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sample letter to protect Urban Indian Health

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  • sample letter to protect Urban Indian Health

    March 26, 2006

    Mr. Greg Smith
    The Smith Law Firm
    2099 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Suite 850
    Washington D.C. 20006

    RE: Urban Indian Health Programs

    Dear Mr. Smith:

    I am writing to voice my concern for the future of urban Indian health programs across the United States. I am the founder of Redbird, a Native American non profit organization, and a resident of the greater Los Angeles area. I have worked for and with United American Indian Involvement in Los Angeles, as well as other programs which offer health services to the American Indian community.

    Los Angeles and New York City have the highest populations of urban Indians, and these people are, by and large, living at or below the poverty level, meaning that adequate health care from personal or company sponsored insurance policies is almost non-existent. Of the population which has tribal cards from federally recognized tribes, it is estimated that 60% utilize health Indian Health Service programs regularly and up to 80% of this population uses these services at some point, usually as they become elderly and their health issues become more severe.

    Abandoning these programs would leave a great many people who are already living in distressed conditions without medical care. While some funding for the care-giving organizations is from the private sector, a substantial portion is designated through Indian Health Services programs and other federal grant initiatives.

    The Termination Act of the 1950’s brought thousands of Native Americans to the cities on the promise of a better future. For many of them, that future did not materialize, and they remain in the urban environment on a marginal financial existence. Eliminating government sponsored healthcare initiatives to urban Indian populations will create an additional negative impact on a population still struggling to find the American Dream in an unfamiliar territory. On behalf of Redbird and my personal and professional experience, I urge you to fight against the abandonment of Urban Indian Health services and programs.

    With sincere best wishes,

    Corina Roberts, Founder
    P.O. Box 702, Simi Valley, CA 93062
    (805) 217-0364
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