SIOUX CITY — The proposed creation of a Commission on Native American Affairs is up for a vote in the Iowa House of Representatives after being unanimously approved by the House State Government Committee this week.
The commission aims to work with tribal governments, groups and members in the areas of human rights, access to justice, economic equality and the elimination of discrimination.
Gov. Chet Culver will appoint an 11-person committee with four people representing the land-holding tribes in Iowa: Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
Of seven other appointed members, at least one must be a tribal member living on a tribal settlement or reservation in Iowa. Five members will serve two-year terms and six will serve four-year terms.
“There are over 115,000 Native Americans in Iowa, and they deserve the same respect and protections that other Iowans enjoy every day,” said Rep. Wes Whitead of Sioux City.
Whitead serves on the State Government Committee and supported the measure. The commission would be under the Department of Human Rights along with the commissions on African Americans, Latino Affairs and Asian and Pacific Islanders.
Appointment of members is set for completion by Sept. 1.