Kevin Abourezk: Problems with Indian stimulus funds
"A longtime tribal advocate says he is concerned about how economic stimulus money targeted toward Indian health care is being distributed.

gaiashkibos, a Minnesota representative for the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes and former president of the National Congress of American Indians, said he recently attended the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians held earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

He said during one session an Indian Health Service official spoke about economic stimulus funds. The official said that $227 million of the $450 million in stimulus funds meant for Indian health care would go to construct just two new Indian Health Service hospitals in Phoenix and Alaska.

"It doesn't make sense to me that only two projects would get some economic stimulus money for construction," he said. "It should have been spread out through Indian Country."

He said he wasn't sure which tribes would benefit from the new hospitals. He said the remaining funds for Indian health care would be spent largely on information technology projects for tribal health and IHS facilities, as well as on competitive grants to tribes.

He said he worries the federal government also will have to direct significant funding to the new hospitals once they are built within coming budgets, money that might have otherwise been distributed to other tribes."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Tribal Advocate Worried About Stimulus Funds (RezNet News 3/12)

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