On Thursday, Governor Sisolak will meet with the Intertribal Council of Nevada to discuss issues related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Our contributor Brian Bahouth with the Sierra Nevada Ally reports.
Nevada tribal nations are just now receiving Federal CARES Act relief funds. Since Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency in mid-March, tribal governments have had to provide health care and COVID-19 prevention protocols with skeleton crews. Testing is still difficult to access on some reservations.
Stacey Montooth Executive Director of the Nevada Indian Commission said food security was an issue for several tribes before the pandemic.
“It was an amazing struggle to ensure that our tribal citizens were getting food at the beginning of the pandemic. So, certainly, those hurdles have become a little bit lower."
The COVID-19 emergency has illuminated long-standing gaps in basic support infrastructure between various levels of government and Nevada tribes.
Before the pandemic, sovereign tribal nations communicated directly with the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, but under state and federal declarations of emergency, tribes now must seek redress from the US Government through the State of Nevada.
The Nevada Indian Commission is included in the governor’s daily agency briefings, but Montooth said tribal leaders are anxious to speak with the governor on Thursday.