In anticipation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s (OST’s) disbursement of individual relief payments to tribal members, the Lakota Federal Credit Union and Lakota Funds met with the Tribe’s Media Relations Department. The discussion, which also included a segment with OST President, Kevin Killer, was broadcast as a Facebook live event and covered several things tribal members could do to prepare for the payments and how they could utilize the payments for maximum benefit.
“There’s going to be a lot of checks disbursed in the near future, and so we want to encourage our relatives, encourage our communities to make good choices,” said Ritchie Richards, OST Media Relations.
As part of their $95 million allocation in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, OST is planning on distributing payments to all enrolled tribal members through an application process that they plan to open July 6, 2021.
Shayna Ferguson, Branch Manager of the Lakota Federal Credit Union, encouraged tribal members to open an account now, emphasizing that it is an easy process and can be done with as little as $5 for the initial deposit.
“It’s going to cost you more to cash that check somewhere else than it is actually depositing $5 and opening an account,” said Killer during the Facebook live event.
Ferguson also indicated more accounts were being open for children at the Credit Union. “We’re seeing the impact where parents and guardians are opening accounts for their children. We’re seeing this generational thing now, and that’s awesome!” she said.
Tawney Brunsch, Executive Director of Lakota Funds and Board Chair of the Credit Union, said “We recommend everyone start with a financial literacy class, honestly.”
Lakota Funds offers monthly financial literacy classes that help people learn how to make choices that will help them achieve their financial goals. Many people who take the financial literacy classes are working to improve their credit so they can get a loan to purchase a vehicle or a home, or even to start a business.
Killer emphasized the importance of keeping money local, either by opening an account at Lakota Federal Credit Union or making purchases at reservation-based businesses. “Make sure you find ways to turn your money over multiple times in our community. You’re spending money, but that’s also power. How are you going to leverage your power? Either to make your community good or to make someone else’s good?” he said.
Although Brunsch and Ferguson explained a myriad of products and services available to help people manage their ARP payments wisely, they stressed the first step was to contact them.
“Just get your foot in the door, because after that, the sky’s the limit,” said Brunsch.
Lakota Funds can be reached at 455-2500 and the Lakota Federal Credit Union can be reached at 455-1515. A recording of the Facebook live event can be viewed at https://fb.watch/6pUxYdwyQN/.