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Tim Giago: Yes, Virginia, Indians do pay taxes
Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Periodically there is a repeat column I am forced to write. It usually takes an ignorant and insensitive remark by a non-Indian to prompt me to return to the scene of the crime.

One of my advertising sales people for Indian Education Today Magazine was seeking a timely ad to take advantage of the “It’s time-to-pay-taxes” portion of the year.

She approached one so-called tax preparation office located in Rapid City, SD and ran into this crass remark, “Why should we advertise; Indians don’t pay taxes.” Ouch! When will this ignorance come to an end?

All right, let’s address this horrid misconception. Indians hold jobs. As a matter of fact, many working for the tribal government, Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs or other governmental agencies receive salaries ranging from $24,000 to $100,000 annually. Professional teachers and administrators working at the many Indian schools on the reservations are also in the middle class pay income bracket. These salaried employees pay all of the taxes every American citizen pays from withholding to Medicare.

Every time an Indian buys groceries taxes are included. When we purchase an automobile or a costly appliance, taxes are included. When we fill the car up with gasoline we pay taxes. What so many non-Indian citizens do not realize is that all of the sales taxes collected in the towns bordering the Indian reservations never go to the Indian reservations. They go to the state and the community where the purchase was made.

There are no free rides for Indians when it comes to attending college. Most apply for Pell Grants or for other grants available to students of all colors. Others use the GI Bill, as I did, or get jobs and work there way through college. There are some funds available through tribal funds or through the BIA, but they are far and few."

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: Indians didn’t pay taxes — 100 years ago (The Native American Times 2/13)

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