November 09, 2009

Stimulating tribes = waste of money?

Executive recognition or undeserved merit


By The Daily Targum
According to the chief executive, his administration has already aided Native Americans through the $787 billion stimulus, of which the funds for Indians were allocated accordingly: $100 million for job creation within tribal communities, $500 million for the Indian Health Service and nearly $500 million for various education, college and school construction programs.

The question that arises from this situation is, why now? In this economically unstable time, how does this benefit the economic system? Those $1.1 billion dollars given to closed communities and non-consumer tribes do not circulate in the system as they are meant to, thus are not an integral part of the financial reconstruction of the nation. The sad truth is that this money given to the Native Americans serves no purpose other than a medium for the president’s fluctuating rating.
Readers respond:Ben Alex
Tue Nov 10 2009 13:04

"Closed societies?" Are you joking? There are no borders on our reservations that exclude other American people. What a blatantly ignorant view. I live in a community of Americans who are divided by economic hardships, not their race.

In fact, you would have a hard time finding an Indian community that wasn't mixed-race anymore. I have half black cousins, Asian cousins, and white cousins. If that's a "closed society," then I'm missing your point.

Your name
Tue Nov 10 2009 14:18

Inasmuch as very little funds stay on the reservations, any stimulus funds to the reservation will end up on the general economy. Payments to the IHS or schools are not retained on the reservation. Salary payments are spent usually in the border towns, whose economy is basically non-native. Payment for infrastructure rapidly find there way rapidly to the non-native economy as there are few native construction companies.

Johnny Flynn
Tue Nov 10 2009 14:18

New Jersey is a long way from Indian Country, but as a university it is appalling that someone has so obviously failed to educate themselves about Indian communities. ... Editors of the Daily Targum should realize that reservations are not on the moon, where there are no 7-11s or Walmarts. ... When someone sent me the link to this article with a tease of the content, I thought it was some right-wing KKK rag next to a reservation. Turns out it was a top tier university on the East Coast. Shame on you boneheads for knowing not enough about Indians to dance on the head of a pin.

Curt Mangino
Tue Nov 10 2009 14:55

Yeah, dumb editorial. 1) the tribal funds were included in the Recovery Act and were largely obligated by mid-summer, just like all the other Recovery Act funding; 2) Indian reservations have a significant positive impact on their neighboring economies, through jobs, contracts, spending, infrastructure development.
Comment:  I believe this editorial has it exactly backward. Poorer communities such as Indian reservations spend money faster than richer communities, not slower. Investing in poor communities is probably the best thing you can do to stimulate the economy.

For more on the subject, see Indians as Welfare Recipients and Should Indians Cling to Reservations?

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