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Nation receives $29.2M for second ARPA payment, lower than expected


Shannon Shaw Duty

The Osage Nation has received its second payment from the American Rescue Plan Act in the amount of $29.2 million. However, it’s half of what was expected.

In an Aug. 20 memorandum from James Weigant, COVID Task Force Coordinator, to Speaker of the Osage Nation Congress Angela Pratt, he said the Nation expected around $58 million, not $29.2 million.

“On August 16th, 2021 we received the remainder of our ARPA funding in the amount of $29,226,525.07. This was quite the shock, being approximately half of what we were anticipating,” Weigant wrote in the memorandum. “We are investigating whether or not this is an error and we are exploring options for filing an administrative appeal.”

The American Rescue Plan Act set aside $20 billion for tribal governments. The U.S. Treasury allocated $1 billion to be spread equally to all 574 federally recognized tribes, with the remaining $19 billion to be distributed based on tribal enrollment ($12.3 billion) and tribal employment ($6.65 billion). In May, the Nation received its initial payment of $108.3 million, based on the Nation’s tribal enrollment.

According to an Aug. 2 article in Tribal Business News, the formulas being used for the ARPA distributions are being scrutinized by tribes and lawmakers. They claim the tribal enrollment formula gives bigger tribes the bulk of the funding (about 90%) to less than 28 tribes.

They claim the same problem exists with the tribal employment formula for the second ARPA payment. The wealthier tribes that employ thousands of people, Native and non-Native alike, are receiving the bulk of the money and leaving out the smaller tribes who are in the greatest need of monetary relief.

Weigant said the news of the Nation’s lower-than-expected second ARPA payment will leave the task force with many tough decisions to make for the remaining funds. The ON Congress during its July 10th Special Session appropriated all but $221,454 of the Nation’s first ARPA payment.

“That gives us $29,447,979.66 in unappropriated ARPA funds. Congressman Tillman’s individual assistance bill was reduced from $46,496,000 to $35,000,000,” he wrote. “This was done with the understanding that we would hold back the difference ($11,496,000) from the next round in case that amount is needed. Doing that leaves us with $17,951,979 in unobligated ARPA funds.

“We have some tough decisions ahead of us to wrap up our ARPA response package. We look forward to working with the Osage Nation Congress to finalize this step.”

Original Publish Date: 2021-08-20 00:00:00


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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