Abourezk: Focus on children in State of Indian Nations
"As Senate leaders fought over an economic stimulus package Thursday, the nation's highest profile Indian leader reminded the nation's leaders that Native people also are in need of economic stimulus.

"As you know, the President and Congress are now debating an economic stimulus package to help prevent recession," said Joe Garcia, president of the National Congress of American Indians, giving his annual State of the Indian Nations Address. "But with unemployment at 49 percent, Indian Country is in perpetual recession."

It was a healthy reminder that Indian Country's problems are too often placed on the backburner in national politics.

That Indian needs are too often seen by this nation's leaders as less immediate.

It was symbolic that as Garcia offered his address Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Senate still had not acted on the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

"Indian health care services have not been updated for 16 years, 16 years," he said, his voice rising in frustration. "That's just a shame."

Native students continue to lag behind, despite President Bush's assurance only three days before Garcia's speech that test scores for students were on the rise across the nation as a result of No Child Left Behind."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: In Annual Address, Garcia Puts Focus on Children (RezNet News 2/1)

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians - http://www.ncai.org

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