Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision upheld the treaty rights of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, siding with Indian Country in McGirt v. Oklahoma. In the opinion written by Justice Gorsuch, the court held that because Congress did not formally disestablish the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation formed in the 19th century, the land in eastern Oklahoma remains a reservation for purposes of federal criminal law.
Read the full opinions here.
The Youth Advisory Board from the Center for Native American Youth penned an open letter to Dan Snyder and the NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell, asking them to change the name of Washington’s NFL team.
“As Native American youth, we are powerful. We are resilient, we are unbroken, and we will be silenced no more. We are not your mascot. The Center for Native American Youth’s Youth Advisory Board has one request for you, Commissioner Goodell and Mr. Snyder: Change the name.”
Read the full letter here.
Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon has announced that it is planning to remove Washington NFL franchise products from its website, joining what advocates called a “tidal wave” of momentum to get the team to change its name. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, in discussions about a new name, Washington is planning to have “no Native American imagery.”
The owner of the Dakota Access oil pipeline is accepting shipments for next month despite a judge’s ruling ordering it to shut down and remove all oil. A spokeswoman for Energy Transfer LP said the company believes a federal judge “exceeded his authority and does not have the jurisdiction to shut down the pipeline or stop the flow of crude oil.”
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors approved a direct services program to provide emergency financial assistance to Sault Tribe members through the tribe’s Anishnaabek Community and Family Services. The program will provide $3.5 million of financial assistance to help Sault Tribe members meet necessary expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
Julian Bear Runner, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has been suspended for 30 days and put on a 14-day quarantine by the tribal council. The Oglala Sioux tribal council made the decision in an emergency meeting after several members complained Bear Runner’s executive emergency order establishing a 72-hour lockdown was made without collaboration with the council.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Updated COVID-19 Numbers
Indian Country Today
Indian Country’s COVID-19 Syllabus
Center For Disease Control
Current Cases in the United States
Amazon Joins ‘Tidal Wave’ Of Pressure On Washington Nfl Team
Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, July 8
Online retailer Amazon plans to remove Washington NFL franchise products from its website, joining what advocates called a “tidal wave” of momentum to get the team to change its name. The news comes less than a week after the team announced it would undergo a thorough review of its name. Amazon sellers were reportedly given 48 hours to review then remove products featuring the team, including jerseys, T-shirts and jewelry, CNBC reports.
Open Letter To NFL Commissioner Goodell And R*Dsk*Ns Owner Dan Snyder
Center For Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, Youth Advisory Board, July 8
Dear Dan Snyder and NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell, As Native American youth, we live and thrive well beyond any caricature or stereotype. We look toward a future where we only see ourselves manifested in power and brilliance. Yet, for decades, Native American youth have lived in the shadows of racist mascots that reflect not how we see ourselves, but how this country has looked upon us since the arrival of the first European invaders, looters, and thieves.
Report: Washington To Avoid Native American Imagery In New Name
NBC Sports, Darin Gantt, July 8
In evidence that Dan Snyder is capable of seeing the point of a new name, he’s not trying to make it too much like his last one. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, in discussions about a new name, Washington is planning to have “no Native American imagery.” Considering the recent outcry about using a slur for a nickname and defending it for years, that seems like a reasonable place to begin.
As Washington Review Name, Dan Snyder’s Once-touted Native American Foundation Has Gone Dark
USA Today, Tom Schad, July 8
In the face of mounting public pressure to change the name of his NFL team, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder wrote in a 2014 letter that it was time to focus on actions, not words. That’s why, he wrote, he was announcing the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, a nonprofit organization that would “provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities.”
Dan Snyder Started A Foundation To Support Native Americans. Has It Abandoned Its Mission?
Sports Illustrated, Jenny Vrentas and Michael Rosenberg, July 8
For years, Daniel Snyder has claimed to serve Native Americans even as his team’s name demeaned them. The “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation,” founded by the owner in 2014, is proof, in the team’s telling, of its commitment to—and support from—Native American communities. The mission, Snyder wrote in an open letter that spring, was “to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for tribal communities.”
DAPL Shutdown? ‘We Have Not Yet Taken Any Steps’
Indian Country Today, Kolby KickingWoman, July 8
The owner of the Dakota Access oil pipeline is accepting shipments for next month despite a judge’s ruling ordering it to shut down and remove all oil by Aug. 5, according to media reports. A spokeswoman for Dallas-based Energy Transfer LP told Bloomberg News that the company believes a federal judge “exceeded his authority and does not have the jurisdiction to shut down the pipeline or stop the flow of crude oil.”
Colorado Nonprofit Pushes To Get Rid Of Native American Mascots
CBS Denver, Robin Clutters, July 8
After decades of criticism and resistance, the Washington Redskins NFL team is considering changing its name. But the use of Native American mascots is not limited to professional sports. There are many high schools in Colorado that use them. Cheryl Crazy Bull is the President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, which is based in Denver. The nonprofit is calling on teams like the Redskins to rename their mascots. She says their use has a negative impact on American Indian youth.
Wednesday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 40 New Cases
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 8
On Wednesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 40 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and three more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 382 as of Wednesday. Reports from all 12 health care facilities on and near the Navajo Nation indicate that approximately 5,693 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 61,371 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 7,981.
Ruining The Hamptons? A 10,000 Year Response
Indian Country Today, Patty Talahongva, July 8
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, New York was the center of the outbreak. The governor took decisive action to slow the spread of the virus.
On Long Island where the Shinnecock Nation is located, the tribe also took measures to safeguard its citizens. The Shinnecock only gained federal recognition in 2010. It is still very new. How has the nation dealt with the pandemic? And how have they grown since gaining federal recognition?
