Federal shutdown forces Kickapoo Tribe layoffs

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HORTON, Kan. (WIBW) -- The ongoing federal government shutdown has forced the Kickapoo Tribe to lay off nearly two dozen employees.

The Tribe adds the deadlock, which has now stretched into its 20th day, has also hampered its ability to provide services like education and road maintenance.

“The Kickapoo Tribe takes the care and welfare of our tribal members very seriously,” Kickapoo Tribal Chairman Lester Randall said. “Unfortunately, because of the lack of access to federal funding at this time, we are providing very limited services to our tribal members and the community.”

The Tribe explains federal agencies provide or funds for many services, including law enforcement, healthcare programs, and road maintenance, as a result of treaties with the U.S. government.

“We urge the federal government to reach a deal that provides adequate funding so that we can continue to provide these critical services,” Randall added.

Bureau of Indian Affairs representatives have been furloughed because of the shutdown, Randall explained, adding that they have not been given many details as far as contingency plans. He noted the Tribe is being cautious with the funding they do have and are making plans to protect members as well as they can if the shutdown continues.

“Even when the government shutdown ends, we will not have immediate access to our federal funding. Drawdowns from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies will still need to be processed, which could take weeks.” Randall continued.

“There are very real threats posed when crucial services are abruptly halted.”