NAFSA https://www.mynafsa.org Thu, 19 Dec 2013 18:46:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 myNAFSA Applauds CFPB Enforcement Action against Fraudulent Lending Practices by CashCall https://www.mynafsa.org/mynafsa-applauds-cfpb-enforcement-action-fraudulent-lending-practices-cashcall/ https://www.mynafsa.org/mynafsa-applauds-cfpb-enforcement-action-fraudulent-lending-practices-cashcall/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 02:32:57 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1471 -Executive Director of Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) Promotes Lending Best Practices, Sovereign Tribal Law and Regulation-

Media Contact:
Philip Elwood, 202-973-5310

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2013 – Following a decision by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to take enforcement actions against CashCall and WS Funding – an online lender which does not operate under tribal law or abide by tribal regulatory bodies and is not wholly-owned by a federally-recognized tribe,Barry Brandon, Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) today released the following statement:

“It is incumbent on the CFPB to understand the difference between CashCall / WS Funding and NAFSA’s members, which it makes very clear in the complaint filed today by stating: ‘Western Sky Financial, LLC is an online lender. It is owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, but is not owned or operated by a tribe or tribal entity. Western Sky is a limited-liability company organized under the laws of South Dakota. It purports that loans made in its name are subject only to the laws of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation.’ (Paragraph 18 of CFPB Complaint).

“NAFSA sets the bar high for our members. Our member tribes follow all applicable tribal and federal laws and agree to abide by a strict set of industry-leading best practices to ensure that consumers can trust NAFSA members to honor their rights, protect their privacy, treat them fairly, and constantly strive to offer innovative financial products. CashCall does not abide by these consumer-friendly practices, is not an enterprise wholly owned by a federally-recognized tribe, is not regulated by a tribal regulatory lending authority, does not operate according to tribal law, and breaks the covenants meant to benefit tribal governments and their members.

“Our member tribes support this move by the CFPB and will continue to abide by the highest possible lending standards. We expect the CFPB to take precaution in understanding these distinguishing characteristics between illegal CashCall / WS Funding products and properly-structured small dollar loan products offered by our tribal governments.”

About NAFSA

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

 

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Barry Brandon in Indian Country Today: Tribes Are Forming a More Perfect Union https://www.mynafsa.org/tribes-forming-perfect-union/ https://www.mynafsa.org/tribes-forming-perfect-union/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 14:28:50 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1466 When the course of human events mandates a new forming of political bands between one people and another, that challenge has often been met. This was the foundation of our more perfect union.

So it was when the United States saw its tumultuous start.

So it was outlined as a core tenet of one of the United States’ most important founding documents.

And so it shows its need again today, as Native American tribes and Nations find their most basic rights as sovereign peoples under attack.

At the heart of Native American culture is the right of self-determination and self-government—which has been part and parcel of tribes’ status as sovereign entities. It dictated how tribes conducted themselves for as long as they’ve existed. It had laid the groundwork for their interaction with a federal government.

While sovereignty as a legal principle has been part of the fabric of federal-tribal relations for hundreds of years, it has been reaffirmed and reinforced throughout history. Legislative actions have respected it. Legal rulings have upheld it. And the Constitution codified it—right after it outlined the hope for “a more perfect union.”

With sovereign rights under attack, the fabric of that more perfect union, especially the relationship that exists between the federal government and Indian country, has begun to fray.

As a result, the tribes are now forming a more perfect union amongst themselves, joining together to fight a gross overreach by governmental entities, including the State of New York’s Department of Financial Services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), FDIC, Department of Justice, and others.

These agencies, acting overzealously, have taken a stand against tribes’ ability to provide for themselves through the creation of responsible e-commerce enterprises. They’ve attempted to circumvent tribal sovereignty through the intimidation of community banks and third party payment processors. These intermediaries have been threatened with heightened regulatory scrutiny unless they cease doing business with online tribal lenders.

This backdoor approach to regulating Indian country is an affront to the government-to-government and regulator-to-regulator relationship that has existed between the United States and sovereign Indian nations for centuries. Indian country, thus, is presenting a unified front to respond in kind.

