U.S. House of RepresentativesWA District 7
Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Jayapal came to the United States by herself when she was 16, and has been a Seattle resident for 30 years. She was first elected to Congress in 2017, and she previously served as Washington State Senator from 2015 to 2017. She has a BA in English and Economics from Georgetown University and a MBA from Northwestern University. She is the former director of PATH Fund for Technology Transfer, has worked as a financial analyst, and author.
Responses to Tribe's Questions
To read about this candidate’s responses to the Snoqualmie Tribe’s questions, click through each question below.
Q1: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe?
It is to my knowledge that the Snoqualmie tribe is approximately 500 members consisting of Native Americans within the Puget Sound region. The tribe lost recognition in in 1953 but in 1999 regained federal recognition via the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This has allowed the Tribe for the development of Snoqualmie Casino, which provides financial support and resources for Tribe members and the local community.
Q2: What is your experience working with Tribes?
I am extremely grateful for the relationships I have developed with the Indigenous People’s community. I would also like to express my gratitude to my past endorsers Chairman Tim Ballew and the Lummi Indian Business Council, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish Tribe, as well as personal endorsements from Janeen Comenote (Quinault), Deborah Parker (Tulalip), Claudia Kauffman (Nez Perce), and Chris Stearns (Gambling Commissioner). I have been an advocate for Indigenous People’s throughout my political career. I have fought for greater access to dental care for tribes on the Healthcare Committee. I have launched an initiative to change the racist names of our nation’s geographical landmarks. I supported the activism of Standing Rock Sioux in protesting the pipeline. Finally, I have worked on many fishery issues, as the ranking member of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee. Furthermore in 2016, I co-sponsored the Paddle to Nisqually Resolution on the Senate floor. I will continue to be committed to supporting Native American issues and working with Indigenous communities.
Q3: What does the ideal government-to-government relationship with tribes look like to you?
The ideal State/Federal and Tribe government-to-government relationship is one in which the United States respects and protects the Tribal sovereignty. Furthermore, the United States must uphold the tribal treaty rights and rust obligations which is contained within out own Constitution. Furthermore, I believe that tribal governments deserve representation at the federal level. The treaties between the US and Native American tribes are the law of the land, therefore, there is a legal and moral obligation to uphold them.
Q4: If elected, what would your Indian Country-related goals be?
As a proud member of the Congressional Native American Caucus, and during this unstable time in our country’s history, I place priority on and will continue to defend Indian Country Sovereignty. Having our Native American brothers and sisters not only at the table, but leading discussions on policy that affects Indian Country is paramount to making effective policy. My related goal is to continue to ensure that your voices are amplified.
Q5: What is your knowledge of tribal treaties and trust obligations?
The main tribal treaty and trust obligation that I am aware of is the Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855. This treat reserves the right for Native Americans in the Puget Sound region to hunt, to fish, and reservations.
Q6: Do you support increasing funding to tribes for services such as health care, cultural resources, and education?
Yes, I support increasing funding for services such as health care, cultural resources, and education. I have fought for greater access to dental care for tribes on the Healthcare Committee. In addition, I have also co-sponsored of Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (H.Res.1159), Expressing support for the designation of May 5, 2020, as the ‘National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” (H.Res.950), and the Recognizing National Native American Heritage Month and celebrating the heritages and culture of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States (H.Res.1163). I have also supported increased funding for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. It is incredibly important to me that we honor the treaties and relationships between the United States and Indigenous communities.
Q7: What do you know about free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC)? If elected, would you advocate for these principles to be included in legislation and policy?
The FPIC is a principle protected by international human rights standards that state, “all peoples have the right to self-determination” and “all peoples have the right to freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development”. Furthermore, the FPIC is backed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the International Labor Organization Convention 169. Indigenous Peoples’ rights to lands, territories and natural resources are embedded within the universal right to self-determination. Yes, I am fully committed to include these principles in legislation or policy.
Q8: What protections do you believe Tribal cultural resources and sacred sites should have?
Authority over Tribal cultural resources and sacred sites should be solely vested in sovereign Tribal governments themselves. No government has the right to claim those sites other than Tribal governments. Therefore, the United States is required to protect such sites as outlined in the various treaties signed between the US and Indigenous peoples as it is critical to Native American self-determination.
Q9: What do you believe is the best role of government in the fee to trust process for tribes to gain jurisdiction over their traditional lands?
I believe that the best role from government at all levels is to respect and uphold the fee to trust process. The fee to trust process is one of the most important functions the Department of Interior can implement for Native American tribes. Allowing sovereign tribal governments to acquire land in trust is critical for a tribe’s self-determination. Furthermore, many federal programs entitled to Indigenous peoples can only be implemented on reservation or trust lands. The federal policies outlined in the Indian Reorganization Act and in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act must be respected, upheld, and reinforced through further legislation.
Q10: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe's sacred site, Snoqualmie Falls? Do you support the Tribe's right to have a say in any future decisions made on its sacred site, including hydropower licensing?
Snoqualmie falls is sacred to the Snoqualmie Tribe. It is believed to be the place where the First Women and the First Man were created by Moon the Transformer. It is the birthplace of the Snoqualmie Tribe. The Moon created the waterfall so that prayers could be carried up by the great mists to the Creator from the waterfalls powerful flow.
Yes, I support the Tribe’s right to have a say in the future decisions made on its sacred sites, especially when it comes to hydropower. We must honor the Snoqualmie Tribe’s duty to preserve and protect Snoqualmie Falls.
Yes, I will support the Tribe in its efforts to protect Snoqualmie Falls from further commercial development and desecration. These places of sacred cultural significance are crucial to preserving the Tribe’s heritage and history.