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Former Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Michigan in March. Native News Online photographs by Levi Rickert

PHOENIX Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, said he will increase funding for the Indian Health Service if elected.

He made his pledge in a written statement shared with The Arizona Republic.

In the statement, he criticized “President Donald Trump and his administration for delaying the first installment of coronavirus financial aid to Native Americans, who sued the administration to block it from giving some of the money to for-profit corporations operated by Native Americans,” the newspaper reported.

"The Navajo Nation has the highest rate of coronavirus infections in the United States,” Biden said. “Donald Trump has failed to live up to our trust and treaty obligations to Native Americans. He took more than a month to allocate Congress’ emergency funding to tribes — and only did so after tribes sued. He has failed to provide tribes with adequate protective personal equipment and medical supplies. It’s unacceptable.

"As President, I’ll make meaningful investments in Indian Country — including dramatically increasing funding for Indian Health Services and making it mandatory.”

Biden also stated his commitment to tribal sovereignty. 

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