Good morning, NUNAverse:
President Biden sought to revive the nation’s stalled push to vaccinate Americans against the surging Delta variant of COVID-19, announcing new requirements for federal workers to be vaccinated and urging local and state governments to offer $100 to anyone willing to get a shot voluntarily. His announcement included only federal civilian employees, but hours later the Pentagon said members of the military, a step that would affect almost 1.5 million troops, would also be subject to the same rules: Get vaccinated or face regular testing, social distancing, mask wearing, and limits on official travel.
The Los Angeles Times reports on the ongoing importance of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, which was passed in 1990 and mandates that institutions receiving federal funding return Native remains and cultural items to tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. The Department of the Interior in July announced new proposed regulations for the protection and repatriation law to clarify the process as well as take the burden off tribes to initiate and complete the required steps. The federal government is consulting tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations about the new proposals and will open them for public comment in October.
Yesterday, Native News Online published an opinion piece from Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. in which he covers the impact that President Biden’s American Jobs Plan would have on tribal communities, noting that the plan “would invest tens of billions of dollars into tribal communities to strengthen our economies and infrastructure. It would bring back a strong spirit of investment that America has not seen since this country was building the interstate highways and winning the Space Race.” Chief Hoskin Jr. writes that additional funding from the American Jobs Plan, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, would allow the Cherokee Nation to continue investing in priority areas like clean and sustainable energy.
Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative, a Native-led nonprofit organization that empowers tribal nations to replace extractive energy systems with clean, regenerative energy has received a $775,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for its work supporting tribal nations as they pursue energy sovereignty and a return to self-determination. Chéri Smith, founder of Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative, said they are honored that the MacArthur Foundation has recognized the importance and urgency of our mission to empower tribes to develop and deploy renewable energy to restore their self-reliance.
Alaska Native artist Rico Worl jumped at the chance to create for the U.S. Postal Service a stamp he hopes will be a gateway for people to learn about his Tlingit culture. A ceremony marking the release of Worl’s Raven Story stamp was held in Juneau, where Worl lives. Raven, a trickster or transformer, is a key figure in Tlingit culture. Worl described as an influence for the stamp a story in which Raven discovers that a clan leader had in his possession the sun, moon, and stars. Raven assumed human form to share those items with the world. The stars were in the last box Raven opened.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Biden Seeks To Revive Vaccine Effort With New Rules And Incentives
New York Times, Mcihael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Annie Karni, July 29
President Biden on Thursday sought to revive the nation’s stalled push to vaccinate Americans against the surging Delta variant of the coronavirus, announcing new requirements for federal workers to be vaccinated and urging local and state governments to offer $100 to anyone willing to get a shot voluntarily.
Juneau Requires Masks Again As COVID-19 Cases Rise
KTOO, Jeremy Hsieh, July 29
Juneau emergency officials are raising the city’s COVID-19 risk level from moderate to high and mandating partial restrictions to limit the disease’s spread, effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday. The main change that goes with that is a requirement for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in indoor public settings, and outdoors when people can’t keep 6 feet apart.
Native Americans, State Leaders Grapple With Legal Uncertainty In Oklahoma
VOA News, Cecily Hilleary, July 31
Emotions are running high in the U.S. state of Oklahoma one year after the most important Indian law decision in a century: In July 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had never formally disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma, created by an 1833 treaty and extending across the eastern half of the state.
Promised Land Recap: Osage Nation Seeks Reservation Reaffirmation
NonDoc, Tres Savage, Joe Tomlinson, August 1
As with most complex civil issues, many people will readily admit that they have not been keeping up with the cascade of news about the affirmed Indian Country reservations in eastern Oklahoma. To be sure, many tribal citizens, state leaders, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, other lawyers and victim advocacy groups are particularly focused on the topic.
