Presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden stated that he opposes uranium mining in the Grand Canyon as well as the possible Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, citing the importance these areas possess for tribes in both cases. Following the announcement that Biden has picked Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate, Indian Country Today has gathered a record of Harris’ relationship with Indian Country over the past several years.

The Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s impeachment proceedings against Chairman Matthew Komalty are remaining at a standstill for the time being due to COVID-19 concerns and criticisms that Komalty’s due process rights are not being protected. Komalty is facing five impeachment counts, including allegations he violated the tribe’s constitution by spending CARES Act money without first getting a budget approved by the legislative branch or the Kiowa Indian Council.

The Pueblo of Zuni continues to be negatively impacted by the coronavirus on the tribe’s reservation in western New Mexico. As of August 2, 2020, 484 Zuni citizens have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Some 282 people have recovered, according to the tribe. Amid the recoveries, 30 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus as of August 6. An amended declaration of emergency from that date asserts there is “no end in sight” to the pandemic. Prior to August 6, the tribe announced the 28th death on July 30.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez sent a letter to President Trump and met with the U.S. pardon attorney in Washington, D.C. to advocate for clemency for Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on death row.

Five Native candidates in Minnesota will be on the ballot for state legislative elections in November following their primary victories yesterday.

Keep reading for a full news update.

Updated COVID-19 Numbers

Indian Country Today

Indian Country’s COVID-19 Syllabus

Center For Disease Control

Current Cases in the United States


Joe Biden Picks Sen. Kamala Harris To Be Running Mate

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 11

Ending weeks of speculation, former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has selected Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to be his running mate. Harris becomes only the fourth woman to be chosen to run for national office on a major political party ticket. As the attorney general of California, Harris interacted with American Indians and tribal leaders in her role. “Harris is a capable leader and we in Indian Country will expect great efforts to assist our people once elected – especially initiatives to help repair our economy,” said Tracy Stanhoff (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation), president of AD PRO and president of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California.

Kamala Harris’ Record In Indian Country Dates 10 Years

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, August 11

News broke Tuesday announcing Kamala Harris as the vice-presidential running mate to Joe Biden. So what is Harris’ experience working with Indian Country? Much of it stems from her time serving as California’s attorney general, her time as a U.S. senator and from her 10-month presidential run. Harris began serving as attorney general in 2011, where she gained both support and criticism from California tribes on a number of issues.

Native People Show Mixed Reactions To Kamala Harris

Indian Country Today, August 11

Prominent figures, tribal leaders, tribal citizens, and those who work in Indian Country were quick to celebrate and criticize presidential candidate Joe Biden’s selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as a running mate. Harris, 55, a California Democrat and former presidential candidate, is a first-term senator and former California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco. She is Black and of East Indian descent.’’

‘She Was Not Good For Indian Country’: Kamala Harris Back In Spotlight As Democratic Vice Presidential Pick, Acee Agoyo, August 11

A prominent U.S. Senator with a record of going against tribal interests is the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

5 Native Legislative Candidates Advance In Minnesota

Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, August 11

Minnesota will have five Native American candidates in state legislative races come November. The five candidates are Heather Keeler, Yankton Sioux; Jamie Becker-Finn, Leech lake Band of Ojibwe descent; Gaylene Spolarich, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; Alan Roy, White Earth Nation; and Mary Kunesh-Podein, Standing Rock Sioux descent.


‘My Statement On The Grand Canyon … On Bristol Bay’

Indian Country Today, Joe Bidon, August 10

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. 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.

Kiowa Chairman’s Impeachment Proceedings Remain In A Standstill

Native News Online, Lenzy Burton, August 10

The status of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s impeachment proceedings remained in a holding pattern over the weekend. Judge Shannon Edwards with the Court of Indian Offenses heard arguments for almost 90 minutes last Wednesday on whether to issue an injunction, thus further barring the Kiowa Tribe’s legislature from continuing impeachment hearings against Chairman Matthew Komalty.


Navajo Nation Reports 19 New COVID-19 Cases On Tuesday

Native News Online, August 11

On Tuesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 19 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 473 as previously reported on Monday. 6,893 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 86,258 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases is 9,334 and negative tests total 72,270.

Pueblo Of Zuni (New Mexico), August 11

The Pueblo of Zuni continues to be negatively impacted by the coronavirus on the tribe’s reservation in western New Mexico. As of August 2, 2020, 484 Zuni citizens have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Some 282 people have recovered, according to the tribe. Amid the recoveries, 30 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus as of August 6. An amended declaration of emergency from that date asserts there is “no end in sight” to the pandemic. Prior to August 6, the tribe announced the 28th death on July 30.


