Government Shutdown Has Left North Dakota’s Indian Tribes in a State of Emergency

Source: Native News Network

WASHINGTON – US Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D–North Dakota, a member of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Friday spoke on the Senate floor about how the government shutdown is hurting struggling families across Indian country, and again called for an end to the political games in Congress.


During her floor speech, she offered many heart-wrenching examples of how the shutdown is putting too many North Dakota Native families in very difficult situations.

“The government shutdown has left North Dakota’s Indian tribes in a state of emergency,”

said Heitkamp.

US Senator Heitkamp

US Senator Heitkamp speaking on the Senate floor about the impact of the government shutdown on Indian country.


“The United States has treaty obligations to the Indian Tribes in this country. And this shutdown poses a threat to the basic services the federal government provides to Native Americans as part of its trust responsibility to tribal nations.”

“Because of the shutdown, BIA Law Enforcement at the Spirit Lake Nation is limited to one officer per shift, in charge of patrolling the 252,000 acre reservation. And because of the shutdown, when the Sisseton-Wahpeton community recently lost a three month old baby, the mother now has been turned away for burial assistance for her child.”

Because of the government shutdown, the vast majority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) — which provides services to more than 1.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives from more than 500 recognized tribes — is now shuttered. As a result, federal funding has been cut off for vital services, including foster care payments, nutrition programs, and financial assistance for struggling Native families.

posted October 12, 2013 10:57 am edt