Treasury to begin distributing virus relief money to tribes

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department says it will begin distributing billions in coronavirus relief funding to tribes.

The announcement Tuesday comes more than a week after a congressional deadline to get $8 billion to tribal governments. Tribes sued to keep the funding from Alaska Native corporations, which own Native land but aren’t tribal governments.

The Treasury Department says tribes will receive a combined $4.8 billion based on population over the next several days and the rest will be doled out later.

Tribes are relying on the money to stay afloat, respond to the coronavirus and recover after shutting down casinos, tourism operations and other businesses.