2020- SGAC Letter: Contrary DOI Administrative Restrictions Applied to CARES Act Funding for Self-Governance Tribe

“On April 13, 2020, DOI issued a “Dear Tribal Leader Letter” (DTLL) to announce that it decided, without Tribal consultation, how it would disburse funds authorized under the CARES Act to Tribal governments through its Aid to Tribal Government Program ($380
million) and its Welfare Assistance Program ($20 million). One ‘informational only’ call was held a few days later without the opportunity for Tribal Leaders to speak. The DTLL further stated that funds must be used “within the allowable confines of the program,
function, service, or activity (PFSA) in which they are received.”
The CARES Act does not require that funds must only be used within the confines of these two programs that were administratively selected. Rather, Congress appropriated $453,000,000 to the DOI, Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs to prevent, prepare for,
and respond to coronavirus in Tribal communities. Congress designated that these funds can be used for public safety and justice programs, executive direction to carry out deep cleaning of facilities, purchase of personal protective equipment, purchase of information
technology to improve teleworking capability, welfare assistance and social services programs (including assistance to individuals), and assistance to Tribal governments.”