Good morning, NUNAverse:
The MIT Solve 2021 Indigenous Communities Fellowship is looking for its next class of Fellows! Six to eight fellows are chosen every year and receive a $10,000 award along MIT Solve support. Join us today from 3:00 to 3:45 PM EST for the second of four Community Engagement Clinics leading up to the application deadline. Register to learn more about the Fellowship and application process here.
Following the approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-old children, the CDC yesterday said that more than half a million adolescents have received a vaccine dose so far. Vaccinating adolescents will bring us closer to having 70% to 85% of the total population vaccinated, which experts say is needed to achieve herd immunity. Children make up 20% of the U.S. population.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is seeking to join a lawsuit in opposition to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem who is asking a federal judge to order the National Park Service to allow a July Fourth fireworks display at Mount Rushmore. The Republican governor sued the Department of Interior last month after the Park Service denied the state’s application for the event, citing safety concerns and objections from local tribes.
The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific working for the sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, on Monday condemned the killing of innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. “IITC has a longstanding history of support for the Palestinian people. We consider the ongoing and current violence occurring in Israel and occupied Palestine to be a direct result of the rights of Palestinians not being respected and protected, in particular their right to self-determination under international law, including the continued proliferation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” IITC said in a statement earlier this week.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Gun Lake Casino Raises Minimum Starting Wage To $14 Per Hour
Native News Online, May 18
Gun Lake Casino, located halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Mich., is raising its minimum starting wage to $14 per hour, which represents more than a 30 percent increase, beginning June 1, 2021. The starting wage of all tipped positions has been raised to $7.40 per hour plus tips. Gun Lake Casino is a premier employer in West Michigan, proudly providing career opportunities to nearly 1,000 current employees. Owned and operated by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, commonly known as the Gun Lake Tribe, the Gun Lake Casino has been recognized as “West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources for the past two years. The award for the past year is meaningful because the Gun Lake Casino voluntarily closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and team members saw many changes in the work environment to safeguard the health and safety of the staff, patrons and community.
Mount Rushmore Lawsuit Sparks Legal Fight With Tribe
Indian Country Today, Stephen Groves, May 18
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s lawsuit against the federal government over a July Fourth fireworks display she wants to put on at Mount Rushmore has reignited legal tensions between her and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. The tribe last week sought to join the lawsuit in opposition to Noem, who is asking a federal judge to order the National Park Service to allow the fireworks display. The Republican governor sued the Department of Interior last month after the Park Service denied the state’s application for the event, citing safety concerns and objections from local Native American tribes. The tribal lawsuit touches on a century-old dispute over ownership and control of the Black Hills, which include Mount Rushmore. The Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that the land was taken from tribes in violation of treaty agreements and offered them a monetary payment.
CDC Says 600,000 Kids Ages 12 To 15 Have Received COVID Vaccine Shots In Last Week
CNBC, Rick Mendez, May 18
More than half a million 12- to 15-year-olds have received a Covid-19 vaccine so far — less than a week since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared it for public distribution, Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday.
Masks Mandate Remains In Effect On Navajo Nation
Native News Online, May 17
The Navajo Nation is holding its ground on the issue of facial mask wearing. This, despite the new guidance released last Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that says fully vaccinated individuals can take their masks off while inside. On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health reported seven new Covid-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 1,293 as previously reported. Reports indicate that 29,343 individuals have recovered from Covid-19. 270,405 Covid-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive Covid-19 cases is now 30,722.
The Struggle Against Native ‘Mascots’ Erupts In Tennessee Town
People’s World, Albert Bender, May 18
A university town about 80 miles east of Nashville has joined the legion of other municipalities in the U.S. facing the issue of Native mascots used by school sports teams. On May 1, several dozen demonstrators led by Chiricahua Apache and Sayota Knight marched from the campus of Tennessee Tech University to the Putnam County Courthouse to hold a rally demanding the removal of Native slur used by local Algood Middle School from its football and other athletic teams. Speaking against the mascot name, Knight and others, including Zeke Reedy of the Muskogee Creek Nation, pointed out that Native Americans for decades have been opposing the use of Indigenous sports mascots and names by U.S. schools and sports teams. The Putnam County School Board, which oversees Algood Middle School had said last year that consideration would be given to the removal of the offensive mascot name. Subsequently, without notice to Knight, the Board had an unscheduled meeting in February and voted unanimously to keep the noxious name. The irrational reason of “honoring” Native people was put forth.
Weir High Parents, Students Protest To Keep Cartoon “Indian” Mascot; Local Native Americans Say It’s Racist
WTRF, Stephanie Grindley, May 17
A mascot removal has some Weirton parents, students and community members furious – So much so, they are taking to the Weirton Community Center in protest Monday evening in hopes of changing the principal’s mind. t’s the ‘red rider logo’ that has been removed. People know it as the “Indian cartoon” mascot that has been removed by Principal Kristin Bissett. This was all done on Weir High’s level and not through the Hancock County Board of Education because the mascot is technically unofficial. The ‘W’ is the official logo. The school says they have the right to remove without permission needed from the BOE.
Coushatta Tribe To Celebrate Gov. Edwards’ MMIw Executive Order
KATC, My 18
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana is hosting an event Thursday in Elton to celebrate the signing of an executive order by Governor John Bel Edwards creating a Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Task Force.
Navajo Nation Surpasses Cherokee To Become Largest US Tribe
AP News, Felicia Fonseca, May 19
The Navajo Nation has by far the largest land mass of any Native American tribe in the country. Now, it’s boasting the largest enrolled population, too.
The International Indian Treaty Council Calls On Israel To Support The Rights Of The Palestinian People
Native News Online, May 18
The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific working for the sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, on Monday condemned the killing of innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“IITC has a longstanding history of support for the Palestinian people. We consider the ongoing and current violence occurring in Israel and occupied Palestine to be a direct result of the rights of Palestinians not being respected and protected, in particular their right to self-determination under international law, including the continued proliferation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”