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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on Signing the Bill Reauthorizing Native American Higher Education Assistance

1990-10-30

Today, I am signing S. 2167, a bill ``To reauthorize the Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act of 1978 and the Navajo Community College Act.'' In approving this legislation, I recognize and acknowledge the tribal colleges for the contribution they have made and continue to make in improving the quality of life for many American Indian people. Tribal colleges represent an opportunity for many American Indians to develop academic knowledge and job-related skills and become contributors to the economy both on and off Indian reservations. In addition, the tribal colleges are excellent examples of the Administration's policy of self-determination for Indian tribes.

I note that section 106(b) of the Act purports to require the President, within 1 year of enactment, to submit a report to the Congress containing recommendations for amendments to certain Federal laws. The Constitution grants to the President the power to recommend to the Congress such measures as he judges necessary and expedient. Because of this power, provisions such as the one contained in this bill have been treated as advisory and not mandatory. I will, therefore, interpret section 106(b) accordingly.

I also note that section 105 of the Act provides that the right of Native Americans to express themselves through the use of Native American languages shall not be restricted in any public proceeding. Such proceedings include publicly supported education programs. I construe this provision as a statement of general policy and do not understand it to confer a private right of action on any individual or group.

George Bush

The White House,

October 30, 1990.

Note: S. 2167, approved October 30, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 477.

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