The coronavirus pandemic is affecting Americans throughout the country, but Native American tribes have been hit extremely hard. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced grant opportunities to help Native Americans in more than 30 states around the country.
All of this money can be used to help offset the cost of housing in Native American communities, which could provide huge relief to these Native American communities.
Native American tribes have been looking for relief from the federal government, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has stepped up. Native American tribes all across the United States will benefit from this grant opportunity offered from HUD, but a pair of tribes in Massachusetts are thrilled with this new announcement.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head are both set to receive some major relief from these grants. These two tribes received almost $400,000 in combined funds from the relief program, which will keep people in their homes and current locations.
The Trump administration has recently ordered that the Wampanoag Tribe in Mashpee be disestablished, but a major legal battle is set to ensue. The Mashpee Wampanoag disestablishment order calls for the tribe to give up 321 acres of land, but they have some support as well.
Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cornwell is determined to take legal action to keep trust status with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head is currently in the process of opening a bingo hall on Martha’s Vineyard. The tribe has faced many legal and regulatory battles in this process, and the coronavirus pandemic has made matters much harder.
Tribal casinos have requested that $18 billion be granted in relief money from the federal government, and lawmakers continue to process the request.
Tribal nations are not required to shut down their casino operations because of state or federal orders, but almost all casinos have been shut down. Tribal casinos are regulated by federal law, but they are able to receive relief from the federal government.
Tribal Casinos Hit Hard By Pandemic
The casino industry has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but Tribal Nations have felt the impact even more. Meister Economic Consulting estimated that tribal gaming properties have lost over $1.5 billion in revenue since the shutdown, and there are close to 300,000 people out of work.
Meister Economic Consulting has estimated that there is more than $330 million in lost wages as a result of the casino closures, and $240 in lost taxes.
Tribal casinos throughout the United States continue to look for other relief programs offered by the federal government. The current COVID-19 relief package has guaranteed more than $10 billion to Native American tribes throughout the United States, but that money is set to be given to governing bodies of tribal nations.
Arizona Tribes are Huge Beneficiaries
Tribal Nations in the state of Arizona are expected to be huge beneficiaries of this grant program offered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Navajo Nation in Arizona is one of the biggest tribal organizations in the country, and they are expected to see plenty of relief funds as a part of this grant program.
The Navajo Nation in Arizona has had close to 500 cases of the coronavirus over the last few weeks, and there have been 20 deaths. Tribes in Arizona are expected to receive close to $37 million in relief funds as a part of this program, with more than $22.3 million set to go to the Window Rock.