Cherokee Nation stimulus check: who gets it and how much is it worth?

The American Rescue Plan provided a $20 billion federal boost for the US' tribal communities, some of which will go on an additional round of direct payments for citizens.

Cherokee Nation stimulus check: who gets and how much money is it?

On Thursday Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, the leader of the Cherokee Nation, signed legislation that will provide an additional round of stimulus checks to citizens of the Oklahoma-based tribe.

The Cherokee Nation’s 392,832 citizens will each receive a $2,000 stimulus check, split into two $1,000 direct payments over two years, after the tribe’s governing council voted resoundingly in favour (16-1) of authorising the stimulus checks.

How will the Cherokee Nation stimulus checks be funded?

In his American Rescue Plan, President Biden provided $1.8 billion of federal support for the tribe, which they are free to spend as they see fit. The $2,000 direct payments will see around 43% of that support sent out to citizens of the tribe, the second-largest in the country after the Arizona-based Navajo Nation.

In a statement announcing the decision, Hosking confirmed: “In this resolution, we will appropriate funds out of the $1.8 billion (provided the tribe) to cover the individual assistance payments to citizens and adopt a broad spending framework with categories as a place to start which can be modified as we move forward.”

To apply for the support citizens will have to use the Gadugi Portal, which is yet to go online but is taking registrations already. Citizens are encouraged to sign up now to ease the registration process when it becomes fully functional in June.

What other relief spending does the Cherokee Nation have planned?

Biden’s stimulus bill provided a historic investment in Native Indian communities with a total of $20 billion set aside for tribal governments. The funding comes from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (FRF), which is expressly targeted at easing the economic consequences of the pandemic.

The Cherokee Nation’s Respond Recover and Rebuild programme aims to provide covid-19 relief for the tribe’s citizens, using support provided by the FRF. Alongside the $2,000 stimulus checks, the Cherokee Nation will also allocate additional funding for mental health and wellness initiatives. The tribe’s infrastructure, education, housing and job training programmes will also be bolstered by the federal money.

Hoskin said that the funding would be focused on: "ensuring the Cherokee Nation is able to heal together and rebuild to be a stronger tribe with stronger and healthier Cherokee families and communities. This funding is an important step in our ongoing efforts to recover and rebuild.”