Phoenix Indian Center sent three semi-trucks filled with basic household needs to the Navajo Nation, 69 new positive cases of COVID-19 within Navajo Nation were reported on Monday night, and a virus outbreak on the edge of Navajo Nation has overwhelmed the city of Gallup’s hospital.
The city council and the mayor of Seattle sent a letter to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem expressing support for coronavirus checkpoints established by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the letter included calls on Noem to respect their tribal sovereignty.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is asking tribes to continue to keep the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos closed, while the Island Resort and Casino in Michigan, the Paragon Casino Resort in Louisiana, the Rolling Hills Casino and Resort in California, and Ilani, the Cowlitz Tribe’s casino in southwest Washington, are all set to reopen this week with varying levels of added safety precautions.
The Paragon Casino Resort released an FAQ to go along with their reopen, detailing the additional COVID-19 precautions they have implemented, and the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort in Washington published a video on their Facebook page laying out what they have done to prepare for their reopen.
Yesterday, the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board penned an opinion piece “Some California casinos bet on reopening, but don’t gamble your life with COVID-19” with an aggressive stance that the NUNA Team believes is a pivot point in the media coverage around tribal casinos reopening. With this opinion piece going live yesterday, the media cycle has now changed from hard news reporting style of “reopening announcements” to opinion media coverage that has a clear misunderstanding of tribal sovereignty and current tribal economics indicative in the quote below.
“Casinos around California are preparing to reopen their doors for business even though Gov. Gavin Newsom has pleaded with them to wait. But the casinos, located on tribal land and operated by California Indian tribes, enjoy sovereignty. So, they can simply ignore the governor and reopen before it’s safe.”
Although they do mention the financial challenges tribes are currently experiencing with closures, they ended the article with the statement “Please don’t roll the dice with death. Stay away from the casinos until it’s safe.”
Keep reading for a full news update.
Treasury Eyes June 5 To Ship $3.2B In Tribal COVID-19 Funds [Subscription]
Law 360, Andrew Westney, May 18
Law360 (May 18, 2020, 7:18 PM EDT) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has told a D.C. federal judge that his department plans to send out the $3.2 billion it still owes tribal governments under the CARES Act by June 5, nearly six weeks after the law’s deadline to distribute the money.
Harvard Study: Feds Miscalculated In Its Distribution Of Cares Act Funds To Tribes
Native News Online, May 19
A study released Monday by three leading universities suggests the Trump administration miscalculated in its distribution of $4.8 billion to tribes under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Covid-19 Has Been Brutal In Indian Country — Just Like Past Epidemics Were
The Washington Post, Gregory D. Smithers, May 20
The novel coronavirus is terrorizing Indian country. The Indian Health Service (IHS) reports 7,244 confirmed cases of covid-19. Since March the Navajo Nation, with homelands stretching over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has emerged as a hot spot. The virus has now taken the lives of 142 Navajos and the covid-19 infection rate is at 2,304.41 per 100,000 people, giving the Navajo Nation a higher per capita infection rate than both New York and New Jersey. The situation has spurred Doctors Without Borders to send a team to Navajo Nation, a signal of the magnitude of the disaster.
COVID-19’s Threat To Native Communities
Forbes, Mercedes Bawden, May 19
Native American tribes and urban communities are being affected by the COVID-19 virus in ways that are unique to their population in regards to health care needs, economic impacts, and access to daily essentials. In the U.S., there are 574 federally recognized Native American tribes. While we wish we had more information about the virus, what we do know is that the virus does not discriminate against who it infects. But sadly, access to testing does. From state to state and tribe to tribe, the numbers vary, and it’s become clear that Native Americans are being hit harder by the virus than the general population.
Navajo Nation COVID-19 Monday Update: 69 New Covid-19 Cases, Two More Deaths And 928 Recoveries Reported
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, May 19
The Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center, Navajo Area Indian Health Service, and the Tribal Health Organizations reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation on Monday night. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 4,071 and the total number of deaths is now 142. In addition, there have been 928 recoveries.
Outbreak On Edge Of Navajo Nation Overwhelms Gallup Hospital
Indian Country Today, Morgan Lee, May 19
On the eve of New Mexico’s shutdown of bars and restaurants to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the city of Gallup came alive for one last night of revelry.
