APRIL 9, 2020 | CLIP OF VICTORIA KITCHEYAN ON NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES AND CORONAVIRUS
Call from: Michigan
Thank you so much for taking my call. I run an urban agency an urban indian center just south of Detroit called the American indian Services. We’re a mental health provider as well as a food provider. My question is, what is being done for the 75% of American Indians who live in cities? We’ve had a hard enough time just surviving because the State of Michigan has cut our budget repeatedly for the last 5 years. We’re trying to hang on and serve the American Indians in the cities. If people went home, the tribes would not be able to accommodate them. They would be bankrupt in weeks, so what’s going to be done for the Indian people living in the cities?
Thank you Faith for that question. The urban Indian organization, NCUIH, has been a champion in advocating for urban organizations and they were also included in the first funding package and, in fact, the urban indian priorities are something that cannot be forgotten because many of our tribal members live in urban areas and most recently the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Health Board signed on to a letter today advocating for the needs of the fourth funding package and in there the urban needs have also been advocated for. So, I understand your frustration and often the urbans are left out and so the federal agencies have to consult with the federally recognized tribes and they only have to concur with the urban organizations, but we cannot forget our relatives that are living in some of these most highly populated areas that need the resources just as much as we do on the reservation.