GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Native American tribes and their economies.
The federal government is distributing billions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds to Tribal Nations throughout the country, including Cherokee, North Carolina.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has closed its casinos and other non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus.
That’s had a financial impact on the tribe.
Federal money will help tribal nations to make up lost revenue — and meet immediate needs in response to the virus.
Cory Blankenship is the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Secretary of Treasury.
He says, “Even though we’re connected to the outside world I think we still fall in that category of a rural community and so there have been some issues in securing PPE. This allows us to tap different sources to actually bring that personal protective equipment onto the boundary.”
For now, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is following federal guidelines in order to responsibly re-open its revenue-generating businesses.
Tribal leaders say they’re grateful for the government’s efforts to provide this money.
They say they will continue to try and work through other outstanding issues during this time.