Navajo Nation sues Federal government over COVID-19 funding

Officials with the Navajo Nation announced a lawsuit against the Federal government over what the way COVID-19 funding for tribal governments is being handled.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Navajo Nation officials say they are joining 10 other tribes in the lawsuit. Officials claim the Secretary of the Treasury intends to distribute some of the $8 billion allocated by Congress to help tribal governments fight the COVID-19 pandemic to over 230 Alaska Native Corporations.

Tribal officials claim Alaska Native Corporations are for-profit corporations that are owned by shareholders, including non-Indian shareholders.

"Allocating funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to the Alaska Native Corporations will severely impact the Navajo Nation's ability to fight COVID-19, and will impact every other tribe as well," read a portion of the statement.

Tribal officials say while a funding distribution formula has yet to be announced, including the Alaska Native Corporations will reduce the funds available for tribal governments.

"The impact on the Navajo Nation will be significant because of the Nation's size, population, and the already disparate impact on COVID-19 on the Nation," read a portion of the statement.

The Navajo Nation is battling a big COVID-19 epidemic within its area. Based on adjusted data announced on Tuesday, there are 1,206 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the area.

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