In 2012, Montana Budget & Policy Center launched a collaborative project to improve access to information on how budget and policy decisions impact Montana’s Native Americans. State and federal budgets both play a significant role in relieving poverty and building economic opportunity in Indian Country and have a significant impact on the lives of American Indians living both on and off reservations in Montana. Most recently, the 2013 Legislature considered a number of bills that held direct implications for American Indians in our state.
Montana has a unique opportunity to improve healthcare for American Indians by expanding Medicaid. If Montana policymakers choose to take advantage of this opportunity, American Indians who are newly eligible for Medicaid, including those who rely on Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities, will see improvements in their healthcare. Up to 19,547 American Indians would be newly enrolled in the program, improving access to care and health outcomes throughout Indian Country.
A strong economy allows for the creation and retention of local jobs, the establishment and growth of businesses, and the ability to keep money in the local community. There, those dollars have multiplying effects that drive economic growth, especially in Indian Country. Since 2005, the Indian Country Economic Development (ICED) program has empowered Montana’s tribes to take a hands-on approach to strengthening reservation economies.
Sequestration will lead to cuts that will disproportionately burden American Indians. See our infographic here.
Across the nation, the original languages of American Indians are vanishing at an alarming rate, taking with them a vital piece of the culture of our first people. Now, the 2013 Legislature has the opportunity to help preserve the languages of Montana’s tribes. The proposal being considered, SB 342, would establish tribal language programs in reservation schools and engage American Indian youth in saving their languages. However, the impact of these programs reaches well beyond just the preservation of language, for both our students and our state. Read our report here.
The twelve tribal Nations and seven Indian reservations of Montana encompass richly complex diversity, cultures, histories, talents, and resources. The tribal Nations and their members have contributed immeasurably to the development to the state’s history, culture, and economy. Unfortunately, just as Montana’s tribes influenced our nation’s and our state’s development, the U.S. government has had a profound and sometimes devastating impact on the nation’s American Indian population. In this installment of the Montana Budget and Policy Center’s State of Working Montana, we explore dramatic racial and economic inequality plaguing Montana. While a recounting of the complex history between the federal and state governments and Montana’s tribal Nations is beyond the scope of this report, the data analysis provided here is, in many ways, the legacy of centuries of damaging policies and practices by the federal government and lingering negative
The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides many funding opportunities for tribal governments. Some of these opportunities are contained in Montana’s House Bill 645, the state appropriation of federal stimulus dollars.This brief outlines some of the funding opportunities for tribal governments in HB 645. It also outlines significant funding sources in ARRA that may be allocated directly from the federal government to Montana tribes, primarily through grant applications.