Two people working on the Keystone XL oil pipeline have tested positive for COVID-19 in northern Montana, but the company said that construction work will continue. Local tribes and others along the pipeline’s route have raised concerns that workers could bring the virus into rural communities under-equipped to handle a large outbreak.
President Trump said he would “listen to both sides” in an upcoming briefing focused on a proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay Region. This follows requests made by his eldest son and a campaign adviser urging the President to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block the proposed Pebble Mine.
Construction is underway on the Kings Mountain casino in North Carolina owned by the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation despite an impending lawsuit threatening to halt the project. Twelve members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians joined their tribe as individual plaintiffs against the Department of the Interior over its taking of what they say is Cherokee land into trust for the casino.
The Alaska Federation of Natives put out a press release expressing their concern over the Census Bureau’s shortened timeline to complete a full count of the population. Alaska’s response rate is just 49%, and that number does not include responses from rural Alaska – an area which the Bureau has historically found hard-to-count.
Alaska Chief Justice Joel Bolger has picked Melanie Bahnke of Nome for the final seat on the board that will redraw Alaska’s congressional districts following the 2020 Census. Bahnke is the president and CEO of regional nonprofit Kawerak Inc. and is an Alaska Federation of Natives board member.
2 Keystone XL Pipeline Workers Get Virus, But Work Continues
AP News, August 6
Two people working on the Keystone XL oil pipeline have tested positive for COVID-19 in northern Montana, but the company said Thursday that construction work on the disputed project will continue after a temporary shut down of a pipe storage yard. Native American tribes and others along the pipeline’s 1,200-mile (1,930-mile) route have raised concerns that workers could bring the virus into rural communities unable to handle a large outbreak.
Navajo Elders: Alone, Without Food, In Despair
Searchlight New Mexico, Sunnie Clahchischiligi, August 6
Since the pandemic hit, memories and thoughts of my grandmother are ever present. The coronavirus, as of Aug. 4, has infected 9,139 people on the Navajo Nation and killed 462, many of them elderly. What would it be like if my grandmother were here during COVID? I wondered. Could I keep myself from visiting for months? What would my family do to keep her safe? Are elders around the reservation getting the attention they need during the pandemic? And, most importantly, do they have enough water and food? I decided to find out.
Navajo Nation Eases Weekend Lockdowns To 32 Hours
Native News Online, August 6
With the flattening of the curve of COVID-19 positive cases on the Navajo Indian Reservation, Navajo Nation officials have eased off the 57-hour weekend lockdown to 32-hour lockdown beginning this weekend. The Navajo Nation will implement a 32-hour weekend lockdown beginning on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 9:00 p.m. (MDT) until Monday, Aug. 10 at 5:00 a.m. The daily curfew will also be changed to 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Wind River Reservation Resident Dies Due To COVID-19
Indianz.com, August 6
The Northern Arapaho Tribe is deeply saddened that COVID-19 has touched our people once again. Our friend, a male elder and non-Member, had been married for more than five decades to a Tribal Member who herself was claimed by the virus earlier this week. The NABC is not naming either individual out of respect for the privacy of the family.
Navajo Nation Reports 39 New COVID-19 Cases; Death Toll Stands at 467
Native News Online, August 5
On Wednesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 39 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and four more deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 467 as of Wednesday. Reports indicate that 6,766 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 83,527 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 9,195.
AFN Concerned By Census Plan To Cut Short The Natinoal Count
Anchorage Press, August 6
The Alaska Federation of Natives is deeply concerned by Monday’s official announcement by the Census Bureau that it plans to cut the national count a month short, ending its operations on September 30.
Trump Says He’ll Listen To Both Sides On Alaska Mine Project
AP News, Becky Bohrer, August 6
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would “listen to both sides” after his eldest son and a campaign adviser urged him to intervene to block a proposed copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. Trump said there was an upcoming briefing, but it wasn’t clear who would be involved or what it would entail. The White House said it was not in a position at this time to comment further.
Dakota Access Pipeline Can Stay Open, Court Rules
Native News Online, August 6
A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday ruled the Dakota Access pipeline can remain open. The decision reversed U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg’s decision handed down on July 6 that demanded the pipeline shut down pending additional environmental review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).
