Sinema Calls for Improved Consultation with Tribal Nations to Combat COVID-19

Mar 31, 2020

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema urged the administration to improve collaboration with the 22 federally recognized Tribes in Arizona in its response to COVID-19 to ensure Tribal communities have the resources they need to fight coronavirus. 
“The federal government must consult directly with Tribal Nations to ensure Native American communities in Arizona have full and adequate resources to combat the spread of COVID-19,” said Sinema.
In her letter, Sinema raised concerns that the federal government’s response to the coronavirus health crisis has not appropriately included Tribal Nations. Sinema cites the CDC’s announcement to distribute $40 million funds, under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental, for Tribes without consulting Tribal Nations nor the CDC Tribal Advisory Committee on their specific needs. Most Tribes in Arizona may not see assistance or resources to meet their most immediate needs.
Sinema also heard directly from members of the Navajo Nation that their communities do not have testing kits nor personal protective equipment needed to combat the coronavirus. As of March 24, 2020, there were 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Navajo Nation. 
Sinema urged the administration to make a stronger effort in consulting with Tribal Nations in order to truly reduce the spread of coronavirus throughout Arizona.
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Sinema-shaped legislative package that included robust support of $10 billion in Tribal government services and programs, including $2 billion for the Indian Health Services, to ensure Native communities across Arizona get the health care and resources they need.
Click HERE to read Sinema’s letter.