In the past few weeks, multiple tribal bodies have taken swift action against this flagrant overreach. Most notably, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) put the weight of their members behind a resolution decrying these affronts to Native American sovereignty.

The resolution cites multiple sources establishing the very rights that are now under fire. Executive Order 13175, signed by President Clinton, acknowledges that the United States would continue to work with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis to address issues concerning self-government, trust resources, and Indian treaty and other rights.

President Obama, in 2009, issued an Executive Memorandum to again reinforce these rights, directing all Federal agencies to develop a written plan of action to implement the directives of E.O. 13175 and to consult and coordinate with tribal governments about this plan.

Most notably, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which established the CFPB, expressly defined tribes as a “State,” thereby recognizing the authority of tribal governments to legalize, regulate, and conduct short-term online consumer financial services. The recent quasi-enforcement actions undertaken by these and other governmental bodies are wholly inconsistent with the trust responsibilities that are owed to Indian nations.

The NCAI is not alone in this defense. Similar resolutions have been passed by a variety of tribes, including the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, which represents the 16 tribes within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation; the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Lame Deer, Montana; the Fort Belknap Indian Community of Harlem, Montana; and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of Rosebud, South Dakota. Nevada’s Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada have also sent letters to elected officials protesting this assault on their sovereignty.

These highly respected rights have sustained us for the duration of our history. If they are to be attacked, we will be united in defending them. And therein will lay a more perfect union for our sovereign Nations.

Barry Brandon, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, serves as the Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA), bringing a wealth of experience in Native American law and policy to the the organization. He has served for more than two decades as a litigator, corporate executive, policy strategist, and regulatory advisor, making him a highly-regarded authority on legal and policy matters regarding Indian country.

Read more at Indian Country Today.

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Indian Gaming Magazine: Spotlight on Economic Development https://www.mynafsa.org/indian-gaming-magazine-spotlight-economic-development/ https://www.mynafsa.org/indian-gaming-magazine-spotlight-economic-development/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2013 19:02:55 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1455 In this month’s Tribal Leader Roundtable, we spoke with three tribal leaders about the status of gaming at their casino properties and what plans they have for the future with regard to economic development. Here is what they had to say…

Spotlight on Economic Development

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Sovereignty shapes county’s relationship with tribal casinos https://www.mynafsa.org/sovereignty-shapes-countys-relationship-tribal-casinos/ https://www.mynafsa.org/sovereignty-shapes-countys-relationship-tribal-casinos/#comments Mon, 11 Nov 2013 22:29:43 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1452 Eleven years after the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians opened Sonoma County’s only casino in the Geyserville hills, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria will throw open the doors to its far larger gambling palace next to Highway 101 outside Rohnert Park.

Both casinos were flatly opposed by Sonoma County government officials and many residents. But one factor above all hamstrung county officials and shaped their dealings with the tribes.

That factor is tribal sovereignty.

“It’s very significant,” said Bruce Goldstein, an Indian law expert and the county’s chief counsel, who led casino-related negotiations with both the Graton Rancheria and the Dry Creek Rancheria.

“In order to find solutions, it’s important to work with them on an equal basis. The county’s not in a position to impose regulations,” he said.

Tribal sovereignty has been controversial through the years because of the special status it accords a particular group of Americans and because it strips power from local and state governments.

But it springs from the legal recognition that tribes were North America’s original nations, a position that comes with distinct rights.

The essential backbone of tribal sovereignty is that tribes have the right to govern themselves and their territory, lands that the federal government holds in trust.

And one entity’s sovereignty necessarily excludes, at least to a major degree, that of another.

“You can’t govern yourself if you have state and local governments regulating you and breathing down your neck,” said Matthew Fletcher, director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at the Michigan State University law school.

In regard to their control over their reservations, tribes are in most ways free from the reach of state law. Without invitation, non-members cannot go to tribal governance meetings as they can attend board of supervisors or city council meetings. And tribes are entirely out of reach of county or city ordinances.

