Treaty and Trust Responsibility Funding Trends in Indian Country: Focus on the Indian Health Service
By: Cleve Davis, 12 January 2020
Abstract The federal government has a unique relationship with American Indians and Alaska Natives and part of this relationship is to provide support and protection as a treaty and trust responsibility. This study focused upon the federal commitment to health care delivery in the United States by examining total and program level funding overtime to the Indian Health Service. The study made comparisons with other health care spending priorities in the United States to understand how funding to the Indian Health Service ranks. Based upon the Department of Health and Human Services’ fiscal year congressional justifications, funding to the Indian Health Service has increased since 2007. However, the total spending amounts to a mere $2,485 per American Indian/Alaska Native person and total dollars allocated per American Indian/Alaska Native person was lowest among all groups examined. Low health care spending by the United States contributes to the disproportionally higher death rate among the American Indians and Alaska Natives population. The comparatively low level of fiscal appropriations to the Indian Health Service despite the high need raises questions about equality, democracy, and representation within the federal health care system and its ability to meet those needs.
The Palouse Prairie, A Vanishing Indigenous Peoples Garden
By: Cleve Davis, 2 February 2019
Abstract Native biodiversity has countless benefits to all peoples, but probably no more so than the people of Indigenous societies. However, with global biodiversity declining at unprecedented rates the loss is contributing to the erosion of Indigenous cultures, languages, and health. One place, where biodiversity decline has occurred at an excessive level is the Palouse prairie in the Pacific northwest. Prior to contact with Euro-Americans, the Palouse prairie was once a vast garden for Indigenous peoples. Although Indigenous peoples have relied upon the biodiversity of the Palouse for millennia, very little of the natural prairie remains. The purpose of this study was to quantify what remains of the garden (prairie) and to assess the abundance of culturally important native plants. Using remote sensing, it was found that only 1.7% of the garden remains within the region. Analysis of plot-based data revealed the frequency of food, medicinal, and other beneficial native plants is low. Steps should be taken to preserve the genetic diversity of the region before threats eliminate important native plant species. Establishment and tending to natural gardens, legal protection of prairie, and incentives to landowners to conserve prairie on private lands may help reduce the decline of native plant biodiversity.