Massachusetts American Indian Tribe Seeks Federal Recognition To Obtain Health Care Funding, Other Federal Aid
The Mashpee Wampanoag American Indian tribe in Massachusetts is asking the federal government to recognize it as a sovereign nation, which would enable the tribe to qualify for federal aid for housing, health care and education funds, the Hyannis Cape Cod Times reports. According to a 2002 survey conducted by the tribe's governing council and the state Department of Public Health, rates of obesity, diabetes and smoking among tribe members are more than twice that of other Massachusetts adults. In addition, tribe members are almost twice as likely as other adults to lack health insurance. Compared to the general population, the tribe also has higher teen birth rates and drug and alcohol use among tribe members ages 18 and older, the survey found. Tribal Council Chair Glenn Marshall last week said the federal recognition would help the tribe address such issues. Although the earliest that the tribe would receive any federal funding is next year, he said. The tribe will complete a final 90-day waiting period for recognition on May 22. If there is no challenge, the tribe will be officially recognized by the federal government (Lord, Hyannis Cape Cod Times, 2/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.