The largest COVID-19 vaccine study to date began today with the first 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. Government, one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race.

Representative John Lewis’ funeral procession will make its way through Washington, D.C. before he lies in State at the Capitol Building Rotunda. Lewis’s procession will make several stops in the District, including the Washington Monument, MLK Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Black Lives Matter Plaza and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Chief Cyrus Ben was appointed as part of a nine-member flag commission that will help design a new Mississippi state flag that does not include the Confederate battle emblem announced Governor Tate Reeves. Mississippi legislators voted in late June to retire the previous state flag after national protests over racial justice sparked new debates about the public display of Confederate symbols.

The House of Representatives passed an amendment, as part of a package of appropriations bills, that protects the land of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe by imposing a one-year moratorium on the Department of the Interior from spending any funds related to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s land case.

The Kiowa Tribe Chairman Matthew Komalty is facing impeachment over his handling of COVID-19 relief funds among other offenses by the tribe’s seven-member legislative branch. The mishandling of the money is one of five “constitutional violations” Komalty will be facing. Komalty is also charged with wrongful termination of Kiowa gaming employees, failing to go through the proper process on the annual tribal audit, failing to ensure that the tribe’s treasurer was properly bonded, salary increases given without approval, and the wrongful and unapproved appointment of an executive director, said Angela McCarthy, speaker of the tribe’s legislature.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Virus Vaccine Put To Final Test In Thousands Of Volunteers 

AP News, Lauran Neergaard, July 27

The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government — one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race. 

Navajo Nation Saturday COVID-19 Update: 69 New Cases

Native News Online, July 26

On Saturday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 69 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains at 434 as previously reported on Friday.

57-hour Weekend Lockdown In Effect On Navajo Nation

Native News Online, July 26

On Friday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 34 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and two more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 434 as of Friday. 


House Passes Bill to Protect Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, July 26

The House on Friday passed an amendment, as part of a package of appropriations bills, that protects the land of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. At issue is 321 acres of land that was put into trust during the Obama administration in September 2015. The Obama decision was reversed by the Trump administration three years later in September 2018.

Kiowas Seeking To Impeach Chairman

Indian Country Today, Nancy Spears, July 26

The Kiowa Tribe chairman is facing impeachment over his handling of COVID-19 relief funds by the tribe’s 7-member legislative branch. The mishandling of the money, distributed by the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, is one of five “constitutional violations” the tribe’s chairman, Matthew Komalty, will be facing. The public hearing is set to take place at 10 a.m. on July 30 at the tribal headquarters in Carnegie, Oklahoma, 80 miles west of Oklahoma City.

McGirt Case Is Still Making Waves

Indian Country Today, July 25

It has been less than a month since the Supreme Court gave its ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, a historic win for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Indian Country, and the fallout surrounding the decision continues to make waves. Tribal citizens of Oklahoma have raised concerns about a possible rider attached to congressional legislation that would effectively upend the decision in McGirt.

Nick Sandmann Settles With The Washington Post

Indian Country Today, Vincent Schilling, July 24

The Washington Post has agreed to an undisclosed settlement with former Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann who had been involved in an altercation in Washington, D.C., with Nathan Phillips, Omaha, last year. The teen’s lawyers said on social media Friday that they reached an undisclosed settlement with the paper. The order of dismissal from U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman said the two parties agreed to the dismissal, with each side paying its own costs.

Lawsuit Seeks Education Reform At Native American Schools

AP News, Felicia Fonseca, July 24 

A lawsuit that accuses the federal government of failing to adequately provide for students on a small, isolated reservation in Arizona is set to go to trial in November. The lawsuit filed in 2017 seeks systematic reforms of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education, an agency that oversees more than 180 schools in nearly two dozen states but directly operates less than one-third of them.

NCAI Opposes Efforts In Congress To Terminate Tribal Sovereignty

Native News Online, July 24 

The National Congress of American Indians, the nation’s largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization, reacted Thursday to the unfolding saga in Oklahoma, saying it opposes the “baseless” efforts to disestablish or terminate the reservations of several tribal nations. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on July 9 that Congress never “disestablished” the 1866 reservation boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which encompasses nearly three million acres and includes most of the city of Tulsa.

