Washington, D.C. partner Paul Moorehead was quoted in an Indian Country Today article titled, “What Else the House Farm Bill Left Out for Native Americans.”
The U.S. House passed a farm bill recently that leaves out federal funding for the national Food Stamp program that many Native American rely on for sustenance, but that wasn’t the only Native-friendly part of the bill that was axed.
Another lesser known program that was also cut included support for a feasibility study that would explore whether tribes are able to administer federal food assistance programs and related services and activities. It also laid the groundwork for tribes to step into the shoes of the federal government and administer these programs on Indian reservations. According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), that’s a problem because tribes have a duty to protect the welfare of their citizens.
Currently, federal and state officials administer the vast majority of Indian interactions with the hunger and nutrition safety net in America. In some instances, this leads to poor outcomes for Indians, because they are either underserved or not t made aware of opportunities under the programs.
Paul commented, “Politically there is much for both sides to like: Republicans like devolving things from the U.S. government to tribes and Democrats like to support tribes in general, especially when it comes to things like nutrition.” Paul continued, “the tribal push for the study is in keeping with the trend toward tribes managing federal programs outside the two main agencies, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.”
Although none of the legislation considered to date specifically appropriations funding for the tribal feasibility study, Paul said, “there are pots of money within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get this idea off the ground.”
To view the entire article in Indian Country Today, click here.