Democracy Now hosted its daily morning War and Peace Report on Thursday morning with host Amy Goodman. The show opened focusing a bit on Brexit and a canceled State of the Union Address, but chiefly directed discussions about the U.S. federal government shutdown.
In the midst of the report, Goodman directed the discussion to Indian Country and asked questions from Indian Country Today editor Mark Trahant.
Trahant told Goodman that the impact was significant to Indian Country. “It really is, across the country, a pretty significant, devastating impact … people are worried about access to medicine, access to basic services. Indian Health Services is still operating, but folks are not being paid.”
“One stat that most people don’t know is that the Indian Health System is actually run by tribes or non-profit organizations, not the federal government, so to have to have those organizations bail out the government is really extraordinary,” said Trahant.
Democracy Now tweeted: “.@TrahantReports of @IndianCountry says the shutdown is having a "pretty significant, devastating impact" on Native Americans, particularly on healthcare access. With federal offices closed, tribes and nonprofit health providers have to "basically bail out the federal government."
Trahant said that the Indian Health Service was the largest employer in Indian Country and the largest direct employer with over 10,000 people.
Democracy Now also tweeted: “Native Americans are reporting shortages of medicine as the Indian Health Service goes understaffed in the shutdown. "It's already so underfunded," says
@TrahantReports. "It's the lowest cost health system in the country, and taking resources out of that just makes it worse."
You can watch the 7-minute segment with Mark Trahant above or watch the full report on DemocracyNow.org.
Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter - @TrahantReports
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling