TAKING A SEAT AT THE TABLE: State Budget Handbook for Indian Country

Through the state budget, we as Montanans identify, prioritize, and fund the public services we all rely on for our safety, prosperity, and stability. Our state budget can be used to promote future economic prosperity through investments that create opportunities for American Indians with input and advocacy from Indian Country. While the federal budget plays a significant role in relieving poverty and building economic opportunity, the state budget also has substantial impact on the lives of American Indians living on and off reservations in Montana.

To ensure the state is making wise investments, Indian Country must be involved in the state budget process and advocate for their communities’ needs. When American Indians voice their opinions, legislators can better understand the needs of tribal people. Many lawmakers are unfamiliar with Indian Country making it important to educate them about how the state budget affects American Indians. This State-Tribal Budget Toolkit serves as an overview of how the state budget process works and how American Indians can get involved.

Section 1 summarizes the history of state and tribal government relationships surrounding the state budget and explores why current relationships leave significant room for growth.

Section 2 provides a summary of how the state budget impacts Indian Country, including a list of critical services funded by state dollars.

Section 3 provides a detailed timeline of the state budgeting process.

Section 4 outlines strategies for tribal leaders and engaged citizens to influence the process.

Section 5 provides a directory of related contacts within and outside state government.

We developed a handbook titled TAKING A SEAT AT THE TABLE: State Budget Handbook for Indian Country to provide a complete picture of why and how to get involved with the state budget and legislative process and how to be effective in advocating for issues impacting Indian Country.

>>>You can see the full handbook here.

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