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Injunction holds up $8B CARES Act Tribal allocation for Alaska Native corporations

TheU.S. Treasury and Interior departments announcedTuesday (May 5, 2020)they would begin disbursing part of an $8 billion Tribal allocation for coronavirus relief funds. The CARES Act funding is to help Tribes with relief efforts in the fight against coronavirus.

Only about 60 percent -- or $4.8 billion -- will initially be distributed based on Tribal population. The population count is based on the Indian Housing Block Grant Formula used by Housing and Urban Development. The initial disbursement would happen over several days.  

President"> Donald Trump spoke Tuesday with Indigenous leaders at a roundtable in Phoenix, Arizona.

“The amount of the money that is being sent to Indian Country -- as we call it -- is the largest amount in the history of the U.S.,” Trump said. “You deserve it. You’ve been through a lot.”

The remainder of the Tribal allocation would be distributed at a later date based on employment and expenditure data for each Tribe or Tribally-owned business.

The Secretaries of Treasury and Interior are being sued by Tribes who say the departments mishandled the Tribal allocation and for the inclusion of Alaska Native regional and village corporations.

A statement from the Department of Treasury says amounts calculated for Alaska Native regional and village corporations under ANCSA, or Alaska Natives Claims Settlement Act, will be held back while that lawsuit is decided

Democrats on the U.S. House Resources Committee are calling for an investigation into Interior Secretary Tara Sweeney. They want the Inspector General to determine whether she violated ethics rules advocating for Alaska Native corporations to be included in the CARES Act Tribal allocation.

Originally from the Midwest, Tripp Crouse (Ojibwe, a descendent of Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, pronouns: they/them) has 15-plus years in print, web and radio journalism. Tripp first moved to Alaska in 2016 to work with KTOO Public Media in Juneau. And later moved to Anchorage in 2018 to work with KNBA and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. Tripp currently works for Spruce Root in Juneau, Alaska. Tripp also served as chair of the Station Advisory Committee for Native Public Media.
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