COVID-19 in Indian Country
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Indigenous populations across the country, including among children.

“After decades of being ignored and forgotten, we applaud the Senate Appropriations Committee for the robust legislation proposed to improve outcomes for Indian Country,” said NCUIH CEO Francys Crevier.

To help ensure the safety of students, teachers and tribal communities, staff and faculty at Bureau of Indian Education facilities will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“This much-needed financial support will aid our ability to help the Tribal communities we serve recover more quickly from the pandemic’s wide-ranging impact on them,” said Bryan Newland, who has been nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Biden administration.

The American Rescue Plan invests $1.75 billion in American Indian and Alaska Native programs administered through the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.

The Trump administration official who oversees the department with the most trust and treaty responsibilities has tested positive for COVID-19.

Bureau of Indian Education schools on the Navajo Nation will open for students via distance learning for the first nine weeks of the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19.

Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools across the United States will have a uniform start date of September 16 for the 2020-2021 school year.

To date, the CARES Act has provided the Department of the Interior with $909.7 million, which includes direct apportionments of $756 million and a $153.7 million transfer from the Department of Education to the Bureau of Indian Education.

The National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Education Association express deep concern regarding reopening plans for Bureau of Indian Education schools and the safety and health of all students, teachers, administrators, and community members.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, will press Trump administration witnesses on the Bureau of Indian Education response to the COVID-19 pandemic in tribal schools.

On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at 2:30 PM EDT, immediately following a business meeting, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold an oversight hearing titled “Preparing to Head Back to Class: Addressing How to Safely Reopen Bureau of Indian Education Schools.”

The Bureau of Indian Education is hosting three consultation sessions to discuss reopening of schools in the COVID-19 era.

The Bureau of Indian Education welcomes tribal leadership and stakeholders to attend an informational virtual meeting on July 8 to hear plans for distributing Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to schools to support the COVID-19 Pandemic recovery.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema called on the Departments of Interior and Education to distribute the already-approved $222 million CARES Act funding to support Bureau of Indian Education Programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over two months after Congress passed the CARES Act, the Trump administration continues to withhold Indian Education COVID-19 funding to Tribal schools, leaving students without resources for distance learning.

Dr. Ronald J. Graham (Absentee Shawnee) is the new president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas.

The Office of Inspector General at the Department of the Interior on May 5, 2020, released a report titled "Where’s the Money? DOI Use of CARES Act Funds."

At least seven employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been at least 2 employee deaths.

The Department of the Treasury and the Department of the Interior announced plans for distribution of funding appropriated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.