The stay-at-home lockdown has been extended by Navajo Nation officials as the COVID-19 cases continue to grow. The Navajo Department of Health reported 213 new COVID-19 positive cases with ICU beds at full capacity. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 18,163.
Ramsey County Circuit Court Judge Leonardo Castro accepted an agreement between the State of Minnesota and Mike Forcia for the toppling of the Christopher Columbus statue at the Minnesota State Capitol grounds on June 10, 2020. Judge Castro agreed to a “Stay of Imposition” where Forcia would serve 100 hours of community service through teaching and education and the state would drop the felony charge of Criminal Damage to Property. Forcia is an enrolled citizen of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and lifetime activist for Indigenous rights and people.
David Kimelberg, a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians’ Bear Clan, is creating a new collaborative venture in a three=-story building on Main Street in downtown Buffalo, New York. The new coworking venture will feature his law firm’s office, a coworking setup for up to 35 people, and a Native-owned commercial art gallery focused on contemporary Native artists. The art gallery will hold its grand opening at 6 p.m. on December 11.
As the Naval Academy gears up to take on West Point in Navy v. Army, the Academy has decided to pause the tradition of painting the statue of Tecumseh, the only Native statue on the grounds. “The decision to suspend the painting this semester came after input from faculty, staff and alumni, in addition to the Brigade of Midshipmen,” said an Academy spokesperson. “During the pause we are listening to those who consider the practice of painting Tecumseh inappropriate and offensive, as well as those who view it as a time-honored tradition.”
President Trump has announced that he is naming Crawford Ahkivgak Patkotak (Inupiaq) to the United States Arctic Research Commission. Patkotak is chairman of the board and vice president of shareholder engagement for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and will join fellow Alaska Native Kasannaaluk Marie N. Greene (Inupiaq) on the commission.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Updated COVID-19 Numbers
Indian Country Today
Center For Disease Control
Stay-at-home Lockdown Extended On Navajo Nation As COVID-19 Cases Surpass 18,000
Native News Online, December 7
The stay-at-home lockdown has been extended by Navajo Nation officials as the Covid-19 cases continue to grow on the nation’s largest Indian reservation. The Navajo Department of Health reported 213 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and 15 more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 682 as of Monday. Reports indicate that 10,045 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 172,712 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 18,163, including 35 delayed reported cases.
Navajo Nation Reports 225 New COVID-19 Cases; ICU Beds Full
AP News, December 6
Navajo Nation health officials have reported 225 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths with intensive care unit beds at healthcare facilities now at full capacity. Officials said the new numbers released Saturday night push the total of cases on the vast reservation since the pandemic began to 17,738 with 667 known deaths.
Native Organizer For Columbus Statue Toppling Avoids Prison, Sentenced To Community Service
Native News Online, Darren Thompson, December 7
Ramsey County Circuit Court Judge Leonardo Castro accepted an agreement between the State of Minnesota and Mike Forcia for the toppling of the Columbus statue at the Minnesota State Capitol grounds on June 10, 2020. Judge Castro agreed to a “Stay of Imposition” where Forcia would serve 100 hours of community service through teaching and education and the state would drop the felony charge of Criminal Damage to Property – 1st Degree – Value Reduced Over $1000 in a year. Forcia is an enrolled citizen of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and lifetime activist for Indigenous rights and people.
All Pueblo Council Of Governors Supports Deb Haaland For Interior Secretary
Native News Online, Wilfred Herrera Jr., December 7
Our Pueblos recognize the unique historical moment that our nation and Indian County is facing. Each of the Pueblos continue to exercise inherent sovereignty in relationship with the federal government and understand that to truly combat the pandemic and ensure the longevity of our Nations, we must work together to implement leadership that has a firm commitment to the United States obligation to fulfill its trust responsibility to Tribes. One of these critical discussion points for Pueblo leadership was the movement by tribal leaders throughout the United States to urge President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris to appoint Representative Deb Haaland for Secretary of Interior.
‘Super Cool’ Native American-Owned Coworking Space, Art Gallery Opening Soon In Downtown Buffalo
The Buffalo News, Jonathan D. Epstein, December 7
David Kimelberg thinks he has, in his own words, a really cool idea.
Naval Academy’s Tecumseh Statue Typically Is Painted Ahead Of The Army-Navy Game. Not This Year.
Capital Gazette, Heather Mongolio, December 7
The Naval Academy is starting to gear up for the annual Army-Navy game, which will take place at West Point this year, but one tradition has already been modified.
Inupiaq Leader Appointed To US Arctic Research Commission
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, December 7
President Donald Trump has announced his intent to appoint an Inupiaq leader from the nation’s northernmost community to the United States Arctic Research Commission. Crawford Ahkivgak Patkotak, of Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), will be one of the commission’s seven members. The federal body advises the president and Congress on Arctic research
Navajo Program Again Distributes Reservation Coal To Heat Tribal Homes
Cronkite News, Allen Awfe, December 7
For decades, coal from the Navajo Nation helped deliver water and helped power homes and businesses throughout Arizona and the Southwest. Now, some of that coal is being used to heat Navajo homes as well. For the fifth straight year, the Community Heating Resource Program (CHRP) is helping Navajo residents stay warm through fall and winter months by distributing coal for free from the Navajo Mine – one ton at a time.
No Cold Elders: Volunteers Provide Firewood For Navajo Families Ahead Of Winter
Cronkite News, Kiara Quaranta, December 7
As winter approaches, volunteers with Chizh for Cheii are preparing to deliver firewood to elders on the Navajo Nation reservation, where nearly 90% of homes rely on wood for heat. The nonprofit organization, whose name means “firewood for Grandpa” in English, launched nine years ago. The volunteers work because they “don’t want people to pass on because they were neglected,” founder Loren Anthony said.
Big Win In #NoMoreStolenAncestors Fight
Indian Country Today, Sandra Hale Schulman, December 7
Recent policy changes at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., will provide an unprecedented opportunity to repatriate thousands of ancestors and sacred funerary objects to the Seminole and other tribes across the U.S. The Repatriation Committee of the Seminole Tribe of Florida led the push for the revisions, which included years of emotional meetings.
Trump admin accused of rushing to approve mining deal on land held sacred by Native Americans
The Hill, Joseph Guzman, December 7
The Trump administration is on track to approve a land swap this month that would transfer a sacred Native American site in Arizona to a mining company looking to build a copper mine. Leaders from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, environmentalists and Democrats have accused the federal government of fast-tracking an environmental review process in an effort to give Rio Tinto Ltd and its partners more than 2,400 acres of the land in the Tonto National Forest, as President Trump is set to be replaced by President-elect Joe Biden next month.