A hearing in the House Energy & Commerce Committee last Wednesday presented several issues that tribal communities face, including difficulties with healthcare related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some of this really exposes problems that have existed for a while so it gives us an opportunity to fix those things,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., “Broadband is a perfect example.”
Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., listed several issues for the hearing address. “Day after day, our nation’s tribal communities are suffering terrible inequalities,” said Pallone. “Unequal access to safe drinking water, unreliable access to the energy grid, little or no broadband connectivity, unreliable funding from the federal government and other systematic problems and now COVID-19 is exacerbating many of these long existing problems.”
According to Executive Director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission Scott Davis, the coronavirus pandemic is the most pressing concern for the state’s tribal communities. “Health disparities on the reservation is much higher than across America so that’s why our respected fear is much higher,” said Davis.