American Indians And Alaskan Natives

1982 Words Nov 10th, 2014 8 Pages
American Indians and Alaskan Natives have a relationship with the federal government that is unique due to the “trust relationship” between the US and American Indians/Alaskan Natives (AI/ANs) who are entitled to health care services provided by the US government by virtue of their membership in sovereign Indian nations. In order to contextualize the complex nature of Indian health programs it is necessary to become versed in the political and legal status of Indian tribes. Through numerous constitutional, legislative, judicial, executive rulings, and orders that were largely associated with the succession of land and subsequent treaty rights; the health care of AI/ANs has been one of many responsibilities guaranteed by the federal government. The foundations of which can be traced back to the year 1787. The ceded land has been interpreted in courts to mean that healthcare and services were in a sense prepaid by AI/AN tribes and 400 million acres of land. The misconception of “free healthcare” and a conservative political disdain from so called entitlement programs have also led to misconceptions regarding the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care and services to AI/ANs. Rhoades (2000) has argued that tribal sovereignty is the overarching principle guiding Indian health care on a daily basis.1 This paper will examine the history surrounding federally mandated healthcare to AI/ANs, pertinent issues of sovereignty, as well as case studies in tribal…
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