Indian Country Today reports on a study published last week in The Race, Ethnicity and Education Journal on June 8 published the study by Laurel R. Davis-Delano, PhD, of Springfield College; Joseph P. Gone, Aaniiih-Gros Ventre, PhD, Harvard University; and Stephanie A. Fryberg, Tulalip, PhD, University of Michigan. The study, “The psychosocial effects of Native American mascots: a comprehensive review of empirical research findings” details the negative impacts Native American mascots have on the well-being of Native Americans – in particular Native youth. While some supporters of Native mascots claim they are meant to honor Native Americans, the study notes that “there was no evidence from any study that Native American mascots foster positive or beneficial psychosocial effects for Native Americans.”
The National Congress of American Indians released a statement commending D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for making a public statement that the Washington football team needs to change its name, and that it is “past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people.”
The U.S. Treasury Department is withholding $679 million of the $8 billion that Congress set aside for tribal governments in CARES Act funding while a challenge over its initial round of payments to tribal governments plays out in court. A federal judge ordered the Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin to distribute the remainder of the $8 billion CARES Act funding to tribal governments by Wednesday.
Hard Rock International, an enterprise of The Seminole Tribe of Florida, has acquired all rights to the Hard Rock brand for the Las Vegas market giving Hard Rock International the opportunity to develop, own, license, manage or operate a Hard Rock-branded casino and resort in Las Vegas and the surrounding Cook County.
Oklahoma tribes that operate Indian casinos with slot machines and table games are asking the state Supreme Court to provide clarification as to whether their Class III gaming compacts automatically renewed January 1 after Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt stated that the gaming contracts expired at the beginning of the year and tribes are now conducting illegal gambling activities at their facilities.
A man was shot Monday night as protesters in New Mexico’s largest city tried to tear down a bronze statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate outside the Albuquerque Museum. The man was taken to a hospital and listed in critical but stable condition late Monday. Oñate, who arrived in present-day New Mexico in 1598, is celebrated as a cultural father figure in communities along the Upper Rio Grande that trace their ancestry to Spanish settlers. To Native Americans, Oñate is known for having ordered the right feet cut off of 24 captive tribal warriors that was precipitated by the killing of Oñate’s nephew. In 1998, someone sawed the right foot off the statue — an incident that weighed in the decision to stash away the statue.
In Northern New Mexico, a statue honoring John Sutte, a colonizer who laid claim to the land where gold was first found in California and enslaved Native Americans for labor, was removed outside a hospital bearing his name in the state capital.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Man Shot During Protest Over Spanish Conqueror’s Statue
AP News, Cedar Attanasio, June 15
A man was shot Monday night as protesters in New Mexico’s largest city tried to tear down a bronze statue of a Spanish conquistador outside the Albuquerque Museum. The man was taken to a hospital but his condition was not immediately unknown, said Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos. A confrontation erupted between protesters and a group of armed men that were trying to protect the statue of Juan de Oñate before protesters wrapped a chain around the statue and began tugging on it while chanting: “Tear it down.” One protester repeatedly swung a pickax at the base of the statue. To Native Americans, Oñate is known for having ordered the right feet cut off of 24 captive tribal warriors that was precipitated by the killing of Onate’s nephew. In 1998, someone sawed the right foot off the statue — an incident that weighed in the decision to stash away the statue.
Statue Of Pioneer Linked To California Gold Rush Is Removed
AP News, Cuneyt Dil, June 15
A statue honoring a colonizer who laid claim to the land where the discovery of shiny flakes of gold sparked the California Gold Rush was removed Monday outside a hospital bearing his name in the state capital. Several dozen people cheered as a work crew lifted the statue of John Sutter — a 19th century European colonizer of California who enslaved Native Americans — off its pedestal outside Sutter Medical Center in the latest reckoning of historical figures being removed from public display. Across the U.S. and Europe, statues of Confederate officers and colonial figures are being toppled, sometimes forcibly by protesters, as the uproar over racism spreads after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Why We Must Have Difficult Conversations About Race And Justice [Opinion]
Native News Online, Chuck Hoskin, Jr., June 15
The Cherokee Nation First Lady and I recently watched with horror the footage of George Floyd, a black man, being killed by the vicious actions of Minneapolis police officers. We grieve for his family. We have watched with great interest as protestors across the country have spoken out against the injustice. We have watched with concern, as some of the protests have turned violent. More than anything, though, the events of the last two weeks have reminded us that the United States still has much work to do on the issue of justice for minorities in this country. We have watched all of this, and discussed this, with our daughter Jazzy.
