The Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, was originally founded under United States War Department in March 11, 1824. As of now with the status of this nation’s government in limbo, the BIA being deemed a nonessential government agency, thus our people’s needs are not a priority.
Tribes are unfairly suffering from an ongoing pattern of neglect by the federal government. These drastic cuts harm crucial and critical services to American Indian/Alaskan Native children, students, families, the most poverty-stricken community here on American soil.
Tribes need adequate resources to exercise their self-determination and serve as effective nations. For many tribes, a majority of tribal governmental services is financed by Federal sources. Most tribes lack the tax base and lack priority tax authority to raise revenue to deliver services.
The BIA funds Public Safety and Justice. The public safety problems that plague tribal communities are a result of decades of gross underfunding and negligence for tribal criminal justice system and a century’s old failure by the federal government to fulfill its public safety obligations on tribal lands. Interrupting tribal revenue flow will increase unemployment and increase poverty rates.
Many of our Indian Health services, workers and Health Clinics are being hit extremely hard with furloughs and many lack resources to pay for staffing and operations of our health care facilities. The last thing we want our IHS workers to do is be concerned about getting a paycheck. The fiscal year 2013 sequester has already cut $500 million from federal programs in Indian country.
Although some tribes have implemented strategies that enhance economic development for our communities to supplement federal sources, such as lucrative Indian Gaming, that does not supplement the federal government’s duty to fulfill its treaty responsibilities and continue American diplomacy and development to the American Indian/Alaskan native tribal communities by fulfilling its treaty obligations.