Good morning, NUNAverse:
Yesterday the House Impeachment Managers showed Senators new security footage of the January 6th insurrection, including a video in which a Capitol police officer runs past Utah Senator Mitt Romney and directs him to turn around and run, as rioters were closing in on that location just off the Senate floor. Wednesday was the first of two days for the nine managers to present their case. After they finish today, the floor turns to former President Trump’s defense.
Members of the Montana American Indian Caucus sent a letter to Senator Steve Daines and Representative Matt Rosendale, calling on the two to drop their rhetoric aimed at Interior Secretary nominee, Representative Haaland and saying that the two Republicans’ characterizations of Haaland as a radical environmentalist were deeply offensive.
Beginning in March, the Cherokee Nation will open two factories — one renovated, one newly built — that will enable it to produce between 100,000 to 200,000 masks a day. Using special machines purchased from overseas, the Cherokee Nation will manufacture N95, N99 and three-ply surgical masks. Cherokee Nation will be among few manufacturers in the country to make N99 masks, a medical-grade mask.
In Utah, a resolution in the State Legislature encourages public schools to work with local tribal leadership to retire their Native mascots. HCR3 — which would not be binding law, but a statement of encouragement — narrowly passed the House Education Committee 6-5 and now goes to the full House for approval. HCR3 encourages K-12 public schools to retire their Native mascots and emphasize education on Indigenous history and culture, particularly of the tribes that lived in the geographic area of the school.
The Montana Community Foundation launched a fund on Wednesday to assist Native people who are looking for their missing loved ones. While just 6.7% of Montana’s population is Native, they account for on average of 26% of the state’s active cases for missing people. The grants, which provide $500 payments, will help families pay for gas, hotels, meals, awareness campaigns, metal detectors, drones and other goods or services related to the search effort. The grants can also be used to host a community vigil.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Claudette White, Esteemed Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe Leader, Dies After COVID-19 Fight
AZ Central, Peiyu Lin, February 11
Claudette C. White, a member of the Quechan Tribal Council, died Saturday after a short battle with COVID-19, according to a statement released Monday by the President of the Quechan Tribal Council Jordan D. Joaquin. Indian Country Today reported that White was 49.
Tribes Are Racing Ahead Of Vaccination Curve
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, February 10
Across the Lower 48 and in Alaska, tribes acted first to protect their communities from COVID-19 and now they are leading the way in vaccinations due to an existing health system. The Indian health system is just that, a system. There are mechanics in place to distribute vaccines efficiently to a population. That’s something that is missing from most of the U.S health system where doctors and hospitals are scattered about without any real logic. The combination of federal clinics and hospitals, plus those run by tribes and nonprofits, is a system serving a distinct population and so a distribution plan could be properly executed.
The Cherokee Response To COVID-19: Face Masks, Made In The Cherokee Nation
Native News Online, Jenna Kunze, February 10
In early September, when a shortage of medical masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 swept the country, the Cherokee Nation decided it was time to make its own. Beginning in March, the Cherokee Nation will open two factories — one renovated, one newly built — that will enable it to produce between 100,000 to 200,000 masks a day. Using special machines purchased from overseas, the Cherokee Nation will manufacture N95, N99 and three-ply surgical masks. Cherokee Nation will be among few manufacturers in the country to make N99 masks, a medical-grade mask the tribe anticipates will be the adopted standard of the future, according to Enlow.
COVID-19 Cases Near 29,000; Death Toll Reaches 1,075
Native News Online, February 9
The Navajo Department of Health reported 54 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and 15 more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 1,075 as of Tuesday. Reports indicate that 15,635 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 237,411 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 28,994, including three delayed reported cases.
Danger To Lawmakers, Republican Reaction: Takeaways From Impeachment Trial Day 2
NPR, Deirdre Walsh, February 11
On Wednesday, House impeachment managers had senators riveted to disturbing new security camera video that showed just how close the rioters that breached the U.S. Capitol came to lawmakers in the House and Senate chambers.
Montana Native American Leaders Ask Daines, Rosendale To Support Haaland
Billings Gazette, Tom Lutey, February 10
In a scathing letter, Montana’s American Indian legislators are calling on U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Matt Rosendale to drop their rhetoric aimed at Interior secretary nominee Deb Haaland, the first Indigenous person ever considered.
New Mexico Lawmakers Support School Funding In Native Areas
AP News, Cedar Attanasio, February 10
A bill that would undo an education funding formula that disproportionately deprives Native American communities of school funds earned support Wednesday from members of the New Mexico House Education Committee. School districts surrounded by tribal lands, as well as federal lands like military bases, rely on federal education Impact Aid instead of the traditional land taxes that other communities can raise. New Mexico’s education funding formula has for decades deducted federal Impact Aid from state education funding. In recent years, 75% was withheld under this formula, depriving affected school districts of around $60 million in the 2020 fiscal year.
Lawmakers Considering Resolution On Retiring Native American Mascots In Utah Public Schools
The Salt Lake Tribune, Marina McNairy, February 10
A House committee narrowly approved a resolution to discourage the exploitation and appropriation of Indigenous culture in Utah schools. Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Weight, the bill encourages K-12 public schools to retire their Native American mascots and emphasize education on Indigenous history and culture, particularly of the tribes that lived in the geographic area of the school. The bill would not be binding law but a statement of encouragement — narrowly passed the House Education Committee and now goes to the full House approval.
New Relief Bill Includes $20B For Tribes
AP News, Collin Binkley, February 10
House Democrats muscled past Republicans on portions of President Joe Biden’s pandemic plan, including $20 billion for tribal governments. Tribes will evenly split $1 billion and $19 billion will be split as determined by a formula from the U.S. Department of Treasury, said Holly Cook, Red Lake Ojibwe and partner at Spirit Rock Consulting. Similar to last time with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding and that “hit some bumps in the road in implementation, obviously, that are still ongoing.” This is “why consultation is so important.”
Fund Instituted To Help Native Families Find Missing People
AP News, February 10
The Montana Community Foundation launched a fund on Wednesday to assist Native Americans who are looking for their missing loved ones. While Native Americans consist of just 6.7% of Montana’s population, they account for on average of 26% of the state’s active cases for missing people, the Great Falls Tribune reported. Whitney Williams, who established the Snowbird Fund, said that many Indigenous families are forced to organize their own searches without outside help when a family member or friend goes missing.
Harvard, Stanford Celebrate Indigenous Excellence
Indian Country Today, February 10
The Native programs at Harvard and Stanford are turning 50, and they’ve collaborated to honor their accomplishments by bringing together some of Indian Country’s most influential minds. The Harvard Native American Program and key organizations supporting Native students at Stanford are hosting a virtual panel discussion Thursday evening. Each panelist is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the nation’s oldest honor society founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock and other scholars.