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Opinion: Indian Country stimulus a good start
Friday, January 30, 2009
Filed Under: Opinion

"The news of an inclusion of nearly $3 billion for American Indian tribes as part of the economic stimulus bill has spread quickly through Indian country, prompting some optimism, but mostly deep concern about whether it will be enough to help lift reservations out of poverty.

Members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, led by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., had requested $3.58 billion for tribes as part of the stimulus plan, while the National Congress of Indians originally pressed the government for $6 billion for tribal infrastructure spending which would, in turn, create jobs and boost Indian economies. The large bill is praised by supporters and sold by President Obama as one that will inject resources directly where they are most needed. That may be so for the American economy at large. This appropriation, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, while substantial, may not even scratch the surface of what is needed in Indian country.

Many tribal governments lack the resources to provide basic infrastructure necessary to grow economies, educate youth, house families, or prevent epidemics. As a result, unemployment is consistently double that of the rest of the country. Poor health conditions persist on many reservations, exacerbated by old and understaffed medical facilities. Telecommunication capabilities that are taken for granted by most Americans are nearly non-existent on many reservations."

Get the Story:
Ken Polisse: Senate investment a good start (Indian Country Today 1/30)

Another Story:
CN and other tribes await stimulus funds (The Cherokee Phoenix 1/30)

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
House Version [latest version] | Summary of House Version | H.R.1 | S.1

Relevant Documents:
Press Release: Senate Appropriations Committee | Press Release: Senate Indian Affairs Committee | Press Release: House Appropriations Committee

Related Stories:
Stimulus for Indian Country heads to Senate floor (1/28)
Jodi Rave: Senate bill includes $2.8B for tribes (1/28)



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