The sweeping COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and signed today by President Trump includes $8 billion for tribes to combat the disease. It comes as known cases on tribal nations in Arizona have grown. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
A quarter of the relief dollars will provide emergency supplemental funding for tribal governments, communities and urban Indian health programs. About a $1 billion will go to the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Education will receive nearly $70 million.
According to the Navajo Nation Council, the funds will allow federal agencies to better administer tribal safety and other programs.
New Mexico Democratic Senator Tom Udall advocated for the tribal provisions in the $2-trillion package, and says the funds will be crucial for economic recovery and continuation of essential services on reservations.
The National Congress of American Indians says the COVID-19 outbreak presents a unique threat to tribal communities. Native Americans suffer from high rates of heart and lung disease, among other conditions, as well as overcrowded housing on tribal lands.