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senate Bill S. 246

Creating A National Commission To Study The Needs Of Native American Youth

Argument in favor

Native American children are some of the most at-risk populations in the country. This bill would give the government the information and resources necessary to best support them.

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04/03/2015
We stole their land. The least we can do is make sure their kids aren't depressed and jobless.
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Keegan's Opinion
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04/12/2015
America destroyed the way of life for these people while promising to help repair, rebuild, and sustain them. We have failed and this failure has been largely overlooked and forgotten.
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Janiesha's Opinion
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09/14/2016
While there is an overall issue with our youth, Native Americans have suffered the most in our country. When you look at some reservations, their living conditions aren't much better than many other countries whose aid we continuously rush to help. It's not a crime to help out at home.
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Argument opposed

While this bill has good intentions, it is expensive and does not guarantee solutions. These resources are better spent reinforcing current support systems for Native youth.

BTSundra's Opinion
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04/19/2016
They're no different than other kids, how about a commission to study the needs of our youth?
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Carolyn's Opinion
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07/01/2015
QUIT CREATING A NEW PROGRAM FOR EVERY LITTLE THING. I'M SURE THERE ARE ALREADY PROGRAMS TO DEAL WITH THE INDIANS. JUST USE YOUR MONEY MORE WISELY. HEY - CUT THE SALARIES OF THE PEOPLE OVER THE PROGRAMS - HIRE NEW BLOOD AT A CHEAPER RATE - SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO WORK AND SEE IF YOU CAN ENHANCE ALREADY EXISTING PROGRAMS. QUIT WITH THE PROGRAMS ALREADY.
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Chad's Opinion
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07/13/2015
They should get treated no different than every other American kids
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What is Senate Bill S. 246?

This bill seeks to find solutions to the unique challenges faced by Native American children. If passed, it would establish a "Commission on Native Children" to study the impact of currently available programs, grants, and support systems. 


The goal of the study would be to develop a comprehensive, unified system to meet the needs of Native youth. The proposed Commission would be composed of experts in education, social work, juvenile justice, and mental and physical health. In order to best consider the needs of these children, the Commission would also include a Native Children Subcommittee of one young representative from each Bureau of Indian Affairs service area and one Native Hawaiian.


After three years, the Commission would report its findings that would include how to better allocate federal resources, increase communication between federal and tribal governments, measure the impact of programs, and develop models for successful programs.

Impact

Native American children and their families; institutions, agencies, and individuals who provide services and support to Native American children

Cost of Senate Bill S. 246

$2.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate found that (based on the cost of similar commissions) implementing this bill would cost roughly $2 million over the 2015-2020 period.

More Information

In Depth:

Co-sponsoring Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — both members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs — introduced this legislation to counter the disproportionately high barriers to success faced by Native American children. 

Indeed, according to a press release from a previous version of this legislation introduced in 2013, Native American children have a suicide rate 2.5 times the national average for children between 15 and 24 years old. A whopping 37 percent of Native children are living in poverty. 

The mortality rate of Native children has increased by 15 percent since 2000 while the overall child mortality rate for the U.S. has declined. According to co-sponsoring Sen. Heitkamp, supporting Native children is not only a matter of principle, but also a promise: 
“The federal government pledged long ago to protect Native families and children. We haven’t lived up to that promise. But we can change that.”


Media:

Sponsoring Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Press Release

CBO Cost Estimate

The Wahpeton Daily News

Indian Country Today Media Network

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Kaibab National Forest

AKA

Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act

Official Title

A bill to establish the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedOctober 14th, 2016
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed September 12th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Indigenous Peoples of the United States
      Committee on Natural Resources
  • The senate Passed June 1st, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Indian Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 22nd, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    We stole their land. The least we can do is make sure their kids aren't depressed and jobless.
    Like (218)
    Follow
    Share
    They're no different than other kids, how about a commission to study the needs of our youth?
    Like (60)
    Follow
    Share
    America destroyed the way of life for these people while promising to help repair, rebuild, and sustain them. We have failed and this failure has been largely overlooked and forgotten.
    Like (80)
    Follow
    Share
    While there is an overall issue with our youth, Native Americans have suffered the most in our country. When you look at some reservations, their living conditions aren't much better than many other countries whose aid we continuously rush to help. It's not a crime to help out at home.
    Like (57)
    Follow
    Share
    QUIT CREATING A NEW PROGRAM FOR EVERY LITTLE THING. I'M SURE THERE ARE ALREADY PROGRAMS TO DEAL WITH THE INDIANS. JUST USE YOUR MONEY MORE WISELY. HEY - CUT THE SALARIES OF THE PEOPLE OVER THE PROGRAMS - HIRE NEW BLOOD AT A CHEAPER RATE - SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO WORK AND SEE IF YOU CAN ENHANCE ALREADY EXISTING PROGRAMS. QUIT WITH THE PROGRAMS ALREADY.
    Like (19)
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    They should get treated no different than every other American kids
    Like (16)
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    What we've done to First Nations people is an embarrassment to our national 'morality.' We can't change the abhorrent things we have done, but we can, at the very least, 1. STOP DOING THEM, and 2. Do the right thing from here on out, and taking care of Native youth and the unique challenges they face is a vital place to start.
    Like (16)
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    The fact that they're more at risk does make them different from other kids. This isn't us vs them, because they are us--we're all Americans. I don't see this being about righting past wrongs; it's a pretty straightforward problem-solving situation. Problem: statically, some children are at an increased risk. Solution: identify and correct barriers. American children are in trouble, and as Americans we have a duty to help other Americans. Simple as that.
    Like (13)
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    It's the least we can do after literally taking over their lands and calling it ours. They don't receive the credit they utterly deserve.
    Like (12)
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    The cost is not outrageous and the potential impact is essential. Current programs are not working.
    Like (11)
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    Absolutely.
    Like (11)
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    Crucial to show support for the Native American youth as they are the future and in need of the tools to prevail. They need a voice!
    Like (10)
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    The children of the Native American community have suffered throughout history and deserves the financial help of our government to study current issues from past abuses.
    Like (9)
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    Native Americans must be protected.
    Like (8)
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    It's been way too long since we've shown any willingness to reflect upon the neglect and abuse of Native American communities.
    Like (8)
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    We owe it to the children to raise them out of poverty and to see them thrive, be educated and succeed in this country.
    Like (7)
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    Investment in youth in our state, and in the resilience and success of Native American young people, is vital to health and justice in our country.
    Like (7)
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    Absolutely. Native children face challenges that I don't think we can possibly be fully aware of or understand without targeted research.
    Like (7)
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    Yes to Native American
    Like (7)
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    They should be treated like any other child, but the fact is that they aren't. Native American communities are uniquely impoverished, and that is because of actions our government took in the past. Native American children aren't on a level playing field with other kids, and we can only correct that by finding and addressing their specific needs.
    Like (6)
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