The MIT Solve 2020 Indigenous Communities Fellowship is hosting an additional information session today at 2:00 P.M. EST/ 11:00 A.M. PDT! Register for the session here. Six to eight fellows are chosen every year with each receiving a $10,000 award along with nine months of MIT Solve support. Applications are due on Tuesday, July 7. Join the Live Tweet Chat on Monday at 11:00am PDT using #ICF2020 to ask your last minute questions.To learn more about the Fellowship click here.
Yesterday, FedEx made a formal request to Washington’s Football team for them to change their name. FedEx currently has naming rights to the team’s stadium, and FedEx Founder, Chairman, and CEO Frederick W. Smith is also a minority owner of the team. This week, Nike removed all of the team’s official gear from the Nike.comonline store. Investors from Nike, FedEx, PepsiCo, and a number of other corporations requested that the companies end their relationship with the team unless the name is changed. This is coming at a time where advocates are applying additional pressure on the team. From AOC to Ava Duvernay, more than two dozen public figures, celebrities, athletes are actively calling for the team to change their name. #TheTimeIsNow
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal from British Columbia First Nations against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would nearly triple the flow of oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Coast. The court dismissed the appeal from the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribes and Coldwater Indian Band, effectively ending the legal battle over the project.
U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) advocated for a reduced cost-sharing burden for Arizona’s tribes hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and asked Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 9 Administrator why Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez had not received a response to his letter requesting a waiver of the 25 percent cost-share burden.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $15 million in CARES Act funding to 16 tribes in Alaska, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah. The money was given through its Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat Program, which provides assistance to tribes to prevent, prepare, and respond to COVID-19. This is the first portion of $100 million that will be granted to tribes in total.
The continued spread of COVID-19 has caused another round of closures and shifts in Oklahoma tribes’ casinos, hospitality operations, and government offices. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is temporarily closing its FireLake Casino; the Seminole Nation has closed down its Wewoka and Rivermist Casinos; and the Comanche Nation announced the temporary closure of its tribal complex, including its housing authority, realty and tax commission offices, through July 13.
If you haven’t yet, there’s still plenty of time to take the Indigenous Futures Survey! The survey is open until August 1 – get more information and fill it out here.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Stadium Sponsor FedEx Asks Redskins To Change Nickname
ESPN, July 2
FedEx, which has naming rights to the stadium in which the Washington Redskins play, made a request Thursday that the team change its nickname. “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement obtained by ESPN. FedEx paid $205 million to the Redskins for naming rights to the stadium in 1998 in a deal that runs through 2025. Frederick Smith, the chairman, CEO and president of FedEx Corp., also owns a minority stake in the Redskins.
Nike Pulls Gear, FedEx Asks For Name Change On Same Day As Federal Officials Tell Dan Snyder To Do The Same
CBS Sports, Patrick Walker, July 2
If you search for “Redskins” on Nike.com, you will find that all official team gear has been removed from the store. If you go on Twitter or read any national news outlet, you will see that FedEx released a statement indicating that it had asked “the team in Washington” to change its name. According to a report from AdWeek, Nike and FedEx were among a group of corporations (PepsiCo was also included) whose investors wrote to them requesting that they end their relationships with Washington unless the team changes its name.
Ohio School District Retires Racist Mascot
Indian Country Today, Mary Pember, July 2
Louise Lawarre took a risk and spent $100 on a large banner thanking the Forest Hills School District for retiring Anderson High School’s R-word mascot days before the school board’s final vote. It turns out her actions weren’t so risky after all. After more than 20 years of angry, divisive debate and multiple efforts to change, the district’s board, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, voted Thursday to drop the R-word mascot and logo. “It’s been a big community effort; I’m so proud of everyone who hung in with us,” Lawarre said. “There was huge opposition to change.”
Lakotas To Donald Trump: ‘You Are Not Welcome Here’
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, July 2
Maya Eagle has a message for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their supporters: “You are not welcome here.” Eagle, Oglala Lakota, plans to protest Trump’s scheduled stop Friday to her peoples’ sacred He Sapa, or Black Hills, as part of South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore fireworks event. Eagle and others will be protesting that afternoon in Keystone, a small resort town along Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The Lakota also refer to the Black Hills as Paha Sapa.
Trump’s Rushmore Trip Draws Real And Figurative Fireworks
AP News, Stephen Groves, July 2
President Donald Trump will begin his Independence Day weekend on Friday with a patriotic display of fireworks at Mount Rushmore before a crowd of thousands, but even in a part of the country where many remain supportive of the president, the event has drawn controversy and protests. Trump is expected to speak at the event, which has issued 7,500 tickets to watch fireworks that he previewed on Thursday as a “display like few people have seen.”
