Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) Fights Tribal Power Grab in Washington D.C.

Editor’s note: The following letter and related news articles were sent to PERM by Curt Knoke, President of Citizens Equal Rights Foundation (CERF), the charitable arm of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA). CERA/CERF is a national organizations of tribal and non-tribal people and organizations fighting to change federal Indian policy. PERM is a member organization of CERF. We encourage all our individual members to join as well. To learn more about CERA/CERF you can visit their web site at www.citizensalliance.org, or find them under the links section of the PERM web site. Members of PERM can join CERF at a special low price of $10. Just send your donation to: CERF - P.O. Box 93 - Ronan - MT - 59864. Please indicate that you are a current member of PERM on your check. Read this information carefully. As of press time, Sen. Inouye of Hawaii has introduced legislation under the guise of strengthening the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The most upsetting portion of this bill, which deals with tribal power and sovereignty, is printed at the end of this section. We need to get the word out on this bill. Write your local newspapers, call your friends, inform your co-workers. Everyone needs to contact their elected officials in Washington D.C. and let them know where you stand on this legislation. Also let them know how you feel about politicians doing pork-barrel politics with important issues like homeland security!

Dear Friends of CERA/CERF

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) will be attempting to foist their Tribal Governance and Economic Enhancement Initiative (TGEEI) on Congress this year. This initiative, if passed, would subject hundreds-of-thousands of non-Indians as well as non-member Indians to the civil and criminal jurisdiction of tribal governments who exclude non-Indians because of their race or heritage.

“Preposterous!” you might say, because one of the qualifications for voting privileges on reservations is that you must be an enrolled tribal member. How can a U.S. citizen be regulated and taxed by a government in which he or she can not participate?

The threat of this legislation means that this is an important, perhaps critical, year for CERF/CERA and all non-members living within the legislation’s expanded definition of “Indian country.” We received the enclosed news articles yesterday. As you can see, the threat of this legislation is imminent.

Other key issues we face with Federal Indian Policy (FIP) are the huge Tribal loophole in Campaign Finance Reform, Fee to Trust rules, Tribal recognition and a host of other inherent problems with FIP. While we admire Tribal culture and traditions we cannot stand ideally by and do nothing about these problems with FIP.

CERF recently received a gift that significantly increased our ability to get our message out. We have increased the entries in our database tremendously and have been able to update our hardware.

Now we need your support.

Along with the increase in the database our printing and mailing costs have gone up significantly. We would also like to get the CERA NEWS out more often. We can only do this with your help. Please consider a gift at this time to help us become a Land of MANY CULTURES but ONE NATION and ONE LAW.

Sincerely, Curt Knoke
President, CERF

CERF/CERA’s Annual Meeting will be held in Washington D.C. on May 18-22 at the Capitol Hill Suites. There will be two days of meetings followed by a lobbying effort on Capitol Hill. Please encourage you state and local officials to join us. Our lobbying efforts are enhanced when local and state governments join us.