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American Rescue Plan: Is It A Turning Point For Native American Communities?

Medical worker Melissa Fitzgerald, left, begins to weep in an emotional response after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination from registered nurse Alyssa Lane Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, on the Lummi Reservation, near Bellingham, Wash. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)
Medical worker Melissa Fitzgerald, left, begins to weep in an emotional response after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination from registered nurse Alyssa Lane Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, on the Lummi Reservation, near Bellingham, Wash. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan contains massive spending measures for Native American communities. What will it take to turn the dollars into actual transformation?  

Guests

Dante Desiderio, executive director of the non-profit NAFOA. (@nafoaorg)

Dr. Mary Owen, practicing family physician. President of the Association of American Indian Physicians. Director of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health at the University of Minnesota.

Stephen Roe Lewis, governor of the Gila River Indian Community, which is located next to Phoenix, Arizona. (@stephenroelewis)

From The Reading List

Indian Country Today: “$31 billion represents ‘a massive opportunity’” — “The Indian health system will receive some $6 billion from the American Rescue Act. There is money for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, tracing, mitigation, and workforce expenses.”

New York Times: “Tribal Communities Set to Receive Big New Infusion of Aid” — “After a year that provided stark new evidence of how racial inequities and a lack of federal funding had left tribal communities and Indigenous people especially vulnerable to crises like the pandemic, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are seeking to address those longstanding issues with a huge infusion of federal aid.”

The Conversation: “‘Indian Country’ is excited about the first Native American secretary of the interior – and the promise she has for addressing issues of importance to all Americans” — “President Biden’s nomination of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to lead the Department of the Interior is historic on many levels. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, was one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, along with U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas.”

Indian Country Today: “American Rescue Plan: President Biden is standing by his word” — “On March 10, 2021—one year after the United States declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency—the U.S. House of Representatives is prepared to send the American Rescue Plan to President Biden’s desk, delivering on his number one promise to the American people: getting the virus under control by healing our citizens and our economies.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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