State of Indian Nations address: Leader calls on US to honor commitment to tribes, reform laws

The president of the National Congress of American Indians says tribes must insist that the federal government honor its commitment to Native people.

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Brian Cladoosby (kluh-DOOS'-bee) said Thursday in the annual State of Indian Nations address that too many reservations are plagued by high unemployment and dropout rates, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, and an epidemic of suicides.

He says the federal government must work with tribes to overcome those challenges, but not dictate solutions.

Cladoosby says Congress needs to update laws and regulations on energy, taxation and education that reflect a partnership based on deference to tribes and support.

Republican Sen. John Barrasso (buh-RAS'-oh) of Wyoming is expected to deliver the congressional response to Cladoosby's address from the nation's capital.

Cladoosby is chairman of the Swinomish (SWIHN'-oh-mish) Nation in Washington state.