An Opportunity For A New Interpretation Of Christopher Columbus [Opinion]
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, June 15
The protests triggered by the police killing of George Floyd have led to the removal of statues and monuments of controversial historical figures around the country. Among them are statues of Confederate figures as well as Christopher Columbus. On Tuesday night, protesters in Richmond, Va. tore down a statue of Columbus and threw it into a nearby lake. In Boston’s Christopher Columbus Park, a statue of Columbus was beheaded. On Wednesday, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) put a rope around a Columbus statue and toppled it head first onto a plaza adjacent to the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. On Thursday, city officials in Chula Vista, Calif. preemptively removed their Columbus statue in Discovery Park and put it in storage before a planned protest there on Friday.
Study Finds Only Harmful Effects From Native-Theme Mascots
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, June 15
Low self-esteem, low community worth, increased negative feelings of stress and depression.
These are some of the negative psychological effects Native American mascots wreak on the well-being of Native Americans, especially youth, according to a new study.
NCAI Commends DC Mayor Bowser’s Call For Washington NFL Team To Change Its Name and Mascot, Appeals To State And Local Officials And Corporations To Do the Same
NCAI.org, June 15
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) commends the public statement of Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who declared Friday in referring to the “R*dskins” name and mascot of the Washington NFL team that “it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people.”
NCAI Commends DC Mayor’s Call To Change The Name Of Her Hometown’s NFL Team
Native News Online, June 15
The National Congress of American Indians said today that it commends DC Mayor Muriel Bowser for her public statement Friday about Washington’s NFL team name and mascot. In a radio interview with The Team 980 on Friday, Bowser said, “I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people.” “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,” Bowser continued.
National Congress Of American Indians Commends D.C. Mayor For Speaking Out Against Washington Nickname
NBC Sports, Mike Florio, June 15
Whenever the question of the Washington team name arises, the organization hides behind a deeply flawed (and, earlier this year, completely debunked) poll finding that 90 percent of all Native Americans are not offended by the name. (Which means, of course, that’s it’s perfectly acceptable to the team for 10 percent of all Native Americans to be offended by it.)
Navajo Nation: The People Battling America’s Worst Coronavirus Outbreak
BBC News, Joshua Cheetham, June 16
When Valentina Blackhorse tested positive for coronavirus, she texted her sister and told her not to worry.
A former pageant queen, Valentina was known for her love of her Native American Navajo heritage, her passion for helping others and her playful sense of humour. She doted on her one-year-old daughter, Poet, and worked as a government administrator, with dreams of leading her people some day as Navajo president.
Sunday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 57 New Cases, And Three More Deaths Related To COVID-19 Reported
Native News Online, June 15
On Sunday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 57 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation and three more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 311 as of Sunday. Reports from 11 health care facilities indicate that approximately 3,158 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with one health care facility report still pending. 44,207 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 6,611.
New Mexico Begins Tribal Outreach Campaign Amid Coronavirus
Associated Press, June 15
New Mexico health officials have teamed with Native American cartoonist Ricardo Caté to increase awareness about the coronavirus pandemic as part of a new campaign.
Seminole-Owned Hard Rock International Buys Brand Rights For Las Vegas Market
Native News Online, June 15
Hard Rock International, an enterprise of The Seminole Tribe of Florida, has acquired all rights to the Hard Rock brand for the Las Vegas market. The deal with Houston-based Juniper Capital gives Hard Rock International the opportunity to develop, own, license, manage or operate a Hard Rock-branded casino and resort in Las Vegas and the surrounding Cook County, where it had previously been barred from using the brand. Hard Rock International also acquired all the intellectual property, memorabilia, signage and merchandise in the deal.
Oklahoma Tribes Seek State Supreme Court Clarification on Gaming Compacts
Casino.org, Devin O’Connor, June 15
Oklahoma tribes that operate Indian casinos with slot machines and table games are asking the state Supreme Court to provide clarification as to whether their Class III gaming compacts automatically renewed January 1. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) says the gaming contracts expired at the beginning of the year. The first-term governor has declared that the tribes are now conducting illegal gambling activities at their facilities. He says if they wish to continue operating casinos, they must negotiate with the state and come to new revenue sharing terms. Oklahoma has 35 federally recognized Native American groups that operate Class III casinos. Only two – the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe – have reached new gaming compacts.
