A team of researchers from Harvard, the University of Arizona, and UCLA released a proposal for a “fair and feasible formula” for the distribution of the $8 billion for tribes under the CARES Act. The team proposed a three-part formula that puts 60 percent weight on each tribe’s population of enrolled citizens, 20 percent weight on each tribe’s total tribal government and tribal enterprise employees, and 20 percent weight on each tribe’s predicted rate of coronavirus infections.

South Dakota’s three Republican congressional delegates are calling on the federal government for guidance regarding highway checkpoints the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has put in place to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 on their sovereign land.

A presidential task force charged with addressing “missing and slain Native Americans” resumed tribal listening sessions and is set to create a multi-jurisdictional team to review cold cases and to develop protocols that can be applied to new and unsolved cases in Indian Country.

The Supreme Court denied South Dakota’s petition in Noem v. Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, where Governor Kristi Noem was trying to levy taxes on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and its gaming operations as the Royal River Hotel and Casino is getting ready to reopen to the public following a lengthy COVID-19 shutdown.

The Montana Democratic Party said Wednesday it is adding Native Americans to a key steering committee to help shape policy, recruit and nurture candidates and give people from Indian Country a voice in shaping the party.  

Keep reading for a full news update.

CARES Funding:

University Researchers Release Proposal For Fair Distribution Of Cares Funds To Tribes

Native News Online, May 27

A team of researchers from three leading universities released a proposal for fairly allocating $8 billion earmarked for tribal governments under Title V of the CARES Act.

Wisconsin Governor Makes $200m Available To Local Governments

Indian Country Today, May 27

Wisconsin local governments will share in $200 million from the federal coronavirus relief bill to help with expenses related to the pandemic, Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday.  


Inspired By A Beloved Elder, Michigan Tribal Member Organizes Aid For Navajo Nation 

Native News Online, Mikayla Steele, May 28

The memory of a Navajo elder lost to COVID-19 has spurred a member of Michigan’s Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to launch a relief effort for Navajo Nation.

Tribal Member Kelly Benally will be collecting donations today in Mount Pleasant as part of “Operation Sadie Benally-Sheii Ma- Navajo Nation” — named for her Navajo mother-in-law Sadie Benally, 90, who died from COVID-19 complications on May 10.

South Dakota Congressmen Seek Federal Guidance On Checkpoints

Indian Country Today, May 27 

South Dakota’s three Republican congressional delegates are calling on the federal government for guidance regarding highway checkpoints the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Hinders Accurate Census Count In Indian Country

Indianz.com,  Kevin Abourezk, May 27

Tribal communities that have closed their borders to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic are facing a new threat: being undercounted by the U.S. Census Bureau. In an online townhall Tuesday, Census officials and tribal advocates raised concerns about the challenges facing their efforts to accurately count the first Americans.

Eighth Generation Steps Up Help Fight COVID-19 Pandemic – Expansion Plans For Downtown Portland Delayed

Native News Online, May 27 

The coronavirus pandemic may have delayed Eighth Generation‘s plans to open a beautiful new brick-and-mortar retail store in downtown Portland, Oregon but it can’t stop the Native-owned business.

Basketball Takes A Timeout

Indian Country Today, May 27

Basketball is woven into the fabric of Native American life. Kids dribble balls on dirt courts and shoot at makeshift rims on some reservations while tournaments are held in state-of-the art buildings on others. Players and fans may travel hundreds of miles to play and watch games of “Rez ball,” the fast-paced, no-shot-is-a-bad-one version of hoops played by Native Americans. The game also brings already tight communities even closer.


Eastern Cherokee Casinos Reopen With Limited Capacity

Indian Country Today, Joseph Martin, May 27

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians plans to reopen its casinos to the public Thursday at 30 percent capacity. The two casinos — Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina, and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel in Murphy, North Carolina — opened by invitation-only last week with little fanfare after closing March 18 due to the pandemic.


Montana Democrats Seek Permanent Native Voices Within Party 

Great Falls Tribune, Phil Drake, May 27

The Montana Democratic Party said Wednesday it is adding Native Americans to a key steering committee to help shape policy, recruit and nurture candidates and give people from Indian Country a voice in shaping the party. 

Sovereignty Protection Group Argues For Mashpee Tribe

Cape Cod Times, Jessica Hill, May 27

An outside party has submitted legal arguments in a bid to help the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe win its land case in federal court. The United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund, an organization that represents 30 federally recognized tribal nations and is dedicated to protecting sovereign rights, submitted a brief Tuesday in support of the Mashpee tribe.

‘We Are Thrilled’: Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Hails Victory For Sovereignty

Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, May 27

The state of South Dakota’s anti-tribal sovereignty efforts have been dealt a serious blow from the highest court in the land. Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied the state’s petition in Noem v. Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. Yes, that Noem, as in Kristi Noem, the Republican governor who has threatened tribes with the power of the White House all because they initiated coronavirus checkpoints on their sovereign territories. 

Pandemic Foods: Edible Weeds

Indian Country Today, May 27

Elizabeth Hoover, Micmac and Mohawk, is an associate professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. She’s also a member of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance. She tells Indian Country Today about the impact the pandemic is having on food systems for Indian Country and how tribes are pushing for changes to government nutritional programs.

Task Force On Missing Native Americans Resumes Sessions

Indian Country Today, May 27

A presidential task force charged with coming up with ways to address missing and slain Native Americans resumed tribal listening sessions Wednesday, encountering some technological glitches in the virtual version.

Yurok Tribe To Operate Stone Lagoon Visitor Center After Historic Agreement

KRCR.com, Andy Krauss, May 27

The Yurok Tribe will officially begin operating the Stone Lagoon State Park Visitor Center following the completion of the first-ever Joint Powers Authority agreement between the California Dept. of Parks and Recreation and a tribal government, according to the Yurok Tribe.