The Navajo Nation has received its initial funding allocation of $1.8 billion through the American Rescue Plan.
On Friday, Navajo Nation officials said they were notified by the U.S. Department of Treasury that their documentation was received to determine how much the reservation would be granted through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program.
The program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act that is providing $20 billion for tribes to help recover from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the Navajo people’s money and we are obligated to inform the Navajo people every step of the way throughout this process. These funds must be used responsibly and transparently to help our people and our Nation recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work together with the 24th Navajo Nation Council, Judicial Branch, Divisions, Chapters, and many others to develop plans and introduce legislation to allocate the funds to provide relief and assistance for our Navajo people and communities,” said President Nez.
The $1.8 billion allocation was provided based on the reservation's enrollment numbers that show close to 400,000 enrolled members.
Officials say the Navajo Nation's share is allocated equally among tribes.
The $19 billion remaining from the American Rescue Plan funds will be distributed to tribes based on tribal employment data.
“The Navajo Nation for well over the last year has faced significant challenges when the COVID-19 Coronavirus, also known as ‘Diko Ntsaaígíí-Náhást’éíts’áadah’ in the Navajo language, hit the Navajo Nation. We lost many of our loved ones and elders as we struggled through this disease. These federal funds will be an opportunity to address not only the needs of the Navajo people today, but to be effective and efficient as we build our economy well into the future post COVID-19. The Navajo Nation Council will take great care to use these funds wisely. Navajo’s future will be brighter and we will continue to coordinate with county, state and federal officials to monitor the evolving impacts of the coronavirus,” said Speaker Seth Damon of the 24th Navajo Nation Council.
The U.S. Treasury says the funding can be used for the following:
- Support public health expenditures
- Address economic impacts caused by the public health emergency
- Replace lost public sector revenue
- Provide premium pay for essential workers
- Invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure
“We have lost 1,318 lives on the Navajo Nation due to COVID-19. As we move forward with the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act funds, we must work together in collaboration to ensure the funds are fully accounted for and used for the benefit of our Navajo people, frontline warriors, and to invest in infrastructure that will continue to bring business development opportunities and increase the Navajo Nation’s capacity to create jobs for our people that will ensure a legacy of lifestyle improvement for generations to come,” said Vice President Myron Lizer.
For more information about this funding, click here.