As sovereign nations, federally recognized tribes enjoy the same immunity from lawsuits as the federal and state governments, though that can be partially waived if the tribe chooses to do so or by congressional action.

For example, in revenue-sharing agreements that the Graton tribe has signed with Rohnert Park and Sonoma County, the tribe partially waived its sovereign immunity in certain circumstances.

The right of tribal self-governance was affirmed in what is generally considered the most important judicial ruling in Indian law, the Worcester v. Georgia case in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1832.

In that case, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the decision that said tribes, while “weaker” political bodies than the United States, were still independent states. They had never surrendered the sovereign rights they held before Europeans arrived on the continent, Marshall said.

The ruling “held that Indian tribes were sovereign governments; they have always been sovereign governments; they can run their internal relations however they see fit,” said Stephen Pevar, an Indian law specialist and senior counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Marshall also affirmed that Congress had not given the tribes their sovereignty through treaties, laws or any other means. They had possessed it “from time immemorial,” Marshall ruled.

“It’s not delegated powers; those are original powers,” Pevar said.

At the same time, tribes are in many ways subject to, as well as protected by, U.S. law. In another key decision, Marshall said tribes are “domestic dependent nations” with a relationship to the United States like “that of a ward to his guardian.”

That relationship emerges in, for example, the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA, in which Congress set the legal framework for how, when and where tribal gambling is allowed.

The law followed on the heels of the 1987 Supreme Count ruling in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians that affirmed the right of tribes to operate gambling businesses on their reservations in states where that sort of gambling already was permitted elsewhere. In California at the time, the lottery, high-stakes bingo and poker already were legal. With that ruling, the court affirmed the principle that states cannot regulate the conduct of tribes.

IGRA alluded to the nation’s obligation as a guardian of the tribes and said the main goal of federal Indian policy was to “promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency and strong tribal government.”

But the law also asserted federal authority, requiring tribes to reach agreements with states before they could open Nevada-style casinos. In doing that, Congress exercised the power it holds over tribes and their land — which is considered final authority — by taking away sovereign independence earlier recognized by the Supreme Court.

Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the right to regulate commerce with tribes. Congress can use its power even to terminate tribes, as it did to 109 of them between 1953 and 1966, actions that the Supreme Court can reverse. It also can restore tribes, as it did with the Graton Rancheria in 2000.

A terminated tribe could continue as a social and cultural entity, but it would be stripped of its sovereignty and no longer would have any governmental authority over its members or property it owned.

Indian law experts and advocates for tribal rights view the government’s power over tribes with different lenses.

“To the extent that tribes have sovereignty, it’s because Congress hasn’t taken it away,” said Tony Cohen of Santa Rosa, an Indian law attorney.

But Pevar put it somewhat differently: “The federal government has a trump card. It doesn’t mean Indian tribes lack sovereignty; they lack full sovereignty.”

And in key ways, California’s sovereign powers do extend into tribal land. In 1953, federal Public Law 280 gave California and four other states criminal jurisdiction on Indian reservations, even in cases involving tribal members.

Tribes, however, also can prosecute tribal members in tribal court for criminal offenses, even if they have been prosecuted in state courts.

Also, in another significant limit on sovereignty, Chief Justice Marshall, who elsewhere so strongly affirmed tribal rights to self-government, separately established that tribes do not have the right to sell land that is held in federal trust for them. In other words, neither the Dry Creek Rancheria nor the Graton Rancheria is able to sell all or portions of its reservation without federal approval.

Though tribes may chafe at such limitations, they are part of the parcel, said Fletcher of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center.

“You live with it,” he said.

And while court rulings have pushed tribal sovereignty one way or another over the years, at this point the broad strokes of it are largely established, Fletcher said — in part due to political realities.

“I think it’s as well settled as it can be,” he said. “The tribes have, because of their economic clout, in the last 30 years really become important.

“Nobody’s giving away sovereignty,” he said. “It will improve, or enlarge. Whatever you call it, it will be enhanced because the tribes themselves will be better at governing.”

Read more at the Press Democrat.

