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Clay Acts to Defend Native American Tribes from Economic Exploitation by Fraudulent Identity Claims

December 12, 2019
Press Release
Stolen Heritage Prevention Act targets fake Native American scams

Clay Acts to Defend Native American Tribes from Economic Exploitation by Fraudulent Identity Claims

Stolen Heritage Prevention Act targets fake Native American scams

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay, (D) Missouri has introduced new legislation to protect taxpayers and federally recognized Native American tribal nations from fraud and abuse.  Recently, false claims of Native identity perpetrated by members of unrecognized tribal organizations have resulted in economic exploitation and lost opportunities for indigenous Americans—and the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars. H.R. 5268, the Stolen Heritage Prevention Act of 2019, would amend the United States Criminal Code to crack down on individuals and organizations that misrepresent themselves as citizens of state or federally recognized Native American tribes in order to receive benefits, including funding opportunities reserved for members of minority groups.

 

“Even in the face of centuries of genocide, dehumanizing exploitation, and discrimination, Native Americans continue to make significant contributions to the strength and prosperity of our nation,” said Mr. Clay.  “They now face a very real threat from the spread of fake tribal identity scams that rob them of economic opportunities, federal resources, and the dignity their heritage deserves.  This new legislation would protect precious Native American heritage by imposing severe fines and federal prison time for individuals who fraudulently claim to be citizens of unrecognized tribes in order to receive government resources.  In addition, the bill deters unrecognized tribes that take advantage of people seeking membership and requires that any tribal identification cards issued to individuals who are not eligible for federal benefits clearly state that fact on the card.

 

We strongly support the protection of tribal sovereignty and the integrity of tribal governments,” said Joe Valandra, Executive Director of the Native American Contractors Association. “NACA members create economic opportunity for their communities.  Our members also protect and defend best practices and positive community involvement.  This legislation recognizes that sovereignty, community and integrity by giving them added protections.”

 

The Congressman added, “Bad actors must not be able to fraudulently misrepresent themselves in order to abuse opportunities and resources intended to benefit legitimate, officially recognized tribes and their citizens. Furthermore, Native Americans deserve justice, respect, and full federal protection for their special tribal nation status. My new bill advances those goals.”

 

 

For more information on this important new legislation, please go to: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5268/all-info?r=1&s=1

 

 

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