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Native American Tribes Using Federal Funds To Aid Coronavirus Relief

A photo taken on September 28, 2010 of the Blackfeet Nation Tribe sign
Loco Steve
Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Native American tribes in Montana are beginning to use federal funds to bolster their response to the novel coronavirus.

The Crow Tribe announced they received $25 million from the U.S. Treasury. The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe received $25 million, per Chairman Gerald Gray. According to the office of Sen. Steve Daines, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes received over $24 million.

The Blackfeet Nation received over $30 million. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes received over $29 million, the Northern Cheyenne over $16 million, the Chippewa Cree tribe over $11 million and the Fort Belknap Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes over $9 million.

The funds can be used to pay for medical and public health needs along with economic support for businesses and unemployed workers.

The money's delayed disbursement comes after the U.S. Treasury Department missed an April deadline due to a court challenge over which tribes were eligible to receive relief funds and confusion over how funds would reach tribes.

On May 28, Sen. Jon Tester's office announced a round of grants heading toward tribal health care providers in Montana. Tester says Bighorn Valley Health Care in Hardin, Rocky Boy Health Board in Box Elder and the Blackfeet Tribe in Browning will each receive nearly $300,000 through the Rural Tribal COVID-19 Response program for coronavirus response.