Regional
11:22 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Tribes Face Struggle With Government Shutdown

New Mexico – American Indian leaders say any government shutdown could be devastating to those tribes that receive such essential services as law enforcement and health care directly from federal employees.

Jacqueline Johnson Pata is the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. She says that those tribes tend to be the most impoverished.

Leaders of tribes across the country fear that programs under the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs could be suspended. They question whether such a scenario would bring a repeat of 1995 the last time the government shut down when all 13,500 Bureau of Indian Affairs employees were furloughed. General assistance payments for basic needs to 53,000 benefit recipients were also delayed.

Tribal councils at many reservations have met this week to discuss contingency plans.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.