President Trump’s planned visit to Mount Rushmore with a fireworks display on July 3 continues to garner criticism from across Indian Country with Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner, who last week said he wants the faces of the four presidents removed, calling the visit “an insult to Native Americans on whose stolen land it was built.” Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier said that, “we are now being forced to witness the lashing of our land with pomp, arrogance and fire hoping our sacred lands will survive. This brand on our flesh needs to be removed and I am willing to do it free of charge to the United States, by myself if I must.”
The Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes sued a group of insurance providers they said have not covered claims for business losses resulting from COVID-19. The civil claims filed earlier this month say the tribes bought $50 million of coverage in policies that should cover losses caused by the pandemic outbreak. The policies provide broad coverage for losses resulting from anything not expressly excluded in the policy – and the lawsuit says that communicable diseases were not excluded.
With a surge of COVID-19 cases in Arizona and Navajo Nation, Navajo officials have extended a state of emergency that keeps government offices and entities closed until July 26, 2020. While San Manuel Band of Mission Indians made changes to their safety procedures effective as of yesterday as the growing number COVID-19 cases in California continues.
All three Native candidates running for Congress in Oklahoma have advanced to the November general election: Representative Tom Cole (Chickasaw Nation), Representative Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee), and Danyell Lanier (Cherokee). In Utah, Former Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation Chairman Darren Parry is running as a Democrat for an open U.S. House seat.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Donald Trump Should Stay Away From Mount Rushmore, Sioux Leader Says
The Guardian, Edward Helmore, July 1
Donald Trump should not carry out his planned 3 July visit to the Mount Rushmore monument in South Dakota because it represents a safety risk in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and is an insult to Native Americans on whose stolen land it was built, the president of the Oglala Sioux tribal council has said.
Several Connecticut High Schools Are Beginning To Move Away From Native American Mascots
Hartford Courant, Amanda Blanco, July 1
Several school districts around Connecticut have begun the process of moving away from using Native American mascots and imagery in recent weeks. The movement comes as protests over racial and social injustices continue and as Christopher Columbus statues around the country are torn down.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier On Mount Rushmore: “We Are Left Looking At Our Molesters”
Native News Online, June 30
The upcoming presidential visit by President Donald Trump to Mount Rushmore has created quite a stir in Indian Country. American Indian protesters will be on hand in Keystone, S.D. as a reminder that the Sioux tribes still take claim to the Black Hills, where Mount Rushmore is located. Historically, the site was called Six GrandFathers by the Sioux. Last week, Oglala Sioux Tribal President Julian Bear Runner said that he wants the faces of the four presidents removed from Mt. Rushmore.
Spanish Colonial Monuments Fuel Race Strife In US Southwest
AP News, Russell Contreras, June 30
Statues of Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate are now in storage after demonstrators in New Mexico threatened to topple them. Protesters in California have pulled down sculptures of Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, and now schools, parks and streets named after Spanish explorers are facing uncertain futures. As statues and monuments associated with slavery and other flawed moments of the nation’s history come tumbling down at both the hands of protesters and in some cases decisions by politicians, the movement in the American Southwest has turned its attention to representations of Spanish colonial figures long venerated by some Hispanics but despised by Native Americans.
Harold Frazier: The ‘American’ Faces Carved Onto Our Sacred Land
Indianz.com, Harold Frazier, June 30
Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty than the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore. We are now being forced to witness the lashing of our land with pomp, arrogance and fire hoping our sacred lands will survive. This brand on our flesh needs to be removed and I am willing to do it free of charge to the United States, by myself if I must. Visitors look upon the faces of those presidents and extoll the virtues that they believe make America the country it is today. Lakota see the faces of the men who lied, cheated and murdered innocent people whose only crime was living on the land they wanted to steal.
Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Response Has Failed Native Americans
Indianz.com, Democratic National Committee, June 30
The Trump administration and its failed response to the Covid-19 pandemic has left Native Americans behind. As a result of a delayed and inadequate response by this administration, existing health and economic disparities have been worsened, and these communities have paid a heavy price. And Tribes face a bleak economic future if significant action is not taken to alleviate the unique hurdles that face Indian country. “Too often under this president, Native Americans have been left out and left behind,” said DNC Native American Caucus Chair Rion Ramirez.
