‘Tribes are hurting’: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada)
Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2021
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Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) speaks in support of increased COVID-19 relief and additional funding for tribal nations on February 3, 2021.

“In Nevada and across the country, our tribes are hurting,” said Masto. “They are trying to do too much with far, far too little. Some of them are still under lockdown, desperate to protect elders — often the gatekeepers of rich Native languages and cultures — from the impact of the virus that they see is devastating their communities, and many are struggling to keep business doors open. All of them are stretched too thin.”

“Tribes were suffering from unstable funding streams and budget shortfalls even before the coronavirus pandemic affected their economies,” added Masto, who serves on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “Now on shoestring budgets — with staffing levels that were insufficient even before the pandemic hit — they are trying to address the myriad urgent needs of their communities.”

This week, the U.S. Senate is taking up legislation to help implement President Joe Biden’s so-called American Rescue Plan. According to Democrats, it provides more than $28 billion in investments for health care, education, housing and other programs serving Indian Country and Native communities.

“The federal government absolutely has to do more to support these efforts and uphold the federal trust responsibility. It can help tribes navigate the federal bureaucracy and ensure that funds allocated to tribal priorities actually get into the hands of those who need them,” said Masto.

Thumbnail photo from Senate Committee on Indian Affairs