Good morning, NUNAverse:
As they continue moving forward with a plan to change their name, Cleveland’s Baseball Team said that they will not permit fans inside of Progress Field wearing Native headdresses or face paint. The new policy states fans can be ejected or denied entrance for disorderly, unruly or disruptive conduct that includes “headdresses and face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions. Inappropriate or offensive images, words, dress or face paint must be covered or removed, and failure to do so may constitute grounds for ejection or refusal of admission.”
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced yesterday that he will appoint Pamela Cashewell (Lumbee and Coharie) to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Administration. Cashwell is a veteran North Carolina state agency administrator and former federal prosecutor and will become the first Native woman to lead a Cabinet agency in North Carolina, Cooper’s office said.
Indigenous youth and organizers opposing the Dakota Access and Enbridge Line 3 pipelines will be in Washington today for a series of actions urging President Joe Biden to stop the projects. Actions include carrying a 200-foot symbolic black snake, signifying the danger of pipelines, a die-in, songs, dance, street theater, and speeches from participants regarding environmental justice for Indigenous peoples, and urging the Army Corps to withdraw its permit of Line 3.
The University of Houston Men’s Basketball Team is heading to the Final Four for the first time in 37 years, led by Kelvin Sampson (Lumbee), the only Native head coach in Division I basketball out of 353 programs. Sampson has been coaching basketball for 40 years, coaching eight years in the NBA and then for various NCAA men’s programs, including Michigan State University, Montana Tech University, Washington State University, University of Oklahoma, Indiana University, and the University of Houston. He is one of only 15 coaches in NCAA history to lead four or more schools to the NCAA tournament and has been named National Coach of the Year three times.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Cleveland Indians Not Allowing Headdresses, Painted Faces At Games
ESPN, March 31
While moving forward with a plan to change their name, the Indians said they will not permit fans inside Progressive Field wearing Native American headdresses or face paint. The team announced the fan dress policy for the 2021 season Wednesday in advance of Monday’s home opener against the Detroit Tigers. The new policy states fans can be ejected or denied entrance for disorderly, unruly or disruptive conduct that includes “headdresses and face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions. Inappropriate or offensive images, words, dress or face paint must be covered or removed, and failure to do so may constitute grounds for ejection or refusal of admission.”
Wednesday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 15 New Cases; Death Toll At 1,247
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, March 31
The Navajo Department of Health reported 15 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 1,247 as previously reported on Tuesday. Reports indicate that 16,398 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 254,374 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 30,095, including one delayed reported case.
Manufacturing Moonshot: How Pfizer Makes Its Millions Of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses
CNN, Amanda Sealy, March 31
When the coronavirus pandemic began, the challenge for Pfizer and BioNTech wasn’t just developing a Covid-19 vaccine — they also had to make it, and by the hundreds of millions.
Cashwell Named By Cooper As NC Administration Secretary
AP News, March 31
Pamela Cashwell, a veteran North Carolina state agency administrator and former federal prosecutor, was appointed on Wednesday by Gov. Roy Cooper as the Department of Administration secretary. Cashwell, a chief deputy secretary and senior policy adviser at the Department of Public Safety, will become the first Native American woman to lead a Cabinet agency in North Carolina, Cooper’s office said. Cashwell will succeed Machelle Sanders, whom Cooper named in February the next Commerce Department secretary. Cashwell and Sanders are subject to state Senate confirmation.
Georgene Louis Falls Short In Democratic Nomination Race For Deb Haaland’s Vacated U.S. House Seat
Native News Online, March 31
On Tuesday evening, New Mexico state Rep. Georgene Louis (Acoma Pueblo) was not selected as the Democratic nominee to go to bat to fill the 1st congressional district seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. The New Mexico Democratic Party announced it would hold a runoff on Wednesday after no candidate garnered a majority vote to proceed to the special election that will be held June 1. New Mexico state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and state Rep. Melanie Stansbury will advance to Wednesday’s runoff election. Louis, a five-term state representative, a citizen of the Acoma Pueblo, a single mother, an ultra marathon runner, a tribal attorney and, for some, a flicker of hope for Indigenous people and beyond, was not chosen to move on in the selection process.
Native Americans Advocate For Educational Reform, Protection Of Sacred Sites In Legislature
KNPR, Bert Johnson, March 31
While lawmakers are meeting in Carson City, they have to debate issues that could affect every corner of the state – including Native Americans living on and off reservations. Native voters and organizers are making themselves heard, too. There’s a long list of bills that specifically apply to tribal communities and plenty of others that could impact tribal communities in Nevada. One of the issues lawmakers are considering is whether to protect the Swamp Cedars, which is a Western Shoshone sacred site located in White Pine County.
