The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 2, 2013

Shutdown hits tribes, but some services continue

— BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Indian tribes across the U.S. prepared to suspend some federal programs and pay for others out of pocket amid a government shutdown expected to have magnified effects on the many reservations that depend heavily on outside assistance.

Some activities considered essential will continue, including law enforcement, firefighting, schools and some social services, Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman Nedra Darling said. But other programs are sure to take a hit, such as financial assistance for the needy, payments for foster care and oversight of environmental, wildlife and cultural programs.

The full scope of the shutdown's effects on tribes remains uncertain; tribal leaders say the severity will depend on how long it lasts. The BIA provides services to more than 1.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives from more than 500 recognized tribes.

"Do we just throw kids onto the street or do we help them? Most likely we're going to help those families and do whatever we can until this is unresolved," said Tracy "Ching" King, president of northern Montana's Fort Belknap Reservation.

King says the reservation's Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes will pay for affected programs themselves until federal payments resume. But he warns that could hurt tribal finances already strained from prior federal cuts. Within just a few weeks, carrying the cost of federal programs will cost the tribe roughly $1 million, King said.

Other tribes, such as the Crow Indians in southeastern Montana, have chosen to furlough workers now rather than risk not being repaid by the federal government down the road. Crow Chairman Darrin Old Coyote said dozens of workers likely would be furloughed, although an exact figure wasn't immediately available.

"We're taking a proactive approach," Old Coyote said. "There's no guarantee (that tribes will be repaid), and we don't want to be out millions of dollars."

Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee