Good morning, NUNAverse:
President Biden issued 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations signed hours after his inauguration yesterday, sweeping aside former President Trump’s pandemic response, reversing his environmental agenda, tearing down his anti-immigration policies, bolstering the teetering economic recovery and restoring federal efforts to promote diversity. Read about each of the measures in greater detail here.
Following the President’s inauguration, leaders and officials from around the world offered congratulations and expressed hope that the new administration will lead to better relations and reverse some of the policies of his predecessor.
The U.S. Interior Department announced several key members of the agency yesterday, including two Native attorneys who will work in the Office of the Solicitor, essentially performing the legal work for the agency. Robert Anderson (Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) has been named principal deputy solicitor, and Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) has been named deputy solicitor for Indian Affairs.
President Joe Biden said yesterday that he plans to review the Trump administration’s downsizing of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in southern Utah. Environmental, tribal, paleontological, and outdoor recreation organizations have pending lawsuits to restore the full sizes of the monuments, arguing presidents don’t have the legal authority to undo or change monuments created by predecessors.
Following President Biden’s revocation of the Keystone XL pipeline’s permit, leaders of four Sioux tribes are calling on the President to take action against the Dakota Access Pipeline as well. Leaders of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Tribe sent a letter to Biden on Tuesday requesting he take quick and decisive action on the Dakota Access Pipeline within the first 10 days of his administration.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Biden’s 17 Executive Orders And Other Directives In Detail
New York Times, Aishvarya Kavi, January 20
In 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations signed hours after his inauguration, President Biden moved swiftly on Wednesday to dismantle Trump administration policies his aides said have caused the “greatest damage” to the nation.
World Leaders Express Hope As Biden And Harris Are Sworn In
NPR, Brakkton Booker, January 20
As the United States inaugurated Joe Biden as the 46th president, world leaders, citizens and former officials offered congratulations and expressed hope that the new administration will lead to better relations and reverse some of the policies of his predecessor.
2 Of Interior’s Top Attorneys Will Be Native
Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, January 20
Hours after the swearing in of President Joe Biden, the U.S. Interior Department announced key members of the agency Wednesday. Two of those announcements include Native people who will work in the Office of the Solicitor, essentially performing the legal work for the agency. Robert Anderson, Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, has been named principal deputy solicitor, and Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, has been named deputy solicitor for Indian Affairs.
Navajo Nation Leadership Congratulates U.S. President Joe Biden And Vice President Kamala Harris
Native News Online, Alina Bykova, January 20
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer congratulated the 46th U.S. President Joe Biden and 49th Vice President Kamala Harris in a statement Wednesday. Biden and Harris were sworn in at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon to begin their four-year term at the White House.
‘Parade Across America’ Has Indigenous Touch
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, January 20
Wednesday’s virtual “Parade Across America” honoring President Joe Biden’s inauguration had an Indigenous touch. The event featured short, taped segments from every state and U.S. territory. It was streamed on various social sites. Among those featured were members of the Native American Women Warriors Association, the nation’s first all-female Native American color guard, just to name a few.
Lakota Woman Among Trump’s Clemency Action
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, January 20
A yearslong effort to free a Lakota woman from prison was finally coming to an end in the coming weeks, but that changed for the better with a swipe of the pen by President Donald J. Trump. Lavonne Roach, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, was among those granted clemency by Trump before he left office Wednesday. Roach, 56, had served 23 years of a 30-year non-violent drug-related sentence, according to the White House.
‘You Can’t Give Up’: Lakota Sioux Woman Pardoned By Trump To Reunite With Family After 23 Years
Native News Online, Jenna Kunze, January 20
Donald Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals on his final day of presidency, and commuted the sentence of another 70, including Lavonne Roach of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Lakota Sioux), who has been serving a 30-year sentence for a non-violent drug charge. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a commutation reduces a sentence, but does not imply innocence or remove civil disabilities, such as the right to vote or to hold public office.
Biden To Review Trump’s Changes To National Monuments
AP News, Brady Mccombs, January 20
President Joe Biden said Wednesday he plans to review the Trump administration’s downsizing of two sprawling national monuments in the American Southwest, including one on lands considered sacred to Native Americans who joined environmental groups in suing when the boundaries were redrawn in 2017. The new Democratic president also plans to ask the Department of the Interior to reassess a rule change that allowed commercial fishing at a marine conservation area off the New England coast.
Tribes To Joe Biden: Stop Dakota Access Pipeline
Indian Country Today, Mary Annette Pember, January 21
Emboldened by President Joe Biden’s action to rescind former President Donald Trump’s presidential permit to the Keystone XL pipeline project, leaders of four Sioux tribes are requesting Biden take action on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Navajo Department Of Health Identifies 75 Communities With Uncontrolled Spread Of COVID-19 In Latest Update
Native News Online, January 20
The Navajo Department of Health reported 45 new Covid-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 922 as previously reported on Monday. Reports indicate that 13,566 individuals have recovered from Covid-19, and 224,108 Covid-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive Covid-19 cases is now 26,517.
Montana Tribes To Participate In National Moment Of Unity By Lighting Teepee In Billings
Great Falls Tribune, Nora Mabie, January 20
Montana tribes will participate in a national moment of unity and memorial for COVID-19 victims on Tuesday at 3 p.m. by illuminating a teepee on Sacrifice Cliff in Billings. The national memorial, which will kick off in Washington, D.C. as part of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, will feature the lighting of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the illumination of buildings in cities nationwide. The ceremony aims to honor those lost to COVID-19 while serving as a symbol of hope for the future.