ETA: Yakima Nation: Letter_YN_US_Removal of Tara Sweeney (4.17.20)
Indian Country Today Coverage
Title V of the CARES Act limits eligibility for the Tribal portion of the CRF specifically to Tribal governments to ensure parity between states, territories, and Tribes. A Tribal government is the recognized governing body of a federally-recognized Indian Tribe that has a political relationship with the federal government; the law acknowledges this sovereign status and refers to Tribal governments alongside states and other units of local government throughout Title V. 1 Thus, the letter and the spirit of Title V’s purpose – to provide economic stabilization of state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments impacted by COVID-19 so that they can continue essential government services – supports this conclusion. Non-governmental Tribal entities may well warrant relief under other CARES Act programs, but this funding in this title was intended for Tribal governments and should not be diverted. Any other interpretation would be contrary to congressional intent and an affront to the Indian canon of statutory construction that requires statutes to be construed favorably to Tribes’ benefit.
Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association: GPTCA Letter Sweeney (V. 3)
We write to request that you call upon President Trump to remove Tara Sweeney as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. She has lost the confidence of Indian tribes. Charged with a large public trust, she unfairly sought to divert emergency Tribal Government resources to state-chartered, for-profit corporations owned by Alaska Native shareholders, including her and her family.
Further, she seeks to deny the very existence of Indian country. Alaska Natives know that the Alaska Native villages are tribal governments; state chartered Alaska Native corporations (“ANCs”) are not. Alaska Native village leaders, tribal government leaders, often clash with the ANC Corporate leaders because the corporations do not provide revenues to the tribal governments. We see it at our national meetings.