- Associated Press - Sunday, September 7, 2014

FORT YATES, N.D. (AP) - The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation says the tribe is going to have to make significant budget cuts this year if it wants to reduce a $6 million deficit.

Chairman Dave Archambault announced his proposed budget for 2015 this week, which includes cuts in casino-funded positions and political appointees within the tribe, according to the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1CGudYc ).

Archambault said something has to change if the tribe wants to have a financially sustainable future on its reservation, which straddles North Dakota and South Dakota.

“The system we had is not working,” he said.

Included in Archambault’s budget is a reduction in the amount of casino-funded revenue that goes toward the “Elderly Needs” program, which older tribal residents use to help with propane, groceries and basic utilities. Currently tribal members who are at least 60 years old receive $750 twice per year. The new budget would give money only to members who are at least 70 years old.

Ilene Brown, 61, lives in subsidized housing in the Bear Soldier District on the west side of McLaughlin, South Dakota. She said she’s living on general assistance and food stamps, which totals to about $750 a month.

She said tribal funding helped cover propane payments in the winter, but she understands what Archambault is trying to accomplish.

“I suppose we have to sacrifice somewhere,” she said.

Archambault said the cuts represent a compromise in a difficult situation, and he hopes the funding can be restored in the future.

“We have to get our finances in shape,” he said. “Maybe two, three or four years down the road we can re-implement these things. It’s not going to happen forever,” Archambault said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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