Oneida Programs Remain Open Despite Government Shutdown 

 

By Dawn Walschinski – Kalihwisaks (dwalschi@oneidanation.org) 

The federal government may have shut down Tuesday, October 1 due to the failure of the US Congress and Senate to pass a budget, but federally funded programs operated by Oneida are open for business.  

According to Grants Manager Cheryl Stevens, services such as health care and funding for tribal schools should continue as normal. 

“The majority of the funding we get, like IHS (Indian Health Services), is allocated already,” she said.  

Stevens anticipates there may be delays for college students getting their Pell Grants or applying for student loans due to staff furloughs at the Department of Education.  

“Pell grants are still going on, however they may take a little bit longer to get them out,” she said.  

Director of Oneida’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program Susan Higgs assures that her program will carry on as normal, and the subsidies given to its clients are good through October 31. 

“The Wisconsin WIC is business as usual. The official word is there’s no need to panic, and the best thing that participants can do is pick up and spend their WIC drafts, and that would include the farmer’s market draft,” said Higgs.  

Stevens stated that a 21 day shutdown in the mid-90s didn’t have very much effect on tribal operations, however there is some concern if the current shutdown goes beyond the end of October. 

“They’re ok with the month of October, if it goes longer than that, then a lot of programs will be impacted greatly,” said Stevens.  

The same can be said of the WIC program which is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), although Higgs said there may be other funds available as a contingency plan.  

“WIC at the state level is continuing to monitor the situation daily, so any changes would be communicated,” said Higgs.