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Judge Sides With Arizona Tribes, Limits Distribution Of Virus Relief

Navajo Nation

A judge has ruled in favor of Native American communities, including the Navajo Nation and other Arizona tribes, in their bid to keep Alaska Native corporations from getting a share of $8 billion in Coronavirus relief funding — at least temporarily. 

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., issued the decision late Monday. He says the U.S. Treasury Department can begin distributing money to 574 federally recognized tribes to respond to the coronavirus pandemic but not to the corporations.

In the meantime, he's considering the larger question of whether the corporations are eligible for any of the funding.

The decision comes in lawsuits that at least 15 tribes brought against the U.S. Treasury Department.

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