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Osage Nation to receive $5.1M in Coronavirus relief money


Shannon Shaw Duty

The Osage Nation has been approved for $5.1 million in Coronavirus relief money.

The relief money is to come from the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According to the PPP application, if the Nation uses the money solely for payroll and utility payments, the money acts as a guaranteed loan and will be forgiven for repayment. ON Treasurer Jim Littleton said the amount awarded is enough to pay ON employees for five pay periods.

The Osage Nation currently employs approximately 500 employees and the average monthly payroll is a little over $2 million a month.

“This is due to the great work of the Treasurer, Controller, Attorney General, Chief of Staff, HR Director, and many others in the Executive Branch,” wrote Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear in an April 16 email to the ON Congress. “I have also been informed the process to access these funds will be in place soon.”

On April 17, Congressman Archie Mason introduced ONCR 20-16, a resolution in support of the application and approval of the funds. Congressman Scott BigHorse co-sponsored the bill.  

Standing Bear said the funds will be used to pay the already Congress approved budgets for the Nation. He said the Treasurer and Attorney General have been working with Arvest Bank to access the funding. The Nation has eight weeks to use the funds for the specified uses. He said any funds not spent within the eight-week period may be returned or, if kept, there will be a 1 percent interest rate on a two-year loan. 

According to the PPP Rule, the money is for limited use and can only be used for legitimate government functions.

“During the Public Health State of Emergency the Osage Nation Executive Branch has been working every day to secure the best possible financial position for the Osage Nation. This involves discussion with Osage gaming, planning our options, working with federal officials, and keeping abreast of the situation in Washington, D.C., and with other tribes nation-wide,” Standing Bear wrote. “One of the most important resources provided by the federal government is the Paycheck Protection Program.”

Original Publish Date: 2020-04-20 00:00:00


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Shannon Shaw Dutyhttps://osagenews.org
Shannon Shaw Duty is the editor of the Osage News. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Legal Studies, Indigenous Peoples Law from the OU College of Law. She served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) from 2013-2016 and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee from 2017-2020. 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 (NCAIED). In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive the Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, NAJA’s highest honor. An Osage tribal member, she and her family are from the Grayhorse District. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and six children.

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