Health | Opinion

Editorial: Tribal free press could help tackle problems at IHS

"Year after year, decade after decade, the reservations lag in positive indicators (such as high-school graduation rates and the like) and lead in the negative ones — poverty, unemployment, youth suicides and so on.

Even the federal agencies such as the IHS that are charged with helping tribal members instead seem plagued with gross inefficiencies, as this most recent episode proves.

So, let’s hope that the Indian Health Service director takes Conrad’s charge to heart and succeeds where others have failed.

But let’s not be surprised if next year brings word that the problems have persisted or maybe even gotten worse. That has been the pattern, and it has repeated over and over again.

What to do?

Whole books could be written to answer that question. But here’s one idea that could be a sparkplug for many other reforms:

Ask the Gates Foundation or other source of funding to help build the institution of a free tribal press.

Clearly, one reason why the problems with federal agencies, tribal governance and the like have persisted is that most reservations lack “watchdogs” — specifically, independent newspapers or other media outlets that cover tribal issues."

Get the Story:
OUR OPINION: Reservations need, deserve a free press (The Grand Forks Herald 3/30)

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All IHS areas undergoing review over management concerns (3/25)
Editorial: IHS bars media from tribal meeting in South Dakota (3/25)
Director of IHS in South Dakota for tribal consultation session (3/24)
Editorial: Stop paying lip service and address problems at IHS (3/23)

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