Committee Excellence Award
The Native American Concerns Committee received the 2006 Committee Excellence Award, presented at the Section’s Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Award was presented to the Committee for its exemplary leadership in protecting and advancing the rights and liberties of people indigenous to the United States. In the past several years, the Committee led by co-chairs Bobo Dean, Gerald Gardner, and John Harte has contributed tremendously to the work of the Section. Committee projects have included:
• Initiating important ABA policies and conducting extensive lobbying efforts urging Congress to pass legislation establishing a process to provide federal recognition for a Native Hawaiian governing entity;
• Supporting efforts of the National Tribal Steering Committee to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and urging Congress and the Executive Branch to address areas in which health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives is deficient;
• Developing ABA policies supporting federal efforts to assist in the settlement of longstanding Indian water rights claims; provide equitable access to foster care and adoption services for Indian children under tribal court jurisdiction; minimize disproportionate effects of federal death penalty legislation on Native Americans; and minimize the impact of federal management of lands containing specific sites historically used by Native Americans for religious purposes;
• Educating ABA members, the wider bar, and the general public about issues of concern to indigenous peoples through programs and publications, including the summer 2006 issue of Human Rights magazine addressing American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian concerns; a Plenary Session CLE program at the 2006 ABA Annual Meeting on The Legal Status of Native Hawaiians; and a CLE program on the special trust relationship between the United States and Indian tribes; and
• Fostering strong Committee growth and member involvement through recruiting activities, continuing legal education programs, and public service.