University Of Houston, Led By Lumbee Head Coach, Heads To Final Four
Native News Online, March 31
The University of Houston Men’s Basketball Team is heading to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Final Four for the first time in 37 years. While it’s definitely exciting for the Houston Cougars, it’s also a milestone for head coach Kelvin Sampson. It’s his second Final Four appearance; his first was 19 years ago while serving as head coach for the University of Oklahoma. Coach Sampson was born in Laurinberg, N.C. and raised in Pembroke, N.C. — the heart of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. He’s Lumbee through and through, and out of the NCAA’s 353 Division I basketball programs, Sampson is the only Native American head coach.
Indigenous Youth Rally Against Pipelines In DC
Indian Country Today, Mary Anette Pember, March 31
Indigenous youth and organizers opposing the Dakota Access and Enbridge Line 3 pipelines will be in Washington on Thursday for a series of actions urging President Joe Biden to stop the projects. Actions include carrying a 200-foot symbolic black snake, signifying the danger of pipelines, at the rally, a die-in, songs, dance, street theater and speeches from participants regarding environmental justice for Indigenous peoples, and urging the Army Corps to withdraw its permit of Line 3.
Colorado River Tribe Aims To Establish ‘One Unified Voice’ In Policy Talks
Cronkite News, Luke Runyon, March 31
The Fort Yuma-Quechan Indian Tribe is at a nexus in the Colorado River Basin. That’s true in a geographic sense. The tribe’s reservation overlays the Arizona-California line near Yuma. The two states are heavily reliant on water from the Colorado River. The reservation also abuts the U.S.-Mexico border, where the river flows into Mexico for use in cities and on farms. One of the river’s largest irrigation projects, the All-American Canal, which was dug through tribal land, flows from the reservation’s northeastern boundary to its far southwestern corner, on its way to irrigate crops in California’s Imperial Valley. The confluence of the Colorado River and one of its historically important tributaries, the Gila River, is nearby.
Tribal Efforts To Preserve Languages Get Boost From Covid Relief Funds
Cronkite News, Nancy Marie Spears, March 31
Justin Neely, director of language for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma, grew up among elders who told him that if the Potawatomi language is lost, so are the Potawatomi people. Now, elders who speak those Native languages are dying from COVID-19 and its complications at much higher rates than white populations. The American Rescue Plan, which allocates $31 billion to the tribes nationwide, set aside $20 million to help Native American nations preserve their languages. The funding is designed to help assure the survival of tribal cultures, spiritual identities and forms of traditional communication.
What Indigenous Food Sovereignty Means During COVID-19
Indian Country Today, Kalle Benallie, March 31
Food sovereignty has been important to tribal communities like the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, but the pandemic amplified the need for it. And in early February, the college received a two-year $100,000 grant to carry out a food sovereignty virtual education, which they did last year. The college initiated a program last summer called “Grow Your Own” that encouraged people to start their own backyard gardens or join the college’s community garden. To further educate, Native American Studies Director Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills, enrolled citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes and Maxoxadi (Alkali Lodge) Clan member, streamed videos on Facebook to teach topics like soil health and how to preserve food.
Pathway To Law Initiative Offers ‘Auntie’ Mentorship To Native Kids
Native News Online, Jenna Kunze, March 31
Katie Rosier (Comanche Tribe), executive director of the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, is on a mission to create a pathway for Native kids across the country to practice law. Native Americans and Alaska Natives represent 1.6 percent of the U.S. population but only 0.3 percent of U.S. attorneys, according to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2015. The initiative Rosier spearheaded is one of a handful to up the representation of Native Americans practicing law from just under 400 between 1987 and 1989, to 1,273 between 2009 and 2010, according to the National Native American Bar Association.
Arizona State Fair Is Moving To Tribal Land
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, March 31
The Gila River Indian Community in southern Arizona continues to make key economic moves. This year’s Arizona State Fair will be moving away from the fairgrounds in Phoenix to a temporary new location at Gila River’s Wild Horse Pass near Chandler. Authorities said dates are being finalized, but the fair usually is held in October. In December, Phoenix Rising FC, Arizona’s highest professional soccer team, announced it was moving to Wild Horse Pass and building a new stadium.
‘Operation Fish Drop’
Indian Country Today, Meghan Sullivan, March 31
Hundreds of cars lined the road to the Alaska Native Heritage Center on Thursday and Friday, as Alaska Native elders and their families gathered to receive wild salmon through a grassroots initiative coined Operation Fish Drop. In the end, more than 12,000 pounds of Bristol Bay sock-eye salmon were delivered to around 400 families. Tribal councils, local fisheries, and volunteers came together to run the initiative, which aimed to address food insecurities brought about by COVID-19.