Tribal government and tribal members have experienced change as each year passes. Nationwide tribes face economic and environmental challenges that impact lives on the reservation and also the non-tribal communities.
There are a variety of businesses operation on and off tribal lands. Examples of this are business partnerships between local and national tribes, such as the Four Fires LLC created by the Forest County Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians or the development of a business relationship between Sycuan Tribal government and Marriott in the management of the Grant Hotel. Business on tribal land is not just limited to hotels, casinos, and services; rather, other tribal business involves agriculture and land management for future generations. An example of this is the Pauma Tribal Farms Olive Orchards who is expanding operations by leasing non-tribal land.
Each tribal business is impacted by the quality and availability of products, services, water and other natural resources in all communities. The external non-tribal government costs continue to increase in pace with the California economy. Costs such as electricity, access to water, healthcare services, and basic family needs have increased over the past ten years. Tribes compete with local communities, at times, for the same resources.
Healthcare. Indian Health Services (IHS) or the Tribal Health Plan provides care to the tribes in many cases. This brings us to the issues related to veterans.
Veterans. Often veterans return from military service with disabilities and mental health issues as a result of war and service. These veterans are honored throughout the community. Yet who will provide healthcare for the wounded warriors? What economic impact will the veterans' healthcare have upon the cost of tribal healthcare?
The key is to ensure that the veteran register with the Veterans Administration (VA) prior to leaving service or as soon as possible after service. Veterans who are authorized healthcare under the VA and IHS Memorandum of Understanding signed in October 2010, the VA will provide reimbursement to the IHS or THS through a claims reimbursement process. For more information about this issue please contact the VA's Office of Government Tribal Relations.
Mental Health and Addiction. The World Health Organization states that 1 in 4 people globally have mental health disorders. This number is higher within the veteran population.
Family is important to our communities. Mental health and addiction is not a problem limited to veterans; rather, it is a family issue throughout the tribes. Honoring those who have become sober is critical; yet, helping those with addictions in the tribes and non-tribal communities is vital to the continued success of tribal families and tribal governments.
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CALIFORNIA TRIBAL CONCERNS: FOR OUR FAMILIES