The Department of the Interior is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that blocked it from rescinding a reservation designation for land belonging to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts. Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell was notified in late March on the decision by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, and on June 5 Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced they are giving tribes another month to apply for a band of wireless spectrum that would help them establish or expand internet access on their land. The tribal priority window was set to close today, but will instead close on September 2. Tribes and tribal organizations had asked the FCC to push the deadline to February of 2021, or at least 90 days from the original deadline as tribes work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Judge John Dowdell from the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled last week that the Shawnee Tribe’s lawsuit against the Department of the Treasury over its share of CARES Act funding will be transferred to the District Court for the District of Columbia. The new venue has heard similar complaints from several tribes, including the Prairie Band of Potawatomi, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation.
The proposed Pebble Mine in western Alaska is at the center of a heated debate as the mine could affect subsistence fishing and hunting for the Alaska Native people in the region, including Central Yup’ik, Dena’ina Athabascan, and Alutiiq. A 2015 study by the State of Alaska found that the region’s subsistence harvests “are among the largest in the state.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom has appealed directly to investor Warren Buffett to support demolishing four hydroelectric dams in order to save salmon populations that several tribes rely on for subsistence. The dams are owned by PacificCorp, an Oregon-based utility that is part of Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. conglomerate, and the project would be the largest dam removal in U.S. history.
The 2022 World Games, the International World Games Association, and World Lacrosse issued a joint statement last week confirming that they are “working in partnership to explore whether it is necessary to change the format for the lacrosse competition,” in response to online support for the Iroquois Nationals, a powerhouse lacrosse program that were left off the list of teams invited to the 2022 World Games to be held in Birmingham, Alabama.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Saturday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 13 New Cases – Death Toll At 460
Native News Online, August 2
On Saturday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 13 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and four more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 460 as of Saturday. Reports indicate that 6,697 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 81,460 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 9,068.
Udall, Schumer: Republican Coronavirus Proposal Leaves Tribes, Native Communities Out
Indianz.com, July 31
Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued the following statement on the Republican coronavirus proposal, which shortchanges Tribal governments and Native American communities: “It is unacceptable that the coronavirus relief package put forward by Senate Republicans sidelines the needs of Tribal governments and Native communities.”
Navajo ‘Water Warrior’ Drives Miles During COVID-19 To Deliver To Those In Need
Cronkite News, Jacqueline Robledo, July 31
When the sun is up, he’s up and ready to hit the road by 8. Flatbed trucks are loaded with brimming barrels of water, and the teams take off – up and down the burnt orange washboard roads that crisscross the Navajo Nation Reservation. Zoel Zohnnie grew up on a ranch in these vast lands, knowing what it’s like to live without running water, knowing what it means to drive for miles to fill up at a community water station and then haul it back home.
COVID-19 Spikes At Alaska Fish Processing Plants Raise Alarm
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, July 31
As fishing season got into full swing earlier this summer, new COVID-19 cases per day were in the single digits. Alaska ranked lowest nationwide for cases and deaths. Fishing towns began to hope they could dodge the COVID-19 bullet. Until two weeks ago. That’s when cases at fish processing plants began shooting up from a few dozen to more than 360, with spikes in Seward, Juneau and Anchorage, plus an outbreak aboard a factory trawler on the Aleutian Island chain.
Shannon Kepler Appeals Manslaughter Conviction On Grounds Of McGirt Case
Tulsa World, Kelsey Schlotthauer, August 3
A former Tulsa police officer convicted three years ago of fatally shooting his estranged daughter’s boyfriend is appealing his case based on the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision.
Interior Department To Appeal Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Court Win. Chairman Cromwell Calls It ‘Warfare.’
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 1
The U.S. Department of the Interior is planning to appeal the June 5 favorable federal district court ruling handed to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in its battle with the Trump administration to retain its tribal land in trust. On June 5, Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Department of Interior’s 2018 decision that the tribe was not under federal jurisdiction in 1934 was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and contrary to law.
US Appeals Ruling In Massachusetts Wampanoag Land Case
AP News, August 1
The Department of the Interior is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that blocked it from rescinding a reservation designation for land belonging to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts. The Cape Cod Times reports the appeal was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District on Columbia. In June a federal judge stopped the federal government from rescinding its reservation designation.
Shawnee Tribe’s CARES Act Relief Lawsuit Moved To D.C.
Native News Online, Lenzy Burton, July 31
Citing the “first to file rule,” a federal judge has granted a motion to transfer the Shawnee Tribe’s CARES Act lawsuit to the District Court for the District of Columbia. In a six-page opinion, Chief Judge John Dowdell with the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled Tuesday that the Shawnee Tribe’s lawsuit against the Department of the Treasury over its share of CARES Act money should be moved to the same venue that has already heard similar complaints from several tribes, including the Prairie Band of Potawatomi, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation.
