Good morning, NUNAverse:
In a two-page, unanimous decision issued this morning in the case of United States v. Cooley, the Supreme Court held that “a tribal police officer has authority to detain temporarily and to search non-Indian persons traveling on public rights-of-way running through a reservation for potential violates of state or federal law.” The Justices heard arguments in late March over a lower court ruling that threw out evidence of drug-related crimes from the search of a non-Native motorist’s pickup truck by a tribal officer on a public road that crosses the Crow reservation in Montana. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, and Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance last Friday on how companies can issue COVID-19 vaccine mandates to workers coming back to the office, and what incentives those employers can offer to promote inoculation. Companies can require vaccines only of employees returning to the workplace, and not those who work outside the office, the EEOC said. Doing so still counts as a mandate, so companies must give the same legally required considerations that companywide vaccine requirements would entail, like making accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for employees who can’t receive the vaccine. The EEOC acknowledged in its guidance there may be other laws — like state laws — that offer opposing views.
The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were found last week buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation. Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation said in a news release that the remains were confirmed last weekend with the help of ground-penetrating radar. From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society.
With pressure growing from the Biden administration, the Choctaw and Muscogee (Creek) Nations in Oklahoma have agreed to consider reversing their policies of denying citizenship to descendants of Black people who were enslaved by them before the Civil War. The tribes said they would take initial steps to address the long-running demands that the descendants be granted equal rights as tribal citizens, an issue that has split their communities and highlighted clashes over identity and racism among Native peoples. The two tribes stopped short of a commitment to grant citizenship to the Black descendants, who are known as Freedmen, instead saying they would open discussions about the issue.
An initiative to allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks in California has qualified for the November 2022 ballot. Backers submitted 1.4 million signatures and the secretary of state reported that counties verified enough to qualify the measure, which would exclude wagering on high school and California-based college teams and require bettors to be age 21 or older. Tribal casinos would give the state a share of revenue to at least cover regulatory costs, subject to negotiations with the governor.
Native News Online published a piece covering 22-year-old Shina Novalinga (Inuk), who began learning the art of throat singing from her mother during the ongoing pandemic. To mark her progress, Novalinga began recording videos of her progress and posting them to TikTok, where she has amassed more than 2.3 million followers. Novalinga, who has lived in Montreal with her mother and four sisters most of her life, is intimately connected to the art of throat singing: her mother is one of the few culture bearers that kept it alive after missionaries tried to remove it from Native culture.
Keep reading for a full news update.
President’s 2022 Budget Includes Increases In Funding For Indian Country, Including A 36% Increase For Indian Health Service
Native News Online, Levi Rickert,
President Joe Biden’s first fiscal year budget was submitted to Congress on Friday. The Biden-Harris administration’s budget totals $6 trillion. The President’s budget contains $30.6 billion for Native-serving federal programs and includes several longstanding policy proposals called for by Tribes and Tribal organizations. Funding for Indian Country is spread over various federal agencies. Overall, the President’s budget contains $30.6 billion for Native-serving federal programs and includes several longstanding policy proposals called for by tribes and tribal organizations.Two areas that stand out in the President’s budget are funding proposed for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Dept. of the Interior and Indian Health Service, which is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. The Department of the Interior’s 2022 budget proposal totals $17.6 billion — an increase of $2.5 billion, or 17 percent, from the 2021 enacted level.
United States v. Cooley
Supreme Court, June 1
U.S. Supreme To Weigh In Once Again On McGirt V. Oklahoma
Native News Online, May 30
Last July the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the McGirt v. Oklahoma that a significant swath of eastern Oklahoma remains American Indian land for certain legal purposes. In a 5-4 decision, the country’s highest court ruled that Congress never “disestablished” the 1866 boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which encompasses three million acres and includes most of the city of Tulsa. The ruling reaffirms that the land promised to the tribe by treaty remains rightfully theirs. As the result of the Supreme Court’s decision last July, there have been several convictions overturned of cases that were tried in Oklahoma state courts. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court said it would temporarily block a decision from a Oklahoma Court that overturned a state conviction of a death row inmate. The case involved the conviction of Shaun M. Bosse, a non-Native man, who was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of a mother (Chickasaw) and her two young children. Bosse’s attorneys appealed his conviction because the victims were tribal citizens and happened on trial land.
Sports Betting Initiative Qualifies For California Ballot
AP News, May 28
An initiative to allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks in California has qualified for the November 2022 ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment, written by Native American tribes, qualified on Thursday. Backers submitted 1.4 million signatures and the secretary of state reported that counties verified enough to qualify the measure, which would exclude wagering on high school and California-based college teams and require bettors to be age 21 or older. The Pechanga Band is one of 18 tribes that are part of the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering. In the three years since the U.S. Supreme Court removed legal barriers to states allowing sports betting, it has been legalized in 26 states but not in California, which has numerous professional teams.
