Federal Funding Falls Flat for Native Americans, Local Tribes Say Needs Have Not Been Met

A new report released by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is describing federal funding for Native American tribes as “woefully inadequate.”

The report says funding has fallen flat and Native Americans continue to be plagued by serious problems like lack of education and addiction at disproportionate levels.

“When we traded our millions of acres of land for the promise of health, education and social welfare, it didn’t say to get behind all the other priorities in the United States,” Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson Aaron Payment, said.

Payment says current funding for tribes does not come close to meeting the need.

“The funding we received is pre-paid its not based on reparations or because people feel sorry for American Indians but again we have only scratched the surface of identified needs,” Payment, explained.

Payment says the report shows a disparity between Native Americans and the general population.

“Our challenges are really similar to other populations only more exacerbated,” he added.

Challenges like lack of education, violence against women and the opioid crisis.

The commission on civil rights is asking the government to have steady, dedicated funding for Indian communities to combat those challenges.

“This report is critical because it helps to inform congress and the president of the United States and our administration of our identified need which helps during budget formulation when they propose funding,” Payment, said.

Which he says will not only help local tribes but the Northern Michigan community as a whole.

“Any resources that we get will help not only our tribal  community but the surrounding community as well, because we are inter-married, we live and work  among the rest of the population so anything that is targeted to address our needs will address the entire population,” Payment, explained.