WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Following repeated attacks on the lending businesses owned, operated, and regulated by sovereign Native American tribes, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is today joining the fight led by the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) to empower tribal enterprises and protect sovereign rights. NCAI, established in 1944, is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments.
This action reinforces the long history of federal protection of sovereign rights, including Executive Order 13175, signed by President Clinton and mandating that that the "United States continues to work with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis;" a 2009 Executive Memorandum issued by President Obama which directs all Federal agencies to develop a written plan of action to implement E.O. 13175 and to consult and coordinate with tribal governments about this plan; and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, passed by Congress and signed into law, which expressly defines tribes as a "State," thereby recognizing the authority of tribal governments to legalize, regulate, and conduct short-term online consumer financial services. Recent quasi-enforcement actions undertaken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are contrary to the spirit of co-regulation as set forth by Dodd-Frank and inconsistent with the tenants of Federal Indian Law.
"As the oldest and largest Native organization, having the NCAI's support is a major development in our fight to protect our tribes' sovereign right to offer financial services," said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. "Federal agencies have overstepped their bounds into Indian country and it is drastically impacting our ability to provide essential services to our members. We are encouraged that the NCAI has joined us and are hopeful that other Native advocacy organizations will follow suit."
The resolution, titled "Request for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to Act Consistent with Executive Orders on Tribal Consultation and with Federal Policy Supporting Tribal Self-Determination and Self-Governance" was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held October 13-18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.