Tribes Struggle To Meet Deadline To Spend Virus Relief Aid
July 14, 2020
As the coronavirus rips through tribal communities, it is spotlighting longstanding inequities and creating fractured priorities for sovereign Indigenous nations across the U.S. They must decide how to spend millions in federal virus relief money, and they must do it quickly to meet a deadline that also requires state and local governments to spend the money on emergency needs. And in many cases they face a collapse of traditional funding sources they’ve long relied on to pay the bills.
In Oregon, Councilman Michael Langley of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde said the pandemic and the tribal budget are inseparable. The tribe has continued paying the wages of its casino employees, and it provides law enforcement services outside its reservation, he said.
Unlike states and local governments, tribes have no tax base and rely on tribal enterprises to generate revenue.