"The unprecedented interest and participation in the election of Barack Obama, though inspiring, is fading as the most important story of the season.
The U.S. economic collapse has the nation’s attention and is aiding awareness about the hardships long suffered by Native Americans, perhaps because deteriorating prospects are now affecting American society at large.
This brief period of transition has already offered glimpses of Mr. Obama’s work ethic and leadership style as he readies the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which he hopes will instigate a national economic rebound. Native America is watching, cautiously optimistic, to see if the Obama presidency will mark a genuine investment in the potential of Indian country.
There are positive signs that Native American groups have moved on to the next phase of their relationship with the incoming president. Hope and change have been buzzwords. Now there must be actions. Recognizing that Mr. Obama is focused squarely and publicly on an economic stimulus package, leaders in Indian country and Congress have been busy preparing detailed plans of their own.
The National Congress of American Indians is advocating for tribal governments to be considered on par with states in President-elect Obama’s economic recovery plan, and that access to capital is afforded to Native citizens. NCAI is urging the United States to distribute nearly $6 billion out of the estimated $850 billion stimulus plan for tribal infrastructure spending. It is a relatively small sum considering the benefit for Indian communities long eluded by viable, long-term economic development."
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Editorial: Recovery plan must include Indian country
(Indian Country Today 1/16)