The New York Times reports on the continued difficulties that the Census Bureau has had getting a full and accurate count in California especially in the immigrant community, and the impact the shortened deadline will have on enumeration efforts. NBC News reports on how the shortened schedule for the 2020 Census, called “an insidious ploy” by New York City’s Census director Julie Menin, could have long term, dire consequences across the country.
The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Citizen Potawatomie Nations are asking a federal court to void gambling compacts between the state of Oklahoma, the Comanche Nation, and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe. A lawsuit was filed asking for a declaration that the U.S. Department of the Interior violated federal law by allowing the agreements Governor Kevin Stitt signed with the two tribes to take effect. While the Oklahoma Supreme Court already declared the agreements invalid, the tribes said in a statement that “their validity under Federal law must also be addressed to avoid damage to the integrity of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”
In preparation for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota which is expected to draw crowds of over 250,000, the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe has announced that tourists will not be allowed through tribal checkpoints on their reservation.
U.S. Senators Martha McSally and Martin Heinrich are introducing legislation to authorize a one-time $89 million infusion of funds into the Navajo Electrification Demonstration Program (NEDP) to empower the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) to implement projects that bring electric power to Navajo households.
Following spikes in confirmed COVID-19 cases believed to be caused by unsafe gatherings during the July Fourth weekend, the Spirit Lake Nation and the reservation’s primary county in northeastern North Dakota have reported the most confirmed new cases per capita in the state in the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the Crow Tribe in Montana ordered its members to lock down for two weeks because the stay-at-home orders in effect since mid-March have been ineffective.
Keep reading for a full news update.
In California, It Will Take More than A Parade To Save An Imperiled Census
New York Times, Miriam Jordan, August 9
For one day at least, as a 10-car parade of vehicles with honking horns, pompoms and signs reading “Get Counted” crawled through this predominantly Latino agricultural town about 70 miles east of Los Angeles on Friday, it was hard to forget that the 2020 census was going on and that it mattered.
The U.S. Census 2020: Stepping Up Outreach Efforts In Indian Country
Native News Online, August 9
Time is running out for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) to get counted in the Census 2020. And the timeline just got shorter because the U.S. Census Bureau announced on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, the final deadline for the Census is Sept. 30, 2020, instead of Oct. 31, 2020. The Census is the effort to conduct an official count of the citizens of the United States and is conducted only every ten years.
Census Hasn’t Always Counted Native Americans. Now It Tries.
The Durango Herald, Jacob Wallace, August 9
Norbert Nez is worried about the census. A self-described map enthusiast, he took a job with the Census in 1990 as an enumerator fresh out of college and eager to find a decent-paying job. Nez spent that summer traveling to remote parts of the Navajo Nation, armed with maps dating to the 1940s as he navigated dirt roads to tell fellow Navajos about the importance of being counted.
Census Bureau Drop-Outs Complicate Door-Knocking Efforts
AP News, Mike Schneider, August 8
Bob Garick was looking forward to being a field supervisor during the door-knocking phase of the 2020 census, but as the number of new coronavirus cases in Florida shot up last month, he changed his mind.
‘An Insidious Ploy’: Trump Admin’s Decision To Cut Census Short Could Have Dire Consequences
NBC News, Dartunorro Clark, August 8
In 2017, a government watchdog agency placed the 2020 census on its “high-risk” list — sounding the alarm to the public and lawmakers that the vital decennial count faced near-insurmountable odds.
4 Tribes Sue Over Oklahoma Gambling Compacts With 2 Others
AP News, Ken Miller, August 8
Four Oklahoma tribes are asking a federal court to void gambling compacts between the state of Oklahoma and two other tribes — agreements that the Oklahoma State Supreme Court recently invalidated. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Citizen Potawatomie Nations filed a lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking for a declaration that the U.S. Department of Interior violated federal law by allowing the agreements Gov. Kevin Stitt signed with the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouira Tribe to take effect.
Native Hawaiian Candidates Cruise To November
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, August 9
An open U.S. House seat will have three Native Hawaiian candidates on the general election ballot, with one being a Democratic front-runner in heavily blue Hawaii. Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele captured 66 percent of the vote Saturday in a Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, which covers suburban Honolulu and the state’s more rural islands. Republican candidate Joe Akana beat out eight other GOP challengers with nearly 39 percent of the vote. The third Native Hawaiian candidate, Jonathan Hoomanawanui, is a member of the newly formed Aloha ‘Aina Party and ran unopposed Saturday.
Mexico Sets Up Justice Commission For Yaqui Indians
AP News, August 7
The Mexican government on Friday set up a Justice Commission for the Yaqui People, looking to solve the land, water and infrastructure problems of what President Andrés Manuel López Obrador calls Mexico’s most persecuted Indigenous group. The Yaquis were attacked and temporarily evicted from their homeland in northern Mexico’s Sonora state over 100 years ago.