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National Congress of American Indians Joins NAFSA’s Fight to Protect Sovereign Rights https://www.mynafsa.org/national-congress-american-indians-joins-nafsas-fight-protect-sovereign-rights/ https://www.mynafsa.org/national-congress-american-indians-joins-nafsas-fight-protect-sovereign-rights/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 15:53:16 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1433 WASHINGTON (October 22, 2013) — Following repeated attacks on the lending businesses owned, operated, and regulated by sovereign Native American tribes, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is today joining the fight led by the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) to empower tribal enterprises and protect sovereign rights. NCAI, established in 1944, is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments.

This action reinforces the long history of federal protection of sovereign rights, including Executive Order 13175, signed by President Clinton and mandating that that the “United States continues to work with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis;” a 2009 Executive Memorandum issued by President Obama which directs all Federal agencies to develop a written plan of action to implement E.O. 13175 and to consult and coordinate with tribal governments about this plan; and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, passed by Congress and signed into law, which expressly defines tribes as a “State,” thereby recognizing the authority of tribal governments to legalize, regulate, and conduct short-term online consumer financial services. Recent quasi-enforcement actions undertaken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are contrary to the spirit of co-regulation as set forth by Dodd-Frank and inconsistent with the tenants of Federal Indian Law.

“As the oldest and largest Native organization, having the NCAI’s support is a major development in our fight to protect our tribes’ sovereign right to offer financial services,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “Federal agencies have overstepped their bounds into Indian country and it is drastically impacting our ability to provide essential services to our members. We are encouraged that the NCAI has joined us and are hopeful that other Native advocacy organizations will follow suit.”

The resolution, titled “Request for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to Act Consistent with Executive Orders on Tribal Consultation and with Federal Policy Supporting Tribal Self-Determination and Self-Governance” was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held October 13-18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

About NAFSA

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

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Governor George Rivera, Native American Leader, Joins NAFSA Board of Directors to Advance Tribal Economic Development through Online Lending https://www.mynafsa.org/governor-george-rivera-native-american-leader-joins-nafsa-board-directors-advance-tribal-economic-development-online-lending/ https://www.mynafsa.org/governor-george-rivera-native-american-leader-joins-nafsa-board-directors-advance-tribal-economic-development-online-lending/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2013 13:42:46 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1430 WASHINGTON (October 7, 2013) – As the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) continues fighting to preserve tribes’ sovereign rights through strong businesses that are adequately regulated by tribal entities, NAFSA is pleased to announce the addition of Governor George Rivera, noted Native American Leader, to its board of directors.

Rivera currently serves as Governor of the Pueblo of Pojoaque in northern New Mexico, where he serves as a political leader, cultural preservationist, artist, and art instructor, among many other roles.

“It is a great honor for me to join this prestigious organization which is so dedicated to protecting tribes’ sovereign rights to pursue meaningful economic development through every available avenue,” stated Governor Rivera. “I look forward to working with NAFSA to advance our shared priorities and continue bringing real economic advancement to Indian country.”

“As one of Indian country’s most noted leaders, we are honored to have Governor Rivera’s presence on our board of directors,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “His reputation as a respected leader and the perspective he brings from his various responsibilities will be a unique asset as we pursue our mission to protect tribal sovereign rights.”

Governor Rivera has served as Governor of his Pueblo for nine years, after serving as Lieutenant Governor since 1992. In his current role, he oversees the Pueblo’s economic and community development, giving him unique experience as NAFSA continues advocating for the protection of Native American sovereign rights through economic development.

Governor Rivera is also a prominent and internationally-recognized Native American artist who has been teaching and sculpting art for over 20 years. His work centers primarily on monumental stone and clay culture, painting, and architectural design. Rivera is a graduate of the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California, the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Lacoste School of Arts in Lacoste, France. His work is in many international collections.

He also serves as Executive Director of the Poeh Cultural Center and President of the Board of the Directors for Buffalo Thunder Incorporated, Pueblo of Pojoaque Enterprise Corporation, Pojoaque Gaming Incorporated, Pueblo of Pojoaque Development Corporation, and the Pueblo of Pojoaque Commercial Development Corporation.

