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Lankford Announces Continued Financial Support for Oklahoma Tribes Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC –Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued details after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced a path forward for Coronavirus Relief Funds to Oklahoma Tribal nations. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $8 billion to respond to the coronavirus preparedness, response, and recovery for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Lankford spoke with the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney about the allocations provided to the Bureau of Indian Affairs through the CARES Act to Oklahoma tribes today. Lankford plans to continue conversations with Secretary Mnuchin this week on the status of disbursements and the impact of the Coronavirus Tribal Relief Fund dollars.

“There are a number of resources available to every Oklahoman who has been directly or indirectly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak,” said Lankford. “Ensuring that every Oklahoman has the care they need during this time has been my first priority. It is my goal to ensure Oklahoma Tribes are included in these resources provided by the CARES Act.” 

CARES Act Relief:

  • Paycheck Protection Program – provided an initial $349 billion in loans to all eligible small businesses, nonprofits, veterans organizations, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and Tribes. An additional $310 billion was provided through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Eligible Tribal small businesses request assistance directly from their lender. Multiple tribes have already received significant direct assistance for their businesses from the Paycheck Protection Program.  
  • Direct Assistance for Tribal Governments – provided $1.9 billion for Oklahoma Tribal governments.
  • BIA Funding – an additional $435 million was sent to BIA’s program for “Operation of Indian Programs” to be used to meet the direct needs of tribes including public safety and justice programs; deep cleaning of facilities, purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE); improved teleworking capability; welfare assistance and social programs, and assistance to tribal governments.
  • Indian Health Services (IHS) – $1.032 billion
    • Oklahoma City IHS service area has received a total of $173.2M from all combined COVID relief packages passed by congress. The total from IHS is still being updated to reflect funds continually going out to IHS facilities and Tribes  
    • $65 million to be used for electronic health record stabilization and support
    • $450 million for IHS programs, tribes and tribal organizations under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, and through contracts or grants with urban Indian organizations

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – $425 million in COVID-19 response funding for tribes, tribal organizations on mental health resources and care.
  • Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund – $15 million to provide the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy the ability to carry out telehealth and rural health resources.
  • Tribal Seniors – $20 million in support of nutrition programs for tribal elders.
  • Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) – $69 million to BIE to support teacher salaries, transportation, and information technology. $154 million is reserved for the Education Stabilization Fund. The funding includes at least $20 million for tribal colleges and universities. Oklahoma’s College of the Muscogee Nation would be eligible for assistance.  

Additional aid through grants:

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – $300 million for HUD’s Native American Programs with two-thirds reserved for Native American Housing Block Grants. Additional grants are available through the Indian Community Development Block Grant program.
  • Department of Health and Human Services – provided the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention $124 million for grants for tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, and health service providers to tribes. The assistance is to be used for surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, and other COVID-19 preparedness and response activities.
  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – an additional $3.5 billion was funded for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to be used to supplement existing child care assistance by states, territories, and tribes to low-income families. The aid can be used to keep child care facilities open or reopen as appropriate, as well as provide care for health care employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and additional essential workers in the COVID-19 response.
  • Children and Families Services – $1.874 billion for Children and Families Service programs. Assistance is also available through Community Service Block Grant, Head Start, Family Violence Prevention and Services, or the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Service program.
  • Distance Learning, Telehealth, and Broadband Grants – $125 million in aid to the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development grant to fund software and equipment for distance learning or telemedicine, and ReConnect Broadband grants to fund construction or improvement of broadband service facilities.
  • Rural Health Care and Senior Care Training – Grants for qualified applications to train residents in rural areas, including tribes and tribal organizations, and medically underserved populations of senior adults or senior adults in Tribes.
  • Education waivers – Tribes are able to request national emergency education waivers for assessments and reporting requirements.

Oklahoma Tribes have already received grant funding totaling $171,409,186 with 256 grants awarded to programs including:

    • $92,983,378 for CCDBG programs
    • $12,822,948 for special programs for aging  
    • $46,750,636 to support Public Health Programs, Public Emergency Response, National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program, Rural Hospital improvement, Provide early intervention Outpatient Services with Respect to HIV Disease, and Activities to Support State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Health Department Response to Public Health or Healthcare crises
    • $2,078,743 for independent living and family caregiver support
    • $1,035,483 for child welfare programs such as Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program, transitional living for homeless youth, education and prevention grants to reduce sexual abuse of runaways, homeless and street youth programs
    • $15,737,998 for mental health programs including Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Projects of Regional and National Significance, Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-10, programs to improve community mental health services

Oklahoma Tribes will also receive $1.9 billion in the first round of funds issued by Treasury as part of the $8 billion for states, localities, and tribes. Each amount is based on calculations from the population distribution formula released by Treasury.

  • Absentee-Shawnee Tribe: $28,606,054
  • Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town: $3,028,799
  • Apache Tribe: $5,311,435
  • Caddo Nation: $8,759,053
  • Cherokee Nation: $331,849,391
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes: $53,875,705
  • Chickasaw Nation: $122,705,706
  • Choctaw Nation: $136,072,438
  • Citizen Potawatomi Nation: $47,788,225
  • Comanche Nation: $27,309,838
  • Delaware Nation (Western): $1,050,516
  • Delaware Tribe of Indians (Eastern): $100,000
  • Eastern Shawnee Tribe: $660,355
  • Fort Sill Apache Tribe: $1,087,970
  • Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma: $1,946,552
  • Kaw Nation: $8,186,431
  • Kialegee Tribal Town: $4,809,282
  • Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma: $8,808,962
  • Kiowa Indian Tribe: $19,488,937
  • Miami Tribe: $1,152,167
  • Modoc Tribe: $415,275
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation: $282,071,877
  • Osage Nation: $28,650,213
  • Otoe-Missouria Tribe: $1,288,165
  • Ottawa Tribe: $3,770,999
  • Pawnee Nation: $8,225,540
  • Peoria Tribe: $5,532,407
  • Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma: $5,996,394
  • Quapaw Tribe: $3,646,132
  • Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma: $21,303,512
  • Seminole Nation: $15,929,400
  • Seneca-Cayuga Nation: $2,283,831
  • Shawnee Tribe: $100,000
  • Thlopthlocco Tribal Town: $5,479,423
  • Tonkawa Tribe: $1,811,516
  • United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians: $24,023,677
  • Wichita and Affiliated Tribes: $3,058,802
  • Wyandotte Nation: $8,401,452

Lankford continues to be a voice for the people in Oklahoma sharing daily the resources available for every Oklahoman through Facebook live updates, press releases, virtual calls, town halls, and dedicating a page of his website to state and federal resources available.