Sequester creates severe hardship for Native Americans

As we seem to have settled into weary stasis regarding the government sequester, former Democratic Sen. Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota writes in the New York Times of the unjust hardship this has created for Native Americans. He contends that Indian country should be immediately exempted from the impact of sequestration:

A few weeks ago, I traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It’s hard just to get there. A two-hour drive from Rapid City brings you to Shannon County, the second poorest county in the United States.

The proud nation of Sioux Indians who live there — like many of the 566 federally recognized tribes — have a treaty with the United States, the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which promised that their health care, education and housing needs would be provided for by the federal government. …

But these leaders and communities are once again being mistreated by a failed American policy, this time going under the ugly name “sequestration.” This ignorant budget maneuvering requires across-the-board spending cuts to the most important programs along with the least important. American Indian kids living in poverty are paying a very high price for this misguided abandonment of Congressional decision-making.

Read full story here. And here, Margaret Watson shares her view of the sequester from the Cheyenne River Reservation.

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