Native People ‘Left Out within the Chilly’ Below Trump Press Biden for Motion

In early February, Mr Biden signed a disaster declaration for the Navajo Nation to allocate more federal funds to support vaccine distribution, medical staff and resources. With the help of the additional resources, Mr. Nez said the tribe were able to distribute 98 percent of the vaccine doses they were given.

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Apr. 18, 2021, 9:16 p.m. ET

Mr Nez said he would now like to see administration focus on aging infrastructure.

“Our roads, our bridges, our water pipes, our power lines: Here in the Navajo Nation, 30 to 40 percent of our population has no running water, 30 to 40 percent of our population has no electricity,” he said. “So if the focus is on infrastructure, we want the Navajo Nation to have running water and electricity.”

Esther Lucero is the executive director of the Seattle Indian Health Board, a community health center that serves more than 6,000 urban Alaskan Indians and natives. Ms. Lucero said she hoped to see significant investment in the current Native American public health system.

Indian Health Service, based in Rockville, Md., Is often referred to as the IHS and consists of 26 hospitals, 56 health centers, and 32 health stations. Hospitals range in size from four beds to 133 beds. India’s health service is divided into a dozen coverage regions across the country, each serving the tribes living in that region.

For decades, the agency has been underfunded, understaffed and routinely criticized for failing to adequately serve the 2.2 million members of the country’s tribal communities. His performance during the pandemic was particularly heavily criticized.

“We need to put together an aggressive budget formula to fully fund the Indian health service,” said Ms. Lucero. For example, providing additional funding to the 12 tribal epidemiology health centers is key to maintaining and tracking health records on their citizens, she said.

The interface between federal land use and environmental and energy policy is also at the center of the tribal agenda for the new administration. Mr Biden faces calls for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be closed after a court ruled that the Trump administration broke the law in allowing the pipeline to be built. It’s a move that would mean victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which touches both North and South Dakota. The pipeline crosses north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

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