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Thousands of tribal members excluded from payment

Tribal leaders approved household management payments to certain tribal members while excluding others.

During the full board meeting Monday, July 24, 2023, the Tribal Executive Board approved a motion to pay $400 to every child under 19-years-old and to every elder 60 and older from the American Rescue Plan Act Household Assistance funds.

Fort Peck tribal senior citizens came out in droves to pick up the household assistance payment. The Tribal Council approved paying elders and children under 18-years-old.

Applications for the assistance will be available today [Wednesday, July 26, 2023]. Applicants can either fill out the application beforehand and get their check by mail.

Or the elders can wait until Monday, July 31, 2023, and bring their filled out application to distribution day, which will be at the Poplar Cultural Center.

Even though every present council member voted to pass this motion, it did not come without questioning. Council members Justin Gray Hawk and Shannon Martell were absent during the vote.

Councilwoman Marva Chapman said she received calls from concerned people about this payment and the upcoming school year, mainly school clothes.

Councilman Bryce Kirk said the move is about $2 million. So far $500,000 was allocated for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud said there are lots of people left out of this payment. The federal government won’t see this payment as a per-cap payment because any per-cap must be given to all tribal members.

These payments are called “House Hold Assistance” payments.

In recent weeks, Iron Cloud said she has been approached by numerous tribal members asking about the payments because they are worried about paying for new school clothes.

Councilman Kirk said the Tribes can give out more payments but money needs to be “deobligated.” Once a source of funds are located, it needs to be deobligated and they need to determine where it goes, he said.

Councilman Terry Rattling Thunder said the ARPA money helped the Tribes tremendously. We were able to up the revenue lost, Rattling Thunder said.

With this, they are taking a chunk of ARPA funding and doing the cost separately. What they do here is justified and needed, but now the Tribes are setting themselves up, he said.

“Where will we get more money,” Rattling Thunder said. “When ARPA disappears there are no replacements.” This is why they are trying to save cash reserves, and everyone needs to collaborate on ideas.

In a social media post on Facebook, Iron Cloud said the remaining age group will get a payment as well but it won’t be until December 2023.

Currently, there are 2,472 elders 60 and older.

As for children 18 and under, there are 3,604 tribal members.

In the end the question was called for and the final tally was 10 for, none opposed, two absent.

About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
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By Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com

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