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
Tribes challenge policy affecting federal housing funds
Tuesday, May 4, 2004

A federal policy that distributes housing dollars based on the U.S. Census rather than tribal enrollment would hurt reservation communities, tribal leaders said on Monday.

The 2000 Census count was considered the most accurate in history. It showed a dramatic increase -- 26 percent -- in the American Indian and Alaska Native population both on and off the reservation.

But at a Congressional hearing held on the Navajo Nation, tribal leaders said linking federal dollars to the Census was unfair because more money would go to areas where people who identified themselves as Indian may not be tribally-enrolled.

They also pointed out that the Census, for the first time, allowed people to claim multiple racial heritages. Going by this set of figures, the Native population grew by 110 percent.

But that doesn't mean reservation communities, where overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure are prevalent, will see that large of an increase in housing funds, tribal leaders testified. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. said his tribe would lose $5.7 million because the Census showed only 180,000 Navajos even though the tribe has about 310,000 enrolled members.

The policy, Shirley warned, "will have a devastating impact by reducing funding allocations for Indian housing on many reservations, severely hurting Native Nations."

Concerns were echoed by Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, the second largest tribe in the country based on an enrollment of about 240,000. "This use of census information should be used as long as it approximates citizenship," he told lawmakers.

"Many people self-identify with a certain tribe but are not actually members of that tribe. Therefore, use of this data instead of tribal enrollment data does not provide accurate information for determining the funding needs of a tribe," added Kathleen Kitcheyen, chairwoman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona.

The tribes called on the House Financial Services subcommittee on housing and community opportunity to look into the matter. At the urging of Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), whose district includes parts of the Navajo, San Carlos Apache and White Mountain Apache reservations, the panel held its first ever hearing in Tuba City, Arizona, on the Navajo reservation yesterday.

"The result [of the hearing] will mean greater financial, insurance and mortgage programs and improved infrastructure development for the Native American people," Renzi said.

The policy came about through a negotiated rulemaking committee between tribes and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Although tribes expressed concern about using the Census data, HUD officials decided to use the figures to determine distribution of the Indian Housing Block Grant Program, a $647 million pot of funds.

Smith argued that there is some merit in using data of single- and mixed-race Indians due to undercounting by U.S. Census Bureau. "We support any system that is verifiable and reliable that best reflects the number of citizens of federally recognized tribes and Alaska Natives for specific formula areas," he testified.

Russell Sossamon, chairman of the National American Indian Housing Council, also called for more clarity. He has already asked housing subcommittee for a hearing on the issue.

"Some believe [the policy] has generally shifted funds from the more sparsely populated tribal reservation-based areas to areas which, while less remote, have greater population, and that this is an inequitable shift in the program," he told the lawmakers.

Under the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act, tribes can supply their own census numbers to HUD. The result has helped some tribes triple their share of housing funds, according to published reports. But the process is lengthy and not all tribes are able to complete it.

Historically, American Indians and Alaska Natives on and off reservations have been the most undercounted population. In 1990, some 12.2 percent of reservation residents were left off the Census. The 2000 Census showed a net undercount of 4.74 percent for on-reservation Indians.

"Whether the conflict is over what is the best policy and which data best represents tribal populations, the simple fact is that our tribal population was not accurately counted and represented in the 2000 Census," said Wayne Taylor Jr., chairman of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, at the hearing. "The end result will be the loss of considerable housing funds to the Hopi Tribe at the expense of more funding to those tribes that benefit from the multi-race formula."

Hearing Documents:
Written Witness Testimony (May 3, 2004)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Census report dives into Indian Country (February 15, 2002)
Census paints new picture of Indian Country (March 13, 2001)

Relevant Links:
National American Indian Housing Council -

Related Stories:
Indian housing funds face cuts in Bush budget (04/14)
Tribes tackle budget woes under Bush administration (4/14)
Budget resolution barely clears House vote (03/26)
Tribal leaders denounce BIA budget plans as reckless (03/24)
Cuts run deep for tribal programs at BIA (03/09)
Housing campaign seeks to build 100,000 homes (02/27)
Senate panel shares criticism of Bush budget (02/12)
Tribal leaders pressing Congress on funding (02/11)
Native American Bank offers new mortgage program (01/21)
Indians fight discrimination when renting homes (11/21)

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:
Controversy brews as House takes up Native American Energy Act (10/6)
Native Sun News: Crow Tribe leader advises Rep. Zinke on energy (10/6)
Lakota Country Times: Program for Native students closes down (10/6)
Mark Trahant: Far too many missing and murdered Native women (10/6)
Alfred Walking Bull: Let's open up about suicide in Indian Country (10/6)
Raina Thiele: Alaska Natives share culture with President Obama (10/6)
Mary Pember: Fashion show tackles trafficking in Indian Country (10/6)
Torivio Fodder: Pope Francis ignores sins of Indian mission era (10/6)
Sac and Fox Nation disappointed by denial of Jim Thorpe case (10/6)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe expects big crowd for pot kickoff (10/6)
Colville Tribes pass resolution for small amounts of marijuana (10/6)
Disaster declaration covers Catawba Nation in South Carolina (10/6)
Leader of Comanche Nation disputes removal of administrator (10/6)
Osage Nation accuses former employee of adding non-Indians (10/6)
Donald Trump doesn't think NFL team's racist name should go (10/6)
Supreme Court declines to hear appeals in two gaming cases (10/6)
San Pasqual Band loses claim for damages in gaming dispute (10/6)
New Eastern Cherokee chief takes aim at gaming commission (10/6)
Chemehuevi Tribe hosts public hearing for new gaming facility (10/6)
Little Traverse Bay Bands consider Class II for second casino (10/6)
Supreme Court rejects petitions in four more Indian law cases (10/5)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee weighs seven bills at hearing (10/5)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules business meeting (10/5)
Secretary Jewell heads to Oklahoma for tribal trust settlement (10/5)
IHS reopens comment period for Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (10/5)
BIA backs extension of Rosebud Sioux Tribe gaming compact (10/5)
Native Sun News: Code Talker medals seen in traveling exhibit (10/5)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe and FEMA cooperate (10/5)
James Giago Davies: Don't let dominant culture dumb us down (10/5)
Vi Waln: Domestic violence comes in many forms on reservation (10/5)
Gyasi Ross: Republicans play games with Native women's rights (10/5)
Rosanna Deerchild: A terrifying reality facing indigenous women (10/5)
Steve Russell: Indians met Christianity at its most violent phase (10/5)
Alex Jacobs: Pope Francis honors symbol of genocide in America (10/5)
Joseph Hamilton: Tribal leaders must talk about disenrollments (10/5)
Tara Houska: Horror film treats Native peoples as relics of past (10/5)
Cow Creek Band employee lost son in deadly shooting in Oregon (10/5)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe fully booked for launch of pot resort (10/5)
Chukchansi Tribe picks leaders and hires gaming commissioners (10/5)
Cowlitz Tribe turned down Donald Trump for gaming partnership (10/5)
Eastern Cherokees see tangible benefits from gaming enterprise (10/5)
Navajo Nation to offer housing for employees of casino in Arizona (10/5)
Poarch Creeks lose ruling over slot machines at Florida racetrack (10/5)
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.