Native American Address | VideoJessica Roose | 1/10/2013
Members of the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa were at the capitol to discuss their needs with legislators. "We are asking for a helping hand, not a hand out," said Chairman Richard McCloud.
McCloud says the helping hand needed from the 63rd legislative assembly includes job training and education funding for Native Americans.
"He wants to see success in his people. He wants to see them advance as far as president of the United States and we`re here to help them in partnership with that message," said Rep. Karen Rohr (R-Mandan).
A message that included some grim statistics.
"Only 26 percent of Native American students who graduate are college ready. Only 23 percent of our Native American students have job readiness skills when they are leaving high school," McCloud said.
Statistics that concern lawmakers.
"These are North Dakotans, and some of them are my patrons and, yeah, the needs are great and we need to try and do what we can to help our patrons," said Donald Schaible (R-Mandan).
The Chairman says the help won`t go unnoticed. He says it will help fuel the state`s economy and allow more Native Americans to get off welfare. "Imagine a Turtle Mountain economy that doesn`t require 25 percent of North Dakota`s welfare funds. Imagine thus happening with all the reservations in the state," McCloud said.
Of course, the legislature can`t just hand over the money. They will need to discuss it and other funding requests over the next few months. "The toughest thing in this session is filtering out the needs and wants. Making sure that everything that we do fund is need and not just wants and, of course, there is different opinions in what that is and that`s what will come from debate and the votes and all that," Schaible said.
After today, lawmakers have 77 days left to figure it out.
He also is asking that the legislature help to expand medical facilities and provide funding to increase law enforcement on reservations.