of New Jersey
WHEREAS, on August 4, 2006, the New Jersey Committee on Native American Community Affairs was created by Executive Order in the wake of a tragic shooting of a member of the Ramapough Lenape Nation and in recognition of the imperative that all citizens be treated fairly and have equal opportunity and access to State government and services and that the rights of all citizens be protected; and
WHEREAS, this Committee was charged to “evaluate the current social and economic conditions of Native Americans in New Jersey, namely civil rights issues and the community’s access to education, fair housing, infrastructure, employment, and health care”; and
WHEREAS, on December 14, 2007, the New Jersey Committee on Native American Community Affairs issued its final report (the “2007 Report”); and
WHEREAS, the 2007 Report contained 28 recommendations, among them that the State of New Jersey should: affirm its respect for and recognition of its three tribes; protect Native American open air worship sites and tribal burial grounds; resolve the long-standing environmental problems at the Ringwood Superfund Site and address the impact of those problems on local families; expand State government’s awareness of and outreach to the Native American community; increase educational opportunities for Native Americans by creating a revised, culturally accurate, elementary school curriculum and a scholarship assistance program and by eliminating school-based discrimination; provide additional employment and housing opportunities; upgrade access to health care services; and broaden inter-State, State, county, and municipal relations with Native American communities; and
WHEREAS, the recommendations set forth in the 2007 Report should be implemented across all levels of government and among the State’s Native American community as appropriate and that implementation needs to be monitored with particular care and diligence, given the indifference and neglect that Native American groups and individuals within the State have often confronted; and
WHEREAS, in 1995 the New Jersey Legislature created the New Jersey Commission on American Indian Affairs (the “Commission”) and charged it with, among other duties, supporting the development of the State’s American Indian Communities and acting as a liaison among those communities, the State and federal governments, and educational, social, and cultural institutions; and
WHEREAS, the 2007 Report recommended that the Commission’s structure be modified and its membership be expanded, which changes would help it fulfill its mission but which also necessitate legislative action; and
WHEREAS, the 2007 Report concluded that State-only recognition was a major issue for a broad cross-section of the Native American community, summarized the history of New Jersey’s three Native American tribes, and disavowed any intent to assist efforts at federal recognition for any tribe(s);
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- This administration affirms, endorses, and supports the New Jersey Legislature’s acknowledgement in 1995 of the major role of the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape Indians, the Ramapough Mountain Indians, and the Powhatan Renape Nation in the history of the State and those tribes’ unique and continuing importance in New Jersey’s political, social, and cultural life. Additionally, with the 2007 Report having reported that recognition is a major issue for a broad cross-section of the Native American community in New Jersey, the New Jersey Commission on American Indian Affairs is hereby directed to contact the leadership of the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape Indians, the Ramapough Mountain Indians, and the Powhatan Renape Nation to determine if any of these tribes wishes to be considered for State-only recognition via State statute.
- The Commission shall oversee, coordinate, and monitor the implementation of the 2007 Report.
- In fulfilling its charge pursuant to this Order, the Commission, among other duties, shall:
- recommend legislation and other proposals to protect Native American religious observances and related cultural practices;
- recommend legislation, gubernatorial measures, and cabinet-level actions to improve Native Americans’ experiences in education, employment, and housing; protect Native Americans’ civil rights and the environment surrounding their homes and communities; and create new mechanisms of communication between Native Americans, their leaders, and representatives of all levels of government;
- work with members of the cabinet or their designees and other officials from State, county, and municipal government to implement the recommendations of the 2007 Report; and
- prepare reports as of July 1, 2009, July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011 about the State’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2007 Report (“Implementation Reports”).
- The Commission is authorized to call upon any department, division, office, or agency of State government to provide such information, resources, or other assistance deemed necessary to discharge its responsibilities under this Order. Each department, division, office, and agency of this State is hereby required, to the extent not inconsistent with law, to cooperate with the Commission and to furnish it with such information, personnel, and assistance as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order. In particular, the personnel of the Departments of Children and Families, Community Affairs, Education, Environmental Protection, Health and Senior Services, Human Services, and Labor and Workforce Development shall be available to the Commission upon request.
- The Commission shall consult with experts or other knowledgeable persons in the public or private sector on any aspect of its mission pursuant to this Order.
- The Commission shall recommend for appointment by the Governor an advisory group of no more than five persons to assist it in overseeing the implementation of the 2007 Report and in preparing the Implementation Reports. This advisory group shall cease to operate upon the enactment of legislation expanding the membership and structure of the Commission as recommended in the 2007 Report.
- The Commission shall create a list of priorities so that its Implementation Reports shall include reference to its own activities as well as those of State government, provided, however, that nothing in this Order shall preclude the Commission from accomplishing its objectives prior to July 1, 2011, as set forth above.
- The following additional steps shall be taken to implement the 2007 Report:
- The Departments of Children and Families and Health and Senior Services shall as soon as possible send representatives to inter-departmental meetings at Tribal Centers and develop and implement plans to work with those Centers;
- The Department of State shall develop a new website for the Commission, and the Departments of Children and Families and Health and Senior Services shall create links to that site, and that site shall include links, as appropriate, with those departments’ websites;
- The Departments of Labor and Workforce Development and Law and Public Safety shall as soon as possible meet with representatives of the Commission to improve job opportunities for and greater outreach and communication with Native Americans, and these departments shall develop and implement plans to work with the Commission and/or the Tribal Centers, as appropriate, and these departments shall create links to the Commission’s website, and that site shall include links, as appropriate, with those departments’ websites; and
- The Departments of Community Affairs, Education, and Human Services, within 30 days of the date of this Order, shall meet with representatives of the Commission to address issues identified in the 2007 Report within each department’s area of expertise and to develop and implement plans to work with the Commission and/or the Tribal Centers, as appropriate.
- This Order shall take effect immediately
GIVEN, under my hand and seal
this 1st day
of October, Two Thousand and Eight, and of
the Independence of the United States, the Two
Hundred and Thirty-Third.
/s/ Jon S. Corzine
/s/ Edward J. McBride, Jr.
Chief Counsel to the Governor