Kevin Abourezk: The Year of the Indian just starting
"Since the election of Barack Obama in November, an unfamiliar energy has infected the spirits of Native people across the country.

The chairman of the Democratic Party's Native American Caucus described it as a sense of renewal, a hope for meaningful change he's never felt before.

Others have described it as the beginning of a new era of tribal-government relations.

I'll call it the Year of the Indian.

It was conceived Nov. 4 with the election of Obama. Its birthdate is Jan. 20: inauguration day.

And it took its first steps Wednesday when the U.S. House of Representatives passed Obama's $819 billion stimulus package. The bill now goes before the Senate, which has included $2.8 billion to help tribes.

That amount includes $545 million for Indian health care and $325 million for public safety and justice on reservations. Indian schools would see $327 million, while tribal roads and bridges would enjoy another $486.8 million.

About a half-billion would be spent on Indian housing and another $115 million on facilities improvement and repair."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Tribes Shouldn't Stop With Stimulus Win (RezNet News 1/29)

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