Harvard: COVID-19 Poses 'Immediate Threat' To Indian Country Economy
Indian Country stands to lose as much as $49.5 billion in economic activity as the coronavirus has closed non-essential businesses, according to research released Monday by Harvard University.
In a letter to U.S Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Harvard researchers said COVID-19 poses an "immediate threat" to three decades of steady improvement in economic conditions across Indian Country.
Tribes largely self-fund government services that any state or local government is expected to provide because of federal self-determination policies. But tribes don't have traditional tax bases. So many rely on funds from gaming and other industries.
But all casinos are closed now to protect people's health. Those enterprises support more than 1 million jobs, many of them held by non-Natives.
Before the spread of the pandemic, the Navajo and Hopi tribes took a major economic hit when the west's largest coal-fired power plant shutdown.