Indian Country slammed by sequestration


National Public Radio, in examining the effects of sequestration on school districts nationwide, zeroed in on the Red Lake Independent School District in Red Lake, Minn.

A school district board member told NPR the district will lose $1.6 million in federal funds. That's a little less than half its budget. It means seven teachers and three paraprofessionals have been laid off, including the school psychologist.

The Red Lake Nation was traumatized in 2005 when an emotionally disturbed 16-year-old shot nine people and killed himself. That's when the psychologist was hired.

Tribal governments are preparing for enormous cuts in services because they get most of their funding from federal programs, according to MPR News.

U.S. House Rep. Betty McCollum, who co-chairs the Congressional Native American Caucus, said that while Medicare, Medicaid, veteran's health care and many other programs are protected from sequestration cuts, Indian Country services are not. She called that "morally wrong."

A Star Tribune story last March reported that sequestration cuts might reverse recent progress in tribal school districts. The 2012 graduation rate for Native Americans in Minnesota rose 3 percent in 2012, the first gain in many years.

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