By Rob Capriccioso
“Any interruption in federal funding, especially for a self-governance tribe like ours without gaming or other substantial economic development, means we must borrow money–from an expensive line of credit we cannot afford–to meet our payroll obligations to child welfare workers, to job trainers, to housing workers, and to natural resource subsistence protection,” Thomas said.
By Associated Press
As a result, tribal programs including home health care for the elderly and disabled, bus service for rural areas, and a major irrigation project were suspended indefinitely.
“It’s going to get hard,” said Shar Simpson, who leads the Crow’s home health care program. “We’re already taking calls from people saying, ‘Who’s going to take care of my mom? Who’s going to take care of my dad?’”
By Kevin Taylor and Jenni Monet
Some essential services will continue during the shutdown, such as law enforcement and firefighting, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And the 176 Indian Health Service hospitals and clinics will stay open.
But the shutdown means freezes have already been placed on nutrition programs, foster care payments, financial assistance for the poor and anti-elder abuse programs. Some tribes risk losing all their income in timber operations if federal employees aren't there. Vital contracts and grants will be stalled.
By Peter L. Morris
Even if the shutdown is resolved soon, a greater crisis remains–both the House and Senate versions of the Continuing Resolution sustained the devastating FY 2013 sequestration cuts. The sequester has deeply affected tribal programs: the Indian Health Service, Indian education funding streams, law enforcement, infrastructure programs such as housing and road maintenance, Head Start, and others. These funding commitments serve some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and are part of the federal government’s trust responsibility to tribal nations.
By Tim Giago
But this isn’t just happening on the local scene. There are thousands of Americans, white, black, Hispanic, Native American, etc., who will go hungry when the budget cuts on food stamps take place. It makes us wonder what in the world is happening to this country. It is well documented that the rich are growing richer while the poor are growing poorer, and that seems to be the new norm in this country.
By Imara Jones
What’s particularly distressing about the shuttering of the government is that it comes at a time when unemployment remains in the double digits for blacks and Latinos. As the Center for American Progress points out, federal, state and local governments since 2008 have eliminated 750,000 public sector jobs. Given unionization and strong anti-discriminatory hiring practices, people of color are more likely to have jobs in the public sector. This is particularly true for African-Americans, and it’s why joblessness remains so stubborn in communities of color.
A treaty should trump any law or lack of law that cuts funding. Treaty benefits should be immune to political wrangling.
Stearns may be joking, but his point is correct. If the US government doesn't fulfill its obligations to tribes, it should give back their land. No payments, no land.
For more on the subject, see Republicans = Terrorists and Any Excuse to Hate Obama.