A dashboard camera captured video of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam’s violent arrest in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on March 10 released late last week show Chief Adam being arrested with excessive force by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer after Chief Adam and his wife were approached over an expired license plate tag. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that black and indigenous people in Canada do not feel safe around police in response to the footage.
“Because we are a minority and nobody speaks up for us, every time our people do wrong and the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] go and make their call, they always seem to use excessive force,” Chief Adam told Canadian media. “And that has to stop. And enough is enough.”
Amid nationwide protests opposing police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S., the National Congress of American Indians issued a statement addressing a movement to remove Confederate soldiers and Christopher Columbus statues that have spread in several cities across the country.
The Cherokee Nation has removed two confederate monuments from the Cherokee Nation Capitol Square that were erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy over a century ago when the land was owned by the county and not Cherokee Nation, and a petition to remove a George Armstrong Custer statue in Monroe, Michigan has gained over 8,600 signatures on change.org.
Pro Publica reports on a “secret” policy at Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque to conduct special coronavirus screenings for pregnant women, based on whether they appeared to be Native American. Hospital staff would compare the expectant mother’s ZIP code against a list of Indian reservation ZIP codes maintained by the hospital, known informally as the “Pueblos List.” If the pregnant woman’s ZIP code matched one on the list, she was designated as a “person under investigation” for COVID-19, the clinicians said, and they would not have immediate contact with their newborns as recommended by doctors.
A month and a half after a deadline set by Congress, the Treasury Department announced their second distribution formula for the remaining balance of the $8 billion allocated for tribal governments in the CARES Act funds. Of the $8 billion allocated to tribal governments, 30 percent will be based on employment data and 10 percent will be based on expenditure data.
Congresswoman Deb Haaland and Congressman Joe Kennedy III introduced the Tribal Reservation Pandemic Protection Act, which would prohibit the Trump administration from threatening tribal reservation lands in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser went on The Doc and Galdi radio show and said that “it’s past time” for Washington’s football team to change their name and mascot.
“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people and this is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington. And it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team,” Mayor Bowser said.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Cherokee Nation Removes Two Confederate Monuments From Its Capitol Square
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 14
Following a nationwide wave to remove inappropriate statues and monuments tied to a messy racial past, the Cherokee Nation on Saturday removed two Confederate monuments near its tribal headquarters. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., who decided it was time for the monuments to be removed, stood several feet away at the Cherokee Nation Capitol Square and watched as the two monuments were lifted by crane and put onto a truck.
Fan Letter Convinces U.K.-Based Little Indian Records To Rebrand
Native News Online, Native News Online, June 14
The founder of an independent record label based in London credited an “eye-opening” fan letter for helping him realize the racist nature of the company’s name and logo. One Little Indian Records founder Derek Birkett announced on Instagram last week that, effective immediately, the company planned to cease use of the hateful name and is in the process of rebranding the 35-year-old label as One Little Independent Records.
Canada Indigenous Chief Allan Adam Battered During Arrest
BBC News, June 13
Video of an indigenous chief’s violent arrest has shocked Canada, turning a spotlight on systemic racism in the country’s police force.
The footage shows Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam being floored and repeatedly punched by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
NCAI Statement On The Removal Of Christopher Columbus Statues
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 13
In the wake of protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s police killing in Minneapolis, a movement to remove Confederate soldiers and Christopher Columbus statues has spread in several cities. In Boston, a group cut the head of a Columbus statue off. In Richmond, Virginia, a Columbus statue was torn down and thrown into a lake. On Thursday, at the Minnesota State Capitol members of the American Indian Movement put a rope around the neck of a Columbus statue and toppled it face down. A flatbed hauled the statue off to an undisclosed location.
Students Urge Dartmouth To Take Down ‘Racist’ Weather Vane
AP News, June 13
Students and alumni are asking Dartmouth College to take down a campus weather vane that critics say includes a racist depiction of a Native American. The copper weather vane, which sits atop the school’s main library, depicts college founder Eleazar Wheelock sitting before a Native American who is smoking a long pipe. Behind Wheelock is a pine tree and a barrel that some believe represents a keg of rum. The Valley News reports that a Native American student group at Dartmouth called the fixture racist and demeaning, saying it’s a “patronizing and stereotypical depiction of Native peoples.”
Petition To Remove George Armstrong Custer Statue In Michigan Gains Traction
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 12
An online movement to remove a statue of General George Armstrong Custer in southeast Michigan is gaining traction. An online petition posted on Change.Org is asking for the removal of the statue that is named the George Armstrong Custer Equestrian Monument, also known as Sighting the Enemy. The statue is located in the city of Monroe, where Custer spent his childhood and met his future wife. The petition has nearly 8,600 signatures as of Friday morning.