Annual Sturgis Rally Expecting 250k, Stirring Virus Concerns
AP News, Stephen Groves, August 10
More than 250,000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota for the 80th edition of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, seeking the freedom of cruising the boundless landscapes in a state that has skipped lockdowns. But, tourists heading to the rally will not be allowed through tribal checkpoints on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The regulation is part of the tribe’s COVID-19 prevention policies, which may change as the pandemic improves or worsens.
Navajo ‘Water Warrior’ Drives Miels During COVID TO Deliver To Those In Need
Cronkite News, Jacqueline Robledo, August 10
When the sun is up, he’s up and ready to hit the road by 8. Flatbed trucks are loaded with brimming barrels of water, and the teams take off — up and down the burnt orange washboard roads that crisscross the Navajo Nation.
Native American Tribes Set Up COVID-19 Checkpoints And Block Thousands Of Mask-Less Bikers Passing Through Reservation Land En Route To 10-Day Motorcycle Festival In Sturgis, South Dakota
Daily Mail, Marlene Lenthang, August 9
Native American tribes have set up checkpoints to block thousands of bikers attending a 10-day motorcycle rally in South Dakota from entering reservation lands. The Cheyenne River Sioux tribe has set up strategic checkpoints to prevent attendees of the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally from coming in for fear of a potential coronavirus outbreak in the city of 7,000 people. The annual event, which is anticipated to attract 250,000 bikers, kicked off Friday and guests have been seen without masks, as they’re not required, and flouting social distancing guidelines as they packed in for concerts, bars, and riding events.
Saturday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 36 New Cases And Two More Deaths
Native News Online, August 8
On Saturday, the Nez-Lizer Administration partnered with the Winslow Indian Health Care Center to distribute food and essential supplies to 571 families in the communities of Winslow, Leupp, and Dilkon to help keep people home and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the Navajo Nation hard. Meanwhile, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported on Saturday 36 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and two more deaths.
Students Use ‘Power Of Storytelling’ To Highlight Health Inequities
Indian Country Today, Meghan Sullivan, August 7
Too often, mainstream news stories about health challenges in Indian Country focus on a “deficit-based narrative — just the statistics,” says Sasha Houston Brown, who works for the Center of Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. Brown, Mdewakanton Dakota from the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska, was one of the leaders of a virtual Digital Media Arts Camp held this week where students used mixed media to produce journalism projects focused on the impacts of systematic racism in the health field.
Virus Spikes Take North Dakota Tribes ‘Back To Square One’
AP News, Dave Kolpack, August 7
The Spirit Lake Nation in northeastern North Dakota took measures in the spring to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, including the financially painful decision to close the casino where many tribal members work. COVID-19 numbers stayed relatively low. Then residents became complacent and attended gatherings over the July Fourth weekend, translating into a spike in cases, tribal officials said. The reservation’s primary county, Benson County, has had the most confirmed new cases per capita in the state in the last two weeks, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Virus Spread Forces Lockdown On Crow Reservation
AP News, Iris Samuels, August 7
The Crow Tribe in Montana ordered its members to lock down for two weeks beginning Friday as tribal leaders moved to slow a sharp spike in coronavirus cases and deaths on yet another reservation in the country. Crow Tribe Chairman Alvin Not Afraid said the lockdown is necessary because a stay-at-home order in effect since mid-March has been ineffective. “We cannot afford to risk our future and the risks are just too great for the Crow people,” Not Afraid said.
US Reports Show Racial Disparities In Kids With COVID-19
AP News, Mike Stobbe, August 7
The coronavirus has exposed racial fractures in the U.S. health care system, as Black, Hispanic and Native Americans have been hospitalized and killed by COVID-19 at far higher rates than other groups. Racial disparities in the U.S. COVID-19 epidemic extend to children, according to two sobering government reports released Friday. One of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports looked at children with COVID-19 who needed hospitalization. Hispanic children were hospitalized at a rate eight times higher than white kids, and Black children were hospitalized at a rate five times higher, it found.
Yakutat Tlingit Tribe Awarded Cares Act Grant To Build Energy-efficient Housing
KCAW.org, Erin McKinstry, August 7
The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe has won a competitive CARES Act grant to construct three energy-efficient homes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday that the Tribe will receive $900,000 as part of the Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat program. Congress allocated an additional $100 million to the program this spring as part of the federal coronavirus relief funding package.
