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Posted: June 3, 2020

For Immediate Release                                                                

June 3, 2020

Northern Arapaho Tribe secures nearly $5 million in federal funds to improve water infrastructure and fight COVID-19

The Northern Arapaho Business Council is pleased to announce the Tribe’s receipt of critical federal dollars to modernize critical water infrastructure and help combat the spread of COVID-19 on the Wind River Reservation. 

A $4.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will fund necessary projects that implement water conservation measures, prevent contamination and improve water transmission and storage. The grant is part of the USDA’s Rural Development program, which awarded $281 million to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural and tribal communities.

“Having a water system that is safe and reliable is vital to every community,” said Jola Wallowingbull, Director of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Engineering Department. “This funding will support critical updates to our water infrastructure that promote conservation, improve public health and ensure the continued delivery of a clean water supply for the Arapaho people.”

Separately, the Northern Arapaho Tribe was awarded $300,000 as part of federal relief provided by Congress via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Federally-recognized tribes were eligible to apply for up to $300,000 to be used as part of COVID-19 response. Allowable funding uses include: acquisition of protective equipment (PPE) for tribal employees, as well as to fund overtime and hazard pay; support of telehealth services; COVID-19 testing and patient isolation; use of mobile clinics and patient transport services; and public information about ways to mitigate the spread of the virus.

As part of the COVID-19 relief allocation, $15 million was awarded to 52 tribes, tribal organizations and Indian health organizations across 20 states.

“Our community has real needs, so the Northern Arapaho Business Council is pleased to secure these federal resources to improve access to clean water and assist our continued efforts against COVID-19,” said NABC Chairman Lee Spoonhunter. “We thank Sen. Mike Enzi, Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney for their continued support as strong advocates on behalf of the Wind River Reservation and Arapaho people.

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