In Face of COVID-19 Outbreak, Tester, Bullock Request IHS Assurances That Little Shell Members Will Receive Care
Senator, Governor: “It is critically important that access and affordability are not barriers to seeking medical attention”
U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Governor Steve Bullock requested assurances from Billings-area Indian Health Service (IHS) Director Bryce Redgrave that members of the newly federally recognized Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians have access to all IHS facilities in the face of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“We write to urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that members of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians have access to all Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities,” wrote Tester and Bullock. “With the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is critically important that access and affordability are not barriers to seeking medical attention or getting tested for COVID-19. That’s why IHS must act swiftly to make sure no member of the newly federally recognized Little Shell Tribe is turned away from an IHS facility.”
Federal recognition of the Little Shell, which was signed into law in December of 2019 after a century of Tribal efforts and more than a decade of support from Tester and Bullock, entitled the Tribe’s nearly 5,500 members to IHS services.
Native American Tribes must be recognized as sovereign nations by the federal government to exercise full self-governance and to access critical resources for economic development, health care, education, and regulate affairs on tribal lands on terms that are socially and culturally appropriate.
The full letter can be found HERE.