Unwavering, American Indians Fight for Stimulus Funds
May 15, 2020
In late April, Native American tribal governments won their litigation against the Treasury Department for CARES Act funds designated to them by Congress. A Washington DC judge ruled in their favor but only for 60 percent of the $8 billion to fight the pandemic in Indian Country, while the remaining $3.2 billion continues to be withheld by the Treasury. The legal fight is a painful testament of Native American nations’ uneven historical fight for their survival against the US government. It is also a sign of unprecedented coordinated efforts among tribes at the national level.
After another more recent lawsuit, Judge Amit P. Mehta again ruled on May 11th against further delay in the distribution of the remaining $3.2 billion of CARES Act funds for Native tribes, but he stopped short of forcing the Treasury to deliver what it owes. He simply said a delay of two months “will not be acceptable.” The funds were originally scheduled for disbursement on April 24th. In a health crisis where every day counts against the most vulnerable, any delay is practically a death sentence.