Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Aug. 05

NM governor unveils State-Tribal Collaboration Report

SANTA FE, N.M. - Governor Bill Richardson recently released the "2010 Annual Report on State-Tribal Collaboration and Services to Native Americans."  This comprehensive Annual Report is a requirement of SB 196, the State-Tribal Collaboration Act of 2009, which was championed by Governor Richardson and is the strongest state law of its kind in the United States.  The report was created by 33 cabinet-level agencies, compiled by the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, and highlights both the services provided to American Indians and Alaska Natives and the progress each agency has made in furthering state-tribal relations pursuant to the State-Tribal Collaboration Act.

"The State-Tribal Collaboration Act is the cornerstone of my commitment to truly honor government-to-government relationships with the 22 Indian pueblos, tribes and nations," said Governor Richardson. "I commend the state agencies for their diligent efforts to address the needs of Indian communities and people even in the midst of the challenging budget shortfall we've faced. I am confident that we have set a strong precedent that will carry state-tribal relations into future administrations."

Some highlights of the 2010 Annual Report are:

• The creation by the Human Services Department and the Indian Affairs Department of a State-Tribal Workgroup focused on protecting vitally-needed health care services to Medicaid-enrolled Native Americans;

• The Tax and Revenue Department's and Veterans Services Department's processing of claims and payment of refunds to certain Native American veterans who had state income taxes withheld from their pay during their military service, pursuant to SB 541;

• The enactment of several key pieces of legislation, including HB 162 (recurring funding to the Tribal Infrastructure Fund), HB 90 (Native American Schools Dual Credit Program) and SB 107 (Indian Arts & Crafts Crime Consistencies);

• The development by the State Personnel Office and the Indian Affairs Department of the "State-Tribal Cultural Competency and Collaboration" training required by the State-Tribal Collaboration Act;

• The Tourism Department's collaboration with Santa Clara Pueblo to include Puye Cliff Dwellings in its ecotourism pilot projects;

• Enhanced cigarette tax revenue sharing with tribes and

• The development and implementation of State-Tribal Collaboration, Consultation and Communication Policies by all 33 cabinet-level agencies.

"The State of New Mexico continues to be a national leader in working productively with tribal governments and enhancing services to American Indians and Alaska Natives," said Indian Affairs Department Cabinet Secretary Alvin Warren. "Through genuine collaboration, state and tribal governments have proven that effective and respectful state-tribal relations benefit the state, the tribes and all the citizens of New Mexico."

The State-Tribal Collaboration Act started a new era in state-tribal relations," said Isleta Pueblo Governor Robert Benavides. "It helped the state strengthen its relationship with tribes and improve services to Native Americans. The act also put in place accountability measures for state agencies through the annual report."

 The 2010 annual report can be viewed at

www.iad.state.nm.us.

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