Trump Puts $654 Million in Native American Housing Block Grants in Jeopardy

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation neighborhood. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert.

Published May 7, 2017

WASHINGTON – For those who think Donald Trump is good for Indian Country, they better think again.

With a stroke of the pen, President Donald Trump on Friday added language to spending bill (H.R. 244) that passed Congress last week that threatens Native American housing block grants. Congress’ bill approved some $654 million for tribal housing programs. 

Trump White House continues to attempt to erode gains made by American Indian nations.

Trump’s added language to the Congressional bill that provides his administration latitude to make decisions about spending measures. Trump’s administration can cancel grants and funding streams already in motion.

Here is the language that will potentially negatively impact American Indians and Alaska Natives:

My Administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender (e.g., Division B, under the heading “Minority Business Development”; Division C, sections 8016, 8021, 8038, and 8042; Division H, under the headings “Departmental Management Salaries and Expenses,” “School Improvement Programs,” and “Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program Account”; Division K, under the heading “Native American Housing Block Grants”; and Division K, section 213) in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.

Housing on American Indian and Alaska Native tribal lands are, in many cases, as bad as living conditions in third-world countries, with severely overcrowded and dilapidated conditions.

Trump’s addition will also potentially eliminate federal spending to historically black colleges. We can only hope American Indian tribal colleges are not next for the chopping block.

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