With the initial deadline for the CARES Act lawsuit delayed, a teleconference hearing was held yesterday on the case which discussed the allocation of the $8 billion relief funds for Indian Country. In a 26-page brief,  by the Trump administration has determined that Alaska Native corporations can receive shares of the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund promised to tribal governments. Treasury also released a separate document yesterday confirming ANC eligibility in the distribution of funds. The deadline for the disbursement of funds is still slated for Sunday, April 26 according to reports by Native America Calling.

In related news, CARES Act amicus briefs from National, regional, and intertribal organizations were filed yesterday. Read briefs here.

The Navajo Nation receives 21 UCSF trained health care professionals to aid with ongoing COVID-19 treatment, but a lack of access to water prevents them from adequately fighting the virus.

Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt’s new gaming compact with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation has met resistance from the House and Senate GOP leaders, and casinos in Oregon are feeling strained after closing for the first time in 25 years.

Keep reading for a full news update.

CARES Act Funding And Lawsuit:

Treasury: Alaska Native Corporations Qualify For Tribal Relief

Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, April 23

Alaska Native corporations are eligible for some of the $8 billion in coronavirus relief aid Congress set aside for tribes, the Trump administration determined Thursday, just days before a deadline to distribute the money among hundreds of tribal governments.

Thursday, April 23, 2020 – The realities of coronavirus aid distribution

Native America Calling, Art Hughes, April 23

Collectively, tribes will need about $50 billion to adequately address the COVID 19 pandemic and to make up for lost revenue. That’s an estimate from the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. The current stimulus package provides $10 billion for tribes and the federal administrations that work with them. And already there are disagreements about how the money is distributed. We’ll hear more about the questions and concerns over the effort to provide coronavirus relief funds in the hands of those who need it.

CARES Act Lawsuit Delay

Indianz.com, April 22

With just minutes to go before a brief in the CARES Act lawsuit was due in federal court, the Trump administration says it won’t be able to file it on time as originally ordered.

New CARES Act Hearing

Indianz.com, April 22

The federal judge assigned to the tribal #CARESAct lawsuit has scheduled a new hearing in the case in light of the Trump administration’s attempts to delay paying Indian Country its share of an $8 billion coronavirus relief fund.


‘Don’t Go Over To Your Snag’s House’

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, April 23

Flashes of Taika Waititi … then Congresswoman Sharice Davids … then Notah Begay. Celebrity after celebrity.

That is the concept behind a new video published Thursday by IllumiNative as part of their #WarriorUp campaign. It encourages Native people to stay home to protect their loved ones from the coronavirus, but it does so, with some Native humor too.

In Navajo Nation, Pandemic Exposes Water Crisis And Health Disparities

International Business Times, Issam Ahmed, April 23

The coronavirus is hitting the United States’ largest Native American territory hard, with a spike in cases bringing long-standing disparities to the fore in a land marked by the trauma of past waves of disease.

Oregon Tribes’ Primary Engines – Casinos – Stalled By COVID-19

Indianz.com, Dawn Stover, April 23

When Oregon health officials identified the state’s third known victim of COVID-19 early last month as an adult who worked at the Wildhorse Resort & Casino near Pendleton, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation jumped into action.

UCSF Sends Doctor And Nurses To Largest Native American Reservation, Hard-Hit By Coronavirus

San Francisco Chronicle, Mallory Moench, April 22

UCSF sent 21 health care workers – seven doctors and 14 nurses – Wednesday to treat patients in the Navajo Nation hard-hit by the coronavirus. UCSF-trained doctors working on the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. asked San Francisco colleagues for help as the outbreak strains the health care system.

Navajo Nation Joins Other Tribes In Lawsuit Questioning COVID-19 Relief Funding

ABC 15 Arizona, April 22

The President of the Navajo Nation said Wednesday that his Tribe has joined 10 other Native American tribes in a lawsuit against the United States Secretary of the Treasury in an effort to prevent some of the $8 billion in federal COVID-19-relief funds from going to the Alaska Native Corporations, a for-profit company in Alaska.

Some Tribes Worry Montana Is Reopening Too Soon

Montana Public Radio, Kayla Desroches, April 22

Native American tribes are taking varied approaches to Gov. Steve Bullock’s announcement Wednesday that Montana will lift the statewide stay at home order.

Some plan to align local restrictions with the state, while others will forge their own path.


Donation Boosts Food Security In Southwest Alaska

Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, April 23

An Alaska Native for-profit corporation in southwest Alaska is donating $50,000 for COVID-19 relief for in-region needs, particularly food security.

Koniag was created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act as the Native corporation for the people of the Kodiak archipelago. It has 3,800 shareholders.

Gaming Compacts: ‘Legally Flawed And Sow More Division Than Unity’

Indian Country Today, April 22

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt overstepped his authority when he signed gambling compacts with two tribes this week, House and Senate GOP leaders said in a joint letter to the governor on Wednesday.