Natives Aff

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Native American poverty should be addressed and is a moral obligation

Rodgers 8 (Tom, president of Carlyle Consulting of Alexandria, Virginia. A Blackfoot tribal member, advocates on behalf of Native American tribal governments and their people, previously a congressional staffer for Senator Max Baucus, 12/10, “Native American Poverty”,

The time for action is long past due. Native Americans were the very last to be granted the right to vote, and were therefore too long treated as second-class citizens. Now there are those who seek to treat Native American governments as second-class sovereigns. They seek to accomplish this by not availing them of the same tools for self-reliance and recognition afforded to state and local governments.

The issue of poverty is an integral first step. Poverty is both the cause and the consequence of all the ills visited upon Native Americans. Failure to address poverty causes deprivation and hardship in these communities today, and robs the next generation of any opportunity to succeed and thrive tomorrow. The invisibility, silence, and neglect must end. As President-elect Barack Obama ascends to the White House, now is the significant moment to address the many problems Native Americans endure, including systemic poverty.

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