The Associated Press published an article covering the difficulties that tribes face in boosting their Census counts, noting the added stress that the Trump administration’s accelerated timeline has faced on enumerators, and highlighting people like Lauri Dawn Kindness who are “sweating in a mask and face shield under the merciless summer sun” trying to get as complete a count as possible.
The Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team has accepted an invitation to compete in the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama following the Irish national team’s decision to withdraw from the competition to ensure that the Iroquois had a pathway to compete.
Thousands of African Americans who were once enslaved by tribal members in the South were forced to migrate to Oklahoma when the tribes were pushed off their homelands and marched west in the 1830s. In treaties signed after the Civil War, they won freedom and were promised tribal citizenship and an equal stake in the tribes’ lands and fortunes. Now, following the Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, there has been an increased push for tribal nations to keep their word to the descendants of those formerly enslaved by the tribes.
Indian Country Today reports that the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has been impacted by COVID-19 worse than any major city in the United States, with one in 10 of their tribal citizens testing positive.
In other news, a Georgia sheriff’s deputy was delivering civil papers when she returned to her patrol car to find an unplanned, hungry new guest who wanted to tag along.
Keep reading for a full news update.
More Mississippi Choctaws Have Died Of COVID Than Those Who Died Of The Disease In Hawaii. Or Alaska. Or Wyoming
Indian Country Today, September 9
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the Mississippi Choctaw Band of Indians harder than any major city in the nation — and 10 times harder than the rest of Mississippi.
Bureau Of Indian Education Schools To Open Sept. 16
Navajo-Hopi Observer, September 8
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) announced in August that BIE-operated K-12 day-school operations across the United States will have a uniform start date of Sept. 16 for the 2020-2021 school year.
Coping With COVID’s Lasting Effects
AP News, September 8
Carol Todecheene, Navajo, survived the coronavirus but had to relearn to walk and talk after spending nearly three weeks on a ventilator.
Two Colorado Schools Retire Their Native American Mascots
AP News, September 8
Two Loveland schools are retiring their Native American mascots after years of community debate and a petition by high school students to remove images they consider racist and demeaning to the Native American community. The Thompson School District Board of Education voted unanimously last week to retire the Loveland High School Indian mascot and the Bill Reed Middle School Warrior mascot.
Petition Calls For DB’s Mascot To Be Changed, Counter-Petition Wants It To Stay
WCYB, Ashley Cline, September 7
A Dobyns-Bennett High School student has started a petition to change DB’s ‘Indians’ mascot, saying its an inaccurate representation of Native Americans. In an age of social activism, Dobyns-Bennett senior, Fathima Shaikh started a petition online, simply titled, ‘Change the Dobyns-Bennett “Indians” Mascot.’ Meanwhile, a DB alum has started a counter-petition calling for the mascot to stay the same.
Battered By The Virus, Tribes Race To Boost Census Count
AP News, Matthew Brown, September 8
Reaching a full count on most reservations now looks nearly impossible. Less than a month before the Sept. 30 deadline, just a fraction of people have been counted on Crow land, where the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll. Native American activists are spending their days sweating in masks and face shields under the merciless summer sun, urging drivers to fill out the forms at drive-thru census sign-up stations.
President Nez, VP Lizer Recognize ‘Navajo Nation Suicide Prevention Week’
Native News Online, September 8
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed a proclamation on Sunday, recognizing Sept. 6-12, 2020 as “Navajo Nation Suicide Prevention Week.” The designated days coincide with National Suicide Prevention Week and with World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10.
Iroquois Nationals Accept Invitation To World Games
Indian Country Today, September 8
The Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team has accepted an invitation to compete at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. The news follows a weekslong campaign to get the Nationals included in the international competition after the initial roster left them out. Organizers didn’t recognize the Iroquois as a sovereign nation.
Ireland’s Lacrosse Team Gives Its Spot In An International Tournament To A Native American Team
CNN, Allen Kim, September 7
In a remarkable show of sportsmanship, Ireland’s lacrosse team is withdrawing from an international tournament to allow a Native American team to play instead. The team withdrew from The World Games 2022 and the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team will take its place, World Lacrosse announced last week. “It’s simply the right thing to do,” says Michael Kennedy, chief executive officer of Ireland Lacrosse.
‘Larger Than Memory’ Is Larger Than Life At Phoenix Museum
Indian Country Today, Sandra Hale Schulman, September 8
After months of being closed due to the pandemic, the Heard Museum has reopened in a big way with its largest exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art in the museum’s 90-year history. “Larger Than Memory: Contemporary Art From Indigenous North America” encompasses nearly 13,000 square feet and spans four ground floor gallery spaces. The exhibit brings together many of the biggest Native artists working today for a knockout show that spans the past two decades.
Navajo Nation Seeking Answers In Deaths Of Two Navajo Soldiers At Fort Hood Army Post
Native News Online, September 8
Navajo Nation leadership is calling for an investigation into the death of a Navajo citizen, U.S. Army Private Carlton L. Chee after he collapsed during a training exercise at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas on Aug. 28. In addition, the Office of the President and Vice President recently received information from the family of Army Spc. Miguel D. Yazzie, also a member of the Navajo Nation, who lost his life on July 3, while stationed at the Fort Hood Army Base. The families are reporting that they are receiving inconsistent information and details from military officials regarding the deaths.
In Spite Of COVID-19, Apache Tribe Of Oklahoma Still Serving Tribal Citizens
Native News Online, Chez Oxendine, September 8
COVID-19 disease temporarily shut down the Apache’s food distribution program in early August after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 (the program has since resumed). Even the general election was moved from April 4 to June 27. Since then, the Apache have moved to protect both their employees and tribal members as much as possible.
Additionally, the tribe is working to allocate funds awarded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to those most in need.
Black, Native American And Fighting For Recognition In Indian Country
New York Times, Jack Healy, September 8
Enslaved people were also driven west along the Trail of Tears. After a historic Supreme Court ruling, their descendants are fighting to be counted as tribal members. Ron Graham’s ancestors are known as Creek Freedmen. They were among the thousands of African-Americans who were once enslaved by tribal members in the South and who migrated to Oklahoma when the tribes were forced off their homelands and marched west in the 1830s.
In treaties signed after the Civil War, they won freedom and were promised tribal citizenship and an equal stake in the tribes’ lands and fortunes.