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Navajo Nation files lawsuit against US over COVID-19 funding

The Navajo Nation has joined 10 other tribes in suing the federal government for what they believe is a fair share of COVID-19 funding.

NAVAJO, Ariz. — Editor's note: The above video is about how lack of running water complicates the fight against COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation. 

The Navajo Nation and 10 other tribes have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Secretary of Treasury for more COVID-19 funding, the Navajo Nation announced in a statement Wednesday. 

Congress allocated $8 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help tribal governments handle the pandemic, but the Navajo Nation says the Secretary of the Treasury is allocating much of those funds to more than 230 Alaska Native Corporations. 

Alaska Native Corporations are for-profit corporations that generate billions of dollars in revenue and are owned by shareholders, including non-Native Americans, the Navajo Nation says. 

Tribal officials said they had previously opposed the CARES Act because of the funding for Alaska Native Corporations. 

The Navajo Nation is dealing with one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the country. More than 1,250 people had tested positive for the disease, and nearly 50 people had died as of Wednesday. 

If the Navajo Nation were a U.S. state, it would rank behind only New York and New Jersey for per-capita confirmed cases based on overall numbers.

The Navajo Nation says while they are receiving some help from the federal government, help is not arriving fast enough. 

The nation still needs more personal protective equipment, ventilators, health care personnel, and more rapid testing to combat the spread of COVID-19, President Jonathan Nez said in the statement. 

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