Here is the text of the resolution proposed by citizen Mark Agather of Kalispell to urge Congress to investigate alternatives to the American Indian reservation system. Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, asked for the resolution to be drafted in the Montana Legislature, but has subsequently declined to carry the legislation.
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA URGING CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE ALTERNATIVES TO THE AMERICAN INDIAN RESERVATION SYSTEM.
WHEREAS, the Indian reservation system was created in a different time and place and under circumstances that no longer exist and is therefore inadequate for the conditions that are present in our state (and nation) in today’s world; and
WHEREAS, the Indian reservation system has clearly failed to positively enhance the lives and well-being of most of the Indians or the other citizens of the State of Montana; and
WHEREAS, for most of our Indian citizens, the Indian reservation system has produced the negative effects of drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, welfare dependence, poverty, and substandard educational achievements, resulting in lack of opportunity for their future well-being and happiness; and
WHEREAS, Indian tribes that do not individually own their property have the highest poverty rate of any ethnic group in America; and
WHEREAS, Indian tribes that do not individually own their property have the lowest life expectancy of any ethnic group in America; and
WHEREAS, the Indian reservation system is a policy based entirely on race, which is diametrically opposed to both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Montana; and
WHEREAS, the Indian reservation system is a policy conferring “sovereign nation” status to individual tribes inside of the borders of the United States, a policy that is, again, diametrically opposed to the Constitution of the United States; and
WHEREAS, previous judicial decisions relative to the reservation system in Montana have produced confusion, acrimony, and animosity among the general population in the past and at present, and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the foreseeable future; and
WHEREAS, the continuation of the reservation system is not in the best interests of either the Indians inside our borders or for our common Montana citizens; and
WHEREAS, we believe the investigation of alternative ways of approaching the reservation system can and will produce a new system that will enhance the lives, the happiness, and the opportunities for our Indian citizens while at the same time promoting peace, harmony, and stability for all.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the 68th Legislature of the State of Montana urges Congress to:
(1) investigate alternatives to the American Indian reservation system;
(2) undertake this investigation as soon as is reasonably possible; and
(3) communicate the progress of this investigation to legislative leadership in Montana and any state containing a reservation for American Indians.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State send a copy of this resolution to each member of the United States House of Representatives, each member of the United States Senate, the Governor, and the tribal governments of each of the federally recognized Indian tribes in Montana.