WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and ten of his Senate colleagues introduced a resolution reaffirming the federal government’s responsibility to provide access to clean drinking water for Native American communities.
“It is shameful that many Tribal communities, including in New Mexico, lack access to clean drinking water,” said Heinrich. “The federal government has a trust responsibility to invest in water infrastructure projects and fully fund water settlements with Tribes that will finally deliver clean water to all families in Indian Country.”
"Alaska Natives and Native Americans are dying from COVID-19 at the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States, and research shows there is a connection between lack of access to clean drinking water and COVID-19 infections in Indian Country," said Bidtah Becker, attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and co-leader of an initiative on Universal Access to Clean Water. "Senate support of this resolution will significantly further the always developing relationship between federally recognized Native Nations and the United States."
The lack of access to clean drinking water is a significant barrier for many Native American communities. According to data from the Indian Health Service, nearly half of Native American households do not have access to reliable water sources and clean drinking water.
The resolution, led by U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
The full text of the resolution is available HERE.