Election

November 8, 2016
For 8 weeks, 12 American Indian high school students worked with media instructors John Gwinn and Tiana LaPointe, as well as special facilitator Bobby Wilson.

Following a heated primary election for the Presidency of the Navajo Nation, "Remember My Name" examines the world of LGBTQ rights and the meaning of identity in the largest Native American tribe in the United States.

Young Lakota follows the emotional journey of Sunny Clifford, a young Lakota woman who returns to the Pine Ridge Reservation with a dream to change the world around her. Her political awakening begins when the tribe’s first female president, Cecelia Fire Thunder, defies a South Dakota law banning abortion by threatening to build a women’s clinic on the reservation.

Will the Affordable Care Act work? It's too early to know that answer. But this is not a new question in history. More than sixty years ago the Bureau of Indian Affairs was awful in its operation of health care programs. One doctor wrote: All we really need are good doctors, facilities and pharmaceuticals. I am weary." Congress finally got the message and in 1955 created the Indian Health Service. But that shift -- as dramatic as the one today -- worked and it significantly improved the quality of life for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Medicaid is a particularly complex government insurance program for the poor. But for American Indians and Alaska Natives, Medicaid is also an odd partnership between states and the federal government. The U.S. pays the bills, but each of the 50 states decide the rules and what's authorized as a health care cost. And there's another problem: The Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid eligibility, but only about half the states are doing that.

There is not a lot of competition in health care, especially for American Indians and Alaska Natives who live on a reservation or in a native village. The one choice for health care is often the federal Indian Health Service or perhaps a locally-managed tribal or nonprofit clinic. But the Affordable Care Act changes that. Once you have an insurance card from a Marketplace Exchange or Medicaid ... then you have a choice.

The Affordable Care Act includes incentives for people to buy health insurance coverage at a reduced rate or even free. So why would American Indians and Alaska Natives purchase insurance? Because there are a lot of benefits to doing so, including money for medical-related travel, or improved medicines. But first Native Americans need to sign up. And the Government Accountability Office said that will only happen if there is a major campaign to education people about their expanded coverage options.

The reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act had been stuck in Congress for nearly twenty years. So when health care reform moved front and center it became an opportunity to get that done -- and to add tribes to the larger discussion. The result, says National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jaqueline Peta, is the Affordable Care Act, a law that's "very good" for Indian Country.

Written by Mark Trahant.

America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa is a new and innovative documentary series which will be available to public TV stations and viewers beginning in October 2014. Produced by the Harlem-based Futuro Media Group, America By The Numbers will reveal how dramatic changes in the country’s demographics are playing out in mainstream USA.

In the Alaska Purchase of 1867 the United States took on more than just the land. There were indigenous people living everywhere in Alaska. Like Native Americans in the lower 48, Alaska Natives struggled to keep their basic human rights as well as protect their ancient ties to the land. The Bill of Rights did not apply to them. Through extensive reenactments and rarely seen historic footage and photographs, 'For the Rights of All' reveals these remarkable people and their non-violent struggle for civil rights.

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A report on the different ways that the Native vote impacted the results of the 2012 election.

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Thoughts on the recent elections and an idea on what the Obama administration could learn from Tribal Nations to reduce health care costs.

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