Full Citizenship for Native People

Home Discussions General NMHEP Statewide Policy Reccomendations Full Citizenship for Native People

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    David Gaussoin

    Please post information here –


    Historical evidence – Native peoples were constitutional citizens.
    1925 Citizenship Act
    Last 92 years statutory.

    Title 25 –

    Only ethnic group to have an entire title (Native Americans)

    Talking about changing policies –

    Current status –

    Indian reservations are federal lands. Don’t own our lands. Lack of ownership.

    Repealing many antiquated laws – turning all lands known and reservations over to Native communities.
    Full Citizenship

    Open opportunity to local change

    NMPHA Policy Legislative Forum – today is last day to register. Embassy Suites in Alb.
    Healthy Dine Act – grassroots changing policy
    Announce legislative policy
    Afternoon sessions – Health Impact Assessment
    Mr. Tome slated to present at the Policy Legislative Forum to present on this very subject. 3 pm in afternoon.


    Additional Dialogue from the November 30 small group gathering

    What is the connection between “Full Citizenship for Native Peoples” and Health Equity?
    – It is connected because without full citizenship, there is not food security, economic security etc. All of these impact health.
    – Additionally, IHS is running out of funding. People die waiting for a transplant. It is a broken system. IHS is an underfunded system.
    Health Equity means from an indigenous perspective “to walk in beauty, again” It is a practice of trying to be a good human being. Sustained as a people. Focus on many of the words used here today – community, collaboration, relationships. There is an indigenous version of this.
    There are other perspectives on the topic of “Full Citizenship for Native Peoples”. For some, citizenship is not necessarily the answer. The system is a colonial democracy and oligarchy which does not give a damn about the earth. This is not healthy; it is de-natured. Why would we want to participate in such a system?
    Key statements heard through the panel conversations:
    – We are who we are and not what you want us to be.
    – No agenda, no process, not trying to replace the current system.
    – Recognized value and gifts of each other.
    – Nothing is changing – health care, socioeconomic status, mental health services.
    The federal government is a vain system; they can do no wrong.
    Utilize human rights platform and an indigenous rights platform.
    There is rich diversity in New Mexico. Try new things and ways to do a better job. Need to lay the foundation to have a broader national narrative on the state of indigenous communities.


    Excerpt from the 2016 HEP Policy Strategy Summary

    Through our discussions, participants learned about the Citizen Act of 1924 which gave Native people statutory citizenship versus constitutional citizenship. Participants identified the need to ensure full citizenship for Native Peoples. We recognize this is a federal policy that requires a local movement to influence change.

    During this conversation and follow up survey, many questions were raised. For example, there were concerns about defraying treaty agreements, such as health care and autonomy for tribal nations. Alternative suggestions, such as working on full funding for Indian Health Services and enforcement of treaty agreements were offered. The Santa Fe Indian Center and University of New Mexico are currently working on a HIA which examines the impact of underfunding of the Santa Fe Indian Health Service Hospital on the Santa Fe Urban Indian community. Additionally, other perspectives were brought forth on the topic of “Full Citizenship for Native Peoples”. Some people suggested that citizenship is not necessarily the answer, particularly when the current system is not healthy and is viewed as a colonial democracy and oligarchy which does not care about the earth.

    Participants recommend first looking deeper into this issue and educating and informing ourselves and those most impacted by this issue.
    Christina Morris shared additional information on this topic at the Action-Oriented Small Group Gathering and Deswood Tome formally presented at the 13th Annual New Mexico Public Health Policy Forum. These were opportunities for HEP network members to learn more about this issue. The following possible recommendations, which speak to some of the concerns raised above, were shared by Mr. Tome at the 13th Annual New Mexico Public Health Policy Forum:
    • To begin a new era for Tribes and Nations in America, lead a presidential effort in calling on Congress to end the old Indian era.
    • Invoke a 10 year plan with tribal consultation to create independence and sustainability.
    • Pursue a Constitutional Amendment to make Native American people first class citizens by ending statutory citizenship.
    • Turn over all federal lands known as “Indian Reservations” directly over to Native American Tribal control.
    • Write and implement a new U.S.-Indian policy to replace “Self-Determination” with “Sovereignty and Independence.”
    • The Federal Government created the present day conditions for Native American Tribes and Nations, it therefore requires Congressional Action with the implementation by the President of the United States of America.

    David Gaussoin


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