The Legislature finds that members of Nebraska's federally recognized Native American tribes are not receiving adequate basic public health services, especially in the areas of education and prevention. The leading causes of death among Native American people are largely preventable. Many Native American people suffer from preventable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and alcohol-related fatalities. An alarming number of tribal members engage in health-threatening activities such as smoking, substance abuse, and poor diet. Births to teenaged Native Americans are higher than any other racial group. Unintentional injuries are costing Native American people years of productivity and potential. As a result, the life expectancy among Native Americans is low while the infant mortality rate is high when compared to Nebraska's general population. The problems and future costs associated with a lack of adequate public health services will continue to escalate as seventy percent of tribal members on reservations and in service areas are children.
To protect a generation of Native American children and to provide for a safe, healthy future for future generations of Native American people, the Legislature declares that public health infrastructure focusing on health education and preventative health measures for Native Americans must be addressed.