Fuel Costs Squeeze Services for Native American Tribes

Social service delivery, rides for elderly hit by skyrocketing prices
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2008 2:26 AM CDT
Fuel prices have risen to $4.02 a gallon, with diesel costs at 40 cents more.
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(Newser) – Higher gas prices are forcing Native American tribal governments to cut back on transportation services, reports Reznet News. The Rosebud Sioux tribe provides its police, education and social services departments with transportation, as well as rides for the elderly and trips to medical appointments. But with coffers running on empty, the South Dakota tribe is changing its driving practices, reallocating funding—and may be forced to shelve programs entirely.

“There’s no good answer,” said one official. “No matter what option you take, you’re eliminating certain services.” The Navajo Nation, America’s largest tribe, has already started cutting its travel schedule. In April, the nation spent $710,000 fueling up, compared to $450,000 last year. “We have a huge reservation and trying to cover it is difficult," said a member of a Montana tribe.