As reported yesterday, Census Bureau has announced that they will cease field data collection by September 30, a month earlier than previous directives. The shortened timeline is worrying researchers, politicians and others who say the change will miss Hard-to-Count communities. Updated language from the May version of the legislation to extend the Census deadlines was introduced into the House yesterday by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Updates to be forthcoming this week.

The Department of the Treasury’s CARES Act distribution formula determined 25 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native tribal entities had zero population and therefore were only allocated the minimum distribution of $100,000 of CARES relief funding. At least two federally recognized tribes have sued the Treasury for undercounting their populations, including the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, as reported by NUNA yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that no oil and gas royalties will be paid until the lawsuit between the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation), and the state of North Dakota over mineral rights beneath the riverbed of the Missouri River on the Fort Berthold Reservation is settled.

All four Native candidates running for office in Kansas won their primary elections Tuesday, including twenty-six-year-old first-time candidate Christina Haswood (Diné) who won her primary with 70 percent of the vote and would become Kansas’ youngest sitting legislator.

The Cherokee Nation announced the tribe has recorded a 200 percent increase of COVID-19 cases in a 30-day period due to improper social distancing and mask usage, according to the Cherokee Nation Public Health team. Positive cases climbed from 219 to 684 between June 27 and July 27.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Tuesday Update: Navajo Nation Reports 17 New COVID-19 Cases

Native News Online, August 4

On Tuesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 17 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and one more death. The total number of deaths has reached 463 as of Tuesday. Reports indicate that 6,747 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 82,708 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 9,156.

Cherokee Nation Urges Caution and Safe Practices to Contain COVID-19 Outbreak

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 4

The Cherokee Nation sounded the alarm on Monday citing a 200 percent increase of COVID-19 cases in a 30-day period. Positive cases climbed from 219 to 684 between June 27 and July 27. The Cherokee Nation Public Health team says the significant increase can be attributed to gatherings where social distancing measures and proper mask usage have not been observed.

Red Lake Nation (Minnesota), August 4

The Red Lake Nation has established a COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Relief Program to help citizens during the pandemic. Payments of $1,000 are available to adult citizens, according to an August 3, 2020, press release. As of August 3, the Red Lake Emergency Response Team has confirmed 38 COVID-19 cases, Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr, said in a video update. Of those, 13 have recovered while the remaining 25 are being isolated in their respective communities.


More Than Two Dozen Federally Recognized Tribes Have ‘Zero Population’ According To Treasury Formula

Native News Online, August 4 

The Department of the Treasury’s CARES Act distribution formula determined 25 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native tribal entities had zero population.

The formula, which was used to allocate $8 billion in relief funds for tribal governments, was based on population data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program for Indian Housing Block Grants, which doesn’t count tribal members who live off the reservation.  Tribes with zero population were allocated the minimum distribution of $100,000 of CARES relief funding.

Census 2020:

Worries About 2020 Census’ Accuracy Grow With Cut Schedule 

Associated Press, Mike Schneider, August 4

The U.S. Census Bureau is cutting its schedule for data collection for the 2020 census a month short as legislation that would have extended the national head count’s deadlines stalls in Congress. The move is worrying researchers, politicians and others who say the change will miss hard-to-count communities, including minorities and immigrants, and produce less trustworthy data.

2020 Census To End Data Collection Sept. 30, Raising Concerns About Undercounting 

ABC News, Stephanie Ebbs, August 4

The Census Bureau plans to finish collecting data by the end of September, a month earlier than expected, raising concerns that the 2020 Census might not have time to count everyone before the deadline.

With Census Count Finishing Early, Fears Of A Skewed Tally Rise 

New York Times, Michael Wines and Richard Fuasset, August 4

With the Trump administration’s decision to end the 2020 census count four weeks early, the Census Bureau now has to accomplish what officials have said it cannot do: accurately count the nation’s hardest-to-reach residents — nearly four of every 10 households — in just six weeks.


Federal Judge Stops Mineral Royalties Pending Court Ruling in Three Affiliated Tribes Lawsuit

Native News Online, August 4

A federal judge last Friday ruled that royalties from oil and gas will not be paid until a conflict decision is issued between the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation), also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes, and the state of North Dakota over mineral rights beneath the riverbed of the Missouri River on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Last month, the Three Affiliated Tribes sued the U.S. government due to the Department of the Interior’s failure to complete title and mapping work in the portion of the riverbed on their reservation.

All 4 Native Candidates In Kansas Win Their Primaries

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, August 4

All four Native candidates running for office in Kansas won their primary elections Tuesday, including one who is the presumptive winner of a state House seat, and will become Kansas’ youngest sitting legislator, after no one filed to run against her in November. Indian Country Today is following 21 Native candidates seeking various offices Aug. 4 in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan and Washington.

