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June 2013 Policy Update

June 19, 2013

Sequestration:

Sequestration continues to be a topic in the news and Indian Country and the news isn’t good. Trying to make sense of the changes and then seeing the severity of the effects is frankly overwhelming. So far, health care and education in Indian Country are reeling from the cuts and the stories are starting to mount. In the words of Mark Trahant, “Indian Country funds are shackled to the sequester.” And according to his analysis, this situation likely won’t change until after the next election, despite all the stories.

In short, sequester has closed Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program; gutted Native American Education, and threatens basic health care for Native Americans. In a double whammy, sequestration is cutting aid to schools that serve the military families and many Natives serve; American Indians have the highest record of military service per capital when compared with other ethnic groups.

Education:

In summary, 12 million dollars has been stripped from Indian Head Start according to the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). With regard to K-12, the amount varies per school, however, NIEA believes that cuts this year will total $60 million, with 65% of that coming from schools with Native American Kids. With regard to Tribal Colleges, the cuts vary per college.

Articles on Native American School Cuts:

CNN
AlterNet
Indian Country Today Media Network, Part I: Head Start
Indian Country Today Media Network, Part II: K-12
Indian Country Today Media Network, Part III: Tribal Colleges
HuffPo MN-Senator Al Franken (D) Talks About How Sequester Hurts Native American Students

Here’s what the White House has to say about sequester: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/sequester

ICWA:

Supreme Court Update on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl The Supreme Court still hasn’t ruled on this case. But, here’s a great link with background, analysis and editorials, and legal source materials. Even the audio from the Supreme Court oral arguments is linked here. Once there is a ruling; we’ll have an update.