Target: United States Congress
Goal: Protect Native Americans from having their government aid programs unfairly downsized
In March 2013, the United States government was forced into massive spending cuts as a result of a mandated sequester. The sequestration will cut spending to many government departments and programs, including those designed specifically to help Native Americans. Similar programs are exempt from these budget cuts. There is no reason that Native Americans should be singled out and forbidden government assistance that will not be denied to other citizens.
Millions of dollars will be cut from programs such as Indian Health Services and tribal education programs. It is estimated that over 70,000 children will lose access to education and basic health and safety, as the education programs provide meals and childcare. Public schools on reservations will be forced to downsize staff, which will further raise unemployment and poverty rates in these areas. Meanwhile, programs that are considered federal safety nets such as Social Security, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, will not be affected by budget cuts. The double standard is apparent and discriminatory towards Native Americans. As said by James Rickley, superintendent of Fort Peck Reservation school district, ‘This money is not ‘aid.’ It’s not ‘discretionary,’ It’s what is owed to these people.’
The sequestration budget cuts were designed to reduce government spending without causing undue harm to citizens. However, the cuts to Native American programs will cause severe stress to Native American people as rates of unemployment, poverty, and poor health will drastically increase. As these cuts only affect the Native American people, it is a clear discriminatory double standard. Many Native Americans rely on government assistance to survive, and it is not right that this assistance be taken only from these people. Tell the United States Congress that Native American assistance programs should not have their funding reduced.
Dear United States Congress:
Recently, you have had to make severe cuts in federal spending due to the sequestration. Some of these cuts have affected Native American assistance programs that provide health care and education to Native American people. However, similar health care and education programs are not affected by the sequestration. You have created a double standard which is discriminatory towards Native Americans, and will deeply affect their way of life.
I ask you to not cut federal funding for these Native American assistance programs. The cuts will increase the already high rates of poverty, unemployment, and poor health on reservations. There is no reason that Native Americans should be singled out to stop receiving federal funding when similar programs such as Social Security and Medicaid are unaffected. Native American people are reliant on federal assistance to survive. Do not take this away from them.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via Flickr