Farm Bill Includes Provisions for Indian Country

On February 4, 2014 Congress passed the “Farm Bill” which authorizes funding for federal agricultural and nutrition programs for the next five years.  Although it was disappointing that the SNAP program was cut by $8.6 billion dollars, hurting millions of families that struggle to put food on the table, there were other parts of the bill that will help Indian Country.  Here is a highlight of some of those changes shared by the National Congress of American Indians:
Feasibility Study, Report, and Demonstration Project for

Top Five Reasons Montana Should Expand Health Coverage Through Medicaid

Montana has the chance to provide 70,000 people with high-quality health coverage by accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid to those whose incomes are less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.  For a single person, this means earning less than $15,857, and for a family a three, less than $26,951.
Here’s why it’s such a good idea:

Welcome to “Charted Territory”

Welcome to Charted Territory, the new blog from the Montana Budget and Policy Center.
Montana is at a crossroads. We face many challenges – reducing poverty, growing our economy, creating jobs, and ensuring access to health care. There are so many possible directions we could turn that sometimes it feels like we are lost in uncharted territory.
We aim to give Montanans a map to these crucial issues, using accurate information and clear, non-partisan analysis to provide timely commentary.

2013 State-Tribal Legislative Impacts

[caption id="attachment_799" align="alignleft" width="135"] Photo courtesy of Laura John[/caption]
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.

SB 342: Preserving Montana’s Tribal Language

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.

A Legacy of Inequality for American Indians in Montana

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.