Good morning, NUNAverse:

Yesterday, President Biden said his administration had provided support to Johnson & Johnson that would enable the company and its partners to make vaccines around the clock and had also brokered a deal in which the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. would help manufacture the new Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. This puts the United States “on track” to have enough supply of COVID vaccines “for every adult in America by the end of May,” the President said. 

Following a contentious hearing process, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination. It had become increasingly clear that Tanden’s nomination was in trouble after multiple key Senators, including Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, said they wouldn’t support her, citing her tweets criticizing some members of Congress.

Alaska officials and authorities in the Canadian province of British Columbia have announced they have completed and will not continue data collection on three transboundary watersheds, despite concerns from tribal and fishing interests that the effort does not go far enough. A 22-page final report released Thursday culminated two years of data collected from water, sediment, and fish tissue from three bodies of water. The report said two years of data showed that the waters studied met quality standards on Alaska’s side of the border. There were times when heavy metals were over the limit in the sediment, but the report said there are a lot of naturally occurring minerals in the region.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer announced that retired Navajo Nation Supreme Court Justice Lorene B. Ferguson died Monday from complications related to COVID-19. The Navajo Nation Council confirmed Justice Ferguson’s nomination as an Associate Justice in 2001. She was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 2004-05, and Justice Ferguson retired in 2007.

Keep reading for a full news update.

Deb Haaland Confirmation Hearing:

Deb Haaland’s Next Senate Meeting Scheduled For Thursday

Native News Online, Jenna Kunze, March 2

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a business meeting at 10 a.m. this Thursday, March 4, to consider the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) to Secretary of the Interior Department. The 20-member bipartisan Senate committee can make one of four moves on Thursday: it may report the nomination to the Senate favorably, unfavorably, or without recommendation, or it may choose to take no action at all. According to a procedure guide for members of Congress, Haaland will need a majority of favorable votes supporting her nomination in order for it to pass. Without a favorable majority — and unless there is an unfavorable majority — the vote will go in front of the whole Senate.

We’re Alaska Native Women From Across The State. We Stand United In Support Of Deb Haaland.

Native News Online, March 1

As Alaska Native women, we strongly support the historic nomination of Congresswoman Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) to run the Department of the Interior. She would make long-overdue history as the first ever Indigenous cabinet secretary and we have weighed in with our Alaska Senators to encourage their support for her nomination. An article published by the Anchorage Daily News recently seemed to imply that there was widespread concern among Alaska Natives regarding Congresswoman Haaland’s nomination, but we find this misleading. We, the undersigned Alaska Native women, wish to speak proudly and boldly in support of the first Native woman cabinet secretary nominee.


Biden Vows Enough Vaccine ‘For Every Adult American’ By End Of May

New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sharon LaFraniere, Katie Thomas, and Michael D. Shear, March 2

President Biden said on Tuesday that the United States was “on track” to have enough supply of coronavirus vaccines “for every adult in America by the end of May,” accelerating his effort to deliver the nation from the worst public health crisis in a century.

Biden Vows Enough Vaccine For All Us Adults By End Of May

AP News, Zeke Miller, March 2

President Joe Biden said Tuesday the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated — and he pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings. Biden also announced that drugmaker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine, likening the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II.

COVID-19 Impact And Vaccination Explored In Native News Online’s Live Stream

Native News Online, March 2

Native News Online hosted an online forum on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Indian Country, aimed at raising vaccine awareness and addressing vaccine hesitancy throughout tribal nations. Panelists answered questions about the severity of COVID-19’s effect on Indian Country, long-term impacts, tribal response and vaccine hesitancy. At its root, National Indian Health Board’s CEO Bohlen said that the reason for the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in indian Country is tied to a history of colonialism that has resulted in insufficient funding for Indian Health Services leading to chronic diseases and early deaths among much of Indian country, inequities in education, and racist policies that still exist today.

Retired Navajo Nation Supreme Court Associate Justice Dies From COVID-19 

KSL TV, Cary J. Schwanitz, March 2 

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer announced the death of retired Navajo Nation Supreme Court Justice Lorene B. Ferguson.

Navajo Nation President Nez Warns Of COVID-19 Variants

Native News Online, March 1

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated on Monday that the country may be at risk of increasing COVID-19 infections due to the spread of COVID-19 variants and reports of some states easing public health measures that help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Nez advises that Navajo citizens should not travel off the Navajo Nation because there are areas nearby where the variants have been detected recently. He wants Navajo citizens to let their family members and friends who may be planning to travel that they are putting themselves and others at risk.


Major Test For Voting Rights Act At Supreme Court As GOP Pushes New Election Rules

ABC News, Devin Dwyer, March 1

As Republicans in nearly every state push new voting restrictions in the aftermath of the 2020 election, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear a major case to decide how those new rules should be judged under federal civil rights law. The case to be argued Tuesday centers on two Arizona election laws that Democrats say discriminate against Native American, Latinx and African American voters. One requires election officials to discard any ballots cast in the wrong precinct. The other measure bans third-party ballot collection.


Neera Tanden Withdraws As Nominee For Office Of Management And Budget 

NPR, Brian Naylor, March 2

Neera Tanden, President Biden’s controversial nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, has withdrawn her nomination. Biden said in a statement Tuesday he had accepted her request.


Southeast Tribes And Fishermen Angry Over Halt To Alaska-Canada Water Analysis

Anchorage Daily News, March 2

Alaska officials and authorities in the Canadian province of British Columbia have announced they have completed and will not continue data collection on three transboundary watersheds, despite concerns from fishing and tribal interests that the effort does not go far enough. The work stemmed from concerns about possible impacts mining activity in Canada could have on waters that cross into Alaska. A 22-page final report released Thursday culminated two years of data collected from water, sediment and fish tissue from three bodies of water.

Valley Students In Native American Club Run Over 180 Miles To Try And Protect Oak Flat 

ABC 15, Nicole Grigg, March 2 

This past weekend, students with a Native American Club ran over 180 miles to try and protect Oak Flat in the Tonto National Forest.