Work Begins On Casino That’s Pitting Tribe Against Tribe
Indian Country Today, Joseph Martin, August 6
Construction is underway on a North Carolina casino owned by the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation, even as additional plaintiffs join a lawsuit seeking to block the project. The Catawba Indian Nation broke ground July 22 on its Kings Mountain casino near Charlotte. Early last month, 12 members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina joined their tribe as plaintiffs against the U.S. Interior Department over its taking of what they say is Cherokee land into trust for the Catawba.
Native American Casino Owners Reflect On COVID Crisis And Share Strategies For Reopening
Indianz.com, August 6
Troy Wyatt, founder of Seattle Entertainment Group, recently conducted a survey to understand how Native American casino owners are handling reopening during COVID-19. Troy contacted over 457 tribal chairmen-women and over 230 CEOs from native-owned casinos nationwide and compiled the most compelling results of his Native casino COVID-19 survey on his website
Final Pick For Alaska’s Redistricting Board Is Native Nonprofit CEO From Nome
Anchorage Daily News, James Brooks, August 7
Alaska Chief Justice Joel Bolger has picked Melanie Bahnke of Nome for the final seat on the board that will redraw Alaska’s election boundaries following the 2020 census. Bahnke is the president and CEO of regional nonprofit Kawerak Inc. and is an Alaska Federation of Natives board member.
The American Indian Graduate Center’s 50th Anniversary Marked By Gift From MacKenzie Scott
Forbes, Michael T. Nietzel, August 7
The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) reached an important milestone in 2020 – its 50th anniversary of service to college-bound Native American students. Although the Center elected, in light of the coronavirus, to forego any formal celebrations, it still has had plenty to cheer about this year.
Land Grab: Native Americans Demand More Recognition From Ohio Universities
WOSU, Caitlin Hunt, August 7
Growing up in Cleveland, Cherokee tribal member Nicole Doran said Chief Wahoo always made her uncomfortable.
CDC: More American Indian, Alaska Natives In Fair, Poor Health
Urban Health Today, August 6
American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) adults are more likely to be in fair or poor health than all U.S. adults, according to an August data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.
Oneida Nation-Owned Bay Bank Plans Branch On Menominee Reservation
Native News Online, August 6
Bay Bank, a financial institution owned by Oneida Nation, plans to open a branch office on the nearby Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s reservation. The new Bay Bank location, which is scheduled to open later this year, will be the first bank branch office on the Menominee reservation, according to a statement. The branch in Keshena, Wis. will adjoin a small existing gas station that’s being renovated into the Standing Pines Convenience Store and car wash, located across from Menominee Casino Resort.
Alaska CEO’s Legacy Is A Renowned Model For Tribal Health Services
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, August 6
Katherine Gottlieb, Sugpiaq, oversaw a period of massive growth and change in one of Alaska’s main Native health care providers. During her 30 years with Southcentral Foundation, all but four at the helm, the organization grew more than a hundred-fold and transformed primary care services for Native Americans in the Anchorage area and other parts of Alaska. It has become an international model for patient-centered care. Gottlieb, its president and CEO, resigned Monday.
New Cherokee Language Department Connects Us To Who We Are As A People
Indianz.com, Chuck Hoskin Jr., August 6
Preserving the Cherokee language and growing the number of Cherokee speakers are critical to our tribe’s future. My administration and I view this as a top priority. Over the past year, we have enhanced our current language programs and expanded into new areas.Cherokee Nation has now launched a dedicated language department. All of our language education programs will finally be under the same umbrella, working together seamlessly.
Ready, Set, Go: Louis Tewanima Footrace Runs Virtually Sept. 6
Cronkite News, Derrick Smith, August 6
Every year for 46 years, hundreds of runners met at the village of Shungopavi, Second Mesa, on Hopi land, to race in honor of Louis Tewanima, a Hopi who won a silver medal in the Olympics in 1912. It was a gathering of community. “We see the camaraderie when all the runners are there, they know each other,” said Max Taylor, Tewanima’s nephew. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change into how the race will be conducted, but the event will still foster community and honor Tewanima, a humble man who was a great runner, organizers said.
Dedication Ceremony Rescheduled for the National Native American Veterans Memorial
Native News Online, August 5
The dedication ceremony of the National Native American Veterans Memorial that was scheduled for Veterans Day on Nov. 11 has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A veterans’ procession also scheduled for that date has been postponed as well. In its place, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will host a virtual event on Nov. 11 to mark the completion of the National Native American Veterans Memorial.