Life Worse Than Iraq?
Too many Native American soldiers returning from Iraq
come home to subpar living conditions in their reservation communities. Yet, the Bush
administration's budget for fiscal year 2006 proposes cutting funds for reservations. Now these
servicemen, along with American Indian and Native Alaskan families and friends, are asking some
1. Why can the U. S. afford unlimited amounts for
the other side of the world but cannot afford resources for historically mistreated people
within its own borders?
2. Why does Congress cut infrastructure money for needy
communities at home while billions of dollars can be spent to help rebuild Iraq?
3. Why was the deficit increased by giving tax cuts to the very
rich, the reduce that same deficit by reducing funds for the poor?
Those in Congress aware of the poorer tribes' living
conditions agree that Bush's proposed cuts for Indian programs make little sense. Senator John
McCain (AZ) says the dramatic cuts will cause much harm to the most vulnerable and deprived
people in Indian Country. "The federal government has continually reneged on its trust and
moral obligations to meet the educational, healthcare and housing needs of Indians and these
needs far outweigh the imperceptible contribution that the proposed cuts will make to reducing
the deficit," McCain said.
A Navajo soldier who built infrastructure in Iraq may
face these circumstances at home:
*Only 2,000 miles
of roads in 25,000 square miles of
countryside, many dirt and gravel.
*Housing in short supply. In some cases, 10
people live in a one-bedroom home.
* Some people live in buses.
* Utilities lacking in 85%
of homes, many lacking plumbing.
* No telephones in 40%
* Wood fire stoves, which too often brings
on asthma and respiratory problems, but ventilators are not an option because there is no
* Grocery stores as much as 40
* Drinking water hauled in 50-gallon
* Extremely high unemployment.
* Inadequate schools.
* A health system that provides only 50%
of the funds spent on other poor citizens.
* A trust system where Indian people get
little of the money owed them from the land and leases that the federal government
"manages" for them.
Read the details on soldiers returning from Iraq to
Indian Country: http://naihc.net/
Read Sen. McCain's statement in support of keeping funds flowing to tribal governments and
Indian programs: http://indian.senate.gov/2005hrgs/021605hrg/McCain.pdf