The U.S. Census Bureau announced yesterday that they will cease field data collection by September 30 of this year, a month sooner than previously announced. Roughly 4 out of 10 households nationwide are currently uncounted in the Census, and the shortened schedule means the Census Bureau now has less than two months left to try to reach people of color, immigrants, renters, rural residents and other members of historically undercounted groups who are not likely to fill out a census form on their own.
Congress is actively engaged to change the dates back to the original post-COVID-19 schedule established in April of 2020. As of this morning Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced updated legislation in the House of Representatives with language that states: “Sec. 6, NRFU OPERATION. For the 2020 decennial census of population, the Bureau of the Census shall conclude Nonresponse Followup operation and the self-response operation no earlier than October 31, 2020.” There are sign-on letters currently in circulation for tribal organizations and tribes in support of a Census extension. Please reach out to Ricki McCarroll directly for more information.
The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is suing the U.S. Department of the Treasury after being allocated the minimum distribution amount of $100,000 from the CARES Act. According to the Treasury Department’s calculations, the tribe has a population of zero, meaning the 605-member Miccosukee Tribe was only allocated the minimum distribution of $100,000.
Across Indian Country, tribes are finding ways to safely carry out the voting process for the primary election. On tribal land, election officials are putting up tents to ensure social distance is maintained, shortening hours for voting, and implementing a ticketing system that allows voters to cast their ballots curbside in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Indian Country Today is following 21 Native candidates seeking various offices in Tuesday’s primary elections in five states in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and Washington State. In Kansas, twenty-six year old Christina Haswood (Diné) is running for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives, and if elected would be the youngest current member of the Kansas Legislature.
Following the landmark Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma last month, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week confirmed that the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin still exists. In the decision, Judge David Hamilton describes McGirt as “adjusting” how the court must handle similar cases.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Statement from U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham: Delivering A Complete And Accurate 2020 Census Count
Census Bureau, August 3
The U.S. Census Bureau continues to evaluate its operational plans to collect and process 2020 Census data. Today, we are announcing updates to our plan that will include enumerator awards and the hiring of more employees to accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts by our statutory deadline of December 31, 2020, as required by law and directed by the Secretary of Commerce. The Census Bureau’s new plan reflects our continued commitment to conduct a complete count, provide accurate apportionment data, and protect the health and safety of the public and our workforce.
Census Cuts All Counting Efforts Short By A Month
NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, August 3
The U.S. Census Bureau is ending all counting efforts for the 2020 census on Sept. 30, a month sooner than previously announced, the bureau’s director confirmed Monday in a statement. That includes critical door-knocking efforts and collecting responses online, over the phone and by mail.
Census Bureau To Halt Counting Operation A Month Earlier Than Expected
CNN, Paul Leblanc and Gregory Wallace, August 3
The Census Bureau announced Monday evening that field data collection will end a full month earlier than originally planned.
Census Bureau Will Finish Count Earlier Than Expected, Deliver Data To Trump
Politico, Steven Shepard, August 3
The Census Bureau said late on Monday that it would finish collecting data for the decennial count next month and work to deliver population tallies to President Donald Trump that meet his constitutionally questionable order to exclude undocumented immigrants for the purpose of congressional apportionment.
Turning Air Into Water: How Native Americans Are Coping With Water Shortage Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic
The Hill, Anagha Srikanth, August 3
Washing your hands is one of the simplest preventative measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in fighting the spread of the coronavirus. But for thousands of Navajo and Hopi people, a preexisting water shortage now puts them at serious risk during the pandemic.
Navajo Nation Reports 36 New COVID-19 Cases On Monday; Death Toll At 462
Native News Online, August 3
On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 36 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and one more death. The total number of deaths has reached 462 as of Monday. Reports indicate that 6,743 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 82,148 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 9,139.
