Chairman Alvin "A.J." Not Afraid, Jr. of the Crow Tribe. Photo: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
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Crow Tribe planning to shut down non-essential operations as funding dries up

The Crow Tribe appears to be headed toward a major crisis as it slowly runs out of funding.

Chairman Alvin "A.J." Not Afraid, Jr., told The Billings Gazette that he plans to shut down all non-essential tribal programs, meaning those that aren't fully funded by federal grants. Elder payments, for example, have already been delayed.

"I thought we could (stay open), but there aren't enough carryover funds to continue operating," Not Afraid told the paper on Monday evening. Programs that are deemed essential, such as law enforcement, are expected to keep operating.

Earlier in the day, Not Afraid spoke to tribal employees about the situation. He said he was planning to furlough or lay off dozens of employees, according to a video posted on the tribe's official Facebook page.

Monday, October 2nd 2017. Staff Meeting. #Apsáalooke

Posted by Crow Tribe of Indians on Monday, October 2, 2017
Crow Tribe on Facebook: Employee Meeting

The funding issues are attributed in part to the tribe's debt and a decline in coal production revenues in recent years. But the Crow Legislature, an independent branch of the tribe's government, said Not Afraid failed to submit a budget on time.

"In the spirit of passing the budget, the Legislature shall make every effort to work with the Executive Branch so that the financial operations of the tribe may resume with the least inconvenience to the tribal membership," a September 29 post on Facebook read.

According to the Legislature, the budget wasn't submitted until September 27. Lawmakers said they didn't have enough time to get it passed before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

Read More on the Story:
Crow government's future uncertain as budget woes hit tribe (The Billings Gazette October 3, 2017)