WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds’ (R-SD) legislation to repeal discriminatory federal laws targeting Native Americans has passed the House of Representatives. It now heads to the President’s desk for signature.
The Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act would repeal 11 outdated federal laws, including laws that stripped Native American children from their families for the purpose of placing them in “Indian reform schools,” such as the now-infamous Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
“While we cannot rewrite the past, we need to acknowledge it and continue to strive for a more perfect Union,” said Rounds. “It’s long overdue to remove these immoral, discriminatory federal laws from our books. Throughout history, Native Americans have been subjected to unfair treatment from our federal government, including the forced removal of their children from their homes. Clearly, there is no place in our legal code for such measures, and it is appalling these laws are still in our federal code. I am pleased this bipartisan, commonsense legislation is heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”
Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), James Lankford (R-OK), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) are cosponsors of this legislation.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House on May 12, 2021, by Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Tom Cole (R-OK).
The RESPECT Act is supported by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).