26 February 2005

America Worse Off Than Iraq?

Something to think about, enit?


Friends and like minded people should be deeply concerned about the
values reflected in the federal budget.  It is truly a dismal state of
affairs when some of the first Americans live in physical circumstances
comparable to front line conditions in Iraq.  On February 16th, several
Native American veterans argued against housing cuts in the budget for
fiscal year 2006.

Former Army Specialist Gerald Dupris, 22, described his mother's
neighborhood inside the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Eagle Butte,
S.D., as "a lot worse than what I left in the military in Iraq." Navajo
and former Staff Sgt. Julius Tulley added, "The U.S. has been restoring
electricity to Baghdad and other Iraqi towns, yet in Blue Gap, where my
mother and aunties live now, only 15 percent of the people have
utilities - I mean water and electricity"  A greater percentage of
American Indians have served in the military than any other ethnic
group.  Does the government honor their service by providing public
services to reservations?  Does the government care about elderly people
coping with such living conditions?

If Congress ignores people in want, systematically year in and year out,
it perpetuates human suffering and creates structural economic violence.
Battlefields are not the only place where people die and are scarred.
People can be scarred and can die-indirectly and sometimes
invisibly-from societal and governmental neglect at home.

Ask your representative and senators to stand up for the poorest of our
citizens.  As they consider budget cuts, urge your members of Congress
to remember the past and present contributions of Native Americans.
Budget amounts should be increased, not cut, for basics in Indian
Country. Go to our website to write your congressional members an email
or send a fax,http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=7105906&type=CO,
its easy!

Just enter your zip code in the "Take Action Now" box and click "Go" 
Background:  There are documented disparities in health, housing,
plumbing, telephones, and schools between what many in Indian Country
have compared to the general public. Yet, the President proposes a
budget that would cut rather than enhance basic programs that address
such compelling needs.

* This budget cuts funds for Indian housing and community development

* This budget cuts funds for construction of health facilities

* This budget cuts funds for tribal colleges.

The President's budget includes cuts of $107 million in funding for
Indian housing and community development. Yet Native Americans are three
times more likely to live in overcrowded housing, according to the 2000
U.S. Census, and nearly 12 percent of Native Americans lack complete
plumbing, compared with 1.2 percent of the general population.
In testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the chairman of
the primary Indian Housing advocacy group Chester Carl stated, "I
believe I speak for all members of the National American Indian Housing
Council when I express my frustration and anger that a national priority
shift and aid to a people in need thousands of miles away is being paid
for by those in America who can least afford it. While assistance in the
Middle East is admirable, America seems to have never understood the
urgency of the need to lift people from poverty and ignorance and
despair here at home in order to strengthen this country. The poverty
rate for Native Americans, which continues to hover at about 26 percent,
is more than double the poverty rate for the general American

See Chester Carl's full testimony at

Read Senator McCain's opening statement on the effect of the budget
request on Indian country, http://indian.senate.gov/2005hrgs/021605hrg/McCain.pdf

Read FCNL's article on structural economic violence (registration
required), http://www.fcnl.org/now/htm_final/jan05_economic-violence.php


Post a Comment

<< Home