Quapaw, OK (May 11th, 2021) - The start of 2021 has had its ups and downs. Most can be blamed on a country in the beginning stages of recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic. For Native nations, the same ups and downs have been noticed. Deb Haaland's appointment as Secretary of the Interior, a position no native had held before, was a major victory for Indian Country, but that was followed by uncertainty.
In March, President Joe Biden passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which set aside the most extensive distribution of funds to native nations in recorded history. However, things grew quiet for most tribal citizens directly after, and many were left waiting, looking to their new Secretary of Interior for help. While it wasn't posted in the news, round-table discussions took place as five Tribal consolations took place in March and April. From that, the Treasury was able to come up with a distribution plan. Monday, Tribal nations were notified of the formula for distributing the $20 billion to Tribal Governments and a timeline for doing so.
Quapaw Nation Chairman Joseph Byrd
Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland
Criteria for funding
There are three criteria that will be utilized, and the disbursements will happen in two phases. The first criteria are that $1 billion will be divided equally between the 574 tribal nations. The second criterion (which will be part of the first payment and the $1 billion previously mentioned) sends $12.35 Billion to be distributed based on self-certified enrollment data.
The second and final payment of $6.65 billion will be paid out later and determined by the Tribal governments' employment numbers from 2019. Those numbers must be confirmed or amended by each tribe.
First Payment: What needs to be done? How soon will the distribution take place?
To receive the first payment, Tribal governments must submit their information online through the Treasury Submission Portal. Secretary-Treasurer Guy Barker and Quapaw Nation CFO Eric Bohn accomplished that this morning. After the submission, the application goes for review, which takes 4-5 business days, but will include updates for the tribes' point of contact. After approval, the point of contact will receive information regarding the amount and a timeline for the distribution.
Second Payment: What needs to be done? How soon will the distribution take place?
Tribal governments will need to confirm their 2019 employment numbers to be eligible for the second payment. Sending in the information can be done right away but has a deadline of June 7th, 2021, at 11:59 PM PST. If a Tribal government misses the deadline, they will not be eligible for the second allocation. No further details are given for a timeline, but it is thought to be later on in 2021 based on other payout information.