As the Trump administration continue to disperse the $8 billion in tribal relief funding from the CARES Act, writes that one of the biggest questions on Indian Country’s mind has been the distribution formula.

In South Dakota, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has rejected an ultimatum by South Dakota’s governor to remove checkpoints on state highways within tribal reservations, and Native News Online writes about the rocky road tribes faced with South Dakota’s governor before the issue of road checkpoints.

The Supreme Court hears arguments today in a case that could have far-reaching implications for tribal jurisdiction in Oklahoma, VOA News reports on growing concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic may be putting some Native American families at increased risk for violence and sexual assault, while the Associated Press reports on the toll that the shutdown of tribal casinos has had on Indian Country.

In Minnesota, a Native American farm has tripled in size as it radically boosts the amount of vegetables it sells and donates in an effort to help those in need, and in Alaska the former Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, known as known as Dux_da neik_, K’oo del ta’ in Tlingit, or “a person who would lead us into the future,” passed away at the age of 77.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Navajo Leaders Discuss Options For Relief Funds

Indian Country TodayDalton Walker, May 8

Leaders of Indian Country’s largest reservation are determining how to best spend the COVID-19 relief money that was promised in early April and finally arrived days ago.

Trumps Transparency? Coronavirus Relief Formula Subject To Intense Discussion In Indian Country

Indianz.comAcee Agoyo, May 8

Ever since the Trump administration began consultation on the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund promised to tribal governments more than a month ago, one of the biggest questions on Indian Country’s mind has been the distribution formula. Everyone basically wants to know much each Indian nation will get.


COVID-19 Cases Surpass 3,000; Death Toll Reaches 100 On Navajo Nation

Native News OnlineLevi Rickert, May 11

On Sunday evening, the Navajo Nation reported reported 149 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation and an addition of two more deaths for a total of death toll of 100.  A total of 18,153 COVID-19 tests have been administered with 13,665 negative test results.

Sioux Tribe Rejects South Dakota Governor Request To Remove COVID-19 Checkpoints

CNNChris Boyette and Deanna Hackney, May 10

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has rejected an ultimatum by South Dakota’s governor to remove checkpoints on state highways within tribal reservations or risk legal action.

Gov. Kristi Noem sent letters Friday to the leaders of both the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe demanding that checkpoints designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus on tribal land be removed, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Shutdown Of Tribal Casinos Deal Blow To Indian Country

Associated PressNicholas K. Geranios, May 10

When the Kalispel Tribe of Indians closed its casino as the coronavirus took hold in Washington state, it essentially shut down its economy.

That difficult choice has played out nationwide as some 500 Native American casinos have voluntarily closed during the pandemic, often taking away tribes’ main source of income in an effort to protect people’s health in communities with limited medical resources.

Even Before The Road Checkpoint Issue, Tribes Faced A Rocky Road With South Dakota Governor

Native News OnlineLevi Rickert, May 10

This past weekend, the national news was all over the unfolding showdown between the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem who on Friday threatened the two tribes with legal action if they did not take down their checkpoints within 48 hours. The checkpoints were put up to curtail traffic into their reservations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Native American Farm In Minnesota Triples In Size As It Works To Help Those In Need

Grand Forks HeraldBob Shaw, May 10

Dream of Wild Health is dreaming bigger this year — tripling the size of its American Indian-run farm in Hugo.

The coronavirus has devastated the population served by the nonprofit, executive director Neely Snyder said. By radically boosting the amount of vegetables it sells and donates, she said, it can help vulnerable people in the metro area.

Small Tribes Seal Borders, Push Testing To Keep Out Virus

Associated PressMorgan Lee, May 9

On a dusty plaza in a Native American village that dates back nearly a millennium, a steady trickle of vehicles inched through a pop-up coronavirus testing site.

From the bed of a pickup truck and backseats of cars, wide-eyed children stared from behind hand-sewn masks and then sobbed as testing crews in hospital gowns swabbed their noses. The workers packed the samples into a plastic travel cooler for a return trip past the tribe’s guarded roadblock to a state lab.

COVID Spread May Put Native Americans At Increased Risk Of Violence

VOA NewsCecily Hilleary, May 9

Concern is growing that the COVID-19 pandemic may be putting some Native American families at increased risk for violence and sexual assault.

“Our town’s pretty small, and you can hear cops running from one end to the other,” said T.J. Whirlwind Soldier, a member of the Sicangu Oyate, one of seven tribes of the Lakota Nation.


High Court Case Could Have Broad Implications In Oklahoma

Indian Country TodayKolby KickingWoman, May 10

In what has turned out to be a long and winding road, even by Supreme Court standards, the United States’ highest court is set to hear arguments Monday in a case that could have far-reaching implications for tribal jurisdiction in Oklahoma.

Byron Mallot, Former Alaska Lieutenant Governor, Dies at Age 77

Anchorage Daily NewsJames Brook, May 9

Former Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott has died at age 77.

Mallott was known as known as Dux_da neik_, K’oo del ta’ in Tlingit, or “a person who would lead us into the future.”