The E.E.O.C. Explains How Companies Can Mandate Vaccines For Workers.
New York Times, Lauren Hirsch, June 1
At the urging of business groups, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has made clear how companies can issue vaccine mandates to workers coming back to the office, and what incentives those employers can offer to promote inoculation.
Worried About COVID-19, Navajo Nation Ignores CDC, Keeps Masks And Social Distancing
USA Today, Trevor Hughes, May 29
A year after experiencing one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation, the Navajo Nation is rapidly approaching herd immunity via an aggressive vaccination campaign. Still, tribal leaders said they will continue to require curfews, gathering limits and masks, even though federal health guidelines state those restrictions are generally unnecessary among vaccinated people. Health experts and Navajo alike said generations of lessons about how susceptible Native Americans are to outside diseases and infections have taught them to be extra careful about public health.
Navajo Nation President Nez Urges Caution During Memorial Day Weekend
Native News Online, May 29
Even with the number of COVID-19 cases on the decline on the Navajo Nation, President Jonathan Nez wants Navajo citizens to take all precautions this Memorial Day weekend to keep the number of new cases low. On Friday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 10 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 1,318 as previously reported. Reports indicate that 29,454 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 273,710 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 30,825.
2 Named As Suspects In Girl’s Death On Crow Reservation
AP News, Matthew Brown, May 28
Two women who were sentenced in tribal court and jailed on misdemeanor charges in the case of a Native American girl whose body was found in February on the Crow Indian Reservation have been named as suspects in the child’s death. Authorities have not said how they believe the child, Mildred Alexis Old Crow, died. Her body was discovered near the tiny community of Garryowen, about 40 miles (64 kiolmeters) north of the Montana-Wyoming border. The Big Horn County Attorney’s office indicated in a statement that authorities believe Mildred was six years old at the time of her death. That would put her death within weeks of when authorities said she was last seen in the custody of the two suspects in March 2019.
Navajo Nation Honors Fallen Warriors On Memorial Day
Native News Online, May 31
In commemoration of Memorial Day, the Navajo men and women who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces were remembered today by Navajo Nation’s leadership at Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock, Ariz. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer, First Lady Phefelia Nez, and Second Lady Dottie Lizer were joined by 24th Navajo Nation Council Delegate Raymond Smith, Jr., Navajo Nation Veterans Administration Executive Director James Zwierlein, and Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish to pay tribute to fallen warriors as they laid wreaths at the memorial wall, which lists the names of Navajo men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the United States. He also paid special tribute to Gold Star families, military families, and veterans who continue to carry on the legacy of their loved ones.
Scrutiny Mounts Of Legacy Of Pioneering Northwest Missionary
AP News, Nicholas K. Geranios, May 31
For generations Marcus Whitman has been widely viewed as an iconic figure from early Pacific Northwest history, a venerated Protestant missionary who was among 13 people killed by the Cayuse tribe near modern-day Walla Walla, Washington, in 1847. But this past year has seen a continued reappraisal of Whitman, whose actions have increasingly been viewed as imperialistic and destructive. Marcus Whitman is known for leading a small group of missionaries in 1836 into what was then Oregon Country, a region about the size of Alaska. He established the Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu, near the Walla Walla River.
Canada: Bodies At Indigenous School Not Isolated Incident
AP News, Rob Gillies, May 31
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday it ’s not an isolated incident that over 200 children were found buried at a former Indigenous residential school. Trudeau’s comments come as Indigenous leaders are calling for an examination of every former residential school site — institutions that held children taken from families across the nation. Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia said the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were confirmed this month with the help of ground-penetrating radar. She described the discovery as “an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented” at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, the largest such school in the country.
Remembering The 215 Indigenous Children Found In Unmarked Graves At Canadian Residential School
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, May 31
As people in the United States spent time this past weekend to remember those who gave their lives for their country while serving in the U.S. military, First Nations people and Native Americans across Indian Country paid tribute to the loss of 215 children, whose remains were recently discovered at the site of a former residential school near the town of Kamloops, British Colombia. A Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation (Kamloops Indian Band) news release last Thursday revealed the horrifying news that the remains of 215 children, some as young as three-year-old, were uncovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Canada Lowers Flags After Discovery Of Bodies At School
AP News, Rob Gillies, May 30
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Sunday that flags at all federal buildings be flown at half-staff to honor more than 200 children whose remains have been found buried at what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation. The Peace Tower flag on Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital of Ottawa was among those lowered to half-staff. Mayors of communities across Ontario, including Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga and Brampton, also ordered flags lowered to honor the children. Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia said the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were confirmed last weekend with the help of ground-penetrating radar.