Nationwide Protests:

Columbus Statues In Chicago Removed Overnight After Week Of Protests

Native News Online, Monica Whitepigeon, July 24

In the early hours on Friday, two statues of Christopher Columbus in two Chicago parks were taken down. Crowds cheered and passing cars honked as cranes removed the monuments from where they once stood, making Chicago the latest American city to bring down statues of the Italian explorer responsible for the genocide and exploitation of Indigenous peoples.

Christopher Columbus Statues Taken Down At 2 Chicago Parks

AP News, July 24

Two statues of Christopher Columbus that stood in Chicago parks were taken down early Friday at the direction of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a week after protesters trying to topple one of the monuments to the Italian explorer clashed with police. Crews used a large crane to remove the statue in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park from its pedestal. A small crowd cheered and passing cars honked as the statue came down about 3 a.m. The second statue was removed about 5:30 a.m. from Arrigo Park in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood.

Jim Thorpe:

Thorpe’s Scandal-Tainted 1912 Golds Still Resonate, Amaze

AP News, Steve Douglas, July 26 

It has been described as the first major international sports scandal, and still resonates more than a century later. Jim Thorpe, a Native American who seemed to excel at every sport he tried, was seen as one of the world’s top athletes after winning gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Some of his performances went unmatched for decades.

3 sporting trailblazers light up Stockholm Olympics in 1912

AP News, July 26

Hannes Kolehmainen was the first of the “Flying Finns.” Duke Kahanamoku was the father of modern surfing. Jim Thorpe was the modest, uncomplicated Native American who might be the greatest athlete ever.

All three were sporting trailblazers in their own right, and all three gained world-wide attention because of their gold-medal performances at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.


Watch Live: Rep. John Lewis’ Funeral Procession Set To Make Several Stops At Key Landmarks In DC

WUSA9, Kyley Shultz, July 26

Several temporary road closures are in place across D.C. on Monday for longtime congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis’ funeral procession.

Virtual Art Show Offers Encouragement To Lakota Artists

AP News, Stephen Groves, July 26

The Red Cloud Indian Art Show held every summer on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is usually an intimate gathering — a chance for local Lakota artists to rub elbows with big-name artists in the Indigenous art world. Not this year. But organizers have found a way to carry out the show for a 52nd year, bringing vital income to Native American artists who work all winter in anticipation of selling their pieces at summer art shows.

Poor Record Keeping For Cost Of Education For Native Students

Indian Country Today, Patty Talahongva, July 25

Friday is Indian Country Today reporters’ roundtable. Today Mary Annette Pember and Meghan Sullivan talk about stories they’ve covered recently. “I noticed that there was a period of time when Native people began having to pay for their tuition at these Catholic schools. And this is despite the fact that we, most of us, were guaranteed education and healthcare in some form through treaties and various subsequent legislative agreements we had with states and the federal government. And I began to wonder how that can be and troubled me. And I wanted to look into it further.” 

First Lady Melania Trump Plans To Visit Cherokee Nation

Native News Online, July 24 

First Lady Melania Trump is planning a trip to the Cherokee Nation, the tribe announced Thursday. “We invite First Lady Melania Trump to tour our state-of-the-art Outpatient Health Center and first medical school on tribal land in the nation, which is wrapping up construction in Tahlequah,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement. “Anytime we can showcase that tribal nations are thriving and strong, doing good work on behalf of children and our communities, we welcome the opportunity with open arms.”

Choctaw Chief Chosen To Help Design New Mississippi Flag

AP News, July 24

The chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will help design a new Mississippi state flag that does not include the Confederate battle emblem. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves announced Friday that he is appointing Chief Cyrus Ben and two other people to a nine-member flag commission. Mississippi legislators voted in late June to retire the last state flag in the U.S. with the rebel emblem that’s widely condemned racist. The change came after national protests over racial injustice sparked new debates about the public display of Confederate symbols. 

Pebble Mine In Alaska: Timeline Of Events

Indian Country Today, Meghan Sullivan, July 24

Thursday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a final environmental impact statement for a proposed mining project near the Bristol Bay watershed area in Alaska. The corps’ analysis lays the groundwork for a final decision giving the go-ahead to key federal permits for the Pebble mine. The corps stated, “Under normal operations, the Alternatives would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”