Juneau Empire: Senators propose Native American Economic Advisory Council

JUNEAU - Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye introduced last week a bill that would create the first-ever Native American Economic Advisory Council.

Inouye said is his news release he wanted to establish an official venue for the Native community to provide input and share ideas with the Executive branch.

"In order to help shape the economic and social policies that govern the lives of indigenous peoples we have to rely on their insight and institutional knowledge," he said. "Native Americans and other indigenous groups have a keen sense of what their communities need to survive and thrive and we must provide them every opportunity to engage in the decision making and strategic planning process. This advisory council will provide them their long overdue place at the policy making table."

The long-term aim of the new council will be to improve the quality of Native American life and living conditions, and access to basic public services. Council members would be asked to consult with and make recommendations to federal agencies and the office of the President.

"Our Native communities and organizations in Alaska are great sources of innovative ideas and growth," Begich said, "yet Native communities across the U.S. remain largely untapped by mainstream decision-makers. This council would provide a platform from which Native thinkers could participate not only in the dialogue about development in their own communities, but also in the national economic dialogue."

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Source: Originally published May 17, 2010