Good morning, NUNAverse:
The New York Times reports that the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years old by early next week, according to federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans, opening up the U.S. vaccination campaign to millions more people. The clearance, in the form of an amendment to the existing emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, could come as early as late this week. If it is granted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel is likely to meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and make recommendations for the vaccine’s use in adolescents.
Meanwhile, the Blackfeet Nation in Montana recently shared its COVID-19 vaccine surplus with related tribes and other residents across the border in Canada in an effort to get more people vaccinated against the virus. When the tribe recently had an excess of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines after inoculating a majority of its citizens, they set up a mobile clinic at the Peigan-Carway border crossing in Alberta, Canada, in late April.
In Alaska, Governor Mike Dunleavy met with tribal leaders in a number of communities – including on the only reservation in the state, the Metlakatla Indian Community of the Annette Island Reserve – during a trip aimed in part at promoting signs of re-emerging normalcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders in Ketchikan and Metlakatla, communities only accessible by air or water, brought up concerns with the state-run ferry system that many residents rely on, including ticket costs on boats that spike as the number of booked passengers rises.
The Oneida Nation and Brown County Sherriff’s Office held a press conference yesterday to provide the community with an update on the targeted shooting at the Oneida Casino Complex that occurred over the weekend. Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain shared that the shooter, who was shot and killed by law enforcement, was a former employee who had been terminated earlier this year. He was 62-year-old Bruce K. Pofahl and a non-tribal citizen living in the greater Brown County area. Pofahl was barred from entering the hotel/casino complex through a restraining order, according to court records.
Keep reading for a full news update.
F.D.A. Set To Authorize Pfizer Vaccine For Adolescents By Early Next Week
New York Times, Noah Weiland, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sharon LaFraniere, May 3
The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years old by early next week, according to federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans, opening up the U.S. vaccination campaign to millions more people.
Navajo Nation Nears 100,000 People Fully Vaccinated
Native News Online, May 3
The Navajo Nation is nearing 100,000 fully vaccinated on the nation’s largest Indian reservation in the country. This is good news for the Navajo Nation, which has served as the epicenter of the covid-19 pandemic in Indian Country. As of Monday, May 3, there have been 30,522 positive covid-19 cases reported and 1,281 Covid-related deaths. Health care facilities across the Navajo Nation continue to administer covid-19 vaccines during drive-thru events or by appointment.
Alaska Signals Move To Return To Normalcy
AP News, Becky Bohrer, May 3
Drummers and singers welcomed Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy to Metlakatla, with some blowing fluffy white eagle feather down — symbolic of spreading peace in Tsimshian culture — before he went to a meeting with tribal leaders on the only Indian reserve in Alaska. In a trip aimed in part at promoting signs of re-emerging normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dunleavy visited the three southeast Alaska communities in one day last week.
Blackfeet Nation In Montana Sets Up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic At Canadian Border To Share Surplus Doses
FOX 29, Chris Williams, May 3
A U.S.-based tribal nation recently shared its covid-19 vaccine surplus with related tribes and other residents across the border in Canada in an effort to get more people vaccinated against the virus. The Aamskapi’Piikuni Blackfeet Nation in Browning, Montana, recently had extra doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines after inoculating a majority of its members, according to a press release. The nation delivered the surplus and set up a mobile clinic at the Peigan-Carway border crossing in Alberta, Canada, in late April. The mobile vaccination site was set up in a drive-thru format, where participants received either the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. McNeely said there were approximately 750 total doses available and 400 doses were administered.
National Congress Of American Indians Statement On Oneida Nation Shooting
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, May 3
National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp released the following statement on the tragic shooting on the Oneida Nation at the Radisson Hotel/Oneida Casino in Green Bay, Wisc. on Saturday evening that left three people dead:
“On behalf of the Executive Board, our Regional Vice Presidents and the entire staff, NCAI sends our deepest, most heartfelt condolences to our friends and colleagues at the Oneida Nation following the tragic shooting at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center over the weekend. We keep the victims and their loved ones especially close to our hearts. Although Indian Country is a vast cross-section of hundreds of separate and distinct tribal reservations and communities, each with its own unique culture, language, heritage, and history, our Native ties will always bind us. Often, it feels as though we are simply a close circle of friends, so when a senseless tragedy harms one tribal community, we cannot help but feel their pain.”
Oneida Casino Resort Shooting Update: Shooter Was 62-year-old Non-native Former Employee
Native News Online, Darren Thompson, May 3
The Brown County Sheriff’s Office and the Oneida Nation hosted a press conference on Monday morning providing the community with an update on the targeted shooting at the Oneida Casino Complex, which contains the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center and the Oneida Main Casino that happened Saturday evening at approximately 7:30 p.m. – EDT. Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain shared that the shooter, who was shot and killed by law enforcement, was a former Duck Creek Kitchen & Bar employee who had been terminated earlier this year. He was 62-year-old Bruce K. Pofahl and a non-tribal citizen living in the greater Brown County area. Pofahl was barred from entering the hotel/casino complex through a restraining order, according to court records.
Tribal Casinos Hit By Economic Brunt
Indian Country Today, Carina Dominguez, May 3
Tribal gaming revenues have an economic impact that reach far beyond reservation boundaries. It is a significant contributor to local and state economies. Before the pandemic, the tribal gaming revenue hit an all time high, but once the closures hit, tribal leaders prepared for a downturn. Correspondent Carina Dominguez covers the impact the virus is having on casinos and the communities they fund. CEO Gary George of the Wildhorse Resort and Casino owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation was one of the first tribal casinos to handle the first positive case of the coronavirus.
Oil Pipeline Disputes Raise Tensions
Indian Country Today, John Flesher, May 3
Months after President Joe Biden snubbed Canadian officials by canceling Keystone XL, an impending showdown over a second crude oil pipeline threatens to further strain ties between the two neighbors that were frayed during the Trump administration. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a top Biden ally, ordered Canadian energy company Enbridge last fall to shut down its Line 5 — a key piece of a crude delivery network from Alberta’s oil fields to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and eastern Canada. Whitmer’s demand pleased environmentalists and tribes who have long considered the pipeline, which reaches 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) across northern Wisconsin and Michigan, ripe for a spill that could devastate two Great Lakes.
Indian Health Service Settles Dispute Over Care In New Mexico
The New York Times, Mark Walker, May 3
After a public outcry and a legal fight, the Indian Health Service has agreed to keep the emergency departments and inpatient care open for another year at a hospital in northwestern New Mexico serving 9,100 tribal citizens, settling at least temporarily a dispute that had become a flash point between tribal communities and the federal government over the quality and accessibility of health care. The agreement was reached after a lawsuit brought in federal court in the District of Columbia in January accused the Indian Health Service of failing to provide proper notice and details to Congress before cutting services at the Acoma-Cañoncito-Laguna hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rick Santorum Squirms And Says He ‘Misspoke’ As Chris Cuomo Grills Him On Comments About Native Americans
Mediaite, Michael Luciano, May 3
On Monday CNN’s Chris Cuomo grilled CNN analyst Rick Santorum for remarks he made last week about Native American culture and its impact on the United States. Before a segment featuring Santorum and fellow former Republican lawmaker Charlie Dent, Cuomo said, “I have wood to chop with Santorum, and this is the piece of sound that I need to talk to you about.” Cuomo then played the offending part of Santorum’s speech. Cuomo, however, wasn’t about to let his explanation stand unchallenged. Claiming that Santorum and Republicans have a history of “beating up the little guy,” he pressed his coworker further.