Montana’s Democratic Senator John Tester has voiced his support of a bi-partisan bill that will improve the quality of life for American Indian children according to a press release from Tester’s office.
The bill is to create a national Commission on Native American Children “that will recommend new ways to reduce childhood poverty and abuse in Indian country while improving economic opportunities.”
“It’s unacceptable that so many Native children find themselves without the opportunity to succeed,” Tester said. “Montana’s Native Americans have a proud history and tradition, and we need to find more ways to improve the quality of life for our future generations.”
The bill originally introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) will also work to recognize the current government initiatives that are working well and develop recommendations for better resources, improve program coordination and develop stronger data to track progress.
The numbers for Native children living in poverty are drastic, sitting around 37 percent, with 50 percent of them graduating from high school.
The bill, Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Saboleff Commission on Native Children Act, has received support from the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Education Association, and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
The bill is available online here.