Jodi Gillette: Obama's budget an important step
"On the campaign trail, President Barack Obama promised a renewed commitment to Indian country by reaching out to tribes, listening to their concerns, and vowing to give Indians a seat at the table. Now, after years of being ignored and marginalized by politicians in Washington, we finally have a partner in the White House. We finally have that seat at the table.

As the associate director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House, and a proud member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, I know this administration is listening. In the first few months in office, the president has consulted with representatives of many constituency groups and made good on his promise to propose a budget with Indian country in mind.

This budget cannot fix all of our country’s problems overnight, but it is the first step towards improving the lives of Native Americans. It also proves that the issues most important to tribal nations will be addressed by President Obama and his administration. The government-to-government relationship will be a full and equal partnership.

It begins with health care. Today, American Indians and Alaska Natives have a lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rate than the average American because of poverty, discrimination and inadequate education. This puts extra strain on IHS, which makes health care services available to 1.9 million Native Americans. Still, many Indians struggle to get access to health care."

Get the Story:
Jodi Gillette: A new era of responsibility: Expanding opportunities for Indian country (Indian Country Today 5/14)

Also Today:
The Indian in the White House (RezNet News 5/13)

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