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Tribes address layoff rumors

The Colville Tribes responded Monday to inquiries regarding continuing layoffs at the tribes, as well as the use of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money towards a new rehabilitation center being built in Keller. 

In April, the CBC announced in a letter that the Colville Tribes as well as the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation had temporarily laid off nearly 600 employees as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Some employees were posting further layoff notices on social media last week.

Regarding the layoffs, Neeka Somday, media contact for the Colville Business Council, responded in an email Monday that CBC Chairman Rodney Cawston “would like me to relay the message that CBC has extended the partial shutdown [of the tribe] until September 30th, due to a spike in positive COVID-19 cases on the reservation. This includes some staff remaining in layoff status. The shutdown extension will be periodically evaluated for positive cases & if any employees would face discontinuance of unemployment benefits.”

Regarding the CARES Act money, Somday wrote that the “CBC hasn’t fully decided upon the spend down of CARES ACT funding & reserve any comments at this time.”

The tribe announced in May that it had received more than $28.3 million in CARES Act funding.


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