Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci took part in a virtual townhall with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer. Dr. Fauci addressed concerns over upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trials, assuring those in attendance that an independent data and safety board monitors the trials, and that in the case of an adverse reaction, the board has the power to pause the trial.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed Savanna’s Act, a bill which addresses the ongoing issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women by creating new guidelines for responding to such cases, and by incentivizing various law enforcement agencies to implement them. The bill was named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a tribal citizen of the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota who was murdered in 2017.
Baltimore’s city council president is expected to introduce a bill that would officially change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in the city. A similar measure failed in 2016, but the second attempt comes after months of international protests demanding the reexamination of historical figures.
After a hearing in a federal court case over the Census Bureau’s shortening of their enumeration period was delayed last Thursday, the hearing will instead take place today. Last Thursday’s hearing was canceled after Justice Department attorneys failed to turn in records from the Census Bureau before the deadline.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Dr. Anthony Fauci Praised Navajo Nation, Talked Vaccine Trial
Indian Country Today, Mary Annette Pember, September 21
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed vaccine concerns with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer in a virtual town hall meeting Monday.
Fauci, Johns Hopkins Assuage Fears Of COVID-19 Vaccine And Encourage Trial Enrollment
Native News Online, Amy Sokolow, September 21
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the leader in the nation’s response to Covid-19, joined Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer in a virtual town hall to answer questions about the COVID-19 and encouraged Navajo citizens to enroll in Covid-19 vaccine trials, despite their distrust of the vaccine, along with other minority groups.
[Opinion] Politics Of Distrust: The Navajo Nation’s Use Of Propaganda Devices To Recruit Participants For COVID-19 Trial Vaccine
Indian Country Today, Christine Ami, September 21
President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer are endorsing an invasive clinical trial through unethical recruitment tactics. Instead of creating a space of transparency, the Navajo Nation Office President and Vice President would rather silence and censor its own community members, including myself, for bringing forth these unethical approaches of research.
Blackfeet Nation Urges Tribal Members To Stay Home, Practice Social Distancing Amid COVID-19
Great Falls Tribune, Nora Mable, September 21
The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council is urging tribal members to stay home, practice social distancing, wash their hands and avoid social gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Tribal Chair Tim Davis said while he understands that following safety protocols can be difficult, the guidelines are necessary in keeping the community safe.
U.S. House Passes Savanna’s Act, Moves To Be Signed By President
Native News Online, September 21
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Savanna’s Act, which addresses the disturbing increase in missing and murdered Native American women by creating new guidelines for responding to such cases, and by incentivizing various law enforcement agencies to implement them.
House Passes Bills To Stem Violence Against Native American Women
The Oklahoma, Chris Casteel, September 21
The House on Monday sent President Donald Trump two bills to address violence against Native American women. Both bills passed by voice vote and were already approved by the Senate.
Baltimore Council Set To Review Bill On Columbus Day Change
AP News, September 21
Baltimore’s city council president is expected to introduce a bill Monday that would officially change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Maryland’s largest city.
Feds Indict Indian Men Whose Cases Led To Sovereignty Ruling
AP News, September 21
A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation convicted of murder in state court and another convicted of sexually assaulting a child in cases at the center of a major U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal sovereignty are now facing felony charges in federal court.
Senate Committee On Indian Affairs Legislative Hearing
Indianz.com, September 21
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday, September 23 to discuss five bills: the Native Behavioral Health Access Improvement Act, Bridging the Tribal Digital Divide Act, Special Diabetes Programs for Indians Reauthorization Act, a bill that authorizes the Seminole Tribe to lease or transfer certain non-trust lands in Florida, and a bill that authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to acquire private land to facilitate access to the Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center in Hemet, California.
Indian bills on House schedule for week of September 21, 2020
Indianz.com, September 20
Indianz has compiled a list of the bills that the The U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled for passage that would directly impact Indian Country.
Trump Administration Fails to File Paperwork in Census Lawsuit, Hearing Rescheduled for Sept. 22
Native News Online, September 21
A federal judge last Thursday extended an order for the Census Bureau from winding down its enumerating process to get an accurate 2020 census count. Last Thursday’s hearing was canceled after Justice Department attorneys failed to turn in records from the Census Bureau before the deadline. The attorneys asked for another week to submit the documents to defend the administration’s defense.
Counting Culture: MHA Nation Is Promoting Census With Prizes, Powwows And Community Pride
Native News Online, Tamara Ikenberg, September 21
With a personalized approach, crystal clear messaging and innovative outreach initiatives, the MHA Nation is a model for spreading and sharpening census awareness. As a result of the style of unique outreach, over 500 households have completed their census.
[Opinion] The Kansas City Football Game Will Be Played On A Field That Says ‘End Racism.’ So Why Don’t They?
NBC News, Simon Moya-Smith, September 21
The issue at hand, which has been the issue at hand for decades, is that appropriating a revered title such as the one used in the team name that can only be earned by a small number of individuals in Native communities and applying it to a sports term to denote a kind of physical aggression is part and parcel of the dehumanization and commodification of an entire race of people.
Review Of Sheriff’s Office Use Of Force Logs Shows Native Americans Involved At A Higher Level
Yakima Herald, Lex Talamo, September 21
The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office logged more than 150 use-of-force incidents a year between 2016 and 2019, with Native Americans involved at a disproportionate rate. Although Native Americans make up an estimated 6% of Yakima County’s population, they were involved in almost 16% of logged use-of-force incidents by sheriff’s deputies in 2019. The totals were 19% in 2018, 12% in 2017, and 13% in 2016.