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Sealaska to Partner with Tlingit & Haida to Distribute CARES Act Funds

Sealaska is teaming up with the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska to distribute its $4.2 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding from the federal government to eligible shareholders. The application will be live beginning Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.

Tlingit & Haida has generously contributed an additional $1.8 million to make the total benefit available to Sealaska shareholders $6 millionUp to 12,000 shareholders will be eligible to receive $500 each in relief payments, with 100% of available funding going directly to shareholders.

Here’s how to apply:

  • The application will open on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 at  Shareholders without access to a computer can call Tlingit & Haida at 907-463-7750 to make an appointment to apply over the phone with a customer service representative.
  • Shareholders will need to provide the last four digits of their Social Security number and documentation of financial obligations incurred as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic; these statements can go back as far as March of 2020.
  • To be eligible, you must be a Sealaska shareholder who lives in the United States (U.S. government funds cannot be used to benefit people in other countries).

How funds are distributed

Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the threshold of 12,000 qualified applicants is met. Shareholders should only apply if they have bills directly related to the pandemic that have not been covered through other coronavirus financial-assistance programs administered by tribes or other Native service organizations. Each applicant must provide proof of expenses associated with the pandemic.

Tlingit & Haida staff will review and approve applications, and Sealaska will issue the payment to each qualified applicant. Sealaska and Tlingit & Haida are required to follow the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s strict parameters for distribution of CARES Act funding.

“Tlingit & Haida has successfully distributed two needs-based programs related to the CARES Act program,” said Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott. “We are grateful for their expertise and guidance in this process, and for the opportunity to work with them on such an important project. Given the short window we have to distribute funds, a single program that quickly benefits those in need requires us to work with a strong partner like Tlingit & Haida.”

About the CARES Act

The funding formula for the CARES Act money was established by the Treasury Department. The determination of how much Sealaska received was based on several factors including population data, number of employees and revenue. The rules stipulate the money cannot be used for a special distribution, and that all payments must be directly related to the pandemic. ANCs should expect to be audited on their use of funding, according to agency guidance. Sealaska’s $4.2 million allocation amount is explained in more detail here.

Sealaska’s CARES Act funding application will be separate from Tlingit & Haida’s Rescue Relief Household program application. The T&H program is being administered using funds Tlingit & Haida received through the American Rescue Plan Act.

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sealaska and other Alaska Native Corporations in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation. The ruling upheld Sealaska’s designation as a “tribe” under the law and cleared the way for ANCs to receive CARES Act funding. The decision was important because the formal definition applies to other federal programs in which Sealaska participates, many of which impact our ability to generate income and provide dividends and other benefits to shareholders.