Last week, District Judge Amit Mehta granted a request from tribes to halt funding from the CARES Act going to Alaska Native Corporations while the tribes appeal an earlier decision that ruled ANC’s can receive funding from the CARES Act. The tribal nations involved in the case filed a notice of appeal, as well as a motion to expedite the appeal, on Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., meeting the deadline set by Judge Mehta.
Leaders of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation in North Dakota sued the federal government over valuable mineral rights beneath a portion of a man-made lake on the Missouri River. The Three Affiliated Tribes’ lawsuit claims the Department of the Interior is attempting to illegally take part of the Fort Berthold Indian reservation ceded to the tribe before statehood.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, became the first governor of any state to test positive for COVID-19. Also on Tuesday, Oklahoma state health officials announced a record high number of new COVID-19 cases at 1,075, with an increase of hospitalizations.
The National Congress of American Indians, several of Jim Thorpe’s descendants, and Pictureworks Entertainment announced the launch of “Take Back What Was Stolen,” a petition to restore Thorpe’s status as the sole gold medal champion of the 1912 Olympic decathlon and pentathlon. Thorpe had his gold medals stripped after it was revealed he had been compensated for room and board while playing minor league baseball prior to the 1912 Olympics – an infraction at the time.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Column: Can You Compromise On The Chicago Blackhawks Nickname? I Went Through A Similar Crisis Of Conscience With Washington’s NFL Team
Chicago Tribune, Phil Thompson, July 15
If you grew up in Virginia in the 1980s and early ‘90s, the Washington Redskins seemed omnipresent.
You might not have cared about the Washington Bullets-turned-Wizards, and the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers didn’t arrive until the mid-‘90s. But you best believe the Washington NFL franchise’s burgundy and gold blanketed the mid-Atlantic from Maryland to South Carolina, and the region reveled in three Super Bowl victories between 1982 and 1991.
The Deep History—And Troubling Impact—Of Sports Teams Using Native American Mascots
TIME, Anna Kambhampaty, July 14
On Monday, Washington, D.C.’s NFL team announced that it would be retiring its logo and changing its name. Though the news came just 10 days after the team announced a “thorough review” of its name, it follows years of criticism of a name that has been widely recognized as a slur against Native Americans. In 2013, Snyder, the team owner, had vowed to keep the name as it was, and stuck by his vows until now, despite the urging of Native American activists as well as sportscasters’ and media outlets’ decisions to stop using the term.
Alaska City Relocates Russian Colonist Statue To Museum
AP News, Brian Hannon, July 14
An Alaska city will relocate a statue of a Russian colonist accused of enslaving Alaska Natives while the area was under Russian control two centuries ago. Assembly members in Sitka on Tuesday night approved moving the statue of Alexander Baranov, an early 19th century governor of Russian Alaska, to inside the Sitka Historical Society Museum. It’s currently located outside the Harrigan Centennial Hall, a civic center.
Gorsuch, And Native American History, Meld For Major Tribal Rights Ruling
Law.com, Marcia Coyle, July 15
Indian law practitioner Riyaz Kanji knew early in the litigation that the way to win one of the most important Native American cases to reach the U.S. Supreme Court was to tell the story of the Muscogee Creek Nation. On the very last day of the justices’ term, an 1832 promise to the tribe made at “the far end of the Trail of Tears” was honored.
It’s Time To Rectify The 1975 Decoteau Decision, Disestablishing The Sisseton-Wahpeton Reservation
Indian Country Today, Angelique EagleWoman, July 15
In the huge victory of the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision on July 9, 2020, it is finally apparent that when the law is applied even-handedly, without special twists placed on Native Americans, our homelands are forever enshrined in the treaty promises made by and with the United States. The McGirt decision is justice long overdue with the majority opinion holding the United States to the treaty rights promised to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation for a permanent homeland.
Appeals Court Temporarily Halts Dakota Access Line Shutdown
AP News, July 14
A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily halted a judge’s order that the Dakota Access Pipeline be shut down in three weeks. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an “administrative stay” of the judge’s order. Though the appeals court said it “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits” of the case, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The stay will remain in place until the appeals court rules on whether developer Energy Transfer can keep oil flowing while the court decides the Texas-based company’s appeal of the shutdown order.
Three Affiliated Tribes Sue Over Minerals Ruling
AP News, James MacPherson, July 14
Leaders of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota sued the federal government Wednesday due to a Department of Interior opinion that sides with the state over valuable mineral rights beneath a portion of a man-made lake on the Missouri River. The Three Affiliated Tribes’ lawsuit said the Interior Department is attempting to illegally take part of the Fort Berthold Indian reservation ceded to the tribe before statehood. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Trump Reins In Major Environmental Law To Speed Big Projects
AP News, Aamer Madhani, July 14
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is rolling back a foundational Nixon-era environmental law that he says stifles infrastructure projects, but that is credited with keeping big construction projects from fouling up the environment and ensuring there is public input on major projects. “Together we’re reclaiming America’s proud heritage as a nation of builders and a nation that can get things done,” Trump said.
Oklahoma Governor Tests Positive for COVID-19
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 15
Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, became the first governor of any state to test positive for COVID-19. Stitt made the announcement during a virtual press conference on Wednesday. He said he tested positive on Tuesday afternoon. Also on Tuesday, Oklahoma state health officials announced a record high number of new COVID-19 cases, with an increase of hospitalizations.
Navajo Nation Reports 47 New COVID-19 Cases; No New Deaths Reported
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 15
On Tuesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 47 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 401 as previously reported on Sunday and Monday.
Tribal Nations Appeal Ruling Over Federal Virus Relief Funds
AP News, July 15
Tribal nations are challenging a court decision that allows Alaska Native corporations to receive a share of $8 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding set aside for tribes. The tribal nations filed a notice of appeal Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., meeting the deadline set by a lower court judge. U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta had said the U.S. Treasury Department could release funding to the corporations if the tribes didn’t move forward with the appeal by then.
Casinos Report Strong Revenues After Reopening From COVID-19
AP News, Susan Haigh, July 14
Connecticut’s two tribal casinos on Wednesday reported strong slot revenues for June, the first month they’ve been partly open since closing for nearly three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unclear, however, whether it will be the start of a trend considering competitors to Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have begun to reopen and cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in other parts of the country.
New Petition Calls On IOC To Restore Jim Thorpe’s Proper Place In Olympic History
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 15
The National Congress of American Indians, several of Jim Thorpe’s descendants and Pictureworks Entertainment announced Wednesday the launch of “Take Back What Was Stolen,” an initiative to restore Thorpe’s status as the sole gold medal champion of the 1912 Olympic decathlon and pentathlon.
Returning An Olympic Win To Jim Thorpe
Indian Country Today, Kolby KickingWoman, July 15
Who is the greatest athlete in American history? Simone Biles has quite the resumé to make a compelling argument. Tiger Woods and Serena Williams dominated their respective sports at levels rarely seen. Muhammad Ali backed up his brashness with results in the boxing ring. Yet, perhaps the greatest American athlete of all time wasn’t even considered an American citizen until 1924. American Indians weren’t granted citizenship until then President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill in June of that year.
To Combat Isolation, Minnesota Tribe Sets Up Pen Pal Program For Elders
Native News Online, Monica Whitepigeon, July 15
In a tight-knit tribal community about 45 miles south of the Canadian border in Minnesota, the need for social distancing, coupled with the state’s stay-at-home order, is taking its toll on the Bois Forte Band of Chippewas, especially their Elders. Many Elders have voiced concerns about feeling isolated and depressed during the pandemic, which has now impacted the country for nearly half a year.