Mass Grave Of 215 Children In Canada A Stark Reminder Of The Dark History Of Native American Boarding Schools In US
USA Today, Grace Hauck, May 30
Curtis Carr was just 9 years old in 1927 when he and his brother were sent to a boarding school for Native Americans in Chilocco, Oklahoma. Like tens of thousands of Indigenous children and teens, Carr and his brother attended one of the hundreds of government-funded and largely church-run Indigenous boarding schools established across the U.S. and Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many children were physically and sexually abused at the schools, and up to 6,000 died at schools in Canada, according to government officials. Reports Friday of a mass grave containing the remains of 215 children found on the site of Canada’s former Kamloops Indian Residential School served as a stark reminder of the dark history.
More Than 200 Bodies Found At Indigenous School In Canada
AP News, May 29
The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, have been found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation. Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation said in a news release that the remains were confirmed last weekend with the help of ground-penetrating radar. More bodies may be found because there are more areas to search on the school grounds, Casimir said Friday. In an earlier release, she called the discovery an “unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.” From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.
Navajo Nation Receives Initial $1.8 Billion Allocation Through The American Rescue Plan Act
Native News Online, May 29
The Navajo Nation received on Friday an initial $1.8 billion from the U.S. Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act that was authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden. It is part of the historic $31.2 allocated to Indian Country in the American Rescue Plan to assist tribal governments and organizations with costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial $1.8 billion allocation is based on self-certified Navajo Nation enrollment numbers that reflect close to 400,000 enrolled members, and the Navajo Nation’s share of $1 billion that is allocated equally among tribes. The remaining 35-percent of the $19 billion will be distributed to tribes based on tribal employment data. Tribes have until June 21, 2021 to confirm or amend employment numbers. According to the U.S. Treasury, the funds may be used for the following: Support public health expenditures, by, for example, funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff.
Human Remains Found At Proposed Wisconsin Golf Course Site
US News, Jim Malewitz, May 30
Archeologists have unearthed human remains of Native Americans who lived up to 2,500 years ago during excavations of the Sheboygan County site along Lake Michigan where Kohler Co. envisions a golf course. The human remains and most of the artifacts belong to Woodland-era Native Americans who lived between 500 B.C. and 1200 A.D., according to Jennifer Haas, director of UW-Milwaukee Archaeological Research Laboratory Center. The team did not encounter definable graves that might trigger additional development restrictions under state burial protection law.
Indigenous Throat Singers A Hit On TikTok
Native News Online, Jenna Kunze, May 29
When 22-year-old Shina Novalinga (Inuk) and her mother sing together, the two women face each other, clutching one another’s forearms, omitting an identical sound from deep in their throat that–when heard together—can mimic the sound of birds, the wind, the river, or even a puppy. The pair are throat singers, a traditional practice that was typically done to pass time for Inuit women when men were away hunting. Novalinga began learning the art form from her mother over the pandemic, recording videos of her progress and posting them to Tik Tok and Instagram. In just over a year, she has garnered 2.3 million followers.
Tourism In Indian Country Regrouping
AP News, Joaqlin Estus, May 28
Like so many other industries, tourism suffered when social gatherings became hotspots for the spread of COVID-19. Anthony Rodman, Cherokee and Osage, who is acting director of the Interior department’s Office of Indian Economic Development, testified at a U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on May 12. He said the economic impacts of the pandemic on tourism in Indian Country are still being tallied but “many reservations were closed to visitors, travel stopped, and tribal offices were shut down for extended periods of time.” Now that restrictions are lifting across the country, tourism is bouncing back. At least 80 percent of the Blackfeet Nation now have received at least one vaccination, and the tribe voted in March to open its borders. And now that flight cancellations have ended and restrictions on cruise ship sailings have been lifted, visitor numbers to Hawaii are rising. And for Alaska, a new law will allow cruise ships to once again make stops.
Tribes To Confront Bias Against Descendants Of Enslaved People
The New York Times, Chris Cameron, May 28
With pressure growing from the Biden administration, two Native American tribes in Oklahoma have agreed to consider reversing their policies of denying citizenship to descendants of Black people who were enslaved by them before the Civil War. The tribes, the Choctaw Nation and Muscogee (Creek) Nation, said they would take initial steps to address the long-running demands of the descendants that they be granted equal rights as tribal citizens, an issue that has split their communities and highlighted clashes over identity and racism among Native Americans. But the two tribes stopped short of a commitment to grant citizenship to the Black descendants, who are known as Freedmen, instead saying they would open discussions about the issue.