Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced on Tuesday that all visitors to Alaska will have to present a negative result on a COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours of their arrival, effective August 11. This marks a shift from the current policy which allows visitors to test before they depart for Alaska or once they arrive in the state, or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

In California, Governor Newsom released a letter in support of the Klamath River dam removal project recognizing the health, subsistence, and cultural impact to tribal communities like the Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa peoples. “The river is sick, and the Klamath Basin tribes are suffering,” Newsom wrote. “The Klamath River dam removal project is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we act according to our values. … We have never been closer to removing these now-obsolete dams to restore the river on which the Klamath Basin tribes so directly depend.” The hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath River have hurt the salmon population in the region for decades. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns the dams. The letter was dispatched to Buffett and his leadership team on Wednesday. Response is pending.

After the Trump administration restored federal executions following an informal 17-year moratorium, the only Native on federal death row, is scheduled to be executed in late August, the U.S. government announced Wednesday.

Chicago’s Hockey Team announced that they are banning headdresses at home games as part of their pledge to honor Native communities. The move comes after conversations with Native partners to establish new policies and initiatives.

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise recently notified close to 1,000 employees that had been on paid leave that they will no longer receive paychecks after Monday, August 3. Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise Interim Chief Executive Officer Brian Parrish made it clear that no employees have been fired and no positions have been eliminated. Parrish estimates that payroll makes up 70% of fixed costs for the Navajo Nation Gambling Enterprise, and several of their casinos remain closed due to COVID-19.

The Washington Post released an article describing how Congress may undo legal progress made in the landmark McGirt v. Oklahoma Supreme Court case, such as changing the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation in the eastern half of Oklahoma, thereby reaffirming jurisdiction over crimes committed by tribal citizens in Oklahoma.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Navajo Nation Wednesday COVID-19 Update: Seven More Deaths

Native News Online, July 29

On Wednesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 41 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and seven more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 453 as of Wednesday. Reports indicate that 6,622 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 79,583 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 8,968.

COVID-19 Cancels Wyoming Hunt Amid Native American Criticism

AP News, Mead Gruver, July 29

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the cancellation of a charity antelope hunt that has drawn teams of famous, powerful men to central Wyoming for over 75 years and now faces growing criticism that ceremonies tied to the event crudely and inaccurately appropriate Native American culture. The Lander One Shot Antelope Hunt has been held every year since 1944.

Menominee Tribe Closing Offices Amid Covid-19 Outbreak

AP News, Scott Bauer, July 28

The Menominee Indian Tribe said Tuesday it is shutting down its governmental offices for two weeks amid an “alarming rise” in COVID-19 cases, including tribal employees in four different departments on the reservation in northeast Wisconsin. Employees in three other departments have had direct contact with those who tested positive, the tribe said in a statement

Governor Announces All Nonresidents Will Have To Arrive In Alaska With Negative COVID-19 Tests 

Anchorage Daily News, Zaz Hollander and Annie Berman, July 29

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Tuesday that all visitors to Alaska will soon have to present a negative result on a COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours prior to arrival.

Native Mascots & Imagery:

Blackhawks Ban Native American Headdresses At Home Games

AP News, July 29

The National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks said Wednesday they are banning headdresses at home games as part of their pledge to honor the Native American community. The move comes after conversations with Native American partners to establish new policies and initiatives. While the team will play the remainder of its games this season in an empty arena in Edmonton, Alberta, the no headdresses policy begins as soon as fans are allowed back at Chicago’s United Center for games or events.

Nationwide Protests:

Borough Panel To Mull Use Of Derogatory Term In Street, Trail Names

AP News, July 29

A western Pennsylvania borough committee plans to examine the use of a derogatory term in street and trail names after objections to the word as a derogatory term for Native American women. The Tribune-Review reports that several residents in Allegheny County’s Fox Chapel have requested that local governments replace the word. Councilwoman Mandy Steele said she expects the issue to be discussed at an Aug. 17 meeting. 


Execution Set For Sole Native American On Federal Death Row 

Associated Press, Felicia Fonseca, July 30

The only Native American on federal death row is scheduled to be executed in late August, the U.S. government announced Wednesday.

Native Americans Won An Unusual Legal Victory At The Supreme Court. Congress Could Undo It.

The Washington Post, Rebecca ReidJuly 29

In a 5-to-4 ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma earlier this month, the Supreme Court delivered a decisive legal victory for Native Americans. In a rare move, the court upheld an

1866 treaty between the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the United States, a treaty that had established the Muscogee Nation’s geographic borders. But the win may prove ephemeral. Congress could get back in the game and remold the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation announces Mvskoke Reservation Protection Commission, July 29

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill announced an Executive Order July 29 establishing the Mvskoke Reservation Protection Commission. “As the only tribal nation whose lands were directly at issue in the Supreme Court case, we are mindful of our responsibility to play a primary leadership role in ensuring that the Court’s decision results in greater prosperity and safety for all,” Principal Chief David Hill said.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, July 29

In a video update on July 29, 2020, Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation said “there is no reason to rush” for legislation to address the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma. “We need to slow down and look at all of the pros and cons of how this ruling will impact the Choctaw Nation for generations to come,” Batton said. Batton did not outright disavow a so-called “agreement-in-principle” that was released in the wake of the landmark July 9 ruling. But he said he will remain at the table to ensure his people’s interests are protected.


Navajo Gaming Employees To Stop Getting Paychecks, Coronavirus Continues To Impact Indian Country, Ed Silverstein, July 29

Close to 1,000 employees who had been on paid leave with the Navajo Nation’s gambling operation will stop getting paid after Monday. (August 3).


Petition Calls For California School To Be Named After Indigenous Hero

Native News Online, Nanette Kelly, July 29

The name of California’s first governor who endorsed genocide against California tribes has been expunged from an elementary school in Hawthorn, Calif. A circulating petition nominates “Toypurina” as the new name, after an 18th-century Kizh Nation revolutionary hero.

Execution Set For Sole Native American On Federal Death Row

AP News, Felicia Fonseca, July 29

The only Native American on federal death row is scheduled to be executed in late August, the U.S. government announced Wednesday. Lezmond Mitchell, who is Navajo, had been among the first of a handful of inmates set to be put to death after the Trump administration restored federal executions after an informal, 17-year moratorium.

‘Little House’ Author’s Life, Times Examined In PBS Film

AP News, Lynn Elber, July 29

A new documentary about the life and work of “Little House on the Prairie” author Laura Ingalls Wilder puts her novels’ scattered racist references in historical context, the film’s producers said. There are about five to eight scenes that are racist, “particularly with respect to Native Americans,” and a scene involving blackface, Murphy said during an online news conference to discuss the documentary that debuts Dec. 29.

Warren Buffett controls dams in Northern California. Why Gov. Newsom wants them torn down

Sacramento Bee, Dale Kasler, July 30

Desperate to complete a historic but complicated dam removal on the California-Oregon border, Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed to one of the world’s wealthiest men to keep the project on track: financier Warren Buffett.