The Louisiana Governor's Office of Indian Affairs has been vacant since 2010. From the tribal perspective, the Office is a means of maintaining an effective government-to-government relationship with the State of Louisiana. Representative Joe Harrison of Gray recognizes the importance of this office and has been an advocate for our people seeking action by the Governor in recognizing that the Office of Indian Affairs is critical. However, we have seen no action from Jindel's office.
On Thursday, myself and Mr. Adam Crappel, UHN Councilman District 1, attended the hearing for HB 441 introduced by Representative Harrison in the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. If the bill is successful, it would abolish the non-functioning Governor's Office of Indian Affairs and re-establish a Louisiana Commission on Indian Affairs that would be composed of members of each recognized tribe in the state and housed under the Department of State.
In advocating for our people, I recognize that there needs to be an efficient way for the consolidated tribal leadership to have a voice at the state level. I believe strongly that since the commission was abolished in 1988 and moved to a Governor appointed office and position, the real voice of American Indian people in the state has been lost.
We will continue to follow this legislation as it makes it way through the process and work with Representative Harrison to ensure this bill meets the needs of our Tribe and others in the state. Click here to follow the bill's progress.
Thomas Dardar, Jr.