Tribal Members Feeling the Ripple Effects of Shutdown

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Statement from Center for Rural Affairs

For Immediate Release – Jan. 16, 2019

Tribal members feeling the ripple effects of the shutdown 

LYONS, NEBRASKA – A partial government shutdown has been in effect for 26 days after policymakers failed to reach agreement on spending bills. Rebecca White, tribal projects manager of the Center for Rural Affairs, says with no end in sight, Nebraska tribes and their tribal members are feeling the ripple effects of the shutdown.

“Our tribes rely on federal funding for programs and services, including health care, which is part of the United States’ responsibility to the Native Nations through trusts and treaties,” White said. “But, the federal government is violating these treaty obligations by looking away as Indian Health Centers feel the hardships of the government shutdown.”

Indian Health Center facilities across the country, serving more than 2 million people, are preparing to lay off workers. In particular, Carl T. Curtis Health Education Center, in Macy, Nebraska, is affected. Macy is located on the Omaha Reservation in Northeast Nebraska.

“Carl T. Curtis administrators are forced to make critical care decisions due to the lack of funding caused by the shutdown,” White said. “They must choose which health services are to be cut, which staff members are to be laid off, and the skeleton crew that will remain will be expected to do the jobs of multiple staff.”

She said Indian Health Services is one of the largest employers in community.

“The loss of jobs for our Native families will have everlasting repercussions,” White said. “Congress should pass a spending bill to reopen the government, and override any potential presidential veto. Tribal members’ health and well-being are at stake.”

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

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