Natives Aff

Federal government involvement is key to use transportation infrastructure to bolster the economy

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Federal government involvement is key to use transportation infrastructure to bolster the economy

PPS 11 (Portland Public Schools Indian Education Project. Talking Circle: November 2011.)

To strengthen our economy and win the future for our children, my Administration is addressing problems that have burdened Native American communities for too long. We are working to bolster economic development, expand access to affordable health care, broaden post-secondary educational opportunities, and ensure public safety and tribal justice. In June, I signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council, to strengthen Federal engagement with tribal governments and promote economic prosperity in Indian Country and across rural America. This comes in conjunction with several settlements that will put more land into the hands of tribes and deliver long-awaited trust reform to Indian Country. To bring jobs and sustainable growth to tribal nations, my Administration is connecting tribal economies to the broader economy through transportation infrastructure and high-speed Internet, as well as by focusing on clean energy development on tribal lands. First Lady Michelle Obama's recently launched Let's Move! in Indian Country initiative will also redouble efforts to encourage healthy living for American Indians and Alaska Natives. These actions reflect my Administration's ongoing commitment to progress for Native Americans, which was reaffirmed last year when we announced our support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Through a comprehensive strategy where the Federal Government and tribal nations move forward as equal partners, we can bring real and lasting change to Indian Country. Economic indicators underscore the need for job creation on Indian reservations, and tribal transportation projects can bring not only construction jobs but also spur economic growth within tribal communities. Nearly one-quarter of Native Americans live in poverty compared to a national average poverty rate of 11.6%. The BlA's Indian Labor Force Report also calculates that 49% of the total Indian labor force living on or near reservations was unemployed. The economic situation faced by the Trinidad Rancheria reflects these statistics. We are located on the remote north coast of California, which has struggled for some time with the loss of jobs in the logging and forest products industry and the commercial fishing industry. Unemployment for the Tribe is 52%, and bringing jobs to this economically distressed areas is a top priority for the Tribe.

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