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Image: Secretary Deb Haaland
Secretary Haaland hosts American Rescue Plan chat with actor Mark Ruffalo
Friday, April 2, 2021

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is taking to social media to show the American Rescue Plan Act benefits Indian Country.

Haaland and actor Mark Ruffalo are discussing the COVID-19 relief package on Friday morning. The event will be broadcast at 11:30am Eastern on the White House account on Instagram.

“We’ll discuss the significant funding for Tribal communities, the #AmericanRescuePlan, and more,” Haaland said in a post on social media.

The American Rescue Plan Act, which became law on March 11, includes a historic $31.2 billion investment in Indian Country. Of that amount, $1.75 billion is being administered through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, which are part of the Department of the Interior, the federal agency that Haaland leads.

“We have to get resources out to tribal communities as swiftly as possible,” Haaland said on a call with Native media on her first day in office on March 17.

“We have to give them the resources to manage their vaccinations and testing on their communities as they are able,” Haaland continued. “The President’s American Rescue Plan is an historic package that will provide much needed relief for families and tribal governments.”

The $900 million at the BIA includes direct aid to tribal governments and funding for housing, water and other needs. The $850 million for the BIE benefits Indian schools, as well as tribal colleges and universities.

“This [is] money that we have to get out the door yesterday, truly,” Haaland told the Native media.

Ruffalo is known for his work in a wide range of films, including starring as Bruce Banner / Hulk in The Avengers franchise. He has been one of Haaland’s most prominent supporters, dating back to her formal arrival in the nation’s capital more than two years ago.

Ruffalo was among the speakers at 2019 event that celebrated then-Rep. Haaland and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) as the first two Native women in Congress.

He also joined a drum group from the Ho-Chunk Nation during the event. Davids is a citizen of the tribe, headquartered in Wisconsin.