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(1) Inalienablity of Benefits. RRTC 3.15.070(1) notwithstanding, a tribal member’s right to benefits under this chapter is not subject to alienation, sale, transfer, assignment, pledge, encumbrance, levy, attachment, or garnishment by creditors or his or her beneficiaries.

(2) Facilities Available for the General Use of Tribal Members. Benefits provided not in the form of payments or services but rather in the form of providing a facility for a tribal member to sues such as a community center, library, gymnasium, etc., which is available for the general public use by tribal members is not part of gross income under Internal Revenue Code Section 61.

(3) No New Benefits Created by This Chapter. This chapter does not create or establish individual assistance rights. Rather, this chapter is intended to affirm the right of the tribe to provide nontaxable assistance to its tribal members through approved programs.

(4) Benefits Are Assets of the Tribe Until Distributed. The tribal council, through its annual budgeting process, by resolution or by motion, shall designate those funding sources that are available for the payment of benefits as part of an approved program. No tribal member shall have an interest in or right to any funds budgeted for or set aside for benefit payments until actually paid. Benefit payments shall remain assets of the tribe until distributed.

(5) Federal Trust Obligations Not Supplanted. While the tribe provides assistance for tribal members, the tribe does not do so to relieve the federal government from its trust responsibilities. The Trust Doctrine, a bedrock principle of federal Indian law, requires the federal government to fulfill its treaty obligations to Indian tribes by meeting Indians’ “core” needs. Indians in turn have the right to receive benefits from the United States as trust beneficiaries. The Trust Doctrine sets forth that those benefits should be provided to all Indians, regardless of a specific income requirement.

The tribe reserves the right to supplement the federal trust responsibility, such as, but not limited to, in the areas of education, cultural preservation, healthcare, sustenance, housing, and elder programs. The tribe also reserves the right to supplement the federal government’s trust obligations under circumstances in which federal funding is insufficient to operate federal programs designed to benefit tribal members and when federal funding is insufficient to adequately and consistently fulfill federal trust obligations. Nothing herein shall waive the tribe’s right to seek redress of funding shortfalls or to enforce the trust rights of the tribe and its citizens. By this chapter, the tribe does not supplant the ultimate duty of the federal government to provide benefits to Indian tribes.

(6) Governing Law. All rights and liabilities associated with the enactment of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall be construed and enforced according to the laws of the tribe and any applicable federal laws.

(7) Sovereignty. Nothing in this chapter or the related policies or procedures, if any, shall be construed as or interpreted to constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity or to make applicable any laws or regulations which the tribe is entitled to exemption from in accordance with its sovereign status.

(8) Ratification of Prior Acts – Intents of Legislation. Benefits provided prior to the enactment of the ordinance codified in this chapter are hereby ratified and confirmed as having met a general welfare need as part of an approved program. The enactment of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall not be construed in a manner to invalidate the prior acts and exercises of the tribe in providing benefit payments prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

(9) Nonresource Designation. Benefits provided by an approved program are paid from the assets of the tribe. Benefits paid to tribal members should not be treated as a resource of the tribal member. If another entity attempts to treat a resource as that of a tribal member and not of the tribe, then the tribe reserves the right to cancel, adjust, modify, or revoke the benefit.

(10) Source of the Benefit Payments. The tribe may fund an approved program through levies, taxes, service fees, or revenues from tribally owned businesses. [Res. 09-09-2020B § 8, 2020.]