WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Native American Tribes in the United States have stayed committed to the Paris agreement despite US President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from the deal, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Executive Director Jacqueline Pata told Sputnik.
"We want to be able to make sure that the UN recognizes that even though the US may have removed themselves from the agreement, the American Indian tribes are still supportive of the agreement that was put in place," Pata said on Thursday.
The NCAI has representation present during United Nations negotiations on the Paris Agreement, Pata stated.
"American Indians… are seeing the impact of climate change in their communities," Pata said. "We passed a resolution here at this conference supporting the Paris agreement. Individual tribes are passing their own resolutions supporting how they will personally as a tribe support and reinforce the terms of the Paris agreement."
Pata added that the NCAI has passed resolutions dealing with environmental impact issues such as pipeline issues and protecting vital water resources.
Jacqueline Pata also said that Donald Trump and his administration are off to a slow start in developing relations with Native American tribes in the United States.
"This administration has had a slow start," Pata said on Thursday. "It’s had a slow start in a lot of areas, not just with American Indians. We don’t have key officials that we normally meet with in place yet in the healthcare or the Department of Interior or other agencies."
The Trump administration has yet to nominate appointees to key posts important to the tribal communities, Pata said.
Despite the lack of US officials to handle tribal affairs, Pata said they continue to consult with federal government officials to address issues.
"As we move forward with our relationship with this [Trump] administration, they have a high interest in energy," Pata said. "We believe that creates an opportunity. Some of the tribes have energy resources that they would like to develop."
Energy development is a critical component to developing economic resources and sustainability in tribal communities, Pata added.
Pata stated the NCAI has had tribal representatives in recent White House meetings dealing with energy and infrastructure.
Tribes gathered in the US state of Connecticut this week to attend the 2017 NCAI Mid Year Conference.