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Rounds Reintroduces RESPECT Act in 115th Congress

Bill would repeal antiquated, hostile laws directed toward Native Americans

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today reintroduced the Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act. The RESPECT Act would repeal several outdated, offensive federal laws against Native Americans, including laws that allow for the forced removal of Native American children from their homes to be sent to boarding schools and laws subjecting Native Americans to forced labor.

“The laws that would be repealed under the RESPECT Act are a sad reminder of the hostile aggression and overt racism displayed by the early federal government toward Native Americans,” said Rounds. “The idea that these laws were ever considered is disturbing, but the fact that they remain part of our legal code today is, at best, an oversight. Though we can’t rewrite the past, we can work towards mending relations and furthering respect for future generations. The RESPECT Act is one way to show healing, understanding and progress. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass RESPECT during this session of Congress.”

Rounds introduced the RESPECT Act during the 114th Congress, where it passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee unanimously. Due to time constraints on the Senate Calendar, it was not able to be voted on by the full Senate in 2016. The RESPECT Act is supported by the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association and is cosponsored by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.).  


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