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CROW AGENCY, MONTANA - Not only have the high waters of the Big Horn and Little Big Horn Rivers caused people to be displaced from 400 homes, but the costs of operations has led to the Crow Tribe laying off 150 of its tribal employees.
"We had to lay people off until we can get some of our money back," said Kayle Howe (Crow), director of human resources for the Crow Tribe.
“Tough times seem to have fallen on everyone.”
The Crow Tribe took these measures due to the costs associated with the floods.
"We spent a lot of money on security," commented Howe. These funds have come out of tribal funds, according to Howe.
"We are providing assistance to the Crow Tribe and have continued to do so throughout this flooding emergency." Said Monique T. Lay of the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services.
Lay told the Native News Network that the assistance has been mainly limited to providing resources and technical assistance.
"If the request for a Presidential Disaster is signed, there will be money available to the tribe for extended response and recovery efforts". Lay continues, "of those eligible expenses, 75 percent of the total costs will be reimbursed to the tribe by FEMA and the state will assist with the remaining 25 percent".
The Crow Tribe is in the process of filing an application with FEMA to recapture some of the dollars it has already paid out to provide relief and recovery due for the flood victims.
"We have no idea how long it will take to recover the money we have spent," said Howe. "Some of the monies from the state have been slow in getting to us."
Employees with less seniority have been the first to be laid off. Essential operations are being maintained. Since the most recently hired employees have been laid off, some will not qualify for state unemployment benefits because employees must work three quarters or nine-months in order to qualify for the benefits.
The Crow Tribe normally employs 980 employees.
updated June 9, 2011 8:43 am et
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