Tribes lacking water see glimmer of hope with massive bill

Dan Martinez, emergency manager for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, pauses in a classroom used to store donated water on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in, Warm Springs, Ore. In Oregon, tribal officials have handed out about 3 million gallons (11 million liters) of water — almost all of it donated — from a decommissioned elementary school on the reservation. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (AP) — The massive infrastructure bill signed earlier this year promises to bring change to Native American tribes that lack clean water or indoor plumbing through the largest single infusion of money into Indian Country.

It includes $3.5 billion for the federal Indian Health Service, which provides health care to more than 2 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

It also delivers money for water projects through other federal agencies.

Tribal leaders say the funding is welcome but won’t make up for decades of neglect from the U.S. government.

A list of sanitation deficiencies includes more than 1,500 tribal projects, from septic systems to pipelines.


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