Text: H.J.Res.3 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (01/04/2005)

[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.J. Res. 3 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
H. J. RES. 3

    To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-
  conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian 
  tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the 
                             United States.



                            January 4, 2005

     Mrs. Jo Ann Davis of Virginia introduced the following joint 
      resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Resources


                            JOINT RESOLUTION

    To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-
  conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian 
  tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the 
                             United States.

Whereas the ancestors of today's Native Peoples inhabited the land of the 
        present-day United States since time immemorial and for thousands of 
        years before the arrival of peoples of European descent;
Whereas the Native Peoples have for millennia honored, protected, and stewarded 
        this land we cherish;
Whereas the Native Peoples are spiritual peoples with a deep and abiding belief 
        in the Creator, and for millennia their peoples have maintained a 
        powerful spiritual connection to this land, as is evidenced by their 
        customs and legends;
Whereas the arrival of Europeans in North America opened a new chapter in the 
        histories of the Native Peoples;
Whereas, while establishment of permanent European settlements in North America 
        did stir conflict with nearby Indian tribes, peaceful and mutually 
        beneficial interactions also took place;
Whereas the foundational English settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, and 
        Plymouth, Massachusetts, owed their survival in large measure to the 
        compassion and aid of the Native Peoples in their vicinities;
Whereas, in the infancy of the United States, the founders of the Republic 
        expressed their desire for a just relationship with the Indian tribes, 
        as evidenced by the Northwest Ordinance enacted by Congress in 1787, 
        which begins with the phrase, ``The utmost good faith shall always be 
        observed toward the Indians'';
Whereas Indian tribes provided great assistance to the fledgling Republic as it 
        strengthened and grew, including invaluable help to Meriwether Lewis and 
        William Clark on their epic journey from St. Louis, Missouri, to the 
        Pacific Coast;
Whereas Native Peoples and non-Native settlers engaged in numerous armed 
Whereas the United States Government violated many of the treaties ratified by 
        Congress and other diplomatic agreements with Indian tribes;
Whereas this Nation should address the broken treaties and many of the more ill-
        conceived Federal policies that followed, such as extermination, 
        termination, forced removal and relocation, the outlawing of traditional 
        religions, and the destruction of sacred places;
Whereas the United States forced Indian tribes and their citizens to move away 
        from their traditional homelands and onto federally established and 
        controlled reservations, in accordance with such Acts as the Indian 
        Removal Act of 1830;
Whereas many Native Peoples suffered and perished--

    (1) during the execution of the official United States Government 
policy of forced removal, including the infamous Trail of Tears and Long 

    (2) during bloody armed confrontations and massacres, such as the Sand 
Creek Massacre in 1864 and the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890; and

    (3) on numerous Indian reservations;

Whereas the United States Government condemned the traditions, beliefs, and 
        customs of the Native Peoples and endeavored to assimilate them by such 
        policies as the redistribution of land under the General Allotment Act 
        of 1887 and the forcible removal of Native children from their families 
        to faraway boarding schools where their Native practices and languages 
        were degraded and forbidden;
Whereas officials of the United States Government and private United States 
        citizens harmed Native Peoples by the unlawful acquisition of recognized 
        tribal land, the theft of resources from such territories, and the 
        mismanagement of tribal trust funds;
Whereas the policies of the United States Government toward Indian tribes and 
        the breaking of covenants with Indian tribes have contributed to the 
        severe social ills and economic troubles in many Native communities 
Whereas, despite continuing maltreatment of Native Peoples by the United States, 
        the Native Peoples have remained committed to the protection of this 
        great land, as evidenced by the fact that, on a per capita basis, more 
        Native people have served in the United States Armed Forces and placed 
        themselves in harm's way in defense of the United States in every major 
        military conflict than any other ethnic group;
Whereas Indian tribes have actively influenced the public life of the United 
        States by continued cooperation with Congress and the Department of the 
        Interior, through the involvement of Native individuals in official 
        United States Government positions, and by leadership of their own 
        sovereign Indian tribes;
Whereas Indian tribes are resilient and determined to preserve, develop, and 
        transmit to future generations their unique cultural identities;
Whereas the National Museum of the American Indian was established within the 
        Smithsonian Institution as a living memorial to the Native Peoples and 
        their traditions; and
Whereas Native Peoples are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable 
        rights, and that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
        happiness: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled, 

                      acknowledgement and apology

    Section 1. The United States, acting through Congress--
            (1) recognizes the special legal and political relationship 
        the Indian tribes have with the United States and the solemn 
        covenant with the land we share;
            (2) commends and honors the Native Peoples for the 
        thousands of years that they have stewarded and protected this 
            (3) acknowledges years of official depredations, ill-
        conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the United 
        States Government regarding Indian tribes;
            (4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States 
        to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, 
        maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by 
        citizens of the United States;
            (5) expresses its regret for the ramifications of former 
        offenses and its commitment to build on the positive 
        relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter 
        future where all the people of this land live reconciled as 
        brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this 
        land together;
            (6) urges the President to acknowledge the offenses of the 
        United States against Indian tribes in the history of the 
        United States in order to bring healing to this land by 
        providing a proper foundation for reconciliation between the 
        United States and Indian tribes; and
            (7) commends the State governments that have begun 
        reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in 
        their boundaries and encourages all State governments similarly 
        to work toward reconciling relationships with Indian tribes 
        within their boundaries.


    Sec. 2. Nothing in this Joint Resolution authorizes any claim 
against the United States or serves as a settlement of any claim 
against the United States.