(Ethete, WY) – Northern Arapaho Business Councilman Lee Spoonhunter provided congressional testimony last week regarding Indian Country public health issues, especially involving services provided by Indian Health Services. The Northern Arapaho Tribe is one of only three Tribes with a representative who was invited to speak.
Councilman Spoonhunter is a member of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), and testified in front of the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs. As part of his testimony, he advocated legislative action – such as the Restoring Accountability in the IHS Act – to improve NIH medical care, and address high staff vacancy rates, aging facilities and other concerns. Councilman Spoonhunter also urged Congress to boost IHS funding to better ensure Tribal health needs are met.
“There is no amount of red tape that can patch an underfunded system,” said Councilmember Spoonhunter. “Imagine having only one day’s worth of food for a week: for generations. The funding of IHS at 1/7th the estimate of the Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup sets us up for failure.”