New Research Critiques Allocation of Federal CARES Act COVID-19 Response Funds to Indian Country

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona release research critiquing the Round 1 allocations of federal CARES Act COVID-19 response funds

  • The HUD data series Treasury has chosen purportedly measures, for each reservation, the number of residents who report their race as solely American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) or AIAN in combination with one or more other races.
  • The data used by Treasury report a number of tribes as having no population (e.g., because they do not participate in HUD’s IHBG housing program) and the chosen series is materially inconsistent with both US Census Department data and tribes’ own data.
  • The CARES Act dollars are specifically earmarked for tribal governments. Thus, the case is strong that Treasury should have used data on each tribe’s population of enrolled tribal citizens. These counts were requested by Treasury and submitted by tribes in mid-April but were not subsequently used by the Department to allocate the CARES Act funds. The resulting allocations demonstrably leave some tribes as “over-represented” and some tribes as “under-represented.”

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About the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development is based in the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. The Harvard Project aims to understand and foster the conditions under which sustained social and economic development is achieved among Indigenous nations in the US and beyond.

About the Native Nations Institute

The Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Public Policy is a self-determination and self-governance resource for Native nations, providing professional development, policy analysis, and research to Indigenous leaders, tribal governments, and their partners worldwide.

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Harvard Ash Center

Research center and think tank at Harvard Kennedy School. Here to talk about democracy, government innovation, and Asia public policy.