FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes is implementing measures to stretch funding to avoid furloughs or layoffs of tribal government employees because of the federal government shutdown.
The shutdown directly impacts the Tribes ability to provide essential governmental services to tribal members and the community according to a Tribal Public Affairs press release.
Fort Hall Business Council Chairman said, “As a sovereign nation, the Tribes are committed to providing tribal governmental services to our community. We have a little over 6,000 tribal members to provide services for and rely upon federal appropriations to ensure government services.”
The Tribes imposed travel restrictions, a hiring freeze and limited governmental spending. The week of January 6, the tribal work week has been reduced to 90 percent except for those considered essential services that include the Fort Hall Police Department, Tribal Corrections, Fort Hall Fire & EMS department, direct care Tribal Health programs and the Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School. A four-hour governmental shutdown is scheduled the afternoon of Friday, January 11. Essential service programs and those fully funded will remain in operation.
The week of January 13, the Tribes is implementing a 20 percent reduction in work hours across the board except for essential services or fully funded programs. An eight-hour government shutdown is Friday, January 18 if the federal government shutdown continues.
According to an email Tribal Executive Director Elese Teton sent to all managers and directors January 5, Tribal boards, committee and commissions are also reduced by ten and 20 percent.
The Tribes are most concerned about limited federal maintenance funding that could be exhausted for Tribal Transportation services early because of severe weather conditions on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The concern is for road safety for schools, individuals on the medical priority list because resources provided after two continuing resolutions will soon be depleted.
Tribal leaders said the government shutdown is wreaking economic havoc on the reservation. The closure of the Fort Hall Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs office and the Office of Special Trustee is adversely impacting the Treaty and trust resources tribal members rely upon. Twenty percent of payments to Indian allotees remain suspended. The cuts in federal services are delaying lease payments to Native landowners of more than a quarter of million dollars. “Since our Reservation is primarily agriculturally driven, closure of the BIA Fort Hall Agency directly impact our tribal and regional economy”
Tribal leaders call upon the Idaho delegation and all members of Congress to resolve partisan conflicts, craft a compromise and reopen full operations of the U.S. federal government. Chairman Small said, “We urge the Congressional leadership to end the partial government shutdown.”