The Treasury Department and the Department of the Interior have announced that they will begin distributing the CARES Act funds allocated to Indian Country, nearly six weeks after the CARES Act was signed into law and nine days after the April 26 deadline set by Congress. While the CARES Act funds will be distributed to tribes, payments to Alaska Native Corporations remain on hold.
Yesterday, the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association (ANCVA) and ANCSA Regional Association (ARA) filed a motion to intervene in the U.S. District Court Case that issued a temporary restraining order on the disbursement of CARES Act Tribal Relief Funds to Alaska Native Corporations. Also yesterday, the ARA, the ANCVA, and the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) released a joint statement expressing gratitude that the Department of the Treasury has finalized a formula for the distribution of CARES Act Tribal Relief Funding.
The White House published a fact sheet outlining the ways that President Trump is “protecting the Native American community as we combat the coronavirus.”
The Urban Indian Health Institute released information on how hospitals and other care facilities can accurately count COVID-19 cases for Native Americans, and Bryan Newland, chairperson of the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan, explains the necessity for the shelter-in-place policy as well as a few other controversial decisions prompted by COVID-19. As the Seattle Indian Health Board receives body bags instead of COVID-19 testing kits or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has come under fire for his proposals involving tribal casinos, and Mayor Levi Tappan of the city of Page, Arizona has apologized for his comments about alcoholism in the Navajo Nation.
Keep reading for a full news update.
The ANCSA Regional Association (ARA) and the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association (ANVCA) File Motion To Intervene In COVID Case
ANVCA, ARA, May 5
In an effort to assure Alaska Native people and communities have access to adequate COVID-19 relief funding, today the ARA and the ANVCA filed a motion to intervene in the U.S. District Court case between several tribal organizations and the U.S. Treasury Department.
The ANCSA Regional Association (ARA), the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association (ANVCA), and the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Release Joint Statement
ANVCA, ARA, AFN, May 5
The ANCSA Regional Association (ARA), the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association (ANVCA), and the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) are grateful that the Department of Treasury has finalized a formula for the distribution of CARES Act Tribal Relief Funding to tribes. We are pleased that this historic relief fund is being distributed to help indigenous people across our nation respond to this global pandemic.
Portion Of Delayed Cares Relief Funding To Be Distributed To Tribes
Native News Online, May 5
In A Joint New Release issued this morning, the Treasury Department and the Department of Interior announced plans to distribute a portion of the $8 billion in emergency relief funds set aside for tribal governments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Mark Kelly: Tribal Relief Funding Delayed And Inadequate
Indianz.com, May 5
Today, the Treasury Department announced that it would begin sending a fraction of the approved relief funding to tribal governments more than a week after it was legally obligated to and nearly six weeks after the CARES Act was signed into law. The delay comes as the Navajo Nation has seen infection rates climb to one of the highest in the country, and after the administration had tried to allot a portion of the already-limited funding to for-profit Alaska Native Corporations, a move that Mark Kelly has opposed as it would siphon away funding from tribal governments in Arizona.
Nearly Six Weeks After Passage Of Cares Act, Trump Administration To Release 60 Percent Of Desperately Needed Tribal Government Relief Funds
Indianz.com, May 5
Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Treasury announced that, nearly six weeks after the CARES Act was signed into law, it is beginning to distribute $4.8 billion of the $8 billion Congress allocated for Tribal Governments for a Coronavirus Relief Fund.
U.S. Government To Begin Distributing Billions To Tribes, But Sits On Disputed Alaska Native Corporation Aid
Anchorage Daily News, Alex DeMarban, May 5
The Treasury Department will begin distributing most of the $8 billion in COVID-19 relief funds to the nation’s tribes amid a legal dispute over the eligibility of Alaska Native corporations for the aid, Trump administration officials said Tuesday.
Trump Says Navajo Nation Will Get More Than $600 Million In COVID-19 Aid
AZ Central, Stephanie Innes and Chelsea Curtis, May 5
Arizona tribes soon will receive “the single largest investment in Indian country in our history” to battle the effects of COVID-19, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday during his visit to Phoenix.
President Donald J. Trump Is Protecting The Native American Community As We Combat the Coronavirus
White House, May 5
COMBATING CORONAVIRUS IN NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: President Donald J. Trump is supporting Native American communities impacted by the coronavirus.
Native American health center asked for COVID-19 supplies. It got body bags instead.
NBC News, May 5
“My team turned ghost white,” said Esther Lucero, chief executive officer of the Seattle Indian Health Board. “We asked for tests, and they sent us a box of body bags.”
Native People Severely Undercounted In Covid-19 Cases
Indianz.com, May 5
Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) today released best practices for methods to collect, analyze, and present public health data on American Indian and Alaska Native populations. The recommendations come amid growing acknowledgment that Native peoples with COVID-19 are being severely undercounted.
After Covid-19 Case Identified, Cheyenne River Youth Project Makes Home Daily Sack Meal Deliveries & Spring Garden Prep Moves Forward
Native News Online, May 5
Last week, Wednesday the first COVID-19 case was identified on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Chairman Harold Frazier ordered a curfew and issued a stay-at-home order. Knowing the daily lunch program is important to its participants, the Cheyenne River Youth Project shifted gears and activity continues at its Eagle Butte campus.
Lawmakers: Clinics Serving Native People Are Teetering
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, May 5
Some of the medical facilities serving Native people may be on the verge of closing their doors. One in Alaska is already laying off hundreds of people. That’s the alert 55 bipartisan members of Congress sent to Senate leadership Tuesday.
90-Day Shelter In Place Order For Bay Mills Indian Community
Indian Country Today, May 4
Bryan Newland, chairperson of the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan explains why the tribe took extreme measures in March to protect its citizens.
Navajo Community Left To Fight Covid-19 With Limited Resources
ABC News, Matt Gutman, May 4
COVID-19 is surging through the Navajo community, which is suffering one of the highest infection rates per capita in the country. And the peak is still weeks away.
Native American Pageant Winner Steps Up To Help Tribe And Winds Up Shipping Masks Across North America
Cronkite News, Madison LaBerge, May 5
As Miss Shoshone-Bannock, Stormie Perdash has represented her people all across the United States. Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, she’s representing them in a different way.
Gov. Stitt ‘Lacks Authority’ To Sign New Gaming Compacts For State, Attorney General Says
Tulsa World, May 5
Oklahoma’s top attorney says Gov. Kevin Stitt lacks the authority to enter the state into binding compacts with Indian tribes that authorize gaming activity prohibited by law.
Border Town Mayor Apologizes For Social Media Post About Navajo Nation Leader Needing To “Battle Alcoholism As Hard As Covid-19”
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, May 4
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, who is already fighting hard to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus on the Navajo Indian Nation, is now dealing with an inflammatory social media post by a border town mayor.