Trudeau: Police Video Of Aboriginal Chief Arrest Shocking
AP News, June 12
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that black and indigenous people in Canada do not feel safe around police after a police dashcam video emerged of the violent arrest of a Canadian aboriginal chief. The arrest has received attention in Canada as a backlash against racism grows worldwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck.
A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns
ProPublica, Bryant Furlow, June 13
A prominent women’s hospital here has separated some Native American women from their newly born babies, the result of a practice designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 that clinicians and health care ethicists described as racial profiling.
Saturday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 84 New Cases And Five More Deaths
Native News Online, June 13
On Saturday night, the Navajo Nation reported 84 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation and five more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 308 as of Saturday. Reports from 11 health care facilities indicate that approximately 3,131 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with one health care facility report still pending. 43,970 people have been tested for COVID-19, which represents 21.4 percent of the Navajo Nation’s population. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 6,554.
COVID-19 in Arizona: Native American Communities Hit Harder Than Some States, Research Finds
Cronkite News, Yaodong Gu, June 12
The disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on minorities underscores the longstanding failure of federal officials to respond to the needs of Native Americans, Rep. Betty McCollum said Thursday in a subcommittee meeting on the Indian Health Service. “Five tribes are experiencing more instances of coronavirus per 100,000 citizens than any states, including New York,” the Minnesota Democrat said, citing data from the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA and Indian Country Today.
COVID-19, Racism And Change For Tribes
Indian Country Today, June 12
On Fridays we have our Reporters’ Roundtable, and today our guests include Nick Martin. Martin is Sappony and is a staff writer for The New Republic. Also joining us is Joaqlin Estus, Tlingit, and she’s our national correspondent based in Anchorage. Martin’s most recent article covers the nationwide protests and the tearing down of statues. He talks about the racist behavior and beliefs of some of history’s most cherished political leaders.
Planting Hope Amid A Plague
Indian Country Today, Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi, June 12
Four miles down Farm Road, just off U.S. Route 491 in northern Navajo, a group of young Diné used what was left of daylight in early May to plant onions and potatoes on Yellow Wash Farm. As the novel coronavirus stretched its way through Navajoland, leaving a trail of heartbreak and uncertainty, the four Navajo men, a mixture of family and friends from Shiprock, picked up their seeds and broke the earth with their shovels. By month’s end, the Navajo Nation would have the highest per-capita infection rate in the country, surpassing even New York state.
The Treasury Department Releases Its Formula For Second Round Distribution Of Cares Act Funds To Tribes
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 14
A month and a half after a deadline set by Congress, the Treasury Department on Friday announced their second distribution formula for the remaining 40 percent of the $ billion allocated for tribes in the CARES Act funds. This is the second round of distribution by the Treasury Department to tribes. The first round was distributed during the first week of May. Of the $8 billion allocated to tribal governments, 30 percent will be based on employment data and 10 percent will be based on expenditure data.
US Judge Says He’ll Rule Quickly On Funding For Tribes
AP News, Felecia Fonseca, June 12
A federal judge in the nation’s capital says he will work quickly to deliver a ruling in a case centered on who is eligible for coronavirus relief funding set aside for tribes. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Friday heard more than three hours of arguments in the case he characterized as challenging. He is deciding whether Alaska Native corporations, which are unique to the state, can receive a share of $8 billion in funding that Congress approved in March. Numerous Native American tribes that sued the U.S. Treasury Department, which is tasked with doling out the money, say no.
Federal Judge Rejects Prairie Band’s Motion To Delay Cares Act Funds; Allows Immediate Distribution To Tribes
Native News Online, June 12
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta rejected the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation’s motion to block the Treasury Department from sending out the CARES Act relief until it takes a second look at the breakdown per tribe. The Prairie Band argued yesterday afternoon during a hearing that the Treasury Department allocated $4.8 billion in funds in its first distribution round based on the Indian Housing Block Grant formula population, rather than enrollment numbers. The tribe maintains it was shorted close to $8 million because the Treasury Department paid the tribe an amount based on 883 tribal citizens, instead of its enrollment of over 4,500 citizens.
‘Patently Unfair’: Judge Won’t Let Trump Administration Delay Covid-19 Relief Again
Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, June 12
Tribes will finally see the rest of their payments from the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund after the Trump administration attempted to delay the money by playing divide and conquer in Indian Country. Barely two days ago, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin told Congress that tribes would see final payments from the COVID-19 fund on Friday. His pledge came after a key lawmaker made him go on the record about the money that was promised to Indian Country more than two months ago. But during a federal court teleconference on Thursday afternoon, government attorneys announced a change in course.
