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Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe calls for immediate dismissal of Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Tara Sweeney

EAGLE BUTTE – The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe will file an injunction against the United States Department of Treasury, United States Department of Interior regarding the $8B Tribal Set Aside in CARES Act to stop the rushed implementation of the legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of funds to all of Indian country. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe calls for the immediate dismissal of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney for the blatant attempt to funnel almost half of Tribal Set Aside to her personal interest in Indian country.

Despite strong and well-reasoned arguments for an equitable distribution of the $8 billion for tribes in the CARES Act, the US Interior Department, in particular Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs (ASIA) Tara Sweeney, is recommending a grossly unfair allocation plan to the US Treasury Department. Of the $8 billion tribal set aside authorized in Title V of the CARES Act, ASIA Sweeney is recommending that nearly half, $3-4 billion, should be allocated to Alaska Native Corporations. Ms. Sweeney is an Alaska Native and a former employee of an Alaska Regional Corporation.

According to the last US Census, Alaskan Natives have a population of approximately 106,660, which is only 1.5% of the more than 6.7 million Native Americans living in the US today. Alaska Native Corporations constitute a minority of the indigenous population in the United States, Alaska Native Corporations are NOT tribes. Alaska Native Corporations are state chartered “for-profit” corporations. The revenue they generate does NOT employ large numbers of tribal citizens or local economies.  The United States does not recognize Alaska Native Corporations and Congress did not intend for corporations to be eligible for relief funds designed to assist government institutions. They should NOT reap the benefits of the CARES Act in such a substantial way.


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