your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Cuts run deep for tribal programs at BIA
Tuesday, March 9, 2004

When White House aide Jennifer Farley spoke to tribal leaders recently, she sought to address a common complaint about the Bureau of Indian Affairs budget.

"BIA was not cut to fund Indian trust reform," Farley said.

The message wasn't received well, and not just because Farley was suffering from laryngitis that day. A review of the BIA's 2005 funding request shows numerous cuts to Indian programs on the reservation level to make up for a significant boost in trust reform.

"I am healthy and very passionate," Ed Thomas, president of the Tlingit-Haida Tribe of Alaska would tell new BIA head Dave Anderson later that day. "But I am not happy."

Anderson met with tribal leaders in Phoenix, Arizona, last week as part of an ongoing dialogue over future BIA budgets. But the concerns raised could have applied to the situation today.

"We can't talk rhetoric, but we need follow through from the BIA and the Department of Interior," Navajo Nation president Joe Shirley Jr. said at the meeting. "There are billions of dollars going off the United States. When is there going to be funding to meet Navajoland?"

Copies of the BIA's "green book" were distributed last week to tribal leaders. The document details, for the first time since the budget was announced last month, the reductions in the BIA's social service, education, welfare, tribal and other programs.

Overall, the budget seeks $2.25 billion for the BIA, a reduction of $52.0 million, or 2.3 percent. This is the first time since the mid-1980s that the agency serving more than 550 tribes and more than 1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives is seeing a cut.

Some of the more significant reductions occur in the tribal priority allocation (TPA) account. TPA funds are particularly important because they are used by tribes to carry out day-to-day government functions.

Under the TPA item, there is a $278,000 cut in human services, a $394,000 cut in education, a $334,000 cut in contract support costs, a $498,000 cut in forestry services, and a $748,000 cut in trust services. And while the overall TPA request is $4.9 million above the current level, it is offset by a nearly $11 million transfer to the Office of Special Trustee (OST) for appraisal services.

The slash in the human services account affects three major reservation-level programs: the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), welfare assistance and the housing improvement program (HIP). The green book contains no justification of why these programs are being cut.

The education cut is achieved by slashing scholarships for Indian students at post-secondary institutions. The reduction means tribes will only able to award 1,100 scholarships, down from 1,250 for the current year. The Bush administration has been reducing this item since taking office in 2001.

Despite receiving an "adequate" rating by the White House, one of the better ratings for the BIA, forestry services is the only natural resource program seeing a reduction in funds. The BIA, however, still says it will meet its goal of helping tribes harvest timber, manage forests and develop management plans.

The largest cut, though, comes to the construction account. In 2005, replacement of BIA schools, which are the worst in the nation, will be reduced by $61.0 million. Repair and improvement of other facilities will be cut by nearly $9 million.

Officials justify the drop by saying all the projects on the BIA's priority list have been funded through 2004. Anderson recently added 14 new schools to the list.

The BIA's losses contrast with the gains at OST, which Congress created in 1994 to oversee trust reform. But tribal leaders say OST is going beyond Congress' intent by implementing reform.

Based on OST's green book, the agency will receive $322.7 million next year, an increase of $113.7 million, or 54 percent. Other appropriations raise OST's budget to nearly $724 million, according to the justification.

In meetings with tribal leaders, administration officials say they understand the needs of Indian Country. But tribal leaders say the message isn't getting to the source.

"The president's budget is really where the rubber hits the road," said Thomas.

DOI FY2005 Budget:
Fiscal Year 2005 Budget in Brief | Unified Trust Budget | Serving Tribal Communities | BIA Highlights | Departmental Offices [for Office of Special Trustee]

Related Stories:
Senate panel shares criticism of Bush budget (02/12)
Tribal leaders pressing Congress on funding (02/11)
BIA programs barely survive White House test (02/10)
Fate of Indian preference in hands of Swimmer (02/04)
BIA budget staying the same under Bush request (2/3)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
USDA policy eases return of traditional food to tribal facilities (11/24)
Sitka Tribe asks FBI to consider racial bias in student's arrest (11/24)
Court sides with Indian inmates over closure of sweat lodge (11/24)
Former employee accused of cheating Grand Traverse Band (11/24)
Tribes with special acts of Congress face hurdles for gaming (11/24)
Enterprise Rancheria addresses concerns about gaming site (11/24)
Mohegan Tribe signs partner for $5B casino proposal in Korea (11/24)
Bart Hinkle: States trying to protect their gaming monopolies (11/24)
Blackfeet Nation wins ruling against development at sacred site (11/23)
Center for Native American Youth hires new executive director (11/23)
Quinault Nation slams approval of genetically modified salmon (11/23)
Native Sun News: Great Plains people key in defeating Keystone (11/23)
Lakota Country Times: Legal 'victory' for reservation residents (11/23)
Chuck Trimble: Book shares truth about genocide of our people (11/23)
Mark Trahant: Who will be a Barack Obama for Indian Country? (11/23)
James Giago Davies: The greatest evil facing our communities (11/23)
Jay Daniels: Mascot opponents take aim at beloved 'Sooners' (11/23)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.