s need to be repealed. My only question is, what has taken so long?
    Like (15)
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    Get all out dated laws, Federal and state off the books! In Texas we still have a vagrancy law on the books. It states if you don’t have two dollars on your person you can be jailed! Well, I rarely carry cash because I have a debit card. Just like millions of people in Texas. It’s a stupid law and discriminates against the poor and/or homeless!
    Like (12)
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    Do we even have to ask this question?
    Like (12)
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    Yes: interesting side note is that tomorrow is the 155th Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre. Time magazine has a nice feature article on the subject. Well worth checking out indeed. If you’re not familiar it’s even more important to take a glance.
    Like (8)
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    Although it’s said these laws are no longer enforced, they could be. The stains and pains of a very dark past on People’s that lived on these lands thousands of years before europeans may not be removed or forgotten, we most certainly can repeal these laws as a very important step. All the People who encompass this land are kept separated from each other by racism, hate and fear. Not only does this law show that the American Government wishes to move forward , but it helps to unify all People who call this land home. How can we even begin to think we’re the best nation in the world when there are still barbaric enslavement laws that could actually be enforced at any moment to terrorize our Native Americans? Remember, when our government terrorizes anyone... that’s called security which is enforced by homeland security and ICE, which is legal. A truly great nation accepts all and protects all equally regardless of economic value, race, gender or religious beliefs. So: if these laws are no longer enforced... then they should be cleared off the books... for all time.
    Like (8)
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    These laws should be repealed immediately alongside a review of the outdated paternalistic policies that have evolved relating to the way both the Federal and State governments treat Tribal governments relating to jurisdiction, Child Welfare, and the unbelievable policies relating to energy, health care and infrastructure, as well as the failure to properly manage and account for Tribal and individual trusts lands and natural resources. It is shameful the way federal agencies have been allowed to treat Tribes and individual Indians!
    Like (8)
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    We interfere in the internal affairs of other countries as a matter of foreign policy of neoliberalism in the world which creates billionaires as the middle and working classes are hollowed out in the promotion of inequality and poverty! But this is a let’s feel good about not being the thugs we used to be! If you want to remove the blemish of repression and oppression vote to give the Indian nations a representative in Congress and grant local sovereignty to all territories big and small that presently have no vote or freedom to determine their futures!! Return all federal lands to our indigenous nations and develop reservations with 21st century technologies!!
    Like (7)
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    All outdated laws should be repealed.
    Like (7)
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