Power pylons at sunset

Power pylons at sunset

What is the challenge?

Members of Native nations were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic along multiple dimensions.1,2 In response, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) provided over $32 billion in dedicated funding for Tribal governments, representing the largest ever infusion of resources into Native nations by the federal government.3 In some instances, the ARP was the first time Tribal governments and federal program teams worked together on a dedicated and direct transfer of program funds, requiring rapid innovation and experimentation in program design and intergovernmental partnership. However, not all Tribal governments applied for or participated in the ARP. Thus, it is vital to record and amplify some of the key lessons learned, in order for the federal government to be better-positioned to support Native nations in future crises.

What are we doing?

By highlighting Native nations’ experiences of accessing and implementing a selection of ARP-funded programs, including decisions not to apply to programs, we hope to highlight success in program design and point to areas for current and future improvement. To do this, we plan to collaborate with a diverse set of federal agencies and Tribal governments to conduct a set of primarily qualitative, descriptive studies that aim to understand Tribal governments’ awareness, access, and allocation of ARP-funded programs and resources. These descriptive studies will be led by a Tribal Engagement Fellow and will be rooted in community engagement to ensure that they are informed by the priorities and perspectives of Tribal governments.

What do we expect to learn?

We expect to produce 1-3 descriptive reports that share learnings about Tribal governments’ experiences with specific programs. In addition, we plan to produce a report that will synthesize these findings. It will include the broader insights and shared learnings across these studies, as well as those from on a fourth study about the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, which has already been completed.

This evaluation is currently being implemented and is part of our American Rescue Plan portfolio. Results forthcoming (2025).


  1. FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces Historic Support for Tribal Small Businesses as Part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
  2. FACT SHEET: Building A New Era of Nation-to-Nation Engagement
  3. FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Budget Delivers for Tribal Nations and Tribal Communities





Project Type

Descriptive study


American Rescue Plan