Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Northern Cheyenne Tribe (Montana)
Posted: June 18, 2020

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe so far has received $19,465,503.73 from the CARES Act coronavirus relief fund, according to a June 16, 2020, announcement from the council.

The tribe received $16,629,190.79 from the first round of payments that went out on May 5, the notice states. The figure was based on the Indian housing population in and around the reservation in Montana.

The tribe received a second payment of $2,836,312.94 on June 16, the council said. The payment was based on employment and expenditure information submitted to the Department of the Treasury.

However, the second payment is only a partial one. Treasury unilaterally withheld $679 million from all tribes out of concern for litigation filed by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

A federal judge on June 16 subsequently ordered Treasury to disburse the $679 million. A notice filed in federal court on June 17 confirmed that payments are finally going out.

The CARES Act set aside $8 billion for tribal governments. According to the law, Treasury was supposed to distribute the money “not later than 30 days” after its enactment on March 27.

Treasury missed the deadline. On May 5, the department instead announced a first round of $4.8 billion payments, or 60 percent of the fund.

The remaining $3.2 billion was supposed to go out in early June. Again, Treasury missed a self-imposed deadline to make payments to tribes despite asking them to submit employment and expenditure information and blaming them for supposedly “incorrect” and “incomplete” data.

Secretary Steve Mnuchin finally announced the second round of payments on June 12. The money didn’t start showing up in tribal bank accounts until June 15.

Later in the day on June 15, Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered Treasury to release the remaining $679 million. The decision gave the department discretion to withhold $7.85 million for the Kansas-based Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

Two days later, on June 17, Treasury told the judge that $679 million was going out to tribes. The department chose not to withhold any money for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, whose case is now being appealed to a higher court.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe is asking citizens for input about the money received from the CARES Act. A comment form is available at

“The Northern Cheyenne Tribe understands the hardships and economic impacts felt during this pandemic and are working tirelessly to help address immediate needs, but also looking at the infrastructure needs of our communities,” council member Lane Spotted Elk said on social media. “Future generations and long term planning should be key considerations in the budget planning process.

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