WASHINGTON D.C. – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) today met with leaders from numerous Native organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Business Association, the Native American Indian Housing Council, the Native American Rights Fund, the National Indian Gaming Association, the National Indian Health Board, the First Nations Development Institute and the National Native American Bar Association to discuss the current Congressional agenda and issues significant to Native communities. The following is a statement from Congressman Hoyer regarding the meeting:
“I was very pleased to have met today with a broad group of organizations representing the Native community. We spoke about a range of important issues, from Native civil rights, to health projects, to economic development.
“Like millions of other Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives are concerned about rising unemployment rates and the state of the economy. Many states with large Native populations, such as Alaska, California, North Carolina, Michigan, and Washington, are suffering from the highest unemployment rates in the nation.
“We also discussed Democratic efforts to protect Social Security and Medicare, improve our public schools, and invest in our national security – priorities important to all Americans. Recent budget cuts have hit Native families especially hard, as states curtail health programs, teaching initiatives, and business development efforts.
“Today’s meeting made clear that Democrats and Native communities share the same priorities, including health care, education, housing, gaming, sovereignty issues and economic development. I plan to continue to meet and work together to tackle these issues and improve opportunity for Native citizens across the country.”