While the lawsuit brought by several Tribes against the federal government continues to generate media coverage, Indian Country Todayreports that the $8 billion tribal relief fund could be depleted soon regardless, and Native News Online published an opinion piece calling for a full investigation into the release of sensitive Tribal data by the Treasury Department.  

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly spoke with Dr. Loretta Christensen, Navajo Area chief medical officer at the Indian Health Service regarding the impact that COVID-19, and the Associated Press reported that the Navajo Nation ordered protective masks be work on the reservation.

Keep reading for a full news update.

CARES Act Funding and Lawsuit

A Demand For A Full Investigation Of The Tribal Data Breach

Native Online News, Levi Rickert, April 20

The breach last Friday of tribal information supplied to the U.S. Department of Treasury for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds is completely inexcusable and indefensible.

Tribes Sue Over Distribution Of Coronavirus Relief Funding

Associated Press, Felicia Fonseca, April 20

Several Native American tribes sued the federal government Friday, seeking to keep any of the $8 billion in federal coronavirus relief for tribes kept out of the hands of for-profit Alaska Native corporations.

8 Billion Questions

Indian Country Today, Mark Trahant, April 20

The $8 billion tribal relief fund could be gone soon. More than 600 tribes, corporations, and even nonprofit organizations registered last week with the Treasury Department documenting what’s needed to at least partly mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.

Amid Coronavirus, Tribes Say They Aren’t Getting Help They Need From Federal Government

CNN, Lauren Fox, April 17

The health care crisis on reservations around the country is mounting with Navajo Nation, a vast 27,000 square miles spanning three states, facing more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 40 deaths.

NCAI Statement on the Release of Sensitive Tribal Data

NCAI, April 18

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is extremely disappointed and disturbed by the release of sensitive information that tribal governments and other entities submitted to the U.S. Department of the Treasury related to CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds.

Native corporations aren’t benefiting improperly from CARES Act

Alaska Dispatch News, Op-Ed, April 19

The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating many of the existing inequities that indigenous communities across the United States live with every day. From a higher share of individuals with health conditions categorized as risk factors, to a lack of public health and sanitation infrastructure in remote areas, many Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities are under a high and increasing threat from the coronavirus pandemic.


Monday, April 20, 2020 – Covering the COVID-19 basics

Native America Calling, Art Hughes, April 20

As the cases of COVID-19 surge past two million worldwide, people continue to have lingering questions about how the virus is spread, how to prevent it and who’s most at risk. In some places, Native Americans are infected at a disproportionate rate. In addition, Native Americans may be more vulnerable to the disease because of other disproportionate risk factors like obesity and diabetes.

Indian Health Service Doctor Details Heavy COVID-19 Impact On Navajo Nation

NPR, April 20

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks with Dr. Loretta Christensen, Navajo Area chief medical officer at the Indian Health Service about the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Native Americans.

Coronavirus Is Creating a Food Security Crisis in Indian Country

Civil Eats, April 20

“There’s no way this is going to end well,” said Catherine Bryan, explaining the dire circumstances Native tribes are facing as coronavirus has taken hold in their communities. Bryan is the director of the Strengthening Tribal and Community Institutions program at the First Nations Development Institute (FNDI), a nonprofit grantmaking organization, and one of many people working to support Indigenous people on the frontlines of coronavirus.

Navajo Nation Orders Protective Masks Worn On Reservation

Associated Press, April 19

The Navajo Nation is ordering all people on the tribe’s vast reservation to wear protective masks when out in public to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Tribal Nations Face Unique Challenge In Battle Against Coronavirus

FOX News, Benjamin Brown, April 18

While states across the country are reeling from the economic and health impact of COVID-19, the more than 500 native communities scattered across rural America are facing their own battle with the deadly virus.