Senator: “the federal government has an obligation to make sure Montana’s Tribal Communities have the resources they need”

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $150,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ (CSKT) pandemic response efforts. 

“This pandemic has been hard on Indian Country, and the federal government has an obligation to make sure Montana’s Tribal Communities have the resources they need to keep folks safe,” said Tester. “These funds will help make sure the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes can implement effective pandemic response efforts, and I’m going to keep pushing aggressively to make sure Washington lives up to our trust and treaty responsibilities in Indian Country.”

The CARES Act provided the Economic Development Administration with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. These are for the Tribes to use for one of the following activities: 

  • The development of an economic recovery and resilience plan, tied to the Tribes’ approved Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic;
  • The deployment of disaster recovery coordinators to orchestrate the region’s response to the pandemic;
  • The provision of technical assistance, as necessary, to local governments, businesses, and other stakeholder organizations; or 
  • The funding of appropriate technology and staff support for these pandemic-response activities. 

Tester has led the charge to make sure Native American communities are included in the COVID-19 response. He has pressed the Administration to work with Native American communities and Tribal leaders in coordinating their response to the outbreak. Tester also called on the Trump Administration to engage with Tribal leaders to make sure that COVID-19 relief resources are directed quickly to where they are most needed, and that the federal government lives up to its trust and treaty responsibilities.

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