Water is life. The Water Protectors put this simple, powerful idea in news feeds and on front pages during their historic stand at Standing Rock. As the Native-led environmental justice struggle continues, however, it is important to keep Indian Country water issues on the front burner.
That is why it is important to share good reporting such as News21’s “Tribes fight for clean water” with as many people as you can.
The article covers this issue’s scientific, geographic and political elements. The section that made the biggest impression on me quoted Quinault Tribal President Fawn Sharp:
Fawn Sharp, vice president of the National Congress of American Indians, said tribes have limited power to raise taxes, which is why they have to secure money from many sources. “The end product is what you see, programs where it may take up to 14 sources of funding to make happen.”
Travois believes that positive change in Indian Country comes from grassroots and community leaders. Outside investment from the federal government has never been enough. The tribes that have succeeded in infrastructure improvements have used creative financing tools.
The Pueblo of Laguna used New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) to overhaul its water infrastructure. Other Native communities have used the program for electricity and broadband projects.
If you are pursuing a water quality project and are encountering the problem highlighted by President Sharp, reach out to us. If we begin the discussion on funding strategies now, we can cut down on the number of sources and the time it takes to put them all together.