The American Rescue Plan and Native Communities

The American Rescue Plan and Native Communities Native Americans face persistent and systemic inequities, and COVID-19 has exacted an especially high toll in Indian Country. People living on reservations are four times more likely to have COVID-19 and American Indians and Alaska Natives are nearly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans. Native American families and small businesses also face severe economic challenges associated with the pandemic. And the loss of Native elders threatens the sacred preservation of language, tradition, and culture. Tribal governments and Native communities urgently need additional support and assistance from the Federal government.

The American Rescue Plan will change the course of the pandemic in Indian Country, deliver immediate relief for hard-hit Native American families and Tribal businesses, and build a bridge towards economic recovery and resilience for Tribal Nations. These investments build on actions President Biden has taken in his first weeks in office to rebuild the Nation-to-Nation relationship, including signing a Presidential Memorandum that directs the whole of federal government to reinvigorate formal consultation with Tribal Nations, expanding access to the Strategic National Stockpile for Native communities, and expanding FEMA assistance for Tribal governments.The bill is one of the most progressive pieces of legislation in history, with more than two thirds of its tax cuts and direct payments going to families making less than $90,000 per year. 

The $31.2 billion investment in Native communities includes:

$20 billion for Tribal governments to combat COVID-19 and stabilize Tribal community safety-net programs through Treasury’s State/Local “Coronavirus Relief Fund”

$6+ billion for Native health systems

  • Indian Health Service
    • $2.340 billion for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, tracing, mitigation, and workforce expenses
    • $2 billion for lost third-party medical billing reimbursements
    • $600 million for health facilities construction and sanitation programs
    • $500 million for clinical health services and Purchased/Referred Care
    • $420 million for mental and behavioral health
    • $140 million for improving health IT and telehealth access
    • $84 million for Urban Indian health programs
    • $10 million for potable water delivery
  • Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems
    • $20 million set-aside for Papa Ola Lōkahi and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems within the Community Health Centers funding at the Health Resources and Services Administration

$1.248 billion for HUD Tribal & Native Hawaiian housing programs

  • $498 million Tribal set-aside within Treasury’s Homeowners Assistance Program for Tribes and Native housing programs
  • $450 million for the Indian Housing Block Grant
  • $280 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant
  • $15 million for technical assistance, administrative costs, and oversight
  • $5 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant

$1.1+ billion for Native education programs, including Bureau of Indian Education schools, Tribal education agencies, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Native Hawaiian education programs, and Alaska Native education programs

  • $850 million for Bureau of Indian (BIE) education programs, BIE K-12 schools & dormitories, and Tribal Colleges and Universities
  • $190 million for Department of Education grants to Tribal Education Agencies, Native Hawaiian education organizations, and Alaska Native education organizations
  • $142+ million for Tribal Colleges and Universities through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
  • $89+ million for Native-serving institutions of higher education, including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian serving institutions, through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

$1+ billion for Native families

  • $1+ billion for Tribal child care programs and supports
  • $75 million for Tribal TANF grantees to provide assistance to families in need through the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund

$900 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs

  • $772.5 million for Tribal government services (i.e., general welfare assistance, assistance to Tribal governments, public safety, child welfare)
  • $100 million for the Housing Improvement Program
  • $20 million for potable water delivery
  • $7.5 million for administrative costs and oversight

$600 million for Native communities’ critical economic and infrastructure investments

  • $500 million for Tribal governments to support capital investments in Native businesses within Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative
  • $100 million for critical infrastructure projects in Native communities

$20 million to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Native languages

  • $20 million for a new emergency Native language preservation & maintenance grant program through the Administration for Native Americans to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 on Native language communities

$19 million for Native communities’ efforts to combat domestic violence

  • $18 million for Tribal awardees through the Family Violence Prevention & Services Act
  • $1 million for “Stronghearts” Native Domestic Violence Hotline
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