Legacy Of Indigenous Boarding Schools In Colorado Includes Unmarked Graves And Generational Scars
CPR News, Claire Cleveland, August 2
When Dzabahe was 11 years old, she went to her first government-run boarding school in rural Arizona around 1953. She left everything she knew on the Navajo reservation where she grew up. “You became an orphan on that day,” she said. “My life was a shamble because everything that I was, everything that I believed in, my language, everything, I learned I was doing it all wrong.”
Cleveland Guardians’ Name Change Isn’t The End Of Fight Against Racist Symbols In Sports
NBC News, Graham Lee Brewer, July 30
Cleveland’s decision to change the name of its baseball team to the Guardians is the latest move in a growing effort to rid major league sports of racist symbols, but experts and advocates say the work is far from done. Many such representations of Indigenous peoples remain on the local level at thousands of public schools and colleges across the nation, they say.
American Jobs Plan Will Boost Cherokee Nation
Native News Online, Chuck Hoskin Jr., August 1
For Cherokee families and businesses to thrive in the modern era, we must have well-maintained roads, clean water, fast internet connectivity, and access to great education and job training. Cherokee Nation knows the importance of both the “hard” infrastructure of steel and asphalt and the “soft” infrastructure of economic development and family supports. That’s why we have long been a strong leader and partner in building infrastructure to strengthen our region’s economy.
“The Red Road To DC” Totem Pole Contains Strong Messages Of Survival
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 1
Last Tuesday, dozens of American Indians from Michigan tribes gathered on the shores of the Straits of Mackinac to see the “Red Road to DC” totem pole. It was the last official stop on its cross-country journey from the Lummi Nation, based in Bellingham, Wash. to Washington, D.C.
Guest Opinion: Medicaid Is A Lifeline In Indian Country, But More Work Remains
Billings Gazette, Rodney Bodreaux, August 1
As President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, I am a firsthand witness to the profound health care challenges that our people face, a crisis that confronts Indian Country nationwide. Nationally, compared to white adults, American Indian adults are almost three times more likely to lack insurance. In South Dakota the disparity is even greater. At the same time, people in our communities are also much more likely to experience serious health challenges like obesity, a physical disability, or a substance use disorder, making access to health care that much more critical.
Man From Gallup Pleads Guilty To Second-Degree Murder In Indian Country
Picayune Item, August 1
Darrell Desiderio, 44, of Gallup, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, pleaded guilty on July 26 in federal court to second-degree murder in Indian Country. Desiderio will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.
Native Americans Press For The Reburial Of Ancestors And Return Of Cultural Items
Los Angeles Times, Celina Tebor, July 31
Curtis Zunigha remembers shedding tears when he heard the age of one Native American whose remains were part of a reburial ceremony in Ohio several years ago.
It was a girl, 11 when she died. Her young age, which reminded Zunigha of his granddaughter, along with the girl’s inclusion among the many Indigenous people throughout U.S. history who experienced indignities such as being moved from their homelands, left him shaken.
Saginaw Grant, Noted Native American Character Actor, Dies
AP News, July 30
Saginaw Grant, a prolific Native American character actor and hereditary chief of the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma, has died. He was 85. Grant died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes on Wednesday at a private care facility in Hollywood, California, said Lani Carmichael, Grant’s publicist and longtime friend.
Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative Awarded MacArthur Funds To Support Native Transition To Clean Energy
Yahoo! Finance, July 30
Covenant Tribal Solar Initiative, a Native-led nonprofit organization that empowers American Indian tribes to replace extractive energy systems with clean, regenerative energy has received a $775,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for its work supporting Native American tribes as they pursue energy sovereignty and a return to self-determination.
Alaska Native Artist Creates Stamp For Postal Service
AP News, Becky Bohrer, July 30
Alaska Native artist Rico Worl said he jumped at the chance to create for the U.S. Postal Service a stamp he hopes will be a gateway for people to learn about his Tlingit culture. “I think a lot of people already are learning that there’s a lot more richness in authentic work, and authentic work from Indigenous people and the stories that are there,” he told The Associated Press in a recent interview.