MBPC is excited to announce Daliyah Killsback as our new State-Tribal Policy Outreach Coordinator.
Daliyah conducts research, analysis, and outreach on state budget, taxes, and other policies affecting Indian Country in Montana and aims to increase tribal engagement. Prior to coming on board to MBPC, Daliyah served as a legislative assistant to Washington State Senator John McCoy, working on state and tribal policy issues ranging from K-12 education to tribal fishing and water rights.
“One of the ways that there is a continuing genocide against American Indians/Alaska Natives is through data. When we are invisible in the data, we no longer exist,” says Abigail Echo-Hawk, Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, an organization reorienting its own research process to decolonize data.
Decolonizing data reclaims the indigenous value of data collection, analysis, and research; prioritizes data for indigenous people, by indigenous people; and recognizes the inherent strength of indigenous people.
The 2019 Montana Legislature considered a number of bills that directly impact American Indians. Although not an exhaustive list, this report is an overview of legislative activity from the 2019 Legislature.
Medicaid expansion is critical for improving American Indian health and health care delivery systems in Indian Country and is a good deal for Montana. As a result of the expansion, 15,495 eligible American Indians have been able to access a comprehensive range of health care services at locations across the state.
Since its inception in 2005, the Indian Country Economic Development (ICED) program has made a significant contribution towards improving the economic conditions on reservations in Montana. Currently, funding is one-time-only, meaning it must be reapproved by the Montana Legislature every two years. This makes it difficult for funding recipients from Indian Country to formulate long-term economic development strategies and projects. The ICED program should be funded as an ongoing program in Montana’s base budget.
Suicide continues to be a major public health issue for Montana and is among the leading causes of preventable death in the state. The legislature should continue to invest in suicide prevention, with a specific focus on American Indians, American Indian youth, and veterans. Suicide prevention efforts are critical to improving health outcomes, supporting the state economy, and most importantly, saving lives.
Continued investments in language preservation will provide the opportunity for more in-depth work toward preserving these valuable languages and will further strengthen the relationship between the State and tribes in Montana.