News Release published by Indian Country Today March 16, 2021

Office of the Assistant Secretary – U.S. Department of the Interior

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) signed by President Biden on March 12, 2021, invests $1.75 billion in American Indian and Alaska Native government programs administered under the oversight of the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs.

The ARP makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes to law to respond to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The ARP authorizes $900 million for the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs (AS-IA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to support a wide range of COVID-19 response activities, including:

  • $772.5 million for tribal government services, public safety and justice, social services, child welfare assistance, and other related expenses;
  • $100 million for tribal housing improvement;
  • $20 million to provide and deliver potable water; and
  • $7.5 million for related federal administrative costs and oversight.

In addition, $850 million is provided to the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) for Bureau Operated Schools, Tribally Controlled Schools, and Tribal Colleges and Universities to support quality education delivery while protecting students, teachers and communities from COVID-19.

The Department of the Interior and Indian Affairs will consult with the leaders of federally recognized tribal governments to discuss implementation of the American Rescue Plan.

Qualified expenditure guidance and other relevant tribal information will be posted on the Indian Affairs website as it becomes available.