Navajo Leaders Prioritize How To Spend Fed Relief Dollars

Published: Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 1:29pm
Updated: Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 1:31pm
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Laurel Morales/KJZZ
Amber Kanazbah Crotty outside the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock.

As Congress considers a package that would provide tribes more money, Navajo leaders are prioritizing how to spend federal relief funds they’ve already received. 

The Navajo Council’s budget committee discussed five areas they’d like to spend the $600 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: water infrastructure, first responders, economic development, broadband and small businesses. 

But Councilmember Amber Kanazbah Crotty said they will have to convince the U.S. Treasury Department that these priorities are related to the health of the Navajo people.

“It’s the health disparities, the chronic heart issues, respiratory issues,” Crotty said. “These are the areas we are going to spend our money on to improve the health and the well being of our community members. Having all these things will benefit the people and we have to keep our eye on that.”

The committee also discussed removing red tape and possibly extending the Dec. 30 deadline for spending federal funds. 

The tribe has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

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