WASHINGTON–The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs announced today that it has awarded almost $1.9 million to 17 tribal communities to address the public safety challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19. Funding is made available from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act signed by President Trump in March.
“Indian nations have suffered disproportionately from the effects of COVID-19, both physically and economically, yet they have marshalled a fierce resolve to face the many significant challenges this pandemic has posed,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “We stand with their leaders, with their brave public safety and public health professionals, and with every tribal member as they rise to meet, and overcome, this crisis.”
The Indian Health Service has identified some 13,500 cases of COVID-19 on tribal lands. The Navajo Nation, one of the grant recipients, has one of the highest per capita rates of infection in the country. Grants to the 17 tribes will help tribal public safety and correctional agencies purchase equipment, hire personnel and take steps to reach at-risk and vulnerable tribal members. Funds will enable law enforcement units to meet the enhanced patrol requirements necessitated by tribal ordinances and allow tribal detention facilities to obtain personal protective equipment for correctional officers and inmates. Grants will also support measures to ensure that updates and information about the pandemic are shared throughout tribal lands.
The grants are part of the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program authorized by the CARES Act. The emergency program makes up to $850 million available to support tribal, local and state efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing jurisdictions to hire personnel, pay overtime, purchase protective equipment and distribute resources to hard-hit areas. Funds may also be used to help correctional facilities cover costs related to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, sanitation, contagion prevention and measures designed to address the related medical needs of inmates, detainees and correctional personnel.
Tribes receiving awards are: Blackfeet Tribe, $71,679; Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, $127,693; Chippewa-Cree Tribe, $42,794; Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, $33,669; Gila River Indian Community, $70,429; Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, $50,462; Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, $71,334; Navajo Nation, $486,348; Northern Arapaho Tribe-Eastern Shoshone Tribes, $80,130; Oglala Sioux Tribe, $70,674; Rosebud Sioux Tribe, $215,043; Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, $107,346; San Carlos Apache Tribe, $132,065; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, $34,046; Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona, $41,434; Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, $38,686; White Mountain Apache Tribe, $218,971.
Agencies that were eligible for the fiscal year 2019 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program were candidates for the emergency funding. The application deadline was May 29. All eligible tribes received full funding. A list of all awards can be found at https://ojp-open.data.socrata.com/stories/s/jitc-swxt.