The Inflation Reduction Act: Indigenous Communities Need More

Spending a dime while earning a nickel? Remember when gas was $1 per gallon? Costs are rapidly increasing, but paychecks across America are not keeping pace. While some are fortunate enough to remain comfortable despite the prolonged inflation, many more are struggling to make ends meet. In fact, in one poll, 69% of Native Americans say inflation is severely affecting their lives. The impact is worse because approximately 27% of Native Americans were living in poverty even before 2022 inflation, compared to 15% for the rest of America.  

So, what does this mean for Native people? Rising gas prices are more challenging on the reservations, with gas stations, clinics and grocery stores few and far between. The rising food prices are a double whammy, with one in four Native families experiencing food insecurity even before the pandemic and current inflation.

And let’s talk about those grocery stores. Many reservation communities are designated as food deserts by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. In a rural setting, this means the closest store is 10 or more miles away. In many cases, it’s up to an hour away. For instance, although it spans nearly 27,000 miles, there are only 13 grocery stores across the Navajo Nation. Can you imagine the gas cost for getting to these stores?

In August, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act to “meet the climate crisis and build an economy that works for working families, including Tribal nations and American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian families.” The Inflation Reduction Act lowers prescription drug, health care and energy costs. While this is a good start, Indigenous communities need more to combat the current inflation impact(s), historic marginalization/disenfranchisement and ineffective federal policies.

Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) maintains partnerships with hundreds of tribal programs (our Program Partners) to bring much-needed relief to 250,000 Native Americans each year. We deliver critical goods and services to remote reservation communities that most Americans never see and most organizations cannot reach – whether due to geography, or a lack of Native contacts, cultural competency or insights about specific needs. We operate a highly efficient warehouse and distribution system that lets us truck about 5 million pounds of materials to the reservations each year, and our Program Partners ensure these goods get to the people who need them. In addition, PWNA supports long-term solutions such as scholarships and leadership development, ancestral nutrition training for healthier diets and emergency preparedness.

Are you looking for a way to help? Join PWNA in our efforts toward racial and social equity by donating today.

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