Navajo Nation Calls For 3 Additional Weekend Lockdowns In July To Help Flatten The Curve
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 30
Coupled with a surge of COVID-19 cases in Arizona and on the Navajo Indian Reservation, Navajo Nation officials on Tuesday have extended a state of emergency that keeps government offices and entities closed until July 26, 2020. The Department of Health also issued another Public Health Emergency Order to implement full 57-hour weekend lockdowns from July 3, 2020 to July 6, 2020 from July 10, 2020 to July 13, 2020, and from July 17, 2020 to July 20, 2020, starting at 8:00 P.M. (MDT) on Friday and ending at 5:00 A.M. (MDT) on Monday. Additional weekend lockdowns may follow.
Hualapai Tribe Passes Alcohol Prohibition Resolution To Combat COVID-19
Native News Online, Tamara Ikenberg, June 30
The Hualapai Tribe of northwestern Arizona has passed a temporary prohibition resolution to help keep its tribal members safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hualapai Tribal Council passed Resolution 44-2020 at a special meeting on June 25 as a way to “reduce public intoxication, domestic disputes in relation to alcohol consumption, minimize public activity, and to support efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and promote public safety,” according to the resolution.
‘Tribal Nations Have Some Of The Highest Testing Rates In The World’
Indian Country Today, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, June 30
The Indian Health Service and tribal health facilities will need some 1,600 contact tracer positions in order to investigate COVID-19 outbreaks. “This job far outstrips our capacity,” said Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee, Zuni, director of the Indian Health Service. He said the benchmark is one contact tracer for every 1,000 patients served, “that number in Indian Country would be quite high with 1.6 million patients being served.” Weahkee told Indian Country Today’s daily newscast: “The best contact tracers are from the communities being served. So that bodes very well for trying to identify and then train those individuals up. We need a lot of them.”
Committee On Indian Affairs To Hear Testimony On COVID-19 On Native Communities
Native News Online, June 30
The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold an oversight hearing on “Evaluating the Response and Mitigation to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Native Communities.” Additionally, the committee will receive testimony on S. 3650, the Coverage for Urban Indian Health Providers Act, a bill that would extend federal torts claim coverage for certain personal injury claims (i.e., medical malpractice liability protection) to urban Indian organizations and their employees by deeming them as part of the Public Health Service. Currently, such coverage is provided to Indian tribes, tribal organizations, Indian contractors, and their employees.
Monday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: Cases Surpass 7,500
Native News Online, June 30
On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 63 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no new deaths. The total number of deaths remains at 363 as previously reported. Reports from all 12 health care facilities on and near the Navajo Nation indicate that approximately 5,095 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 54,734 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 7,532.
Native Americans In Chicago Chart A 15 Percent Covid-19 Mortality Rate — But The City Hasn’t Released That Information
Native News Online, Maia Spoto, June 30
COVID-19 is killing the American Indian residents of Chicago at disproportionately high rates, but the city has chosen to keep those statistics under wraps. RoxAnne Unabia, interim executive director for the American Indian Health Service of Chicago, said as of June 16, 23 percent of her clinic’s COVID-19 tests have returned positive since AIHS started testing at the end of April. That’s 7.5 percent higher than the overall positivity rate in Chicago during the same time frame, according to city data.
Oklahoma’s 3 Congressional Candidates Win Primaries
Indian Country Today, Graham Lee Brewer, June 30
All three Native candidates running for Congress in Oklahoma have easily advanced to the November general election. Republican Rep. Tom Cole, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, won his primary Tuesday with more than 75 percent of the vote, while Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, earned more than 79 percent of the vote. Mullin advances to face Danyell Lanier, Cherokee, in November. Lanier ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Utah Congressional Primary Features One Native Candidate
Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, June 30
Former Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation Chairman Darren Parry is running as a Democrat for an open U.S. House seat in Utah. He is one of 16 Native candidates still in the running for Congress this year, either in primaries or the November general election. Parry’s bid for office comes after Rep. Rob Bishop announced his retirement from Congress after 17 years. Voters in Tuesday’s primary election voted only by mail.
