Trump Administration Threatens Tribes' Treaty Rights

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 5:08pm
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(Photo courtesy of the Navajo Nation)
The Navajo Nation seal.

The Trump Administration says Native Americans might need to get a job to keep their health care. But Navajo leaders say that policy defies their 150-year-old treaty rights.

Three states have introduced a rule -- and several more plan to -- that said a person has to work or to be in school to receive Medicaid benefits. The Trump Administration said American Indians are a race, not a separate government, and exempting tribes would give them preferential treatment.

But Navajo Council Delegate Jonathan Hale said the Navajo Nation and hundreds of other tribes signed treaties with the federal government protecting them from such policies.

"I dont think they've been educated in regards to treaty tribes," Hale said. "It's going back to the treaty, in this case 1868, which outlined what the federal government would do and what it agreed to."

The federal government promised to provide health care, education and housing in exchange for tribal land and natural resources.

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