Navajo President Asks Donald Trump To Block Tribal Citizen’s Execution

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, August 11

The Navajo Nation is asking President Donald Trump to reduce the sentence of a Navajo citizen set to be executed by lethal injection later this month. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez appeared virtually before the U.S. pardon attorney in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to advocate for clemency for Lezmond Mitchell. Also in attendance at the hour-and-a-half meeting were two lawyers representing Mitchell.

Only American Indian On Death Row Asks President Trump For Clemency

Native News Online, August 11

With the support of the Navajo Nation, Lezmond Mitchell, the only American Indian on death row, is seeking presidential clemency from President Donald Trump. Mitchell faces execution on Aug. 26 without intervention. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer personally appealed to the president to request clemency for Mitchell in a letter sent to the White House.

National Native American Boarding School Coalition To Distribute Care Packages To Boarding School Survivors

Native News Online, August 11

Love is the theme of care packages being sent from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) to American Indian boarding school survivors or their direct descendants beginning in late August. The “We Love You!” elder care packages are being carefully arranged by volunteers from the Tulalip community in Washington state, and are filled with items that were created or produced by Indigenous artists, healers, entrepreneurs, companies and friends from across Turtle Island.

‘Keeping The Culture Alive’: Native Dance Goes Digital During Pandemic

Cronkite News, McKenzie Allen-Charmley, August 11

Singing, dancing, socializing, sharing food – the elements that make powwows an essential part of preserving Indigenous culture are the same ones that make them a coronavirus risk.

Native communities throughout the country have cancelled the traditional gatherings indefinitely as a result. But Tiny Rosales, a member of the Ojibwe tribe, has found a way to “to keep the people dancing.” In March, Rosales created a space on Facebook allowing families, schools and businesses to host virtual Native dance competitions from afar.

Apsáalooke Exhibition At Field Museum Avoids Stereotypes, Shows ‘Native Americans Are Still Here.’

Chicago Sun-Times, August 11

The atrocities committed against indigenous people by white settlers are being acknowledged in Chicago and across the country, but the “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” exhibit at the Field Museum isn’t about that. “We’re looking at resilience,” said its curator, Apsáalooke scholar Nina Sanders (or Akbileoosh/Brings the Water, her name in the tribe’s Crow language). Rather than focusing on indigenous suffering, she said, “you’re sort of immersed in art and narrative and music.” The exhibit is an exuberant display of Apsáalooke life and culture, both past and present.

‘They Know It’s Wrong.’ Some Call On Scouts To Change Use Of Native American Culture

The Kansas City Star, Andrea Klick, August 11

A lot of videos posted from personal accounts over the years depict the “Dance of Joy” celebration at the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation. Shirtless boys holding feathers move in circles around a large fire while singing in a 2011 video. Older men stand in the middle, wearing headdresses and Native American regalia as part of a Boy Scout tradition. But while professional sports teams in cities such as Washington, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City have been pushed over the years to change their mascots, names and traditions, criticism of the Boy Scouts hasn’t led to any widespread movement calling for change.

As Providers Turn To Telehealth During Covid-19, Calls Rise For More Resources In Indian Country

Cronkite News, Allie Barton, August 10

Before COVID-19, Joshuaa Allison-Burbank spent his days traversing the Navajo Nation, stopping at homes, libraries and schools to provide speech therapy and reading support for children with developmental disabilities. Now he sits at a computer in Waterflow, New Mexico, grappling with how to keep helping kids whose families may have no internet or laptops or iPhones – or, if they do, are coping with far more than a telehealth appointment that may or may not go off as planned.

Pop Culture Artists Team With Educators For Native Lessons

Indian Country Today, Sandra Schulman, August 10

With classroom education in disarray due to pandemic shutdowns, IllumiNative, a nonprofit founded by Crystal Echo Hawk, of Echo Hawk Consulting, and a group of respected Native artists including Bunky Echo-Hawk, Gregg Deal, and Jared Yazzie have teamed up to provide art lesson plans for schools featuring influential Native personalities. The plans create opportunities to showcase accurate and positive representations of Native peoples by illuminating contemporary Native art, voices, stories, issues and ideas in popular culture.

The Federal Government Gives Native Students An Inadequate Education, And Gets Away With It, Alden Woods, August 10

The Bureau of Indian Education has repeatedly neglected warnings that it is not providing a quality education for 46,000 Native students. Once called a “stain on our Nation’s history,” the school system has let down its students for generations.