1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Jordan (18th), Burton
Senate Resolution 3
(As Adopted by Senate)
A RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THE MISSISSIPPI BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS AS A GOVERNMENT EXERCISING SOVEREIGN GOVERNMENTAL POWERS FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS AND HAVING JURISDICTION ON LANDS WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI.
WHEREAS, the members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are the descendants of the inhabitants of the majority of the lands now forming the State of Mississippi prior to the arrival of the Europeans, and the tribe is a federally-recognized tribe exercising sovereign powers of government over 23,000 acres of land within the state, organized under the auspices of the Indian Reorganization Act in 1945; and
WHEREAS, today, the tribal government of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians through its elected leadership has brought many and diverse economic opportunities to the east central Mississippi and Gulf Coast areas, providing educational and social opportunities to the Choctaw people in the Choctaw communities, and bringing a progressive approach to community development to some of the most rural areas of the state; and
WHEREAS, the tribe has over the past three decades served as an economic catalyst for the reservation area, creating over 5,200 permanent jobs for people in the area, causing the creation of spin-off businesses, and increasing the level of economic activity and the volume of tax revenues for the state; and
WHEREAS, the federal government has an exclusive government-to-government relationship with Indian tribal governments based in the United States Constitution, specifically the Indian Commerce Clause; and
WHEREAS, the state has not established or acknowledged a governmental relationship with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and such a relationship would be of mutual benefit to the members of the tribe and to the other citizens of the State of Mississippi:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MISSISSIPPI STATE SENATE, That the Mississippi State Senate does hereby officially recognize the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians as a government exercising sovereign governmental powers for the past 50 years and having jurisdiction on lands within the boundaries of the State of Mississippi.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Mississippi State Senate does hereby affirm that the appropriate and proper first forum for state-tribal intergovernmental relations is the Office of the Governor.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Mississippi State Senate does hereby request the Governor to work cooperatively wherever possible with the tribal government on issues of mutual benefit, and to negotiate and sign agreements with the tribe.