Senator Lankford’s RESPECT Act Passes Indian Affairs Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK)’s Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act today passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The bill would repeal several outdated, offensive federal laws against Native Americans, including unenforced laws currently in place subjecting Native Americans to forced labor. Specific to Oklahoma, the bill would repeal a 100-year-old law that allowed for the forced removal of Native American children from their homes to attend boarding schools without the consent of the child’s parents. 

“These statutes have not been enforced for generations, so there is no reason to keep old and disgraceful laws on the books,” said Lankford. “I’m grateful that the Indian Affairs Committee passed this bill, taking the next step to repeal these antiquated, offensive laws. I urge the full Senate to pass it soon.”

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed the bill unanimously. The bill will now head to the full Senate for consideration. 

Lankford cosponsored 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 bill was originally introduced by Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD).