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WASHINGTON—The Department of the Treasury’s CARES Act distribution formula determined 25 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native tribal entities had zero population.  

The formula, which was used to allocate $8 billion in relief funds for tribal governments, was based on population data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program for Indian Housing Block Grants, which doesn’t count tribal members who live off the reservation.  Tribes with zero population were allocated the minimum distribution of $100,000 of CARES relief funding.  

At least two federally recognized tribes have sued the Treasury for undercounting their populations.  This week, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida filed suit in federal court in Florida.  The legal action follows a similar lawsuit filed by the Shawnee Tribe in June. Both tribes are seeking relief funding amounts they claim they are owed based on their actual populations rather than the HUD data.  

The American Indian tribes in the group of 25 included: 

  • Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
  • Onondaga Nation
  • Tonawanda Band of Seneca
  • Tuscarora Nation
  • Delaware Tribe of Indians (Eastern)
  • Jena Band of Choctaw Indians
  • Shawnee Tribe
  • Alturas Indian Rancheria
  • Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians
  • Inaja Band of Diegueno Mission Indians
  • Jackson Band of Miwok
  • Jamul Indian Village
  • Koi Nation of Northern California (Lower Lake)
  • Tejon Indian Tribe

The Alaska Native tribal entities included: 

  • Belkofski
  • Bill Moore’s Slough
  • Chuloonawick
  • Council
  • Hamilton
  • Kanatak
  • Mary’s Igloo
  • Ohagamiut
  • Paimiut
  • Solomon

 

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