Governor Rivera has two adult children, son PaaWee and daughter PoQueen, and two children with his wife, Felicia, son Valentino and daughter Iris Paloma. Both of his adult children have followed in his footsteps as public servants advancing the needs and priorities of Indian country. PaaWee is a Government Relations Advisor at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and PoQueen works for Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.). His wife, Felicia, serves as Director of the Pueblo of Pojoaque Education Department.

About NAFSA

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

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Court Agrees: New York State Department of Financial Services Perpetuating Irreparable Harm to Indian Country https://www.mynafsa.org/court-agrees-york-state-department-financial-services-perpetuating-irreparable-harm-indian-country/ https://www.mynafsa.org/court-agrees-york-state-department-financial-services-perpetuating-irreparable-harm-indian-country/#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2013 15:01:51 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1427 WASHINGTON (October 1, 2013) — After the Hon. Richard J. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court, Southern District ofNew York denied a preliminary injunction in The Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, et al. v. New York State Department of Financial Services, et al., effectively allowing the state of New York to overstep its jurisdiction onto Native American sovereign territories, Barry Brandon, Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA), provided the following comment:

“Today’s ruling failed to address hundreds of years of legal precedent and legislative action regarding Native Americans’ sovereign rights and will continue to allow ongoing and irreparable damage to Indian country through the state of New York’sactions. The Court acknowledges this, noting that ‘given the Tribes’ heavy fiscal reliance on lending operations, these developments pose a potentially ruinous threat to the Tribes’ financial viability.’ On that point, they are correct – it will absolutely devastate our tribes, which get large shares of our tribal operating budgets from the revenues generated by these businesses.

“At a time when the federal share of our governmental budgets is constantly in jeopardy as a result of budget sequestration and government shutdowns, our ability to provide for ourselves through these businesses is more important than ever. Without the preliminary injunction to allow these legal and regulated businesses to continue, their revenue streams will dry up, the services tribal governments offer to the most vulnerable among us will cease to be funded, and Native peoples will suffer.”

James Williams, Jr., Chairman of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, added:

“Consumers who take out loans from NAFSA tribal businesses do so with the express and clear knowledge that they are taking out a loan from a federally-recognized tribe, that it originates on a Native American reservation, and that it is made pursuant to sovereign tribal law. The Internet has allowed consumers to travel – virtually – to our reservations to get the financial services they need. The Court recognizes Tribes’ rights to sovereign authority over our territories, yet supplants that recognition with this decision. They aren’t just allowing the state to choke off our businesses; they are choking off our livelihoods.

“The denial of the tribes’ request for an injunction allows Defendant Lawsky to run out the clock without having to show a legal basis for his actions.”

The lawsuit was filed on August 21 on behalf of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, a federally-recognized Indian Tribe; Great Plains Lending, LLC, a wholly-owned tribal limited liability company; American Web Loan, Inc., a wholly-owned tribal corporation; Otoe-Missouria Consumer Finance Services Regulatory Commission, a tribal regulatory agency; Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, a federally-recognized Indian Tribe; Red Rock Tribal Lending, LLC, a wholly-owned tribal limited liability company; and  the Lac Vieux Desert Tribal Financial Services Regulatory Authority, a tribal regulatory agency. Both tribes involved are members of NAFSA.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, in his individual capacity and in his official capacity as Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, has been named as the Defendant.

David Bernick of Dechert, LLP, is serving as Counsel of Record for the action with Robert Rosette serving as co-counsel and attorney representing the two tribes.

About NAFSA

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

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NAFSA Looks Forward to Continued Partnership with FDIC https://www.mynafsa.org/nafsa-continued-partnership-fdic/ https://www.mynafsa.org/nafsa-continued-partnership-fdic/#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 13:39:02 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1425 WASHINGTON (September 30, 2013) — NAFSA’s tribal members appreciate the FDIC’s recent guidance to banks and processors which codifies the legality of doing business with online lenders. The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) looks forward to working with the FDIC to ensure that compliance programs keep bad actors out of this market. Since its creation, NAFSA has mandated that all members abide by a strict set of best practices that protect consumers and ensure that their rights are respected. Additionally, co-regulation with the FDIC and all other agencies by our individual tribal governments is a foundational value of NAFSA. Every one of our tribal members is committed to preserving the integrity of this industry, providing much needed jobs and opportunity throughout Indian country.

