U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, urging the Department of the Treasury to distribute the $8 billion allocated for tribes in the CARES Act in a fair and equal manner to the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs Regions. The Great Plains Region, which includes South Dakota and North Dakota, makes up 10 percent of the enrolled tribal member population nationwide and encompasses nearly 25 percent of all Indian land owned by federally recognized tribes.

“As you know, there are 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs Regions. The Great Plains Region encompasses nearly 25 percent of all Indian land owned by federally recognized tribes. Further, 10 percent of the enrolled tribal member population nationwide resides within the Great Plains Region. We ask that when you are allocating funding amongst the tribes, you allot a fair and equitable amount to the Great Plains Region based on these statistics and their demonstrated need and difficult public health challenges,” wrote the senators. 

“As your Department of Treasury staff has acknowledged, when allocating this funding, there should be no overlap in counting, both on population and land base. Of particular concern is the Treasury allowing the Alaska Native Corporations to receive funding, as well as the native village corporations and tribes simultaneously,” they continued.