Shutdown puts strain on hundreds of Native American tribes

January 12, 2019 - 12:51 pm

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Fallout from the federal government shutdown is hurting hundreds of Native American tribes and entities that serve them.

The pain is especially deep in tribal communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment, and where one person often supports an extended family.

The effects are being felt far and wide.

In New Mexico, a lone police officer patrolled a reservation the size of Houston during a massive snow storm in late December.

Elsewhere, federally funded road maintenance programs are operating on skeleton crews.

Tribal officials say some programs are on the brink of collapse and others are surviving with tribes filling funding gaps.

At the Indian Health Service, about 9,000 employees are working without pay at hospitals and clinics. Much of the administrative work, though, has come to a halt.