The Navajo Nation surpasses Cherokee to become the largest US tribe of Ap

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona – The Navajo nation has by far the largest land mass of any Native American tribes in the country. Now it also has the largest registered population.

The Navajos were eager to register or correct their records as the tribe offered hardship payments under last year’s federal law on aid, assistance and economic security for coronavirus. This increased the role of the tribe from around 306,000 to nearly 400,000 citizens.

The number surpasses the Cherokee Nation’s enrollment of 392,000. But it’s also grown, said tribe spokeswoman Julie Hubbard. The Oklahoma Tribe has received about 200 more requests per month from prospective attendees.

Number does matter as tribes are often assigned money based on the number of their citizens. Each of the 574 nationally recognized tribes determines how its population is counted. For example, Navajo needs a quarter of a blood quantum to enroll. Cherokee uses mostly linear ancestry.

Tribal governments received $ 4.8 billion from the CARES bill, based on federal resident population data for tribes that some said were severely biased. Finance recently revised the methodology and said it would correct the major differences.

The Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, one of three tribes that sued the Treasury Department over the payments, said they were satisfied with an additional $ 5.2 million to receive. The Miccosukee Indian tribe in Florida and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas would receive $ 825,000 and $ 864,000, respectively, under the new method. Both said these amounts made no sense when downgraded to a number per person. They plan to continue their battle in court.

“We just can’t accept this as it is,” said Carol Heckman, an attorney for the Prairie Band, in a recent court hearing. “We’re happy to continue talking about it, but the Treasury Department should sweeten the cake.”

The Treasury Department will avoid much of the problems encountered in funding the CARES Act in distributing the $ 20 billion to tribes under the American Rescue Plan Act. The department said it will use tribal certified enrollment numbers to pay out $ 12.35 billion and tribal employment data for $ 6.65 billion.

Another $ 1 billion will be shared equally among the eligible tribal governments, the Treasury Department said. Alaska Native Corporations, which own much of Alaska’s native land under a 1971 settlement, are not eligible for any of the $ 20 billion in funding. The US Supreme Court will decide whether companies will receive any of the CARES Act money.

The Treasury Department set a deadline Monday for tribal governments to submit their information online to fund the American Rescue Plan. It has been recognized that no formula can perfectly capture the needs of tribes that have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.

Tribes will also not be under as tight a time limit to spend the money as they were for the CARES Act, and will have more flexibility. You can spend the money to replace lost revenue and improve water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, which often lags behind the rest of the US

The Navajo Nation is on track to receive most of the enrollment-based funding. About half of the members live on the 27,000 square mile reservation that extends to New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.

The tribe opened the hardship program in November against an initial deadline to issue federal virus aid by the end of the year. It required applicants to be enrolled as Navajo citizens. The response was huge: the tribe paid more than $ 322 million to more than 293,000 applicants, the tribal controller’s office said. Adults received up to $ 1,350 and children up to $ 450.

Regarding funding for the American Rescue Plan Act, Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, questioned the fairness of giving more money to tribes enrolling people with less than a quarter of blood.

“Here on Navajo, we do blood tests, and that’s a requirement,” he told the Associated Press. “If they had the same requirement, a neighborhood Cherokee, imagine.”

The census data reflects higher numbers for Native Americans than the tribal registration data because people can identify themselves as Native Americans and Alaskan people and report links to several indigenous groups in North America, Central America, and South America. Not all of these 5.2 million people are eligible to enroll for tribes.

Cherokee Native Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said the Navajo nation’s government’s recent higher enrollment record shows Native Americans are strong and a vital force in business, education and the environment.

“It’s really positive when our citizenship grows and thrives,” he said in a statement.

Comments are closed.