About NAFSA

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

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NAFSA Applauds GPTCA Resolution Supporting Online Lending, Opposing Overreach by State of New York, Reaffirming Tribal Sovereignty https://www.mynafsa.org/nafsa-applauds-gptca-resolution-supporting-online-lending-opposing-overreach-state-york-reaffirming-tribal-sovereignty/ https://www.mynafsa.org/nafsa-applauds-gptca-resolution-supporting-online-lending-opposing-overreach-state-york-reaffirming-tribal-sovereignty/#comments Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:41:59 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1422

WASHINGTON (September 17, 2013) — Congressional Delegations from Great Plains Region Urged to Take Action and Protect Tribal Rights-

As state and federal authorities across the country overstep their legal boundaries and infringe on Native Americans’ status as sovereign entities, tribes are speaking up in support of their rights, including the ability to operate legal, licensed online lending businesses that benefit their tribal governments.

This week, the latest Native American group to weigh in was the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA), which passed a resolution calling on the Congressional delegations from states within the Great Plains Region to stand with Indian country in fighting on Native Americans’ behalf. This comes after last month’s actions by the New York Department of Financial Services, which has interfered with tribes’ abilities to operate legal online lending businesses pursuant to tribal law.

GPTCA’s resolution was welcomed by the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA), whose members include tribes operating online lending enterprises that have contributed significantly to tribal economic development.

“We are pleased to have the GPTCA and their members join us in opposing and fighting the actions undertaken by these overzealous regulators,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “This resolution is further proof that Indian country is gravely concerned with the attacks that the State of New York has made on our tribal sovereignty. We will not sit idly by while our very old and highly respected rights are supplanted.”

The GPTCA is made up of the 16 Tribal Chairmen, Presidents, and Chairpersons in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The Tribal Leaders of the Sovereign Indian Nations meet quarterly to take action on various matters affecting the Tribes. The primary purpose of the GPTCA is to unify to defend the Tribes’ inherent rights under Treaties, promote the welfare of Native Americans, take up matters affecting the Tribes, and protect sovereignty.

The resolution was enacted at the GPTCA meeting on September 6. The full text of the resolution is below.

GREAT PLAINS TRIBAL CHAIRMAN’S ASSOCIATION (GPTCA)

WHEREAS, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) is composed of the elected Chairs and Presidents of the 16 Sovereign Indian Tribes and Nations recognized by Treaties with the United States that are within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and

WHEREAS, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association was formed to promote the common interests of the Sovereign Tribes and Nations and their members of the Great Plains Region which comprises the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska; and

WHEREAS, The United States has obligated itself both through Treaties entered into with the sovereign Tribes and Nations of the Great Plains Region and through its own federal statutes, the Snyder Act of 1921 as amended, the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1976 as amended, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976 as amended; and

WHEREAS, Indian Tribes are governments that pre-date the United States, and through the Indian Commerce, Treaty, and Apportionment Clauses and the 14th Amendment, the United States recognizes the status of Indian tribes as sovereigns and the status of American Indians as tribal citizens; and

WHEREAS, In treaties, the United States pledged to protect Indian Tribes, guaranteed the right of Tribal self-government, and has undertaken a trust responsibility to promote the viability of Indian reservations and lands as permanent homelands for tribes; and

WHEREAS, On September 6, 2013, the Tribal Chairmen and the Tribal Council representatives from the Tribal Nations that are members of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association are meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota, discussing issues of great importance to the Indian Tribal Nations of the Great Plains Region and their members; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, otherwise known as sequestration, Congress specifically exempted many programs that benefit low-income Americans, including Medicaid, tax credits for working families and food stamps, but exempted virtually none of the programs aiding American Indians — including money spent through the departments of interior, education, health and human services and agriculture; and

