As a former attorney and advocate on behalf of Native American Tribes and Pueblos, championing self-determination and tribal sovereignty is a commitment that has defined my career and guides my work in Congress.
New Mexico’s Third Congressional District is home to 16 Pueblos, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and large portions of the Navajo Nation. The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in tribal communities across my district and country starkly illustrates the continued failure of the Federal government to live up to its trust obligations to sovereign tribal nations.
In Congress, I will push the federal government to uphold its obligation to fully recognize tribal sovereignty, the inherent sovereign authority and governmental jurisdiction that Native American Tribes have over their lands and resources, and their right of self-determination, and to engage in government-to-government consultation.
The United States still has not fulfilled its federal trust responsibility in terms of fully funding the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), Indian Health Service (IHS), and other key programs to provide infrastructure in Indian Country.
I will continue to push for full funding for IHS and encourage more proactive work to allow Tribes and Pueblos to compact and contract IHS programs. In addition, I will work to protect historic and sacred sites.
Any funding that Congress does appropriate for Tribes must go directly to the Tribes without delay.