By Brian Bull
In Oregon, state funds are being sent to its nine federally recognized tribes. But it may not be enough.
The Oregon Health Authority announced it is allocating roughly $36,000 apiece to tribes and the Native American Rehabilitation Association in Portland. It’s part of a larger $4-million package.
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy says the money will go to re-supply things like protective gear and hand sanitizer. But it will go fast.
“The other thing that we looked at doing is setting up a temporary hospital at Grande Ronde, and we would need more supplies and a space,” Kennedy said. “Whether that’d be those large tents which are very costly to rent and disinfect.”
Kennedy said most reservations are rural and isolated and not directly connected to major supply chains. She’s hoping to get more funds from the federal government.
“I have participated on calls to the White House,” she said. “They are our trustee. There have been appropriations identified for tribes, yet we have not received a dollar yet. And I’m not saying that we won’t. Every tribe has a federal ID number. There’s the mechanism. Cut the red tape, get the funds out now.”
A tribal spokesperson said there have been COVID-19 cases in counties adjacent to the Grand Ronde native community, but there’s no reason to believe any were associated or had contact with the tribe