Tribal citizens in South Dakota explain the measures that they are going through to combat COVID-19, while reports nutrition and related supportive services for Native American elders in Wisconsin will receive $725,520 in funding, and First Nations Development Institute will receive an additional $635,000 to distribute to 35 select tribal nations and Native-led organizations.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed new 15-year gaming compacts with the Red Rock, Oklahoma-based Otoe-Missouria Tribe, and the Lawton-based Comanche Nation, and The Washington Post explains why others should follow in Land O’Lakes footsteps of removing Native American stereotypes from logos.

Alaska’s Congressional delegation penned a joint opinion piece in the Anchorage Daily News, arguing that attacks on Native corporations over CARES act funding are unfair.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Tribal Nations, Citizens Take COVID-19 Prevention Seriously In South Dakota

Rapid City Journal, Arielle Zionts, April 22

The leader of a Native American health organization’s mother spent her childhood confined at the tuberculosis sanitarium in Rapid City.

Funds Set Up To Help New Mexico Tribes And Pueblos

Albuquerque Journal, Theresa Davis, April 21

Two funds have launched to ensure emergency supplies reach New Mexico’s Native communities. New Mexico Department of Health data shows that Native Americans, who represent about 11% of the state’s population, make up about 41% of the state’s COVID-19 cases.

CARES Act Funding:

Indian Country Set For Historic Showdown In Fight For $8 Billion In COVID-19 Relief, Acee Agoyo, April 23

With the coronavirus continuing to exact a heavy toll on the first Americans, a historic showdown is taking place in federal court as Indian Country fights over the future of an $8 billion COVID-19 relief fund promised to tribal governments.

Attacks on Native corporations over CARES Act are unfair

Anchorage Daily News, Lisa Murkowski, April 22

During the global pandemic a century ago, the 1918 Spanish flu, more people died per capita in Alaska than almost anywhere else in the world. Native elders still tell of entire villages getting wiped out. Our state has to use every tool available to respond to this pandemic because the barriers to providing care and preventing outbreaks are daunting.

First Nations Awards $635,000 In Grant Funding To Help Native Communities On The Front Lines Of COVID-19

Clean Technica, April 21

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on Native communities, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced it is directing $635,000 in immediate and swift emergency funds to 35 select Native nations and Native-led organizations to support response, relief, human services, organizational sustainability, and economic development efforts. In addition to providing resources for Native communities, First Nations has helped coordinate water, food and personal protective equipment donations to Native communities.

Wisconsin Receiving More Than $16 Million In CARES Act Grant, Bran Hanson, April 21

The CARES Act funding includes $725,520 for nutrition and related services for Native American Programs distributed to tribal organizations located in the state to help provide meals and supportive services directly to Native American elders.

Tribes Sue To Halt Trump Plan for Channeling Emergency Funds To Alaska Native Corporations

Inside Climate News, Phil McKenna, April 21

Tribal leaders from across the country are calling for the U.S. Departments of Interior and Treasury to halt a proposed plan that could give as much as half of $8 billion in emergency relief funds earmarked for the nation’s tribal governments to private Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). The corporations collectively generate more than $10 billion in revenue from a diverse array of industries, including significant oil and gas developments.


New Indian Health Service Director Confirmed

Indian Country Today, Kalle Benallie, April 22

The Indian Health Service has a new director: Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee, Zuni Pueblo.

Weahkee was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday. His responsibilities include administering a health care program responsible for approximately 2.6 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives across the country.

Oklahoma Governor Announces Gambling Deal With 2 Tribes

AP, Sean Murphy, April 21

Gov. Kevin Stitt reaches a gaming agreement with two of the 39 tribal nations in Oklahoma. The agreements include expanded gaming and the ability for the tribes to open new casinos.

Land O’Lakes Did The Right Thing. Others (Like D.C.’s NFL Team) Should Follow.

The Washington Post, April 21

“To better tell its farmer-owned story.” That was the non-explanation offered by Land O’Lakes dairy company for the redesign of its packaging. No elaboration was offered for why the illustration of a Native American woman that has defined the company’s products for nearly 100 years is being dropped. So we have to assume that the company realized times have changed and so (thankfully) have sensibilities about the use of Native people as mascots, logos and other adornments. We wish the company had been more candid, but what is important is that it recognized the harm caused by its Indian stereotype. Others should follow suit.