Shoshone-Bannock Takes Preemptive Approach to Government Shutdown
The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho says it has seen little effects in the early days of the government shutdown of October 1, however all of that could change by next week if Congress is unable to agree on a plan for the fiscal budget.
Hours before the government shutdown went into effect the White House held a conference call to discuss the possible impacts a shutdown would have on tribal programs according to a tribal press release. It was reported that essential tribal government services would continue and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) noted that public safety, child protection and some other services will be shutdown.
Indian Health Services office noted that direct service programs will be exempt from the shutdown and that agencies such as BIA, Bureau of Indian Education and Health and Human Services (IHS) have contingency plans posted.
Like those government agencies the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have developed a contingency plan identifying the tribes’ ‘essential functions’ ensuring the tribal community is maintained.
The tribes’ plan features a prioritized approach to risks, consequences, and meeting the immediate needs of the tribes. According to the tribes’ press release areas of concern include but are not limited to: ensuring the tribal government can perform its essential functions; reducing the loss of life and minimizing property damage and loss; executing a successful order of succession with authorities; reducing mitigation disruptions to daily operations; ensuring facilities and key organizations can continue without interruption; and protecting personnel, facilities and the environment.
“Overall, as a tribal government, we want to assure that the critical infrastructure and support services are not impacted, as well as the Public Safety Departments ability to meet the calls and demands of the general population,” the release states. “The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes will still exercise our Treaty Rights under the Fort Bridger Treaty, as the U.S. Government has demonstrated a violation of its trust responsibility. Therefore the following essential Tribal departments will continue to provide Tribal services: 1. The Fort Hall Not-tsoo Gahnee Indian Health Center (I.H.S) will remain open for health care delivery and services as usual. 2. The Fort Hall Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has furloughed all employees except for their acting Superintendent. Notices were provided to their 16 employees on October 1. No date is provided on when they will return back to work. 3. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes is open. Public Safety Departments such as Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS department and Tribal Courts will remain in full operations.”
Further notices and/or changes will be provided by the tribe.