Three MHA Nation Officials Charged In Bribery Kickback Scheme

Native News Online, August 4 

Federal criminal charges outline a bribery kickback scheme on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation that allegedly funneled more than hundreds of thousands of dollars to two current tribal government officials and a former official of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, or MHA Nation. The alleged criminal activity spans 2013 through 2020 and involves at least $1.9 million combined in bribes and kickbacks paid by a construction contractor to the three officials, according to affidavits in the criminal complaints unsealed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.

Sharice Davids: ‘The Native Vote Cannot Be Underestimated’

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, August 4

U.S Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas made history in 2018 when she was one of the first two Native women elected to Congress. Two years later, she’s running again. This time, for reelection in a crowded field of Republican candidates. Davids, who currently represents Kansas’ 3rd district, ran unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. She will face Amanda Adkins, former chairwoman of the Kansas GOP, in the November general election. The Republican primary was a race between five candidates.

Alaskan Pebble Mine:

Donald Trump Jr. Tweets Opposition To Pebble Mine

Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, August 4 

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted opposition Tuesday to a massive copper and gold mining project in Alaska that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the final stages of deciding whether to permit. Trump Jr. commented on and retweeted a message from Nick Ayers, former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. Ayers had posted: “Like millions of conservationists and sportsmen, I am hoping @realDonaldTrump will direct @EPA to block the Pebble mine in Bristol Bay. A Canadian company will unnecessarily mine the USA’s greatest fishery at a severe cost. This should be stopped and I believe @POTUS will do so!”

Pebble Mine In Alaska: Key Events

Indian Country Today, Meghan Sullivan, August 4 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently issued a final environmental impact statement for a proposed mining project near the Bristol Bay watershed area in Alaska. However, the mine’s creation could also potentially damage the Bristol Bay watershed ecosystem, putting the area’s abundant salmon population in danger. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bristol Bay produces about half the world’s sockeye salmon. Alaska Native tribes in the region have also relied upon the salmon for thousands of years.

Bristol Bay Tribes Overjoyed with Congressional Intervention on Pebble Mine

Alaska Native News, Alannah Hurley, August 4

Bristol Bay Tribes reacted to the news that the House of Representatives acted Thursday to help stop the permitting process that is fast-tracking Pebble’s toxic proposal with optimism. “Quyana and chin’an to the members of Congress who voted to defend Bristol Bay today,” said UTBB Executive Director Alannah Hurley. “After nearly two decades of working to protect our region from this toxic project, it is heartening to see leadership in Congress stand with us and refuse to allow a foreign mining company to desecrate the national treasure that is our home.


As COVID Shutters Casinos, Indian Country Reels

Bloomberg, Adam Minter, August 4

On March 19, the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula closed down its two casinos to protect employees and patrons from Covid-19. Bryan Newland, the tribal chairman, told me over the phone that the reservation had lost a full quarter of its annual revenue, which is used to fund everything from infrastructure to scholarships. Even after re-opening last month, things haven’t gotten much better. The casinos are operating at 50% capacity, or “just enough to keep people employed.”

Nationwide Protests:

Black Activism Ripples Through Indian Country And Beyond

Indian Country Today, Mary 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. From slavery and voting rights battles to the long hot summer of 1967 to the chaotic summer of 2020, Black leaders have paved the way for change for Native Americans and others.


The Anonymous Professor Who Wasn’t 

New York Times, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Ezra Marcus, August 4

An anonymous anthropology professor remained outspoken about fairness in academia even as she suffered for months with coronavirus.

Feds Open Rapid City Office For Missing Indigenous Cases

AP News, August 4

Federal investigators on Tuesday opened an office in Rapid City dedicated to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans, particularly women and girls. The office will be one of seven created by President Donald Trump as part of the Operation Lady Justice Task Force. The initiative aims to develop protocols for law enforcement to respond to missing and slain Native American persons cases and to improve data and information collection.

Luján Discusses Importance Of Broadband For Tribal Communities During Covid-19 Pandemic, August 4

Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, participated in a conversation about the importance of increasing access to broadband in Tribal communities. Joined by representatives from the American Library Association, the Santa Fe Indian School, and the Jemez Pueblo Community Library, the congressman discussed how Tribal libraries can serve as entry points for providing greater connectivity to underserved communities.

National Museum Of The American Indian To Host Virtual Ceremony To Mark Completion Of The National Native American Veterans Memorial, August 4

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will host a virtual event Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, to mark the completion of the National Native American Veterans Memorial. The event will also acknowledge the service and sacrifice on Native veterans and their families. More information about the virtual event is forthcoming. This will be the first national landmark in Washington, D.C., to focus on the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military.