Navajo Nation has extended its state of emergency order and government closures to June 7, as 41 new cases have been confirmed within the reservation. Meanwhile, experts are claiming that the severity of the pandemic in Navajo Nation exposes other issues, such as lack of in-home sanitation facilities and lack of potable water infrastructure coverage.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe ordered a reservation-wide shutdown after learning two residents had tested positive for COVID-19, while the South Dakota governor sent the Oglala Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes a 3-point plan for removing or operating the checkpoints on roads leading onto their reservation.

In order to repay a debt from two centuries ago, nearly 24,000 donors from Ireland have given roughly $820,000 in an online fundraiser to buy food and supplies for families on the Hopi and Navajo reservations.

Keep reading for a full news update.


As Tribal Checkpoint Showdown Continues, South Dakota Governor Sends Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe A Plan

Native News Online, May 13

The tribal checkpoint saga in South Dakota continues, three days after the deadline imposed by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has passed.

Navajo Nation Extends Emergency Declaration Until June 7

Indian Country Today, May 13

The Navajo Nation has extended an executive order declaring a state of emergency and government closures to June 7 in an attempt to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

Navajo Nation Update: 41 More Covid-19 Cases – Death Toll At 103

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, May 13

The Navajo Department of Health in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation and a total of 103 deaths as of Tuesday. 

Ronson Chee: Covid-19 Pandemic Exposes Long-Standing Issues On Navajo Nation, Ronson Chee, May 13

The disproportionate high rates of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation (Nation) has recently made headlines at the world stage and has brought to light the lack of in-home sanitation facilities and lack of potable water infrastructure coverage.

The Irish Are Repaying A Favor From 173 Years Ago In Native Americans’ Fight Against Coronavirus

The Washington Post, Dana Hedgpeth, May 13

More than 170 years ago, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma didn’t have much.

The tribe suffered devastation starting in 1831, when it became the first of many Native American tribes to be forcibly removed from its homeland in the Southeastern United States in the deadly Trail of Tears to areas known as “Indian Territory.” Disease, starvation and severe winter weather took the lives of at least 4,000 Choctaws and thousands of other Native Americans in what some historians have called the “Indian Holocaust.”

A Life On And Off The Navajo Nation [Opinion]

New York Times, Wahleah Johns, May 13

I was born in the Navajo Nation and raised half on and half off the reservation. Shuttling between my grandmother’s ranch in Black Mesa, Ariz., and the small border town of Winslow, I took note from an early age of the vast inequities between those two places.

‘It’s Really Scary For Us’: Oglala Sioux Tribe Orders Lockdown After Covid-19 Hits Reservation, Kevin Abourez, May 12

The Oglala Sioux Tribe ordered a reservation-wide shutdown Monday night, after learning two residents had tested positive for COVID-19, representing the first confirmed cases among its citizens. 

Citing Covid-19, Representatives Deb Haaland & Raúl Grijalva Ask Trump To Release Leonard Peltier Immediately

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, May 12

In a letter released Monday, U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland (D- NM, 1st District) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ (3rd District) asked for the release of American indigenous rights activist Leonard Peltier from federal prison.

Clara Caufield: Montana To Begin Phased ‘Re-Opening’, Clara Caufield, May 12

On April 22, Governor Steve Bullock (D-Montana) issued press releases that Montana will soon begin a phased approach to “re-opening” the State. And where Montana goes, Wyoming soon follows.


Judge: Delay For Tribes’ Relief Funds Isn’t ‘Egregious’

Indian Country Today, Felicia Fonseca, May 12

The U.S. Treasury Department is not unreasonably delaying the release of coronavirus relief funding to Native American tribes, a federal judge ruled this week.


Tribe, States: Stop Coal Sales From US Lands

Associated Press, Matthew Brown, May 13

A coalition of U.S. states, environmentalists and a Native American tribe asked a federal judge on Wednesday to revive a moratorium on coal sales from federal lands that was imposed under former President Barack Obama then dropped by the Trump administration.

Michigan Tribe Gets Boost From NARF And Earthjustice In Its Fight Against Pipeline Tunnel

Native News Online, May 13

As the Bay Mills Indian Community continues its fight against big oil in Michigan, the Native American Rights Fund(NARF) and Earthjustice are offering their legal services on a pro bono basis.

Court Upholds Move To Restore Minnesota Lake’s Dakota Name

Indian Country Today, May 13

A divided Minnesota Supreme Court said Wednesday a state agency has the authority to change the name of a popular lake back to its original Dakota name.   

Beyond The Sensational Rhetoric: ‘Only Congress Can Disestablish, Diminish Or Undo A Reservation’

Indian Country Today, May 12

Jonodev Chaudhuri is the ambassador for his tribe, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. He shares the Nation’s perspective on the case McGirt V. Oklahoma which was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. ​

Native Sun News Today: ‘It Was All About The ‘Redskins’, Maxine Hillary, May 12

When Jody TallBear (Cheyenne/Arapaho, OK & Dakota, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate) came to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2010 her main task was to stand-up a Tribal/Native American focus for the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, which is charged with ensuring that underserved communities have access to the economic development benefits, existing in the energy sector. Prior to her arrival, the Office had nobody focused on Native American engagement.