Food Insecurity Amid COVID-19 Prompts Native Americans To Return To Their Roots
Cronkite News, Katelyn Reinhart, August 3
From a traditional hogan in a remote area on the Utah-Arizona line, Cynthia Wilson spent much of her spring sourcing drought-resistant seeds, packing them in small manila envelopes and labeling them to ship to families across the Four Corners. When COVID-19 began sweeping through the Navajo Nation, Wilson started Seeds and Sheep, an initiative that provides Navajos with sheep to raise and the means to start their own gardens.
COVID-19 May Have Cancelled Powwows, But Powwow Food Is Making Its Way To Tribal Communities
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 3
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing normalcy across the country, those seeking to attend powwows have had to settle for virtual dancing and drumming. While virtually watching powwow dancers dressed in their colorful regalia satisfies cultural exchange for some, a popular Michigan powwow food vendor realized there are those who have been missing American Indian food fare.
Miccosukee Tribe Sues U.S. Treasury Over CARES Act Funding Formula
Native News Online, August 3
When it came time to distribute $8 billion in CARES Act funding set aside for tribal governments, the U.S. Department of Treasury determined the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida essentially did not exist. According to calculations in Treasury’s formula, which was based on American Indian or Alaska Native population data in the distribution of Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the 605-member Miccosukee Tribe had a population of zero.
‘We Have Been Vindicated’: Oneida Nation Celebrates Victory In Long-Running Soveregnty Case
Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, August 3
The historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma is having immediate impacts in Indian Country, with the Oneida Nation the first tribe to benefit from the changing legal landscape.
Counties Navigate Restrictions On Tribal Land For Primary
AP News, Felicia Fonseca, August 3
Tents are going up on the Navajo Nation with hand-washing stations. One tribe has shortened the hours for voting. A ticketing system will let voters in eastern Arizona cast a ballot curbside or inside. The coronavirus has forced changes to the way people will vote in Tuesday’s primary election. On tribal land, election officials are navigating the closure of businesses and government buildings, curfews and other restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Tuesday primaries feature 21 Native candidates
Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, August 3
Tuesday’s primary elections happening in five states across the country will narrow the field in statewide and legislative races. Indian Country Today is following 21 Native candidates seeking various offices in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan and Washington. Also holding a primary Tuesday is Missouri, though no Native candidates appear to be seeking office in the state. The elections, particularly in Kansas, could be one for the history books.
Federal Prosecutors File Sex Abuse Case Against McGirt, The Namesake For Landmark Supreme Court Indian Country Ruling
Muskogee Now, Leif M. Wright, August 3
Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal case against Jimcy McGirt, whose previous state conviction on sex charges was appealed to and overturned by the United States Supreme Court because the Oklahoma government had no jurisdiction to try McGirt, who is Native American, for the crime. The landmark decision recognized that tribes and the U.S. government have sole jurisdiction over Native Americans involved in crimes inside the borders of reservations.
Black Activists Inspire Generations Of Natives
Indian Country Today, Mary Annette Pember, August 4
As Indian Country joins the nation in honoring the legacy of civil rights icon John Lewis, we are reminded of the leadership of Black people, past and present, in demanding equality and justice for people of color.
Leonard Peltier: “My Medical Problems Are Not Getting Any Better. I Am Seriously Hurting.”
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 3
Citing health issues, Leonard Peltier (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) has taken his name off the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Even though he has been incarcerated for the past 44 years, Peltier, 75, was on the party’s presidential ticket as the vice-presidential candidate. His withdrawal from the ticket was announced by Gloria La Riva, who is running for president of the PSL, and who received a statement from Peltier.
Award-Winning Innovator In Alaska Tribal Health Resigns
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, August 3
The longtime president and CEO of one of Alaska’s leading tribal health care providers is resigning following the recent firing of her husband, a senior executive, and two dentists amid fraud allegations. Katherine Gottlieb, who has been with the Southcentral Foundation for more than 30 years, will conclude her service Aug. 31, the nonprofit said Monday.