Congressional Record -- Senate
Wednesday, September 16, 1987 100th Cong. 1st Sess.133 Cong Rec S 12214
REFERENCE: Vol. 133 No. 140


TEXT: Mr. INOUYE, for himself, Mr. Evans, Mr. DeConcini, Mr. Burdick, Mr. McCain, Mr. Adams, Mr. Boren, Mr. Conrad, Mr. Cranston, Mr. D'Amato, Mr. Dole, Mr. Ford, Mr. Fowler, Mr. Levin, Mr. Pell, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Reid, Mr. Riegle, and Mr. Stafford) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Select Committee on Indian Affairs:

S. CON RES. 76
Whereas, the original framers of the Constitution, including most notably, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, are known to have greatly admired the concepts, principles and governmental practices of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy; and, 

Whereas, the Confederation of the original thirteen colonies into one Republic was explicitly modeled upon the Iroquois Confederacy as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the Constitution itself; and,

Whereas, since the formation of the United States, the Congress has recognized the sovereign status of Indian Tribes, and has, through the exercise of powers reserved to the Federal Government in the Commerce Clause of the Constitution (art. I, s8, cl. 3), dealt with Indian Tribes on a government-to-government basis and has, through the Treaty Clause (art. II, s2, cl. 2), entered into 370 treaties with Indian tribal nations; and,

Whereas, from the first treaty entered into with an Indian nation, the Treaty with the Delaware Indians of September 17, 1778, and thereafter in every Indian Treaty until the cessation of treaty-making in 1871, the Congress has assumed a trust responsibility and obligation to Indian Tribes and their members to "exercise the utmost good faith in dealings with the Indians" as provided for in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, (1 Stat. 50); and,

Whereas, Congress has consistently reaffirmed these fundamental policies over the past 200 years through legislation specifically designed to honor this special relationship; and,

Whereas, the judicial system of the United States has consistently recognized and reaffirmed this special relationship: Now, therefore be it


(1)     The Congress, on the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, acknowledges the historical debt which this Republic of the United States of America owes to the Iroquois Confederacy and other Indian Nations for their demonstration of enlightened, democratic principles of government and their example of a free association of independent Indian nations;

(2)     The Congress also hereby reaffirms the constitutionally recognized government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes which has historically been the cornerstone of this nation's official Indian policy;

(3)     The Congress specifically acknowledges and reaffirm the trust responsibility and obligation of the United States Government to Indian Tribes, including Alaska Natives, for their preservation, protection and enhancement, including the provision of health,
education, social and economic assistance programs as necessary, to assist Tribes to perform their governmental responsibility to provide for the social and economic well-being of their members and to preserve tribal cultural identity and heritage; and

(4)     The Congress also acknowledges the need to exercise the utmost good faith in upholding its treaties with the various Tribes, as the Tribes understood them to be, and the duty of a Great Nation to uphold its legal and moral obligations for the benefit of all of its citizens so that they and their posterity may also continue to enjoy the rights they have enshrined in the United States Constitution for time immemorial.

Source: Congressional Record Vol. 133, Part 17, pp.24223-24224

Other Sources: The Oldest Participatory Democracy on Earth. Book: Forgotten Founders by Bruce E. Johansen, 1988. Book: Exemplar of Liberty by Grinde, Jr. and Johansen, 1990. Bibliography: Native American Political System and the Evolution of Democracy

Sources that Challenged the Iroquois Contributions: Book: Disuniting of America by Arthur Schlesinger, 1992. Article: "The Iroquois and the Constitution Founding Fathers," in The New Republic Online by Michael Newman, Nov. 7, 1998. Article: "The United States Constitution and the Iroquois League," by Elisabeth Tooker, in Ethnohistory, 35:4 (Fall 1988) pp. 305-306. Article: "The Iroquois League, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution." in William & Mary Q., Third Ser., LIII, No. 3(Summer, 1996), pp. 606-621 by Samuel B., Payne Jr.


HOUSE RESOLUTION 168 on June 18, 2001

Washington, DC - The U.S. House of Representatives passed by unanimous consent legislation sponsored by California Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) to recognize Native Americans. House Resolution 168 asks schools to recognize the contributions Native Americans have made to American history, culture, and education. This resolution is the first step towards seeking a Native American holiday on the fourth Friday in September; similar to legislation created and enacted while in the California legislature. Congressman Baca is the sponsor of House Resolution 101 which establishes a legal public holiday to celebrate Native Americans.

"That is why I am proud to be a member of the congressional Native American caucus. Native Americans have shown their willingness to fight and die for this nation in foreign lands. They honor the American flag at every powwow and at many gatherings and remember all veterans through song, music, and dance. This is about proud Americans who have given so much to this country," said Congressman Baca. "We must educate and sensitize our children about Native Americans and what they have done for our nation. This resolution is about justice! It is about teaching and educating our students, parents and society about Native Americans! It is about the debt created by the near extermination of their race! It is about making at least some amends for the unspeakable harm we have done to a proud and noble people. By recognizing and honoring them, maybe we can start healing the wounds created by a history of distrust and genocide!" Congressman Baca said, "this is just the beginning, we will continue the struggle, fight the fight, we will not stop, we will not rest, until there is a Native American holiday!"


107th CONGRESS, 1st Session , H. RES. 168

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Nation's schools should honor Native Americans for their contributions to American history, culture, and education.