Cares Act Decision: Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians V. Mnuchin
Indianz.com, June 15
A federal judge on June 15, 2020, ordered the Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin to distribute the remainder of the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund to tribes, as promised by Congress more than two months ago. “Congress instructed the Secretary to make payments within 30 days; as of today, the Secretary is at 80 days and counting,” Judge Amit P. Mehta writes in the seven-page decision. The Department of the Treasury on June 12, 2020, began making a final round of payments from the $8 billion fund. But Mnuchin withheld $679 million from tribes without adequate cause, the judge noted.
Treasury Withholding $679m In Virus Relief Funds For Tribes
AP News, Felicia Fonseca, June 15
The U.S. Treasury Department is withholding $679 million in coronavirus relief funding for tribes while a challenge over its initial round of payments to tribal governments plays out in court. The money is part of $8 billion that Congress set aside for tribes. The federal rescue package was approved in late March with a deadline for the funding to be distributed to tribes by April 26. The payments were delayed as the Treasury Department grappled with methodology. It decided to use federal tribal population data for the initial $4.8 billion distribution to 574 federally recognized tribes in early May. Much of the remaining $3.2 billion based on tribes’ employment and expenditure data went out Friday, the department said.
Trump Administration Blocks Tribes From Protecting Their Waters
The Hill, Jim Murphy, June 15
In the midst of a pandemic and unrest that are exposing the public health and racial injustices in our society, the Trump administration’s unprecedented attack on long-standing, bipartisan bedrock public health and environmental safeguards marches on. The latest move involves a new rule that ties the hands of states and tribes wishing to protect their waters from projects like pipelines, dams and coal terminals that go through the federal permitting or licensing process. This rule was spurred by industry ill will over states blocking a few major fossil fuel infrastructure projects, such as New York state’s denial of gas pipeline projects over water quality concerns and the Millennium Bulk Coal terminal in Washington that threatened salmon habitat.
Alaskan Native Tribes Face Health And Government Challenges With Fishing Season
Courthouse News Service, Karina Brown, June 15
Like many tribal members in Alaska, Melanie Brown lost a generation of her family to influenza in 1918. Now, with Covid-19 circulating among the tens of thousands of fishermen and cannery workers arriving in the remote villages of Bristol Bay, Brown fears history is repeating itself. Tribal leaders asked the governor to close the area’s lucrative fishery this year to protect their members from the pandemic. His refusal spurred a complaint to the state’s human rights commission, which has so far refused to investigate their claim of racist discrimination. And their ambassador to the United Nations says the problems flow from a foundation of racism: the formation of the state without the consent or participation of indigenous people.
ANC Contractor To Pay $1.26m To Resolve Alleged Federal Contracting Kickback Scheme
Native News Online, June 15
Alaska Native-owned Alutiiq International Solutions LLC reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to pay nearly $1.26 million to resolve kickback and fraud allegations tied to a former manager who worked on federal contracts. Alutiiq International Solutions, a subsidiary of Afognak Native Corp., entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the DOJ and agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation and prosecution of a case against the perpetrator of the scheme.
Department Of Interior Seek Applications For Tribal Energy Capacity-Building Grants
Native News Online, June 15
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development is seeking grant proposals from federally recognized tribes and Alaska Natives to build capacity for energy resource regulation and management. The department, via the Division of Energy and Mineral Development (DEMD), is accepting applications for the Tribal Energy Development Capacity (TEDC) grant program through Sept. 1, 2020. It expects to provide 15 grant awards ranging from $10,000 to $1 million, decided in a competitive ranking process, according to an announcement.
Native Sun News Today: Comments Due On Trapping Otters
Indianz.com, Talli Nauman, June 15
The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission is giving the public until June 19 to comment on a draft management plan that would open the first-ever trapping season for the rare native river otter that was reintroduced to the state by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. The state governor’s appointed wildlife commissioners recently dropped Lontra canadensis from South Dakota’s list of protected species, dismissing public comment that was all in favor of keeping safeguards established by its 1978 inclusion in the state’s first endangered and threatened list.