In the past few years, I've made five to 10 resolutions on each New Year's Day and kept all of them.
Impossible, you say? Not only is it possible, but I am now going to branch out and make New Year's resolutions for other people.
Read on for my wish list of 2007 resolutions for others. But first, here's my secret to keeping my own: make realistic, modest resolutions.
For example, rather than vowing to lose all the weight I need to, I resolve to add specific healthy foods to my life and to drop some that are less healthy for me. Over the years, frybread and steaks have been replaced by whole grains, edamame and soy products.
At some point, all the things that aren't good for me will be eliminated and I'll be fit, if not trim (I think ''fit 'n' trim'' was a slogan for a weight-loss drink that helped me gain 10 pounds about a dozen diets ago, but that's enough sharing).
In the spirit of resolute commitment to realistic goals, here are some 2007 resolutions that won't force others to crash diet - just to do a few healthy things for Native peoples. All are priorities; put them in the order that suits you.
110th Congress and White House: Resolved, to establish legislation to combat climate change, cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy. Alaska Native people and polar bears in a shrinking ice world are running out of time for action, and the rest of us may not be far behind. If California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can turn greenish and sign the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, 2006), what's stopping everyone else?
110th Congress: Resolved, to enact emergency legislation reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Indian people of all ages need this law, but Native elders and children are bearing the brunt of continued inaction.
Office of Management and Budget and Department of Justice: Resolved, to stop threatening to veto the health-care law's reauthorization. Indian people need prevention services and treatment now. It's true that some people who are sick will only get sicker and costs may escalate as conditions worsen. It's also true that funerals cost less than long-term care. But has the cost/benefit analysis of reauthorization really come to this?
White House and 110th Congress: Resolved, to provide increased training and financial assistance to tribal and federal responders to situations involving abuse of Indian elders and children, domestic violence and youth suicide attempts; the meth crisis in Indian country; and desecrations of ceremonial grounds and ancestors.
110th Congress, White House and Interior Department: Resolved, to develop protections for traditional sacred places in consultation with Native peoples and to enact a cause of action for Native nations to defend sacred places in court. The issue was used as a political trade bead in the 109th Congress with only token participation of Native peoples. Native sacred places and peoples deserve better than that.
110th Congress and the departments of Justice, Interior and Treasury: Resolved, to address the merits of the Indian trust funds case and either 1) enact a just settlement of the lawsuit or 2) let the litigation run its course.
News editors and reporters: Resolved, to cover stories about all Native peoples. In the rush to follow the Indian money, most Indian stories are being missed. How about starting with stories about Native peoples who have no money and who exist in suffocating poverty? Even with the stunning success of tribal gaming in certain states, tribal people still are the most economically impoverished people in the country.
News editors and reporters: Resolved, to cover the anti-Indian hate groups that are organized nationwide to undermine Native American treaties, laws and rights. Led by John Birchers, these groups are working hard to bring down the legal, constitutional, orderly activities of tribal governments and to keep Native peoples from owning and controlling Native property. They've been given a pass by most in the news industry, and even a boost by some.
News editors and reporters: Resolved, to cover stories about threats to Native ceremonial and burial grounds and about environmental emergencies affecting Native peoples, lands and waters.
News editors and reporters: Resolved, to find out who's manufacturing myths about Native peoples and why, particularly in politics and the entertainment and advertising industries, but even (and maybe especially) in the news industry itself.
110th Congress: Resolved, to enact the two-word (''or was'') amendment to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act's definition of Native American. This will help to restore the respect for Native peoples' human rights that Congress intended when it enacted NAGPRA in 1990.
Labor Department and 110th Congress: Resolved, to continue funding the Indian work force programs through the Labor Department. If moved to Interior, the urban Indian employment programs are less likely to be funded and tribal funding could be decreased. Decades of federal relocation efforts have diminished jobs on reservations and moved Indian people to cities where discrimination in employment is greater. A move now would be a further setback.
Labor Department: Resolved, to respect the advice of the Native American Employment and Training Council and to reinstate the Division of Indian and Native American Programs. Native programs in Labor have helped improve the overall Native employment picture. Tinkering with them will only exacerbate the problems.
White House: Resolved, to enforce the executive order on federal agencies' tribal consultation; to develop consultative standards; and to develop an executive order on Indian preference in federal Indian service entities governmentwide.
House of Representatives: Resolved, to establish a House Committee on Indian Affairs. Both House and Senate committees existed for 150 years before they were abolished in 1946. Indian matters were relegated to Public Lands subcommittees, taking a backseat to developers and special interests, then subsumed by the House Resources Committee. The Senate re-established its committee structure for Indian affairs in 1977. It's time for the House to catch up.
Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, is president of the Morning Star Institute in Washington, D.C., and a columnist for Indian Country Today.