White House Denies Funding to Replace Tribal Villages

The federal government appears to be reneging on yet another promise to Native American tribes.

1 minute read

November 6, 2017, 2:00 PM PST

By Elana Eden

Columbia River Gorge

Members of the Warm Springs, Yakama, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes lost there homes when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Bonneville Dam, along with others along the Columbia River. | Rainy Beck / Shutterstock

The Office of Management and Budget has abruptly rejected the U.S. Army Corps' request for $1.6 million to plan and develop a new town for several Native tribes at the Washington-Oregon border.

The new development was planned to replace a number of towns that were destroyed by the construction of a series of dams on the Columbia River beginning in the 1930s. "Since then, many Native Americans have lived at least six months out of the year on 30 fishing sites not made for full-time human habitation," often with limited access to restrooms, Molly Harbarger explains in The Oregonian. The government recognized its obligation to replace the lost homes in 2016.

To do so, the U.S. Army Cops had requested $1.6 million out of a fund normally used to maintain the lower river basin, which was experiencing a surplus. All signs pointed to the transfer being approved, and the planning process for the new town had begun.

Now, the White House's surprise decision "has again left hundreds of Native Americans in unsafe, unsanitary makeshift housing for the foreseeable future," Harbarger notes.

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