"He can't send us anyplace," she said. "He can't send us back where we came from because we're already there."
Trump's fraught relationships with minorities came out in a series of flashpoints during the campaign. Key staff appointments Trump made since his election have done little to calm fears.
As a candidate, Trump almost entirely overlooked
Trump did not meet with tribal representatives in
Many who live on
Once he became president-elect, Trump backed off from a full repeal, saying he would keep parts of the act, though it's unclear what he will do once he takes office in January.
"A lot of people here depend on the government for health care," Bigby said.
Trump has not mentioned anything about
"That gave tribes new avenues to provide better access and better services for their tribal members. Nursing homes, dialysis centers, traditional medicine, all those kinds of things we've been asking for," he said.
The law also has provisions that waive any cost-sharing, co-pays, or deductibles for federally recognized
"We were able to see a lot of tribal members sign up who otherwise didn't have health care because of the subsidy that was offered in the marketplace," he added.
The concept of insurance was fairly new in Indian Country, Killsback said. Before, tribal members relied on
Insurance coverage for tribal members lessens the financial burden on IHS, which is historically underfunded. IHS often operates at what's called "life-or-limb" status, meaning if a patient isn't about to lose a limb or die, they don't get care.
Tribes are entitled to health care as a treaty right, Killsback said.
"Our ancestors gave up millions and millions of acres of land in return for goods and services," he said. "This is something we hold dearly because of the bloodshed our ancestors gave for this."
"Where that really impacts the Native community is in litigation," he said. Some tribal communities in
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"Both he and Zinke have made a big pitch about the resurgence of coal," Trahant said. "It's a promise I'm not sure they are going to be able to keep. Coal has been impacted by market forces more than anything else."
One potential good outcome that could come from Trump's administration, Trahant said, is if he keeps his promises on infrastructure spending.
Trump's transition website says his administration will "invest
"If in fact he does infrastructure spending, almost every reservation could use that," Trahant said. "If there's any kind of equitable way of doing it and it creates jobs, that's a good thing."
What comes next could be a way to build both real and metaphorical bridges, said Trahant, whose grandmother lived in
"This could be an opportunity for rural communities to try to figure out how to work together," Trahant said. "In the end, communities across the Hi-Line have so much more in common than apart. The same challenges in
He worries, though, where money to pay for those credits could come from and what could be cut from the nation's budget.
"So much of federal programs on the reservation are really lifelines, and there's really no replacement from a private sector. There isn't a private sector to depend on."
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