Agency Description

The Commission on Indian Affairs was established in 1971 and consists of 14 Indian commissioners appointed by the Governor. Additionally, the commission has four “ex-officio” member representing the Pawnee tribe, Oglala Sioux, Ioway, Sac and Fox. The commission’s statutory mission is “to do all things which it may determine to enhance the cause of Indian rights and to develop solutions to problems common to all Nebraska Indians.” It is the state liaison between the four headquarter tribes of the Omaha, Ponca, Santee Sioux and Winnebago Tribes of Nebraska. It helps ensure the sovereignty of both tribal and state governments are recognized and acted upon in a true government-to-government relationship. The commission serves off-reservation Indian communities by helping assure they are afforded the right to equitable opportunities in the areas of housing, employment, education, health care, economic development and human/civil rights within Nebraska. All goals of the commission are accomplished through advocacy, education and promotion of legislation.

Statutory Authority

The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs (NCIA) was created by LB 904 of the 82nd session of the Nebraska Legislature on May 22, 1971. The Indian Commission statutes are outlined in sections 81-2504 R.R.S.

Vision

Sovereignty of both Tribal and State governments are recognized and acted upon by both in a true government-to-government relationship. Each of the Nebraska’s Indian citizens and their families be afforded the right to enjoy equitable opportunities, as do their non-Indian counterparts, in the areas of housing, employment, education, health care, economic development, and human/civil rights. To educate and sensitize the general public, educators, school-age youth, and legislators to the unique status of Tribes and Indian citizens; and the issues that effect them.

Mission and Principles

“The purpose of the Commission shall be to join representatives of all Indians in Nebraska to do all things which it may determine to enhance the case of Indian Rights and to develop solutions to the problems common to all Nebraska Indians.”

Respect for the Sovereignty of Tribal and State government has an active role to play in the education of Nebraskans to the unique status of Tribes and Indian citizens; the many and varied ways Indian people have and continue to contribute to Nebraska history; to the issues that impact Nebraska’s Indian citizens in significant and often devastating ways; to identify and address cultural barriers that impact Indians in Nebraska.

Goals

Actively promote state and federal legislation beneficial to Tribes and Indian citizens in Nebraska, and monitor and assess their impact. Assist in development and implementation of state and federal programs that provide equitable services and opportunities for Nebraska’s Indian families in the areas of housing, employment, economic development, health, human services, law and order, tribal sovereignty, and civil/human rights. Educate legislators, educators, school-age youth and the general public on the issues and legislation that impacts Indian country in Nebraska; especially government and private resources to improve the lives of Nebraska’s Indian citizens.

What We Do…

Program Objectives:

  • Identify and eliminate barriers for Nebraska tribes and Indian citizens in the areas of housing, employment, education, health care, economic development and human/civil rights.
  • Promote and effectively mobilize government and private sector resources to improve equitable opportunities for Indians in Nebraska.
  • Educate legislators, youth and the general public on the issues and legislation that impact Nebraska’s tribes, Indian citizens and their families.
  • Apprise the Governor of the climate in the Native American community at the state and national level.
  • Foster diversity and cultural sensitivity with Nebraska State Legislature.
  • Advance sovereignty issues within the state.
  • Promote state and federal legislation.
  • Coordinate existing programs: housing, education, welfare, medical and dental care, employment, economic development, law and order.
  • Work with other state and federal government agencies and federal and state elected officials.

Program Description:
The Commission’s five-year plan is developed from meetings held with tribal leaders and off-reservation Indian communities to determine priorities. Specific areas currently identified for focus are youth/family/elders, economic development, governance and public relations. Additionally, the Commission seeks to promote within Nebraska opportunities for self-sufficiency for Indian people.