Judge Blocks Montana Ballot Collection Law Challenged By Tribes
Native News Online, Kyle Edwards, July 8
A Montana judge on Tuesday blocked a state law that put in place severe restrictions on who can collect ballots, concluding that it likely violates the right to vote for Native Americans. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Montana, and Native American Rights Fund on behalf of Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote, two Native American-led organizations focused on increasing civic participation in the Native American community.
Governor’s Vetos Could Cost New Mexico Tribes Some Funding
AP News, Cedar Attanasio, July 7
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham used her line-item veto power to preserve executive control over hundreds of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief funding, a move that could mean the loss of additional financial assistance for some Native American communities. Lujan Grisham used her veto pen to scratch out entire paragraphs of the budget to prevent the Legislature from earmarking $318 million in federal virus relief funding for local governments.
‘We Do Need Additional Dollars”: Tries Won’t Let Up In Fight Over COVID-19 Relief
Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, July 8
Alaska Native corporations will continue to wait for more than a half-billion dollars in COVID-19 relief while a bitter legal dispute heads to a higher court as tribal nations press policy-makers for additional aid.
Sault Tribe Establishes COVID-19 Assistance Program
Indianz.com, July 8
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors approved a direct services program July 6 to help tribal members. It will be funded with $3.5 million in Covid-19 CARES Act monies. Tribal Chairperson Aaron Payment said, on behalf of the Board of Directors, “We have worked hard with other tribes and national organizations to secure $8 billion in the CARES Act to benefit tribes impacted by COVID19.
Tribes Say Delay In Release Of COVID-19 Funds Hurt Coronavirus Relief, Other Efforts
Cronkite News, Lisa Diethelm, July 8
At a time when some Native American communities continue to struggle with the most basic needs, tribal leaders Wednesday called it “an outrage” that tribes had to wait months for coronavirus relief funds. Congress approved the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in March and set aside $8 billion for tribes, which did not start to be disbursed until May.
Lawsuit In Tribal Battle Over North Carolina Casino Project
AP News, Michelle Liu, July 7
A yearslong bid by the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation to build a casino and resort in North Carolina could stall once again following a lawsuit by North Carolina-based Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the latest development in a casino turf war between the two tribes. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians filed an amended complaint against the U.S. Department of the Interior this week, challenging the federal government’s approval in March for a Catawba casino development on land near Interstate 85 in Kings Mountain, just west of Charlotte, into trust for the planned Catawba casino.
Native Congressional Candidate Wins Utah Primary
Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, July 8
Darren Parry, Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation, has officially won the Democratic nomination for Utah’s 1st Congressional District. He will face Republican Blake Moore in November’s general election. If Parry wins in November, he will be the first Democrat to represent Utah’s 1st District — which serves the northern part of the state, including the Ute reservation — in nearly 40 years. He is also one of eight Native candidates who won primary elections in their bids to Congress. Primaries for eight others are set for August.
Oglala Sioux President Suspended
Indian Country Today, Mary Pember, July 8
Julian Bear Runner, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has been suspended for 30 days and put on a 14-day quarantine by the tribal council, according to Nakina Mills, council representative from the Pine Ridge District. The Oglala Sioux tribal council made the decision in an emergency meeting Wednesday on the tribe’s Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. It is unclear, however, if the council has the authority to suspend the tribe’s president, according to Mills.
This Native American Designer Is The Latest To Bead Culture Into Face Masks
Native News Online, Tamara Ikenberg, July 8
Fashion maven Rebekah Jarvey is injecting haute couture into culturally inspired face masks. Jarvey’s handmade face mask is a loud and proud shout-out to family, friends and high fashion. The Chippewa Cree fashion designer took advantage of her days under lockdown to weave pieces from iconic brands like Louis Vuitton with Native American-inspired details into a face mask.
Native Peoples Were Underserved Before COVID-19, Now It’s Life Or Death
Indian Country Today, Jodi Archambault, July 8
The world knows that Native peoples in the United States have been notoriously mistreated, deprived of what is rightly ours and subjected to cruel mockery in the face of deprivation. It is within the power of the dominant segment of American society to declare this dehumanization intolerable and to assure that it must not continue.
Dr. Deborah Birx Wears Mask Gifted Her By Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
AZ Central, Emilly Davis, July 8
Masks can be a fashion statement, Dr. Deborah Birx said, as she showed off the face mask gifted to her from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community during the White House coronavirus press briefing Wednesday morning. “I know some of you do watch what I wear, I’m wearing this specially today, this came from the Salt River tribe,” Birx said.
50 Years Since Richard Nixon’s ‘Break With The Past’
Indian Country Today, Mark Trahant, July 8
Leonard Garment wrote a memo to President Richard Nixon on April 17, 1970, urging White House support for a Senate bill to return Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo. The land was taken from the pueblo in 1906 and turned into a national forest. The pueblo refused compensation because it was determined to get the land back. If the story has a familiar ring to it: It’s because the land was illegally taken by President Theodore Roosevelt, now a figure at Mount Rushmore on land that the Supreme Court said was also illegally taken. “Over the years, since 1906, this particular issue has snowballed,” Garment wrote. “It is now the single specific Indian issue and as such of major symbolic importance.” Garment underlined “the” to reinforce his point.
Ben Fate Velaise: Alaska Native Tribes Must Act Fast To Close Digital Divide
Indianz.com, Ben Velaise, July 8
Throughout my life, my grandma, Mary Jane Fate, imparted the importance of education on my brothers and me. We understood early on that education is the means through which we can make a difference in the world. She led by example, and I’ve carried this message with me each and every day. Education looks very different today than it did 50 years ago. We can no longer rely solely on pen and paper to learn.