Tex Hall: Recovery an epic opportunity for tribes
"Today, our nation faces a great challenge – the biggest global financial crisis of our lifetime. We are knee deep in depression-era levels of unemployment, bank closures, home foreclosures and auto bailouts. Indian country has not been spared either, whether in lost casino revenues, sudden restrictions on our credit, or watching our tribal investment funds plummet. And while this economic crisis is not of his making, President Barack Obama realizes that it is his to solve.

The president’s economic stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is an unprecedented move to fix this crisis. Although it may be controversial, we can’t afford to miss the big picture – which is that the president and Congress have given Indian country an unprecedented and epic opportunity to reshape our destiny.

For generations, we have sought to bring prosperity back to our people. And while gaming has brought fortune to a few tribes, the reality is that for the most part, our reservation economies are still far behind even the worst of our nation’s cities. Even a national 10 percent unemployment rate is nothing compared to 50 percent – the average for Indian reservations in the Great Plains.

But ending poverty and unemployment and creating prosperity requires infrastructure. In other words, the basic building blocks of a healthy economy require wires to deliver electricity, broadband and telephone service, pipes to deliver water and sewer, as well as safe roads, smart buildings and public transportation. Without these fundamental tools, we simply cannot create the conditions to build and attract business."

Get the Story:
Tex G. Hall: Creating the tools for success (Indian Country Today 3/6)

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
H.R.1 | S.1

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