WHEREAS, the State of New York and the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) Administrator Benjamin Lawsky unlawfully attempted to intimidate Native American Tribes and encroach upon their Tribal Sovereignty by attempting to disrupt commerce with tribally owned financial services businesses; and

WHEREAS, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association insists on appearing before any Congressional Committees, Federal Boards or Regulatory Officials if new or revised regulations are being considered for the short term lending industry involving Tribally owned financial services businesses; and

WHEREAS, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association has the same concerns of other Tribes with reports that the DOJ and FDIC are intimidating some community banks and third party payment processors with threats of heightened regulatory scrutiny unless they cease doing business with online Tribal lenders. As a result, many banks and payment processors are terminating relationships with many of their long-term customers who provide underserved consumers with short-term credit options; and,

WHEREAS, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association recognizes the Honorable United States Attorney General Eric Holder as an individual who understands and defends Tribes’ inherent sovereignty; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby supports the Tribal Sovereignty of all Tribes in strongly opposing the actions of the State of New York that threaten every Tribes’ sovereignty; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association respectfully requests that the United States Congressional Delegations from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska contact the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission and reaffirm their Support for Tribal Sovereignty, confirm that they do not support the efforts by the State of New York or any other entity to encroach upon Tribal Sovereignty, and remind Federal Agencies to abide by Presidential Executive Orders requiring consultation; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association respectfully requests that the United States Congressional Delegations from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska confirm and clarify that no Federal Agency is bringing direct or indirect pressure upon banks to end their business relationships with Tribal Governments; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association reserves the sovereign rights of Tribes who are members Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association to develop their economy including entering the short term loan industry and will support all Tribes ensuring their Treaties and Sovereignty remain intact as our Treaties intended.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution shall be the policy of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association until otherwise amended or rescinded or until the goal of this Resolution has been accomplished.

About NAFSA

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

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NAFSA Applauds OCC’s Focus on Banking Successes and Opportunities in Native Communities https://www.mynafsa.org/nafsa-applauds-occs-focus-banking-successes-opportunities-native-communities/ https://www.mynafsa.org/nafsa-applauds-occs-focus-banking-successes-opportunities-native-communities/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:38:07 +0000 admin https://www.mynafsa.org/?p=1418 WASHINGTON (August 30, 2013) – Following the publication of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) August 2013 Community Development Investments e-zine, entitled “Extending Credit in Indian Country,” The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) applauded the agency’s focus on showing the banking industry both the opportunities that exist and the successes that have been realized through investments on Native American reservations.

The entire issue is devoted to highlighting some of the best practices, challenges, and treatment of investments, service, and credit extensions made by national banks and federal savings associations in Indian country. As Native American reservations badly need capital to counter the lingering problems caused by unemployment and poverty, the publication presents several of the real opportunities for banks to contribute to needed changes while making a profit. The publication can be read by clicking here.

“We welcome every chance to show the wealth of opportunities that can be had through investments on Native American reservations and appreciate the OCC standing with Indian country to show the world that these opportunities exist,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “For too long, there has been a lack of investment in our communities, in part because banks have not understood tribes and have been blind to the investment opportunities that exist on reservations. Coupled with the difficulty we face in developing our own investment opportunities, this presents serious challenges for economic development on our reservations.”

“Today, tribes are at long last starting to take control of their economic future through tribal online lending enterprises,” Brandon continued. “These enterprises are creating significant revenues for tribes’ governmental budgets and we are happy to partner with banks who work with us to process ACH payments. We look forward to a continued future partnering with banks in this capacity, in addition to furthering important investments in our communities in the ways outlined today by the OCC.”

Community Developments Investments is an e-zine that captures the creative ideas of bankers and community development practitioners investing in community development. The publication also identifies common features that can be applied to other investments, presents investment opportunities in the OCC Districts, and provides links to related resources, including the OCC’s public welfare investment authority.

About NAFSA

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

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