Good morning, NUNAverse:
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to approve Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s nomination to be the next Secretary of the Interior. The Committee voted 11-9 to send Haaland’s nomination to the Senate floor, with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski as the lone Republican who voted to support the Congresswoman.
This week, the first doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the country – the third vaccine authorized by the FDA to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine works differently from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and NPR published an article answering common questions about the new vaccine.
The South Dakota State House of Representatives passed a resolution earlier this week acknowledging and honoring the survivors of American Indian Boarding Schools. House Concurrent Resolution 6014 was introduced and sponsored by State Representative Peri Pourier, who is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The resolution was adopted in a 52-17 vote.
The Arizona State House voted on Thursday 48-12 to approve a proposal that would allow betting on professional and college sports at sites owned by pro sports teams and at tribal casinos. Some State Democrats raised transparency and fairness questions about the proposal, which Republican Governor Doug Ducey needs as part of his thus-far secret deal with tribes to update their gambling compact.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Deb Haaland Confirmation Hearing:
Senate Energy Panel Backs Haaland For Interior Secretary
AP News, Matthew Daly, March 4
A key Senate committee on Thursday approved the nomination of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be interior secretary, clearing the way for a Senate vote that is likely to make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Haaland’s nomination, 11-9, sending it to the Senate floor. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the lone Republican to support Haaland, who won unanimous backing from committee Democrats.
Senate Panel Votes To Support Deb Haaland For Interior Secretary
Native News Online, Jenna Kunze, March 4
In the first week of Women’s History Month, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland has found a niche way to be celebrated, paving the way to become the first Native American woman to serve as a Cabinet member in the United States government. On Thursday morning, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted 11-9 in favor of recommending Haaland — a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo — to the eighth most powerful position in government: Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican lawmaker from Alaska, was the only party member to cross the aisle and join Democrats’ vote to confirm Haaland.
Committee Vote Moves Haaland One Step Closer To Historic Interior Post
Cronkite News, Ryan Knappenberger, March 4
A Senate committee narrowly voted Thursday to advance Rep. Debra Haaland’s nomination to be the next secretary of Interior, moving her one step closer to becoming the first Native American to head a Cabinet-level agency. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 11-9 to send Haaland’s nomination to the full Senate, over the objections of Republicans who said her “radical views” are “squarely at odds with the mission of the Department of the Interior and outside of the mainstream.”
Navajo Area IHS Reports That 141,568 Vaccine Doses Have Been Administered
Native News Online, March 4
A report from the Navajo Area Indian Health Service on Thursday indicates that 187,560 total vaccine doses have been received, 141,568 administered on the Navajo Nation, which represents nearly 76 percent so far. 51,508 individuals have received a first and second dose of the vaccines. On Thursday, the Navajo Department of Health reported 19 new Covid-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and seven more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 1,194.
Got Questions About Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine? We Have Answers
NPR, Maria Godoy, March 4
This week, health care providers began administering the first doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. — the third vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to help stop the coronavirus pandemic.
South Dakota House Passes Resolution Acknowledging Boarding Schools
Native News Online, Darren Thompson, March 4
The South Dakota State House of Representatives passed a resolution on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, acknowledging and honoring the survivors of American Indian boarding schools. House Concurrent Resolution 6014 was introduced and sponsored by State Rep. Peri Pourier (D—Pine Ridge), who is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The resolution was adopted in a 52-17 vote.
Arizona House OKs Gambling Bill Amid Transparency Questions
AP News, Bob Christie, March 4
Some Democrats in the Arizona House on Thursday raised transparency and fairness questions about a major expansion of gambling Republican Gov. Doug Ducey needs as part of his thus-far secret deal with Native American tribes to update their gambling compact. The issues arose before the House voted 48-12 to approve a proposal that would allow betting on professional and college sports at sites owned by pro sports teams and at tribal casinos. It would also allow gambling on fantasy sports and new Keno games at horse race tracks and fraternal organizations.
Connecticut Lawmakers Upset Tribe Left Out Of Gaming Deal
AP News, March 3
Members of the eastern Connecticut legislative delegation said Wednesday they “cannot accept” any gambling expansion deal reached between Gov. Ned Lamont and the Mohegan Tribe that doesn’t include the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The bipartisan group sent a letter to the Democratic governor urging him and the state’s two federally recognized tribal nations to complete an agreement by Sunday. Lamont announced Tuesday his administration reached an agreement with the Mohegans that could eventually lead to legalized sports wagering and online gambling.
New Mexico Lawmakers Deliberate College Funds For Native Americans
The College Post, Marianne Besas, March 4
New Mexico lawmakers are deliberating on a bill that proposes allocating more funds for higher education throughout the state so that colleges and universities are better equipped to serve Native American students. If it is approved, House Bill 87 would provide more than $26 million for public colleges, universities, and tribal colleges. These funds are expected to meet the needs of Native American students and would be implemented during fiscal years 2022 and 2023. The New Mexico Political Report pointed out that the state’s indigenous students, which compose around 10 percent of the student population, “lag behind their New Mexico peers in several education benchmarks.”
Comanche Nation Asks To Join Potentially Historic Case
The Lawton Constitution, Scott Rains, March 4
The Comanche Nation is asking the court system to allow its participation and perspective in a potentially historic case relating to jurisdiction of tribal reservation lands.
Former Alaska Native Health Executive Missing After Helicopter Disappears; Coast Guard Ends Search
Native News Online, Jenna Kunze, March 4
On Tuesday, the former leader of Alaska’s largest tribal health organization, Andy Teuber (Tangirnaq Native Village), disappeared hours after a story broke pinning his resignation the week prior to an accusation of a coerced sexual relationship made by his younger assistant. Hours after Anchorage Daily News, in partnership with ProPublica, published the story, Andy Teuber flew his private helicopter, which flight records show departed from Merrill Field Airport in Anchorage at 2:09 p.m. on March 2 “with intentions of traveling to Kodiak,” a family member reported to the Coast Guard three hours later, when Teuber’s helicopter didn’t arrive at its destination.
Tribal Firefighter Accused Of Operating Meth Lab In Arizona
AP News, March 4
A firefighter on the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona has been arrested for allegedly operating a methamphetamine lab at his mobile home in Sells, according to federal authorities. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said 36-year-old Stephen Folson admitted to possessing and manufacturing meth after several federal agents searched his home south of Tucson.
Apaches Fight Desperate Last Stand Against Foreign Mining Giants Over Sacred Land
The Hill, Anagha Srikanth, March 3
The Biden administration paused the transfer of sacred Indigenous land sitting above an untapped vein of copper to foreign mining giants, allowing the Apache Stronghold to make what may be their last stand on the land. Days after his inauguration, President Biden released a memo on “tribal consultation” in which he ordered executive departments and agencies to pursue “regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have Tribal implications.” In response, the Department of Agriculture has halted the process, a long-awaited win for the tribe, which has been fighting to protect the land for over a decade.