Article V. Tribal Sovereignty — Platform of the Multnomah County Democratic Party


Nine sovereign, tribal nations are situated within the borders of Oregon with nearly six hundred within the United States. The Native American Rights Fund states, Tribal sovereignty predates the existence of the United States of America; and the United States recognizes tribal sovereignty in treaties, acts of Congress, Executive Orders, and court case law. Tribal nations are neither a special interest group nor a subset of counties. The Portland Metropolitan area is recognized as the ninth-largest community of indigenous people in the United States representing 380 tribal nations.


  1. We believe in the sovereignty, self-determination, and self-governance of all tribal nations in the United States.
  2. We believe in the moral imperative of the United States to fulfill its legally enforceable fiduciary obligation with great care and diligence regarding health care and education for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
  3. We believe in the right to housing that conforms with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  4. We believe all governmental entities are obligated to determine the extent of racial disparities associated with indigenous veterans and to implement measures to close these disparities in housing, education, healthcare, and mental-health services.
  5. We believe environmental justice demands policies that protect tribal members and their subsistence way of life from the detrimental effects of climate change such as those impacting salmon and other First Foods
  6. We believe that all students benefit from an introductory course in Native American studies before graduation throughout the state system of higher education and that all city, state, and county employees benefit from a cultural capacity training on American Indian and Alaska Native people.
  7. We believe in protecting and promoting tribal languages through the education system.
  8. We believe school mascots and team names should not be based on Native American stereotypes, images, or tribes and, while elimination of such names is being pursued, teams should be identified only by their school names.
  9. We believe public officials and agencies must reduce the high percentage of Indian families who are broken up by the removal, often unwarranted, of their children by non-tribal, public, and private agencies and the high percentage of such children who are placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes and institutions.
  10. We believe in the beneficial effects of programs that allow for and promote communication between incarcerated Native Americans and their family members—a practice which reduces recidivism in a system where racial disproportionality must be eliminated.
  11. We believe that Oregon has a responsibility to work in consultation with tribal authorities to respond to each murder and disappearance of Native American persons anywhere in Oregon.


  1. We demand compliance with treaties between the United States and Tribal nations and hold the federal government to their trust responsibility.[1]
  2. We call for Congress to ratify treaties signed in good faith by Indian Tribes.
  3. We support the self-determination of Indigenous people and call for compliance with the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975.[2]
  4. We support legislation that mandates sufficient funding and other resources for full implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
  5. We support legislation requiring State courts to honor orders from tribal courts, to keep Native children with their families and tribal nations – except in the cases where they are endangered and to maintain safe, culturally responsive Native homes where Native children are valued and placed.
  6. We support legislation that fully funds teams of investigators to work in consultation with Tribal authorities to respond to each murder and disappearance of Native American persons anywhere in Oregon.
  7. We support legislation to mandate that every State and local official work with Tribal nations to close jurisdictional gaps in law enforcement on reservations and to consult relevant treaties to ensure proactive compliance with sacred obligations and trust responsibilities enshrined in said treaties.
  8. We call for universal, publicly funded health care to close health disparities exacerbated by Congress chronically under-funding Indian Health Service.

[1] According to the Administration for Native Americans, “This principle – that the government has a duty to keep its word and fulfill its treaty commitments – is known as the doctrine of trust responsibility. See, e.g., Seminole Nation v. U.S. (1942), and U.S. v. Mason (1973), and Morton v Mancari (1974).”

[2] Self Determination of Indian Peoples is defined as the movement by which Native Americans implement control over policies with maximum participation of Indian people over the control of their rights in all efforts.