Parish said that same history continues today by "denying tribal nations the resources needed to respond to and recover from emergencies of this scale."
"This moment presents us with the opportunity to begin reversing that course," Parish continued.
The Montana Budget and Policy Center report says that tribal governments and reservation economies face unique challenges that will hamper efforts to respond to and recover from the pandemic. For example, a study by a University of Montana tax policy researcher found that non-tribal taxing jurisdictions have "successfully challenged in court tribal governments’ exclusive right to levy taxes within their reservation boundaries."
That means tribal governments must provide many of the same services as other levels of government without the usual tax revenue on which other governments rely. According to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, more than half of tribal governments in the state expect large drops in revenue from tribal enterprises, which often fund tribal government services. The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on tribal areas will ripple out to the entire state economy, according to the Montana Budget and Policy Center report.
“Not only do tribal governments provide economic contributions and services that benefit Montanans, tribal governments play an important role in the ecosystem of employment in the state,” the report states. “They are often one of the largest employers in their regions and provide employment opportunities to both American Indians and non-Indians. As of April 10, 2020, nearly half (47%) of tribal governments across the country had already cut staff, and 50% anticipated needing to make cuts in six months. Only 16% of tribal governments expected no negative changes in staffing in six months.”