Tribal Government & News
Grand Ronde Tribe ‘ready’ for Rescue Plan allocation
By Dean Rhodes
Smoke Signals editor
The Grand Ronde Tribe is “ready” to receive its share of American Rescue Plan funds, Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said during the Tuesday, May 11, Legislative Action Committee hearing.
Kennedy participated in a virtual meeting with federal government officials who shared details of how they will distribute $20 billion to Native American Tribes under the American Rescue Plan on Monday, May 10.
A total of $1 billion will be allocated equally among eligible Tribal governments and $19 billion will be divvied up by the Treasury. Of that, $12.35 billion will be allocated based on a Tribe’s self-certified enrollment numbers submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in April. The remaining $6.65 billion will be based on self-certified Tribal employment data from numbers submitted to Treasury in May 2020 in connection with the CARES Act.
Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez confirmed that the Grand Ronde Tribe met the deadline to submit its enrollment data to acquire Rescue Plan funds.
Kennedy said that some of the funds could be dispersed within four days and that Finance Officer Chris Leno has lined up auditors to ensure the Tribe properly spends the funds, which must be used by the end of 2024.
The U.S. Department of Treasury held five Tribal consultations with 85 Tribal leaders in late March and early April to accept input on how to improve the allocation of funds for pandemic and economic relief.
Casey Lozar, the Treasury Department’s senior policy advisor, said the department tried to make the process easier by expanding technical assistance options for Tribal governments, launching a detailed web page about the funding and providing specific contact information for questions.
“Tribal governments have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet the needs of your communities, and that is certainly something we heard in the Tribal consultations last month,” Lozar said.
Tribal governments will have to use the Treasury Submission Portal and complete various requirements to receive the two payments. May 24 is the deadline for the $1 billion equal allocation and June 7 is the deadline for the employment allocation.
In 2020, some Tribes had issues with the CARES Act methodology and sued the federal government. For instance, the Shawnee Tribe in Oklahoma and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians in Florida received the minimum $100,000 because Housing & Urban Development data said they had enrollment totals of zero.
The Grand Ronde Tribe, as well as the other eight federally recognized Tribes in Oregon, fared well under the CARES Act. Grand Ronde received more than $45 million and used a considerable portion of it to fund coronavirus relief payments to adult Tribal members who received a combined eight payments that totaled $4,400 in 2020.
So far, the Grand Ronde Tribe has not announced any plans on how it will spend American Rescue Plan funds once they are received.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Joseph Biden on March 11, 2021.
Includes information from Indian Country Today.