Despite the fact that the CARES Act stipulates that the $8 billion allocated to tribes be distributed “not later than 30 days” after March 26, 2020, Native News Online reports that the Treasury Department has not released any of the funds. Yesterday, the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs announced the reestablishment of the White House Council on Native American Affairs to be headed by Tyler Fish (Cherokee/Muscogee (Creek) Nation) who previously served as the White House senior policy advisor & tribal liaison.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby has declared that casinos along with other non-essential businesses will remain closed until May 15th, while ABC News reports on the negative effects that closing the casinos has caused tribes across the country, and the Haida Nation became the most recent tribe to set up roadblocks to stop outsiders from traveling into Haida Gwaii, despite the area being deemed essential for hunters and fishers.
In their most recent podcast, Harvard EdCast discussed some barriers that Native American students can face as they look to attend college and how to overcome them.
Keep reading for a full news update.
CARES Act Funding
Treasury Department Has Not Disbursed Cares Act Funds To Tribes; Stays Mum
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, April 29
As of Wednesday night, the U.S. Department of Treasury has not released any of the $8 billion allocated to tribes in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds that were to be distributed to American Indian tribes “not later than 30 days” after March 26, 2020.
Sen. Rounds, Sen. Cramer Urge Treasury Department To Allot Fair Amount Of Funding To Tribes
News Center 1, April 29
U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, urging the Department of the Treasury to distribute the $8 billion allocated for tribes in the CARES Act in a fair and equal manner to the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs Regions.
A Direct Line At The White Hosue
Indian Country Today, Kolby KickingWoman, April 29
The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs announced Tuesday the reestablishment of the White House Council on Native American Affairs to be headed by Tyler Fish, Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Since last July, Fish has served as the White House senior policy advisor & tribal liaison and will make the transition to executive director of the White House council on May 4.
‘He Got Demoted’: Trump Administration Moves Indian Country Official Out Of White House
Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, April 29
Tribal leaders and their advocates are once again questioning the Trump administration’s commitment to their people, with the official who has been working on Indian Country issues being moved out of the White House in the middle of the worst public health crisis in decades.
NCAI Hosts Congressional Town Hall On COVID-19 Legislative Efforts
Cherokee One Feather, Robert Jumper, April 29
National Congress of American Indian’s (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp (Quinault) hosted a web-based panel discussion on Tuesday, April 28 concerning the United States’ response to the COVID-19 impact, both physical health and economic, in Indian Country. The panel included Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Senator Steven Daines (R-Mont.), and Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.).
For Tribes, Casinos Fund What The Government Doesn’t. Now, They’re Closed.
ABC News, Cheyenne Haslett, April 29
When Muscogee Creek Nation, the nation’s fourth-largest tribe, closed its casinos six weeks ago, that suddenly halted a revenue stream that provided school clothes for children, support for the elderly and health care for thousands.
Coronavirus In Oklahoma: Four Tribes Announce Extension Of Casino Closures
The Oklahoman, Randy Ellis, April 29
Oklahoma tribal casinos operated by the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw and Muscogee (Creek) nations will remain closed at least through May 15, tribal officials said Tuesday.
Omaha Reservation Relies On Community Support During Pandemic
3 News Now, Jessika Eidson, April 29
An hour and a half north of Omaha, the people that the city is named after are facing their own problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Infectious Disease Nothing New To Indian Country, Says Health Director
Indian Country Today, April 28
Michael Bird acknowledges the history tribes have with pandemics at the hands of immigrants and later the U.S. government. “We’ve been dealing with infectious diseases from day one once Europeans set foot on this homeland.”
Island Tribal Nation Rallies Behind Travel Restrictions
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, April 28
Tribal members on a cluster of islands off British Columbia are stepping up efforts to keep out visitors after the province declared sports hunting and fishing essential activities.
Notah Begay III Foundation Offers Support To Native American Communities Amid COVID-19
KRQE, Allison Keys, April 28
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, many organizations have stepped up and answered the call to help their neighbors during this time. One of those organizations is the Notah Begay III Foundation that created the NB3 Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund to help provide rapid support to Native families and communities that have been heavily impacted by the virus.
Harvard EdCast: Improving College Access For Native People
Harvard Graduate School Of Education, April 29, Jill Anderson,
Only about 14% of Native American people attend college, and many often don’t graduate. TaraJean Yazzie-Mintz, currently the CEO of First Light Education, has spent decades trying to lower the many barriers facing Native young people as they try to access higher education.
Disease Has Never Been Just Disease For Native Americans
The Atlantic, Jeffrey Ostler, April 29
As the death toll from COVID-19 mounts, people of color are clearly at greater risk than others. Among the most vulnerable are Native Americans. To understand how dire the COVID-19 situation is becoming for these communities, consider the situation unfolding for the Navajo Nation, a people with homelands in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. As of April 23, 1,360 infections and 52 deaths had been reported among the Navajo Reservation’s 170,000 people, a mortality rate of 30 per 100,000. Only six states have a higher per capita toll.