Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Northern Arapaho Tribe (Wyoming)
Posted: May 16, 2020

For Immediate Release                                                                

May 16, 2020

Northern Arapaho Tribe Secures $19 million to Battle COVID-19

Funding will help maintain critical operations for tribal members

The Northern Arapaho Business Council today announced it has secured $19 million from the CARES Act federal relief package. The funds were appropriated by Congress on March 27 following a legislative push by the Tribe and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney. The use of the funds is restricted to specific expenses related to the Covid-19 crisis pursuant to guidance from the Department of the Treasury. The Tribe intends to use the funds within those guidelines to help maintain critical and emergency Tribal services, offset unanticipated costs incurred due to COVID-19 response efforts, and support all employees of the Tribe – Indian and non-Indian – who have been unable to work due to this crisis.

“We worked hard with our Congressional allies and Governor Gordon to secure these funds, which are critical at a time when Tribal businesses remain closed and we continue to face significant costs as part of our effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep the Northern Arapaho people safe,” said Chairman Lee Spoonhunter of the Northern Arapaho Business Council. “We appreciate members of our Wyoming congressional delegation, especially Rep. Liz Cheney, for their diligent work and advocacy in helping us secure this much-needed financial assistance given the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic.

“The Business Council understands the importance of using these funds strictly in the manner prescribed by Congress, and we are working diligently with our team to formulate a specific and detailed plan to utilize these dollars for their designated purposes in the most effective way.”

Indian Country has been particularly hard-hit by the virus outbreak in Wyoming and elsewhere. The Northern Arapaho Business Council declared a state of emergency on March 11. All schools and public establishments, including the Wind River Hotel and Casino, remain temporarily closed. Yet, the Tribe has continued to pay all employees, Indian and non-Indian, to ensure they can stay safe and healthy and return to their jobs when conditions allow.

Tribal members and residents of the Wind River Reservation remain under a stay-at-home order enacted April 1, and a 9 p.m. reservation curfew has been in place for the last week in order to further discourage group gatherings. In spite of these actions, dozens of COVID-19 infections have been reported among Northern Arapaho members and residents of the Wind River Reservation, as well as four deaths.

“Slowing the spread of COVID-19 is a responsibility we all share,” Chairman Spoonhunter said. “As tribal members, it’s important to continue following health guidelines and staying home whenever possible. As tribal leaders, we’ll remain in contact with local, state and federal authorities, and continue to advocate for any available relief funds to assist our people in need.” 

Northern Arapaho Tribe:

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