Navajo Nations Receives $600 Million; Tribal Leaders Say More Is Needed To Fight COVID-19

By Laurel Morales
Published: Friday, May 8, 2020 - 2:39pm
Updated: Friday, May 8, 2020 - 2:50pm

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Navajo Nation Office of the President
Navajo President Jonathan Nez at a press conference in May 2020.

The Navajo Nation on Wednesday received more than $600 million from the federal coronavirus relief package. Now they have to figure out how to spend it before the end of the year.  

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the tribe has half of all coronavirus cases in Indian Country, yet they have received only 8% of the relief package that’s available.

“We know there is a need for more testing for more data gathering more dollars to the epidemiology team to answer many of your questions out there,” Nez told a Facebook Live press conference. “What is the recovery rate? What are the next steps if there is a second wave of COVID-19?” 

The tribe is still waiting to hear the outcome of a lawsuit against the Treasury Department over federal funds going to for-profit Alaska Native Corporations.

The Treasury Department is still holding onto 40% of the funds allotted for tribes. The agency said it needed additional information from tribes about economic need. So officials say they may not see additional funds until June.

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