Cheyenne River: ‘This Is Our Home And Everybody Stepped Up To Protect It’
Indian Country Today, May 19
We’ve had to take these actions cause, had we waited for anybody who knows what condition we’d be in today
Navajo Nation’s Valentina Blackhorse Dies From Covid-19 At 28
Native News Online, Mikayla Steele, May 19
Valentina Blackhorse wasn’t just an ambitious Navajo pageant winner, she was also a devoted mother and a determined woman who was working to be a strong leader for her Navajo Nation.
City of Seattle (Washington)
Indianz.com, May 19
The city council and the mayor of Seattle, Washington, sent a letter to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) on May 18, 2020. The letter expresses support for coronavirus checkpoints established by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It calls on Noem to respect their territorial sovereignty.
Minnesota Advocates: The Worst Is Yet To Come
Indian Country Today, Eddie Chuculate, May 18
Although Native Americans have so far escaped the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota, a dire forecast for June has housing, health care and homeless advocates preparing for the worst.
Phoenix Indian Center Delivers Three Truckloads Of Donations To Navajo Nation
Native News Online, May 18
Last Friday, the Phoenix Indian Center sent three semi-trucks filled with basic household needs to the Navajo Nation. The items are much needed on the country’s largest reservation that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Lamont, Tribes In Standoff Over Casinos’ Reopening
ctpost.com, Liz Teitz, May 19
Gov. Ned Lamont wants the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos to remain closed but talks have not progressed, he said Monday.
Island Resort And Casino First Michigan Tribal Casino To Reopen After Closing Due To COVID-19
Native News Online, May 19
Ten days after it was originally planned, the Island Resort and Casino reopened its doors for business on Saturday, May 16.
Paragon Casino Resort Reopening on Wednesday, May 20th
Indianz.com, May 19
Paragon Casino Resort will officially reopen its doors, following a temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Paragon officials have carefully evaluated the recommendations from the statewide Phase 1 plan and developed a comprehensive health and sanitation plan that prioritizes both guest and associate safety.
Rolling Hills Casino To Reopen On May 21
Indianz.com, May 19
The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, owner and operator of the Rolling Hills Casino and Resort in Corning, California, has announced that it will re-open its doors to guests on May 21 at 10 a.m. PT. Rolling Hills Casino has taken the proper care and consideration to implement sanitation and safety procedures prior to the re-opening of the property to ensure that employees and guests return to a safe environment.
Some California Casinos Bet On Reopening, But Don’t Gamble Your Life With COVID-19
Sacramento Bee, Editorial Board, May 19
If you wouldn’t bet your life on a card game, don’t even think about visiting a casino during the coronavirus pandemic.
Casinos around California are preparing to reopen their doors for business even though Gov. Gavin Newsom has pleaded with them to wait. But the casinos, located on tribal land and operated by California Indian tribes, enjoy sovereignty. So, they can simply ignore the governor and reopen before it’s safe.
Ilani Tribal Casino In SW Washington To Reopen May 28
OPB, Troy Brynelson, May 19
Ilani, the Cowlitz Tribe’s casino along Interstate 5 near La Center, Washington, is joining several other tribal casinos in reopening before the state’s stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin: The silent Crisis In Our Communities
Indianz.com, Markwayne Mullin, May 19
We are experiencing an epidemic of violence in our tribal communities: 80 percent of Native men and women experience violence, 34 percent of Native women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, and murder is the third-leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women.
Stronghearts Native Helpline Adds Online Chat Sessions With Advocates
Native News Online, May 19
With domestic and dating violence on the rise during the COVID-10 pandemic, a helpline for Native American victims has accelerated the launch of a new online chat feature.
Sobriety Sweeps Online Powwow Page
Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, May 19
A new online trend is uplifting Indian Country by encouraging people to share their photos and stories of sobriety.
Y-K Delta Tribes Protest Donlin Gold In Letter To Mining Company Novagold
Alaska Public Media, Krysti Shallenberger, May 18
Ten tribes have sent a letter protesting the proposed Donlin Gold mine to the two companies trying to build it in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The letter comes as one of the companies, Novagold, prepared to deliver its annual report to its shareholders.