Piliero Mazza & Pargament, PLLC Vol. 4, Issue 6 June 2002
Addressing Tribal and Alaska Native Corporation Legal and Business Issues
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As Congress begins to consider authorization and appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2003, the issue of outsourcing remains a hot topic. Recent activity on the Fiscal Year 2003 Department of Defense (DOD) Authorization bill and before the House Rules Committee reflects that the issue will continue to be addressed in the upcoming year. Additionally, a new Congressionally-mandated report promotes the use of outsourcing and proposes a number of short and long-term goals to implement uniform outsourcing procedures throughout the federal government. Changes in outsourcing policy may be of interest to many Native American and Alaska Native businesses.
In a decision issued on April 4, 2002, the Connecticut Supreme Court dismissed a personal injury lawsuit brought in state court against employees of the Mohegan Tribe and its gaming commission. The Court held that the tribal employees were included within the tribe's sovereign immunity and that the proper forum for the lawsuit was the Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court. This case is an important affirmation of the Tribe' s sovereign immunity and recognition of the Tribalcourt's jurisdiction over such matters. This decision reversed the lower court' s ruling that tribal employees are not entitled to claim protection under thetribe's sovereign immunity.
The Tribal Advocate recently had the pleasure of speaking with Pete Homer, the President and CEO of the National Indian Business Association, a national trade organization that works to promote Native American business development. Mr. Homer is a Mojave Indian, enrolled member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes of Arizona and has over 36 years of business and community development experience. Mr. Homer served as the Small Business Administration's (SBA) first Office of Native American Affairs director, and was responsible for structuring, implementing and coordinating SBA programs for Native American communities.
Tribal Advocate (TA): Mr. Homer, can you give us some background on the National Indian Business Association (NIBA)?
Pete Homer (Homer): NIBA was established in 1992 to promote Native American business development through education, communication and advocacy. The Association represents 24,000 Native American owned businesses nationwide. Our mission is to work to stimulate business development, job creation and economic activity within the American Indian and Alaska Native communities. NIBA is founded on the principle that increased economic and commercial development in Indian Country and the expansion of American Indian and Alaska Native business ownership is the single most important step toward a better, more prosperous future for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
On April 25, 2002, Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced legislation that would provide assistance to Native Americans and ANCs in gaining access to small business loans and employment training programs. This bill is known as the Native American Small Business Development Act (NASBDA). In contrast to the position taken by the Native American Business Association (NIBA) in support of the legislation (See Pete Homer Interview in this issue), the Bush Administration has taken the position that NASBDA is duplicative of its current efforts to assist Native American businesses.
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