Indianz.Com > News > Harold Frazier: Don’t leave Indian Country behind in reconciliation bill
Harold Frazier Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe addresses the National Congress of American Indians in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 23, 2019. Photo by Kevin Abourezk [/caption]
Special Message to Congress: We need President Biden’s Jobs Plan
Keep the $20.5 Billion in Native American Reconciliation Funding in the Final Bill
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Native Americans suffered COVID-19 at the highest rate of any group in America—the most serious injuries, hospitalizations, and highest mortality at 2 and ½ times the rate of White Americans.

At the dawn of time, the Creator gave us life, freedom to follow our visions, and a sacred duty to protect Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth. In the days of our Great-Grandfathers, the Great Chiefs Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Spotted Elk, our Lakota People were happy, we were healthy, and we had an even chance at life.

Then America came to take the largest gold mine in the world, and with it, our sacred home in the Black Hills. Then America took our best river bottom lands. The United States sent us to the starkest lands on the Prairie, not suitable for winter living and told us to “don’t complain” while America starved us.

For too many generations, we have lived in economic devastation, with 85 to 90% unemployment on our Reservations. There are no jobs in our remote rural areas. We need President Joe Biden’s Jobs Plan.

Our Sioux Nation tribes need early childhood nutrition, pre-K education, and child care. The tax credits will help our children get the chance for a better life.

Our Native communities need schools. Our kids need a decent chance at an equal education.

Our Lakota people have the lowest life expectancy in America, the poorest health status, and there’s a reason—the Indian Health Service provides the worst health care in the country. Our facilities are old and worn-out. We need Hospitals and Health Clinic funding.

Disastrously overcrowded housing contributes to the poor health status, causing stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease when 24 people are piled into a two or three bedroom house. We need funding for housing. People are living in tents and campers in 110 degree summer heat and -20 below zero winter cold. The suffering must end.

Keep the Native American Funding in the Reconciliation Bill.

Harold Frazier is serving his second consectuvei term as chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, an Indian nation based in South Dakota. He also serves as president of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association. He previously served as chair and vice chair of his tribe and as an area vice president for the National Congress of American Indians.