While six tribes have filed a fourth CARES Act lawsuit pushing the Treasury to distribute the $8 billion set aside for tribal governments, an Alaska Native corporation, Ahtna, has filed a motion to intervene four days after a federal judge temporarily barred the Trump administration from distributing any of the $8 billion to Alaska Native corporations.
U.S. Senator Tom Udall is calling for an investigation into the CARES Act data breach of tribal information as well as an investigation into Assistant Interior Secretary – Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney’s potential conflict of interest in determining the federal distribution process for the CARES Act $8 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund set aside for tribal governments.
While tribes are still waiting to receive funding from the federal government to help combat COVID-19, several tribes are set to open casinos sooner than expected to bring revenue back to their communities, and distributors of imported Mexican produce in Nogales, AZ have donated three truckloads of food to local tribes heavy hit by the virus.
The Navajo Nation sued the Department of the Interior to approve their ISDEAA Successor Annual Funding Agreement for $717,736.77 which was meant to help the tribe’s forestry management program, and Sac and Fox Nation has extended the closures of government offices and casinos through May 31, 2020.
Keep reading for a full news update.
CARES Act Funding and Lawsuit:
Tribes Sue for CARES Act Funds [Documents]
Turtle Talk Law Blog, May 1
CARES Act Litigation
Indianz.com, April 30
On the eve of a critical deadline in the CARES Act lawsuit, an Alaska Native regional corporation is seeking to intervene in the case. Ahtna argues that its “interests are not adequately represented by any of the existing parties” as the fate of an $8 billion coronavirus relief fund hangs in the balance.
‘We Need To Do More For Our Tribes’: $8 Billion In Coronavirus Relief Missing In Action
Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, April 30
With yet another deadline looming, concerns are growing in Indian Country and on Capitol Hill about the fate of an $8 billion coronavirus relief fund promised to tribal governments to help them through the pandemic.
Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, the U.S. Congress set aside the money more than a month ago. It’s a small portion of $150 billion promised to tribes, states and local governments amid the worse public health crisis in decades.
Sen. Udall Calls For Inspector General To Look Into Tribal Data Breach And Possible Financial Conflicts Of Interest By BIA’s Tara Sweeney
Native News Online, April 30
U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, on Wednesday sent a letter to formally request official reviews by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for both the Department of the Treasury and the Department of the Interior into concerns raised by tribal governments related to the Trump administration’s handling of COVID-19 relief funding for tribes.
Tribes Were Supposed To Get $8 Billion In COVID-19 Aid. They’ve Gotten $0.
HuffPost, Jennifer Bendery, April 29
Tribal governments were supposed to get $8 billion in direct emergency relief from the CARES Act, the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill that became law on March 27. More than a month later, they haven’t gotten any of it.
Sac And Fox Nation Extends Current Closures
Native News Online, May 1
Sac and Fox Nation officials announced on Thursday they will extend the current closures of government offices and casinos due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington State Tribes Eager to Reopen Casinos, Governor To Extend Stay-at-Home Order
Casino.org, Ed Silverstein, April 30
Several Washington state tribal gaming venues may try to reopen soon after shuttering for several weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of these, Angel of The Winds Casino Resort in Arlington, may resume its operations as early as Monday.
Donated Produce Sent From Border To Arizona Tribes, Rural Areas Hit By COVID-19 Pandemic
AZ Central, Rafael Carranza, April 30
Three truckloads carrying thousands of pounds of assorted fruits and vegetables made their way Wednesday from the U.S.-Mexico border to three Indian communities in northern Arizona to help feed families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Indian Country Is Particularly Vulnerable To COVID-19’
Cronkite News, McKenzie Sadeghi, April 29
Tribes have been severely hit by the coronavirus but have received only a fraction of the help they need from the federal government, said lawmakers, who called the impact on businesses and health on reservations “particularly worrisome.”
State of New Mexico
Indianz.com, April 30
Over the past few weeks, the Indian Affairs Department has partnered with the New Mexico National Guard, Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Aging and Long-term Services Department, Children, Youth and Families Department, and other sister agencies to facilitate the delivery of essential supplies and services to New Mexico’s Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos.
Navajo Nation Sues DOI, Secretary Bernhardt For Forestry Funds
Native News Online, April 29
The Navajo Nation on Monday sued the Department of Interior and Secretary David Bernhardt in federal court over the tribe’s 2020 contract for its forestry management program.
New Study Shows Decrease In Diabetes Prevalence For American Indian And Alaska Native Adults
Indianz.com, Michael D. Weahkee, April 29
The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native adults decreased significantly from 2013 to 2017, according to a new study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, a journal published by BMJ in partnership with the American Diabetes Association.
Bristol Bay Tribes Grateful For Tribal Solidarity As Our Fight Continues
Indianz.com, MaryAnn Johnson, April 29
Bristol Bay Tribes have been fighting the proposed Pebble mine for sixteen years. Throughout this time, we have been fortunate to find allies in many places—our Tribal neighbors in Alaska who stand with us at rallies and in meetings time and again; the sport and commercial fisherman who understand the threat the mine poses to small, family-owned businesses; and even pockets of industry, such as the world famous jeweler Tiffany & Company, who committed to boycotting any precious minerals mined at Pebble.
North Dakota Rancher Sentenced For Killing 6 Bald Eagles On Standing Rock Indian Reservation
Native News Online, April 29
U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons announced yesterday David Alan Meyer, 58, was sentenced earlier this month by U.S. Magistrate Judge William D. Gerdes for killing six bald eagles on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.