June 18, 2001

Mr. BACA (for himself, Mr. PALLONE, Ms. MCKINNEY, Mr. LANGEVIN, Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. CARSON of Oklahoma, Mr. HALL of Ohio, Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA, Mr. REYES, Mr. TOWNS, Mr. HONDA, Mr. FILNER,  Mrs. CAPPS, Ms. BALDWIN, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mrs. CHRISTENSEN, Mr. ENGLISH, Mrs. MINK of Hawaii, Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD, Mr. KIND, Mr. FROST, Mr. STUPAK, Mr. UDALL of New Mexico, Mr. BONIOR, Mr. FARR of California, and Mr. MCDERMOTT) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Nation's schools should honor Native Americans for their contributions to American history, culture, and education.

Whereas Native Americans have given much to this country;

Whereas an emphasis on freedom, justice, patriotism, and representative government have always been elements of Native American culture;

Whereas Native Americans have shown their willingness to fight and die for this Nation in foreign lands;

Whereas Native Americans honor the American flag at every powwow and at many gatherings and remember all veterans through song, music, and dance;

Whereas Native Americans honor, through song, the men and women of this country who have fought for freedom;

Whereas Native Americans love the land that has nurtured their parents, grandparents, and unnamed elders since the beginning of their recorded history; and

Whereas Native Americans honor the Earth that has brought life to the people since time immemorial:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Nation's schools should honor Native Americans for their contributions to American history, culture, and education.

Source: 107th CONGRESS, 1st Session , H. RES. 168, June 18, 2001

Senate Project Resolution 108 th Congress, 2d Session S.J. RES. 37

To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples... (Introduced in Senate)

108th CONGRESS, 2d Session, S. J. RES. 37

To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States.


May 6, 2004

Mr. BROWNBACK (for himself, Mr. CAMPBELL, and Mr. INOUYE) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs


To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States.

Whereas the ancestors of today's Native Peoples inhabited the land of the present-day United States since time immemorial and for thousands of years before the arrival of peoples of European descent;

Whereas the Native Peoples have for millennia honored, protected, and stewarded this land we cherish;

Whereas the Native Peoples are spiritual peoples with a deep and abiding belief in the Creator, and for millennia their peoples have maintained a powerful spiritual connection to this land, as is evidenced by their customs and legends;

Whereas the arrival of Europeans in North America opened a new chapter in the histories of the Native Peoples;

Whereas, while establishment of permanent European settlements in North America did stir conflict with nearby Indian tribes, peaceful and mutually beneficial interactions also took place;

Whereas the foundational English settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, owed their survival in large measure to the compassion and aid of the Native Peoples in their vicinities;

Whereas in the infancy of the United States, the founders of the Republic expressed their desire for a just relationship with the Indian tribes, as evidenced by the Northwest Ordinance enacted by Congress in 1787, which begins with the phrase, `The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians';

Whereas Indian tribes provided great assistance to the fledgling Republic as it strengthened and grew, including invaluable help to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their epic journey from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific Coast;

Whereas Native Peoples and non-Native settlers engaged in numerous armed conflicts;

Whereas the United States Government violated many of the treaties ratified by Congress and other diplomatic agreements with Indian tribes;

Whereas this Nation should address the broken treaties and many of the more ill-conceived Federal policies that followed, such as extermination, termination, forced removal and relocation, the outlawing of traditional religions, and the destruction of sacred places;

Whereas the United States forced Indian tribes and their citizens to move away from their traditional homelands and onto federally established and controlled reservations, in accordance with such Acts as the Indian Removal Act of 1830;

Whereas many Native Peoples suffered and perished--

(1) during the execution of the official United States Government policy of forced removal, including the infamous Trail of Tears and Long Walk;

(2) during bloody armed confrontations and massacres, such as the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 and the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890; and

(3) on numerous Indian reservations;

Whereas the United States Government condemned the traditions, beliefs, and customs of the Native Peoples and endeavored to assimilate them by such policies as the redistribution of land under the General Allotment Act of 1887 and the forcible removal of Native children from their families to faraway boarding schools where their Native practices and languages were degraded and forbidden;

Whereas officials of the United States Government and private United States citizens harmed Native Peoples by the unlawful acquisition of recognized tribal land, the theft of resources from such territories, and the mismanagement of tribal trust funds;

Whereas the policies of the United States Government toward Indian tribes and the breaking of covenants with Indian tribes have contributed to the severe social ills and economic troubles in many Native communities today;

Whereas, despite continuing maltreatment of Native Peoples by the United States, the Native Peoples have remained committed to the protection of this great land, as evidenced by the fact that, on a per capita basis, more Native people have served in the United States Armed Forces and placed themselves in harm's way in defense of the United States in every major military conflict than any other ethnic group;

Whereas Indian tribes have actively influenced the public life of the United States by continued cooperation with Congress and the Department of the Interior, through the involvement of Native individuals in official United States Government positions, and by leadership of their own sovereign Indian tribes;

Whereas Indian tribes are resilient and determined to preserve, develop, and transmit to future generations their unique cultural identities;

Whereas the National Museum of the American Indian was established within the Smithsonian Institution as a living memorial to the Native Peoples and their traditions; and

Whereas Native Peoples are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


The United States, acting through Congress--

(1) recognizes the special legal and political relationship the Indian tribes have with the United States and the solemn covenant with the land we share;

(2) commends and honors the Native Peoples for the thousands of years that they have stewarded and protected this land;

(3) acknowledges years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the United States Government regarding Indian tribes;

(4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;

(5) expresses its regret for the ramifications of former offenses and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together;

(6) urges the President to acknowledge the offenses of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land by providing a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and Indian tribes; and

(7) commends the State governments that have begun reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in their boundaries and encourages all State governments similarly to work toward reconciling relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries.


Nothing in this Joint Resolution authorizes any claim against the United States or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States

Source: Join Senate Resolution 37 on May 06, 2004

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