CSKT leaders say government shutdown may affect tribal services


CSKT leaders say government shutdown may affect tribal services

MISSOULA, Mont. - NBC Montana checked with Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal leaders in Pablo Wednesday to find out what impact the shutdown has had on tribal functions. 

Rob McDonald, communications director for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, tells us tribal council members are continually meeting and keeping an eye on congress in hopes of a shutdown solution.

"The deeper we get into October the more likely it is there could be changes to services that people will notice and be aware of," he tells NBC Montana.  "We are being impacted, there are concerns, people are fearful and furloughs are a reality."

McDonald says funding in 12 separate departments and 1,200 jobs could be impacted and the services they provide are a concern too. 

"There are several programs impacted by this so again there are a lot of solutions and options floating out there and we're going week by week as to what we do to get through this week," McDonald says. 

When we asked him what cuts tribal leaders are looking at McDonald told us those decisions have not been made yet. 

McDonald says law enforcement on the reservation will continue as usual and tribal members whose primary health care is through Tribal Health and Human Services will still be able to receive medical attention. 

McDonald tells NBC Montana if the shutdown lasts well into October, tribal leaders will start making the tough decisions.

"Something will have to adjust," he says.  "The money is not there so adjustments have been made to cover those costs, but we go deeper into a hole every week that goes by.

McDonald says the tribe hopes Montana's leaders can help end the standoff on Capitol Hill.

We will continue to check in with tribal leaders about possible future service cuts.

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