Home > 104th Congressional Bills > H.R. 3973 (rh) To provide for a study of the recommendations of the Joint Federal- State Commission on Policies and Programs Affecting Alaska Natives. [Reported in House] ...

H.R. 3973 (rh) To provide for a study of the recommendations of the Joint Federal- State Commission on Policies and Programs Affecting Alaska Natives. [Reported in House] ...


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104th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 3973


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 26, 1996

                                Received

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
  To provide for a study of the recommendations of the Joint Federal-
  State Commission on Policies and Programs Affecting Alaska Natives.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF POLICY.

    The Congress finds and declares the following:
            (1) The Joint Federal-State Commission on Policies and 
        Programs Affecting Alaska Natives (hereafter in this Act 
        referred to as the ``Alaska Natives Commission'') was 
        established by Public Law 101-379 (42 U.S.C. 2991a note) 
        following the publication in 1989 of the ``Report on the Status 
        of Alaska Natives: A Call for Action'' by the Alaska Federation 
        of Natives and after extensive congressional hearings which 
        focused on the need for the first comprehensive assessment of 
        the social, cultural, and economic condition of Alaska's 86,000 
        Natives since the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims 
        Settlement Act, Public Law 92-203.
            (2) The 14 member Alaska Natives Commission held 15 
        regional hearings throughout Alaska between July 1992 and 
        October 1993, and 2 statewide hearings in Anchorage coinciding 
        with the Conventions of 1992 and 1993 of the Alaska Federation 
        of Natives. In May 1994, the Alaska Natives Commission issued 
        its 3 volume, 440 page report. As required by Public Law 101-
        379, the report was formally conveyed to the Congress, the 
        President of the United States, and the Governor of Alaska.
            (3) The Alaska Natives Commission found that many Alaska 
        Native individuals, families, and communities were experiencing 
        a social, cultural, and economic crisis marked by rampant 
        unemployment, lack of economic opportunity, alcohol abuse, 
        depression, and morbidity and mortality rates that have been 
        described by health care professionals as ``staggering''.
            (4) The Alaska Natives Commission found that due to the 
        high rate of unemployment and lack of economic opportunities 
        for Alaska Natives, government programs for the poor have 
        become the foundation of many village economies. Displacing 
        traditional Alaska Native social safety nets, these well-
        meaning programs have undermined the healthy interdependence 
        and self-sufficiency of Native tribes and families and have put 
        Native tribes and families at risk of becoming permanent 
        dependencies of Government.
            (5) Despite these seemingly insurmountable problems, the 
        Alaska Natives Commission found that Alaska Natives, building 
        on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, had begun a unique 
        process of critical self-examination which, if supported by the 
        United States Congress through innovative legislation, and 
        effective public administration at all levels including 
        traditional Native governance, could provide the basis for an 
        Alaska Native social, cultural, economic, and spiritual 
        renewal.
            (6) The Alaska Natives Commission recognized that the key 
        to the future well-being of Alaska Natives lay in--
                    (A) the systematic resumption of responsibility by 
                Alaska Natives for the well-being of their members,
                    (B) the strengthening of their economies,
                    (C) the strengthening, operation, and control of 
                their systems of governance, social services, 
                education, health care, and law enforcement, and
                    (D) exercising rights they have from their special 
                relationship with the Federal Government and as 
                citizens of the United States and Alaska.
            (7) The Alaska Natives Commission recognized that the 
        following 3 basic principles must be respected in addressing 
        the myriad of problems facing Alaska Natives:
                    (A) Self-reliance.
                    (B) Self-determination.
                    (C) Integrity of Native cultures.
            (8) There is a need to address the problems confronting 
        Alaska Natives. This should be done rapidly, with certainty, 
        and in conformity with the real economic, social, and cultural 
        needs of Alaska Natives.
            (9) Congress retains and has exercised its constitutional 
        authority over Native affairs in Alaska subsequent to the 
        Treaty of Cession and does so now through this Act.

SEC. 2. ALASKA NATIVE IMPLEMENTATION STUDY.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds and declares that--
            (1) the Alaska Natives Commission adopted certain 
        recommendations raising important policy questions which are 
        unresolved in Alaska and which require further study and review 
        before Congress considers legislation to implement solutions to 
        address these recommendations; and
            (2) the Alaska Federation of Natives is the representative 
        body of statewide Alaska Native interests best suited to 
        further investigate and report to Congress with proposals to 
        implement the recommendations of the Alaska Natives Commission.
    (b) Grant.--The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall make a 
grant to the Alaska Federation of Natives to conduct the study and 
submit the report required by this section. Such grant may only be made 
if the Alaska Federation of Natives agrees to abide by the requirements 
of this section.
    (c) Study.--Pursuant to subsection (b), the Alaska Federation of 
Natives shall--
            (1) examine the recommendations of the Alaska Natives 
        Commission;
            (2) examine initiatives in the United States, Canada, and 
        elsewhere for successful ways that issues similar to the issues 
        addressed by the Alaska Natives Commission have been addressed;
            (3) conduct hearings within the Alaska Native community on 
        further ways in which the Commission's recommendations might be 
        implemented; and
            (4) recommend enactment of specific provisions of law and 
        other actions the Congress should take to implement such 
        recommendations.
    (d) Consideration of Local Control.--In developing its 
recommendations pursuant to subsection (c)(4), the Alaska Federation of 
Natives shall give specific attention to the ways in which the 
recommendations may be achieved at the local level with maximum local 
control of the implementation of the recommendations.
    (e) Report.--Not later than 12 months after the date on which the 
grant is made under subsection (b), the Alaska Federation of Natives 
shall submit a report on the study conducted under this section, 
together with the recommendations developed pursuant to subsection 
(c)(4), to the President and the Congress and to the Governor and 
legislature of the State of Alaska. In addition, the Alaska Federation 
of Natives shall make the report available to Alaska Native villages 
and organizations and to the general public.
    (f) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated $350,000 for the grant under subsection (b).
    (g) Additional State Funding.--The Congress encourages the State of 
Alaska to provide the additional funding necessary for the completion 
of the study under this section.

            Passed the House of Representatives September 26, 1996.

            Attest:

                                                ROBIN H. CARLE,

                                                                 Clerk.

Pages: 1

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