Washington Tribes Sue Insurance Group For Virus Coverage
AP News, June 29
Two Washington state Native tribes sued a group of insurance providers they said have not covered claims for business losses resulting from the coronavirus. The Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes and their business arms filed separate lawsuits against Tribal First Alliant Underwriting Solutions, The Kitsap Sun reported Sunday. The civil claims filed earlier this month say the tribes bought $50 million of coverage in policies that should cover losses caused by the pandemic outbreak. The policies provide broad coverage for losses resulting from any cause unless expressly excluded in the policy. The policies do not exclude losses from communicable diseases or viruses, the lawsuits say.
Confederated Tribes Of Grand Ronde Select Sportsbook, Online Gaming Partner
Native News Online, June 30
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde have selected Jersey City, N.J.-based Roar Digital LLC as its sports betting partner at the Spirit Mountain Casino in northwestern Oregon.
As a result of the exclusive agreement, Roar Digital will open a BetMGM Sportsbook later this year at Spirit Mountain Casino, the largest casino in Oregon located about 65 miles from Portland. In addition to retail sports betting, the company also will offer an on-reservation mobile sportsbook app and plans to make the system available statewide when allowed by regulators, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (California)
Indianz.com, June 29
A statement from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians: “As we have developed our plans for reopening San Manuel Casino, we built them with the notion that we would need to be flexible as the region and the state grapple with ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19. We have determined that for the health and safety of our team members and guests, we will be implementing the following temporary changes to our operations in order to support facial covering mandates and to minimize opportunities for multiple-person gatherings at bars. Starting Tuesday, June 30 at 9am.
ESPN To Follow “Somebody’s Daughter” In Bringing International Attention To MMIW Tragedy
Native News Online, Ari Amehae, June 30
As the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council continues to take decisive action to protect the Pikunni people from the coronavirus pandemic, another existential threat to the tribe and all of Indian Country will receive international focus this week on ESPN. Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible directed by Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi will premiere on the “worldwide leader” this Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. – EDT. However, this isn’t a rags to riches “Cinderella Man” story, this is a story where victory is survival.
1-Year-Old Eastern Montana Boy Safe After Going Missing
AP News, June 30
An Amber Alert has been canceled Tuesday for a 1-year-old eastern Montana boy who was abducted from the town of Poplar and is now safe. Malachai Talley was taken by Dejerreh Talley, 22, who was armed with a baseball bat, officials said. The alert was issued Tuesday morning. Dejerreh Talley was traveling with three unknown men. Authorities had asked for help locating a small silver or white SUV. Officials say the men may have been headed toward Williston, North Dakota.
Fairbanks Four Clear Hurdle In Fight For Compensation
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, June 30
The Fairbanks Four, who were aged 17 to 20 when they were arrested in 1997 in a teenager’s killing, got a step closer to making their case in court for compensation for their 18-year wrongful imprisonment. Potentially millions of dollars are at stake for Athabascans George Frese, Marvin Roberts, Eugene Vent and Kevin Pease, Crow. Friday, the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an earlier decision by a three-judge panel that allowed the Fairbanks Four’s lawsuit against the city of Fairbanks to proceed. The case stems from the arrest of the four young men for the beating death of John Hartman in Fairbanks. Their sentences ranged from 33 to 79 years.
Pride Month: ‘Back To Indigenous Values’
Indian Country Today, Patty Talahongva, June 30
June is Pride Month and today we look at how some tribes historically accepted LGBTQ and Two Spirit people. With colonization, things changed. Now, through time, tribes are starting to reject values imposed on them when it comes to accepting LGBTQ people. In Southern California, several tribes support this community. How are they doing that? And today, how does the LGBTQ community celebrate Pride Month? And how can straight allies support this community?
Crow Tribal Member Killed At Crow Agency Convenience Store
AP News, June 29
The Crow Tribe of Indians reported a weekend homicide in Crow Agency. The incident involved two tribal members and happened at about 5 p.m. Sunday at a convenience store, the tribe said in a news release. The names of those involved were not released. The tribe’s newly formed police department responded and secured the scene, but federal agencies will investigate the death. The FBI has jurisdiction over major crimes on Indian reservations. Officials did not release any information on what led to the homicide, The Billings Gazette reported.