Oklahoma tribes are feeling the effect of the partial government shutdown.
“The federal government has a trust responsibility to tribes..Many times people ask the question “why does the government owe the tribe anything?” I say “because well we signed a treaty and that treaty is basically a contract,’” says Billy Friend.
And that contract is no longer being held…As the partial government shutdown reaches it’s 13th day effecting tribes in Oklahoma and throughout the country.
“All of government programs are funded through the federal government,” says Billy Friend.
Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend says many of the services they offer including health care, senior nutrition, behavioral, family, or environmental are impacted. These services have served as a blessing for many wyandotte citizens.
“I’m on a tight budget because I am a senior citizen I come in here four days a week and usually have lunch. That’s the main meal and for many of the seniors that could be their only meal because of the tight budgets that so many of us are on,” says Linda Blake, Wyandotte citizen.
Eventually if the shutdown is extended for a long period, the tribe among many others will be forced to cut back on what they offer.
“Fortunately for the Wyandotte Nation we try to set aside funds just because we know this happens from year to year,” says Friend.
Friend adds he has been in communication with other tribes. He says they plan to discuss the impact of the shutdown for all 9 federally recognized tribes in Ottawa County at the next intertribal meeting.