Good afternoon, NUNAverse:

While a wave of pardons is expected to come from President Trump today during his final full day in office, hearings for five of President-elect Biden’s Cabinet nominees — Lloyd J. Austin III to be Secretary of Defense; Antony J. Blinken to be Secretary of State; Janet Yellen to be Treasury Secretary; Alejandro N. Mayorkas to be Secretary of Homeland Security; and Avril D. Haines to be Director of National Intelligence — are scheduled for today. 

The $2.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations 2021 Act, signed into law on December 12, extended the deadline for tribes to spend last year’s CARES Act relief funds until December 31, 2021, and set aside an additional $3.3 billion for COVID response programs providing services to tribes.

Following reports that President-elect Biden will end the United States backing of the Keystone XL pipeline, Native leaders and activists are calling for Biden to take action against the Dakota Access Pipeline as well. “We in Lakota Country relate to the shutting down of [the Keystone XL pipeline] as a first step: next should come the Dakota Access pipeline, a tortured and dangerous piece of infrastructure that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe continues to fight in court,” said the Lakota People’s Law Lead Counsel Chase Iron Eyes.

The New York Times published a review of Glenn Adamson’s new book, “Craft: An American History,”that is a “a blow-by-blow chronicle of this country through the lens of craft, from the European settlers to the maker movement and so-called craftivists of today.” Deborah Needleman writes that this is not a “feel-good quilting circle of a book,” but rather it “aims to reckon with the shameful way we have treated and viewed those who handbuilt the country: Indigenous people, African-Americans, women and the working class.”

Keep reading for a full news update.


Live Updates: Biden’s Nominees Face Hearings As Trump Plans Final Pardons

New York Times, January 19

Several of President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees will have hearings today, including his picks to lead the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. President Trump is expected to issue dozens of pardons.

The Radical Possibility Of Deb Haaland At The Department Of Interior 

Gizmodo, Melanie K. Yazzie, January 19 

“The only reparation for land is land.”

These words come from Lakota elder Madonna Thunder Hawk, a prominent figure in the American Indian Movement who has advocated for Indigenous rights for close to 50 years. Thunder Hawk’s statement encapsulates everything you need to know about the growing #LandBack movement. The demand is simple: Give the land that was stolen back to Indigenous nations.

San Diego’s First Gay Mayor Of Color Plans To Reshape America’s ‘Finest City’

Huffington Post, Curtis M. Wong, January 19 

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is touted as a man of “many firsts,” but he prefers to view his new role as destiny fulfilled. 

“I was raised to believe that if you care about something, you’re supposed to leave it better than you found it,” the California Democrat told HuffPost. “This is my hometown. This is the community that gave me opportunity, so this is what I’m supposed to do.” 

Nathan “Doggface” Apodaca (Arapaho) Joins The Biden Inaugural “Parade Across America”

Native News Online, Darren Thompson, January 18

The Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC)on Monday announced “Parade Across America” for Wednesday, Jan.20, 2021. One of those included in the virtual parade is Nathan Apodaca, or more commonly known as “Doggface” from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Apodaca, who is half Arapaho from the Wind River Indian Reservation (WY) went viral in the fall of 2020 when he posted a video of himself lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” while long-boarding and chugging Ocean Spray on a highway entrance after his truck broke down on his way to work at a nearby potato factory. 


Elders Are Our Memory Banks. Taking The COVID-19 Vaccine Can Save Them.

Native News Online, James C. Ramos, January 19 

Native Americans in California and across the country lost two giants on the same day at the end of December—Joseph Myers and Chairman Marshall McKay. Both were my longtime friends. Their influence and fierce protection of our culture and traditions were invaluable. Mr. Myers was a leader in fostering legal justice and a pioneer in tribal law and successfully helped  reverse the termination of 17 California Indian Rancherias. He passed away from long-term cardiac issues. Chairman McKay, who passed from the novel coronavirus, co-founded the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation on the board of the National Museum of the American Indian and served as the first Indigenous Chair of the Autry Museum of the American West and led his tribe to economic sustainability. Both accomplished much more than I can list here. 


Law Extends Tribes’ COVID Relief Deadline, Adds Funds

Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, January 18

Tribes have another year to spend last year’s COVID-19 relief funds. Last year’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act allocated $8 billion to tribes. However, because the money was not distributed until early summer (and some of it is still tied up in litigation), tribes were hard-pressed to get the funds committed by the Dec. 31 deadline.  A new deadline of Dec. 31, 2021, was set by the $2.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations 2021 Act signed into law on Dec. 12. 


Bill To Add ‘Cultural Competency’ Training For Virginia Teachers Moves Forward 

NBC 12, Kate Masters, January 19 

A House committee voted Monday to approve a bill requiring new cultural competency training for Virginia educators — part of a sweeping effort to reform the commonwealth’s what critics say is an outdated curriculum on African American history.

Made By Hand In America: A New Book Tells The Story Of Unsung Artisans 

New York Times, Deborah Needleman, January 19 

Are historical re-enactors in a faux-colonial village engaging in craft? Are hobbyists working from a D.I.Y. kit purchased from Hobby Lobby? Is the American Federation of Labor a craft organization? Were the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki products of craft? “Whenever a skilled person makes something with their hands, that’s craft,” according to Glenn Adamson, a scholar and the former director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. So, yes, to all of the above. 

Keystone XL Is Out; Dakota Access Next?

Indian Country Today, January 18

President-elect Joe Biden is wasting no time reversing the climate and energy policies of President Donald Trump. The incoming administration signaled Monday that it will end United States backing of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Biden plan, reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, makes the case that supporting the $8 billion pipeline no longer works in the era of climate change. 

Indigenous Nonprofit Turns Caring For Native Elders In Utah

AP News, Kate Groetzinger, January 17

On a cold, gray December morning, a handful of volunteers gathered in a small courtyard next to Moab’s youth garden. Two Navajo women around the age of 40 and an older Navajo man counted out canned goods and hand sanitizer, then put them into reusable grocery bags lined up on the ground. Kristen Ramirez, who is White Mountain Apache, moved between them, giving directions. She’s tall and thin, with long black hair that touched the ground when she reached down to count the bags. They are filled with supplies for Native elders and single mothers around Moab.

Seneca Nation Calls On State To Improve Teaching Of Native American History

Lockport Journal, January 18

Recognizing that education is the best tool to combat entrenched racism and change long-standing misunderstandings and prejudices regarding Indigenous populations, the Seneca Nation Council is calling on the state Board of Regents to improve the study of Native Americans in the classroom. The council has passed a resolution asking the board to publicly take a stand against cultural appropriation and racist practices and attack prejudice at its roots by implementing curriculum changes that include a robust review of the history and contributions of native people in New York.