Good morning, NUNAverse:
President Biden is expected to direct federal agencies to determine how expansive a ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land should be tomorrow as part of a suite of executive orders that will effectively launch his agenda to combat climate change. A ban on new drilling leases would fulfill a campaign promise that infuriated the oil industry and became a central theme in the fight for the critical battleground of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, first-term Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (Cherokee) is denouncing the move that has been celebrated by many conservationists.
Wahleah Johns (Diné) has been selected to head the U.S. Office of Indian Energy Programs and Policy. She’ll be taking over a program that had its budget cut by two-thirds under the Trump administration. Johns is co-founder and director of Native Renewables, a company that brings solar energies to Native American homes and trains Navajo solar installers. She’s also been a community organizer and advocate for water protection, and economic and environmental justice. She’s chairwoman of the Navajo Green Economy Commission.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest serving Democrat in the Senate, is expected to preside over former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial when it formally begins today. The Constitution states that the Chief Justice of the United States presides over any impeachment trial of the president or vice president. But it does not explicitly give guidance on who should oversee the proceeding for others, including former presidents, and it appeared that Chief Justice Roberts was uninterested in presiding.
The American Library Association announced winners of the nation’s outstanding children’s books this week. At the top of the list is “We Are Water Protectors,” a picture book illustrated by Michaela Goade (Tlingit) and written by Carole Lindstrom (Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe). The selection is history-making, marking the first time an Indigenous person has ever won the Caldecott Medal, which is awarded to the most distinguished American children’s picture book.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Biden Sets In Motion Plan To Ban New Oil And Gas Leases On Federal Land
New York Times, Lisa Friedman, January 25
President Biden on Wednesday will direct federal agencies to determine how expansive a ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land should be, part of a suite of executive orders that will effectively launch his agenda to combat climate change, two people with knowledge of the president’s plans said Monday.
Senator Patrick Leahy, The Longest-Serving Democrat, Will Preside Over Trump’s Impeachment Trial
New York Times, Nicholad Fandos, January 25
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Senate president pro tempore, is expected to preside over former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial when it formally begins on Tuesday, assuming a role filled last year by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., aides and other officials said on Monday.
Navajo Woman Chosen To Head US Indian Energy
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, January 25
A Diné woman who knows what it’s what it’s like to live without electricity and has fought for solar energy for her people has been selected to head the U.S. Office of Indian Energy Programs and Policy. She’ll be taking over a program that the Trump administration nearly brought to its knees by cutting its budget by two-thirds. Wahleah Johns is co-founder and director of Native Renewables, a company that brings solar energies to Native American homes and trains Navajo solar installers. She’s also been a community organizer and advocate for water protection, and economic and environmental justice. She’s chairwoman of the Navajo Green Economy Commission.
Lakota Lawyer To Lead Agriculture Tribal Relations
Indian Country Today, Stewart Huntington, January 25
Heather Dawn Thompson on Monday was named director of the Office of Tribal Relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and, in a move that underscores the agency’s stated goal of improving nation-to-nation relations, she will report directly to the secretary. Thompson, Cheyenne River, said she was excited to begin her new assignment. Thompson is a Harvard Law School graduate and an expert in American Indian law, tribal sovereignty and rural tribal economic development
First-Term New Mexico Rep. Yvette Harrell Slams Biden’s Ban On New Oil & Gas Leases
Native News Online, Darren Thompson, January 25
First-term New Mexico lawmaker Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.), a member of the Cherokee Nation, is denouncing President Biden’s halt on new energy development on federal lands, an effort applauded by many conservationists. Oil and gas harvested from federal lands account for about a quarter of all U.S. annual production according to the Bureau of Land Management. It pays a lot of bills.
Colleen Echohawk Announces Bid For Seattle Mayoral Office
Native News Online, January 25
Colleen Echohawk, an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake, announced her candidacy to run for Seattle mayor on Monday. Echohawk is the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a Native-led nonprofit which seeks to help Indigenous people experiencing homelessness and build affordable housing for urban Native people. She is also the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Native Homelessness.
Candidate Says Rethink Seattle. Indigenously.
Indian Country Today, January 25
Colleen Echohawk launched a campaign Monday to lead Seattle as its mayor, running on a platform of transformation; rethinking justice, mental health and the city’s common purpose. Echohawk, Pawnee and Athabascan, is executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit that serves homeless Native Americans. Echohawk led the development of $100 million in affordable housing for Native Americans, non-Natives and veterans; improved access to health care and social services or her constituency; and is creating economic opportunities through a farm-to-table Indigenous foods program and a café/art gallery.
Monday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 89 New Cases and Four More Deaths
Native News Online, January 25
The Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 89 new Covid-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and four more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 977 as of Monday. Reports indicate that 14,152 individuals have recovered from Covid-19, and 228,936 Covid-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive Covid-19 cases is now 27,573.
Alaska Rises To No. 1 Among States For Per-Capita COVID-19 Vaccinations
Anchorage Daily News, Annie Berman, January 25
Alaska last week was administering more COVID-19 shots per capita than any other state in the nation, a striking statistic given the challenge of getting vaccine across rugged roadless terrain to far-flung communities in the nation’s only Arctic state. A key factor that puts Alaska ahead of other states in terms of vaccine allotment is the high number of vaccinations designated for the Indian Health Service — so far, nearly 37,000 doses for the state’s 229 sovereign tribes in addition to the per capita allotment of 78,000
The First Indigenous Caldecott Medal Winner
Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, January 25
The American Library Association announced winners of the nation’s outstanding children’s books this week. At the top of the list is “We Are Water Protectors,” a picture book created by two Indigenous women. It was illustrated by Tlingit artist Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom, Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe. The selection is history-making, marking the first time an Indigenous person has ever won the Caldecott Medal. The medal is the award for the most distinguished American children’s picture book.
Salt River Asks MLB To Delay Spring Training
AP News, January 25
A tribe in Arizona that hosts two Major League Baseball teams during spring training has asked for a delay in the start of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, Arizona, eight Arizona communities and the Cactus League made a request in a letter dated Jan. 22 to Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. Salt River owns Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, a ballpark home to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies during spring training. Salt River is approaching 1,600 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with 1,350 recoveries and 158 active cases as of Monday.
Wisconsin DNR Board Refuses To Set Early Wolf Hunt
AP News, Todd Richmond, January 25
The state Department of Natural Resources policy board narrowly refused Republican legislators’ request Friday to implement a wolf hunt immediately, citing concerns that the department can’t move that fast and Wisconsin’s Native American tribes haven’t been consulted as per treaty rights. The decision marks a setback for farmers who say they’ve been struggling with wolves preying on their livestock for years.