Investors Ask Nike, FedEx And Pepsico To End Relationships With The Washington Redskins
Adweek, Mary O’Hara, July 1
On Friday, three separate letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with the NFL’s Washington Redskinsunless the team agrees to change its controversial name. The report also said that there was a belief among many that, though this fight for the Redskins to change their name for decades, this time might be different with the push for racial equality so strong in America right now.
Thursday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: Total Cases Now At 7,669; Death Toll At 371
Native News Online, July 3
On Thursday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 56 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and two more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 371. Reports from all 12 health care facilities on and near the Navajo Nation indicate that approximately 5,480 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 57,559 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 7,669.
McSally Pushes FEMA to Reduce COVID-19 Cost-Sharing Burden On Tribes
U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) today advocated for a reduced cost-sharing burden for Arizona’s tribes hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. During a U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing, McSally asked Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 9 Administrator why Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez had not received a response to his letter requesting a waiver of the 25 percent cost-share burden. “This pandemic has devastated Native American communities and economies,” McSally said.
Tribes Awarded $15.4m For Virus Recovery, Housing
Indian Country Today, Kolby KickingWoman, July 2
As the coronavirus begins to spike once more in portions of the country, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development is releasing CARES Act funds to a number of tribes across six states. Overall, the agency on Thursday awarded $15 million to 16 tribes in Alaska, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah. The money was given through its Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat Program, which provides tribes assistance to prevent, prepare and respond to the coronavirus. This initial release of funds is the first portion of $100 million that will be granted to tribes in total.
Hoeven Holds Oversight Hearing On COVID-19 And Legislative Hearing On S. 3650
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today held an oversight and legislative hearing. The oversight hearing was on “Evaluating the Response and Mitigation to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Native Communities.” Additionally, the Committee held a legislative hearing to receive testimony on S. 3650, the Coverage for Urban Indian Health Providers Act. “Today, tribal communities are experiencing some of the highest rates of infection for COVID-19 in the country. The Indian Health Service recently reported more than 19,000 positive cases in the 12 Service Areas.
Good COVID-19 Medicine: Gratitude
Indian Country Today, Patty Talahongva, July 2
When it comes to the health of men, where do Native men stand? Men in general are known to be reluctant in getting yearly checkups and general overall preventive care. The overall health of Native Americans is bleak. So how can you make sure the men in your family are taking care of their health? Dr. Don Warne is the associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as the director of Indians into Medicine program at the University of North Dakota.
Second COVID-19 Surge Forces More Oklahoma Tribal Casino Closures, Adaptations
Native News Online, Adam Proctor, July 2
The continued spread of COVID-19 has caused another round of closures and shifts in Oklahoma tribes’ casinos, hospitality operations and government offices. On Saturday, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation announced the temporary closure of its FireLake Casino on Shawnee’s south side. The tribe’s flagship property, the Grand Casino, is still open.
Republican Lawmaker Finds Way To Blame Tribes For Trump’s Delay In COVID-19 Relief
Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, July 2
A bitter dispute over $8 billion in COVID-19 relief for Indian Country continues to simmer on Capitol Hill, with some lawmakers blaming tribes for the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the much-needed funds. The Department of Treasury repeatedly missed deadlines to get the coronavirus relief fund out to the communities that need it the most. The agency’s broken promises resulted in tribes waiting more than 80 days to receive complete payments, long after states and local governments were paid. But Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said “litigation” was the cause for the delays.
Canada High Court Dismisses Indigenous Appeal Of Pipeline
AP News, Rob Gillies, July 2
The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday dismissed an appeal from British Columbia First Nations against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would nearly triple the flow of oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Coast. The court dismissed the appeal from the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribes and Coldwater Indian Band, effectively ending the yearslong legal battle over the project. The pipeline would end at a terminal outside Vancouver, resulting in a sevenfold increase in the number of tankers in the shared waters between Canada and Washington state.
Indian Health Service Endorses Urban Indian Health Federal Tort Claims Act Bill At Senate Indian Affairs Hearing
Today, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) held an oversight hearing on “Evaluating the Response and Mitigation to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Native Communities” and a legislative hearing on S. 3650, the Coverage for Urban Indian Health Providers Act. NCUIH Vice President Robyn Sunday-Allen, who is also the CEO of the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, submitted written testimony emphasizing the importance S. 3650, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Repairing Indigenous Issues From A Global Perspective
Indian Country Today, Kalle Benallie, July 2
Nathan Balk King remembers his first United Nations experience. He attended the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues with his mom when he was eight. It was a memory that stayed with him when he attended the 2018 National High School Model United Nations conference, a conference where high school students from around the world can meet prestigious leaders and gain firsthand experience of international relations. The conference also allows students to go through educational simulations as if they are part of the United Nations.