Rudy Soto, Ernie Stevens and FHBC Chairman Nathan Small. (Submitted photo)
By YVETTE TUELL
Tribal Public Affairs
FORT HALL — Chairman Nathan Small traveled to Washington D.C. May 8 to 10 to advocate on behalf of the Tribes.
He joined 84 other leaders from 45 different tribes and 37 different intertribal organizations, who also were in town for the House Interior Appropriations hearings during the Native American Witness Days on May 9-10.
Chairman Small testified in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on Thursday, May 10 to advocate for numerous Tribal issues. He indicated his appreciation to the Subcommittee members, “for the funding increases in the FY18 Omnibus despite the Administration’s request to reduce and eliminate funding.”
Indian Country critical health issues that Congress is considering includes the proposed reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ misguided proposal for tribal member work requirements.
He testified for continued funding for IHS programs such as Community Health Representatives and the Special Diabetes Program. Another need is for a substance abuse treatment facility in Fort Hall and safe/sober housing for individuals who are in recovery.
Chairman Small also reiterated the need for environmental cleanup of the J.R. Simplot Company and the FMC Corporation facilities. In addition, to implement the 1990 Fort Hall Water Rights Agreement, the Tribes requested additional funding to purchase private lands at the Gray’s Lake National Wildlife Refuge.