The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians applauds Congress for passing the Great American Outdoors Act
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
The U.S. House of Representatives took a historic vote on July 22, when it approved the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill that will invest in priority repairs at our national parks, in our public lands and for the Bureau of Indian Education schools. These lands and entities are essential to Tribal communities because they provide significant cultural, educational, recreational, and economic benefits, and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) have worked hard over several years to see this funding realized and these critical lands protected.
The Senate passed the legislation by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in June. The bill will also address repairs on other public lands and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a valuable tool that preserves access to public lands and provides resources to urban and rural communities for recreation facilities.
“This is the culmination of years of advocacy and hard work to try and address what is now an over $13 billion backlog of critical repairs in our national parks," said Terri Parr, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Executive Director. "The Greater American Outdoor Act will benefit the lands that Native peoples have lived on and stewarded since time immemorial. It was important for Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians to play an active role in protecting and preserving land that Tribes have cultural, historical, and tradition ties to be they, Crater Lake, Glacier, Olympic, or many, many others. I want to thank all the congressional members from Northwest states who supported this bill. Their "yea" vote was a vote for the preservation of history and the promotion of cultural tourism critical to tribal economies."
At the 2017 Annual Convention, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians members supported and passed a resolution supporting the care and maintenance of our National Park System — an affirmation and commitment to the Tribes' unique relationship with the National Park Service (NPS). That resolution was carried to the National Congress of American Indians' (NCAI) convention, which led to National Congress of American Indians adopting a budget request for the 2019 Fiscal Year calling on the federal government to address the then $11.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog in the National Park Service. From 2018 to 2020, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians leadership made no less than two visits to Washington D.C. to meet directly with congressional offices to voice their support for action on critical infrastructure funding for National Park Service. Those meetings often resulted in members of congress supporting National Park Service legislation.
The legislation is the most significant investment in almost 65 years for national parks and public lands. Equally important, it will help tribal communities and businesses economically. Park tourism contributes over $41.7 billion to the national economy annually and supports over 340,000 jobs.
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
In 1953 farsighted tribal leaders in the Northwest formed the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, and dedicated it to tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Today, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is a nonprofit organization representing over 50 Northwest tribal governments from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, southeast Alaska, Northern California, and Western Montana. Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is an organization whose foundation is composed of the people it is meant to serve — the Indian peoples. Through its conferences, forums, networks, and alliances, it is the intent of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians to represent and advocate for the interests of its member Tribes to national Indian and non-Indian organizations and governments.