fbpx
 

TULSA, Okla. — The Shawnee Tribe filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday, alleging that the Trump administration “grossly undercounted” the tribe’s enrolled population, costing the tribe nearly $6 million in relief funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma claims the U.S. Treasury Department disregarded the tribe’s population data and instead used HUD Indian Housing Block Grant data that doesn’t count tribal members who live off the reservation. 

Although HUD maintains enrollment population data for tribes, it is for the sole purpose of calculation and distributing HUD funds, which the Shawnee Tribe does not receive, according to the filing. 

As a result, the Treasury’s data “grossly undercounted The Shawnee Tribe’s total enrolled population by nearly 3,000 members, or approximately 98 percent, assuming the best case scenario that it accounted for at least 37 members,” the filing states.  

The tribe received $100,000 — the minimum relief funding for tribes — versus the $6 million it would have received based on its official enrollment.    

“Despite having three separate reliable sources to The Shawnee Tribes’ population data – one of which was data submitted directly by The Shawnee Tribe’s government at the Treasury’s request – the Treasury issued funds based upon the incomplete and unreliable IHBG Metric population data reporting zero enrolled tribal members, which was arbitrary and capricious,” the filing states.  

Under the IHBG race-based data, 25 tribal governments are listed as having a population of zero, which the Shawnee Tribe calls “a practical impossibility.”

The lawsuit asks the court to enjoin Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from distributing the $679 million in remaining CARES Act funding until the situation can be resolved.

More Stories Like This

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Citizen, Justice Mark Montour,  Appointed State Appellate Court Justice
Hundreds Gather in St. Paul for Boarding School Survivors Candlelight Vigil
Walk to Freedom for Leonard Peltier Halfway to Washington
President Biden Welcomes a “Conversation” about Atlanta Braves’s Name and the Infamous Tomahawk Chop
Through the Eyes of a 6-Year-old Child, Orange Became a Symbol of an Indigenous Movement

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]