I have a link to AIRRO’s Submission Full Text Version, but here are the conclusions submitted:
First and foremost, the State should provide an efficient enforcement mechanism for the redress of alleged violations of the ICRA and other tribal and/or federal laws enacted to protect and preserve the rights of the individual Indian. The mechanism should include de novo review by federal courts of tribal court actions, upon the exhaustion of tribal remedies, where violations of the ICRA are or have been alleged. And, in instances where there is no tribal court, individual(s) alleging violations of the ICRA or other human and civil rights violations shall be allowed to file an action in federal court and the federal court shall have jurisdiction to hear the dispute. Tribal officials, as well as State officials, shall not be allowed to invoke immunity from prosecution for alleged rights violations nor shall a tribe’s sovereignty shield its officers, employees, or agents.
The State has previously amended the ICRA, so such action is not unprecedented. The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 changed the ICRA to ensure that defendants in criminal proceedings in tribal courts are afforded the same or similar rights and/or privileges as criminal defendants in the courts of the State. While the rights of criminal defendants were expanded on, no action was taken by the State to “fix” the flaws of the ICRA which affect the basic human and civil rights of those victimized as a result of the ICRA.
Secondly, State agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the State Department, shall have the authority and responsibility to investigate and/or prosecute alleged rights violations committed against indigenous people of the State. At its homepage (www.jostice.gov/otj/civilrights.htm), the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division clearly states that it does not have the authority to enforce the ICRA. The AIRRO is unaware of any State department or agency which exercises such authority or which will uphold its trust responsibility to protect the rights of the individual Indian.
The BIA shall also be required to review and approve or deny any and all actions taken by tribal governments and/or tribal officials which may affect the rights of an individual or group. Alleged violations of the ICRA shall require automatic review and the BIA shall have the authority to over-rule actions taken in violation of the ICRA or other applicable tribal or State laws. BIA intervention, as a department wide policy can be effective if it has the authority to act and hold violators liable for their actions.
Furthermore, the State must be proactive in addressing the growing number of abuses committed against its indigenous people. The State needs to address the policies, programs, and laws governing the rights of its indigenous people. The State must take action to change the current environment, an environment it created, which allows for and fosters the wholesale denial and abolishment of basic rights.
The indigenous people of the State must also look to the international community, the United Nations, and other intergovernmental organizations for assistance to address the growing number of rights violations occurring in Indian Country.
The AIRRO appreciates this opportunity to submit this information as this conference and consultation is important to the promotion and effectiveness of the Declaration within the State and Indian Country. Please feel free to contact AIRRO at the address listed above or via email at AIRRO_01@msn.com if you require additional or follow-up information.