Pearl River Resort To Reopen 1 Mississippi Casino Friday
AP News, August 7
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is planning a phased reopening of its Pearl River Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic. The tribe said its Bok Homa Casino in Sandersville is opening its doors Friday. Golden Moon Hotel & Casino in Neshoba County will open a week later, on Aug. 14. Reopening has not been set for Silver Star Casino, which is across a highway from Golden Moon and is connected by a pedestrian bridge.
Chestnut Hill Asks Philadelphia Cricket Club To Retire Its ‘Offensive’ Native American Logo
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeff Gammage, August 9
A Chestnut Hill church has asked the neighboring Philadelphia Cricket Club to get rid of its feathered American Indian head logo because it projects “a painful racial insensitivity into our neighborhood.”
Missouri Town Divided By Move TO Change Its ‘Savages’ Mascot
AP News, August 9
A nearly all-white northwest Missouri town is divided over an effort to change its high school’s “Savages” mascot that depicts a Native American amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice.
Native Mascots Still A Sticking Point In High School Sports
AP News, Sophia Eppolito, August 8
While advocates have made strides in getting Native American symbols and names changed in sports, they say there’s still work to do mainly at the high school level. Momentum is building during a nationwide push for racial justice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the NFL team in Washington dropping the offensive team name.
Missouri Town Divided By Move To Change Its Mascot
AP News, August 8
A nearly all-white northwest Missouri town is divided over an effort to change its high school’s mascot that depicts a Native American amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice. The high school had the mascot since at least 1926 and the name and the image of a Native American are emblazoned around the community. Savannah, a town of about 5,000 residents about 65 miles (104.61 kilometers) north of Kansas City, was built on land that once belonged to several Native American tribes.
Native Kid Singers Open Call For A New Animated Series
Indian Country Today, Vincent Schilling, August 8
The agency responsible for casting such iconic films as “The Revenant,” “Woman Walks Ahead,” “Blood Quantum,” and more is currently looking for Native children ages 8 to 12 who want to audition for an upcoming musical animated series. The Rene Haynes Casting announcement says it is searching for “series regular leads in an upcoming original animated series.”
Biden Says He Opposes Uranium Mining Around Grand Canyon, Citing Importance To Tribes
AZ Central, Debra Krol, August 7
Former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Friday he opposed uranium mining around the Grand Canyon. “The Grand Canyon is first among the landmarks of our nation — holy to the Tribes who preserve it and call it home, and sacred to all Americans,” said the statement. “This national treasure attracts millions of visitors each year, supporting thousands of jobs for Arizonans and contributing more than $1 billion to the state economy.”
Oldest Recorded Powwow In North America Meets COVID-19
Indianz.com, Brian Lightfoot Brown, August 7
Cultural and social gatherings have been forced into cancelations and socially distanced variations. Tribes struggle to protect their communities and at-risk members of those communities. Even annual powwows are being canceled or at least done in a virtual online manner. Such is the case for the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island. This August was slated to be their 345th annual feast of green corn, or their August Meeting Powwow, the oldest recorded powwow in North America held in Charlestown, Rhode Island on the tribe’s reservation.
Some Well-Meaning Californians Are Ignoring The Tribes They’re Trying To Help
Native News Online, Nannette Kelley, August 7
Due to COVID-19, record unemployment and California’s strict business closures and gathering bans have afforded people a unique window of time and opportunity to reflect on the places they reside. Simultaneously, people indigenous to these lands and their allies currently have time to hit the streets to educate and demonstrate against centuries-old inequities and injustices. Social media and news feeds are filled with Natives who now have time to hold protests and host informative Zoom webinars while millions of people are self-isolating at home watching these stories unfold.
One Piece Of The Language Puzzle
Indian Country Today, Kolby Kickingwoman, August 7
For years, tribes searched for innovative and creative ways to keep Indigenous languages alive. This week, the Cherokee Nation announced the completion of an animated series pilot called “Inage’i,” which translates to “In The Woods.” The episode was created through a collaboration between the tribe, the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, and FireThief Productions. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said the series will be good for tribal citizens of all ages.
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic Receives Grant Funding From Telligen Community Initiative
Indianz.com, August 7
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, received a $50,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative (TCI) to help support lean initiatives. TCI works to support projects in the priority funding areas of health innovation, health care workforce development and access to care for the underserved. Since 2014, TCI has awarded more than $10.3 million to 251 organizations and projects in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado.
McSally Introduces Legislation To Provide Electricity To Navajo Households
Indianz.com, August 6
U.S. Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are introducing legislation to authorize a one-time $89 million infusion of funds into the Navajo Electrification Demonstration Program (NEDP) to empower the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) to implement projects that bring electric power to Navajo households. The senators will be seeking the funding in a bill for COVID-relief or other near-term legislation. According to the NTUA, there are about 15,000 Navajo families that currently do not have electric power.