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Yuroks hit hard by fed closure

Dozens of workers already furloughed, with more at risk

Dozens of employees with the Yurok Tribe, the largest in California, have been furloughed as a result of the federal government shutdown, and hundreds more Yurok tribal members are not receiving benefits typically received.

Susan Masten, vice chairperson of the Yurok Tribe, told Reuters News Service that to absorb federal cuts from the shutdown, the tribe has had to suspend child care to more than 50 families, leave about 100 college scholarships unpaid, suspend tutoring for 1,900 students and furlough 60 of the tribe’s 310 employees.

Another two weeks of the shutdown would require the tribe to furlough another 74 workers, threatening food distribution to isolated areas of the Yurok Reservation, Masten told Reuters.

Yurok officials did not respond to requests for comment from the Triplicate on Monday.

Nationwide, some tribes have been able to weather the federal government shutdown by leaning  on tribal casino revenue, but tribes like the Yuroks that do not receive substantial gaming revenue are  more vulnerable to the inaction of Congress.

Two other federally recognized tribes in Del Norte County, Elk Valley Rancheria and Smith River Rancheria, which both have casino revenue, have said that they were not expecting to implement furloughs as a result of the government shutdown, but that their programs could be affected by a lengthy suspension of federal funds. 

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