Mineral Rights On Hold Because Of North Dakota Tribes’ Suit
AP News, July 31
A U.S. Department of Interior opinion rolling back an Obama-era memo stating that mineral rights under the original Missouri River bed should belong to the Three Affiliated Tribes was put on hold by a federal judge Friday until arguments can be heard in the case. The memo filed May 26 by Daniel Jorjani, solicitor for the department, said a historical review shows the state is the legal owner of submerged lands beneath the river where it flows through the Fort Berthold Reservation.
Federal Troops In Portland Use Brutal Tactics Water Protectors Faced At Standing Rock
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 2
On a cold and windy Sunday night in November 2016, water protectors at Standing Rock were met with a vicious attack in frigid temperatures by militarized police who used water cannons to spray the protesters with subfreezing water. Law enforcement officials justified their overly aggressive actions by saying the water canons were necessary to contain the crowd.
Leinenkugel’s To Retire Logo Featuring Native American Woman
AP News, August 1
Leinenkugel’s will no longer use an image of a Native American woman long associated with the Chippewa Falls-based brewery. The Post-Cresent reports Leinenkugel’s will begin to make changes to the logo and other imagery related to the brand in the coming months. Company President Dick Leinenkugel said in a statement the brewery has been working to update the “look and feel” of the brand and ultimately decided to retire the image of the Native American woman.
Iroquois Nationals Competing In World Games ‘Just Makes Sense’
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, August 2
The most popular Indigenous lacrosse team on Turtle Island may be inching closer to competing on the sport’s highest international stage.
‘What Choice Do We Have?’ As The Arctic Warms, Alaska Inupiat Adapt
Anchorage Daily News, Jenna Kunze, August 2
The Alaska Native Inupiat are set apart from other Indigenous peoples by their subsistence hunting of the bowhead whale. Even today, this unique, centuries-old practice determines the social structure, reflects community values and supplements the people’s nutrient-rich diet. Nearly all of Utqiaġvik’s roughly 5,000 residents, the majority of whom are Inupiat, rely on hunting to support their way of life.
Making History And Playing In The Pros
Indian Country Today, Vincent Schilling, August 1
At the age of six, Madison Hammond already began to show talents in the sport she would one day play professionally. Now in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has joined the roster of the OL Reign, a professional women’s soccer team in Seattle. Hammond, Navajo, San Felipe, and African American, says she grew up in a single-parent home and her supportive mother, Carol Lincoln, fostered Hammond’s skill growth over the years.
Justice Department Names Diné To Coordinate Missing, Murdered Indigenous People Response
Farmington Daily Times, Noel Lyn Smith, August 1
A member of the Navajo Nation has been appointed to a U.S. Department of Justice position to help address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
NCAI Joins The Movement Fighting For Jim Thorpe’s Legacy
Native News Online, July 31
The National Congress of American Indians announced Friday it is proudly joining forces with Pictureworks Entertainment and tribal partners across Indian Country to “Take Back What Was Stolen,” an initiative to restore Jim Thorpe’s status as the sole gold medal champion of the 1912 Olympic decathlon and pentathlon.
In 1920, Native Women Sought the Vote. Here’s What They Seek Now.
The New York Times, Cathleen Cahill, July 31
Native women were highly visible in early 20th-century suffrage activism. White suffragists, fascinated by Native matriarchal power, invited Native women to speak at conferences, join parades, and write for their publications. Native suffragists took advantage of these opportunities to speak about pressing issues in their communities — Native voting, land loss and treaty rights. But their stories have largely been forgotten.
‘Pebble Mine Will Impact Subsistence’
Indian Country Today, Meghan Sullivan, July 31
A proposed copper-gold-and-molybdenum mine in western Alaska is at the center of a decades-long, heated debate. Central to the controversy is the clash between the mining and fishing industries. But while people often focus on the potential impact to the commercial fishing industry, the mine could also affect subsistence fishing and hunting in the area.
Alaska Native people in the region, including Central Yup’ik, Dena’ina Athabascan, and Alutiiq, have relied upon the abundant salmon for thousands of years.
Deadline Extended For Tribes To Seek Broadband Licenses
AP News, Felicia Fonseca, July 31
The Federal Communications Commission is giving tribes another month to apply for a band of wireless spectrum that would help them establish or expand internet access on their land — far less time than what tribes had sought. Tribes pushed to be first in line to apply for licenses for the mid-band spectrum that is largely unassigned across the western United States and can be used for fixed or mobile internet service. The licenses once were reserved for educational institutions.
California Governor Asks Warren Buffett To Back Dam Removal
AP News, Robert Jablon, July 30
Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed directly to investor Warren Buffett to support demolishing four hydroelectric dams on a river along the Oregon-California border to save salmon populations that have dwindled to almost nothing. The dam removal could bring relief to a half-dozen Native American tribes that rely on salmon fishing and are spread across hundreds of miles in southern Oregon and northern California.