Sinema Calls On Administration To Immediately Disburse Approved Cares Act Funding For Tribal Schools
Indianz.com, June 12
Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema called on the U.S. Departments of Interior and Education to distribute the already-approved $222 million CARES Act funding to support the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The federal government must immediately disburse critical resources to Tribal schools so students can safely learn and teachers can do their jobs during this global pandemic,” said Sinema. Sinema’s letter urges immediate disbursement of funding from the Departments of Interior and Education intended for BIE students. Additionally, Sinema asks the agencies to address how they have ensured equitable access to educational opportunities for BIE students during school closures due to COVID-19.
National Indian Health Board Urges Congress To Include Tribal Priorities In Next Coronavirus Package, Pass IHS Budget With Meaningful Increases
Indianz.com, June 12
This week, the National Indian Health Board(NIHB), in a series of advocacy-driven engagements with Members of Congress, outlined for lawmakers a robust and comprehensive list of Tribal health and public health priorities that must be included in the next Coronavirus relief package in order for Tribes to address the pandemic and other related critical healthcare issues, including increased funding for telehealth and electronic health records, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement provisions for Indian Health Care Providers and investments in water and sanitation. NIHB is also calling for meaningful increases to the Indian Health Service (IHS) Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations.
Some Tribes Reopen Their Casinos Despite State Opposition
AP News, Susan Haigh, June 14
Drivers heading down state roads leading to Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut are greeted by flashing warnings: “Avoid Large Crowds” and “Don’t Gamble With COVID.” Despite having authority to shutter thousands of businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has been constrained when dealing with the sovereign tribal nations that own two of the world’s largest casinos. After pleading with tribal leaders to not reopen and even raising the possibility of pulling their state-issued liquor licenses, he ultimately settled for ordering state transportation workers to put up the signs.
Reps. Haaland And Kennedy Introduce Bill To Protect Tribal Lands During Covid-19 Pandemic
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 14
Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) on Thursday introduced the Tribal Reservation Pandemic Protection Act, which would prohibit the Trump administration from threatening tribal reservation lands in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is intended to protect the sovereignty of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which won a court decision on Friday, June 5 when a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to take the land out of the trust was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law.”
Washington D.C. Mayor Says It’s ‘Past Time’ For Redskins To Change Nickname
Bleacher Report, Paul Kasabian
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser went on The Team 980/95.9FM’s The Doc and Galdi Show and said that “it’s past time” for the Washington Redskins to change their nickname.
Navajo Nation Files Lawsuit To Stop Illegal Hemp Operation On Navajo Indian Reservation
Native News Online, June 12
The Navajo Nation on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Dineh Benally, Native American Agriculture Company, and Navajo Gold Company to stop illegal growth, possession and distribution of industrial hemp on the Tribe’s reservation. In the lawsuit, Navajo Nation alleges the defendants of illegally growing, producing, manufacturing, transporting, licensing, and selling industrial hemp within the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Nation.
New Federal Rule Undoes Bear, Wolf Hunting Restrictions In Alaska
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, June 12
On June 9, the Trump administration issued a rule tossing out Obama-era bans on certain hunting practices in Alaska. Animal rights and environmental groups say the controversial practices were banned as cruel, unsportsmanlike, and scientifically unjustified. At its 2014 convention, the statewide Alaska Federation of Natives voted to oppose the rule. The resolution described it as “overreaching, vague, and indiscriminate.” Delegates said the rules would criminalize Alaska Native traditional resource management practices, and reduce access for subsistence.
Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians Edo Acquires Modular Home Builder Out Of Bankruptcy
Native News Online, June 12
Kituwah LLC, the economic development organization for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, acquired a company that makes modular homes earlier this year.
An affiliate of the Tribe’s wholly owned economic development and investment organization was the successful stalking horse bidder for the assets of Wylliesburg, Va.-based Cardinal Homes Inc., which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2019. In bankruptcy court, a stalking horse is the initial bidder on the assets of the bankrupt company.
Man Sentenced For Stealing Ancestral Puebloan Artifacts
Indian Country Today, June 12
A man has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for taking items from an Ancestral Puebloan ceremonial site at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwestern Colorado, prosecutors said. Lonnie Shadrick Winbourn, 57, of Cortez, was sentenced for violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Prosecutors said he traveled to the monument several times in May and June 2017 and excavated the ceremonial area, which includes a large dance plaza, the remnants of an underground room and multiple human burial sites.
Border Wall Construction Disrupts Native Traditions And Violates Spiritual Freedom
Indian Country Today, Verlon Jose, June 12
When I grew up living near the U.S./Mexico border, the Tohono O’odham elders taught me that our sacred mountains and springs—as well as our most important spiritual ceremonies and pilgrimages—occur on both sides of the international boundary. We traveled to areas not knowing we were in another country, but knowing we were on the land of our ancestors and family. I learned that we have a basic human responsibility to protect the land and the people.