The La Posta Band of the Diegueño Mission Indians have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to halt the construction of the border wall on the southern border in Dieguño ancestral lands.

The Democratic National Convention kicked off last night. Among the DNC participants, representing 37 different states, 113 are American Indians or Alaska Native. Representatives Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) and Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) are delegates.

Following reports that the current stimulus negotiations in Congress are held up over emergency funding for the Postal Service, Representative Davids has also called for the firing of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Ray Sean Tugatuk (Yup’ik) is running for Alaska’s sole seat in the United States House of Representatives. Tugatuk faces two other candidates in today’s primary for the Democratic nomination, and if he wins he will go on to face Republican incumbent Don Young, who has held the seat since 1973.

Medical providers across the U.S. are moving to telehealth, prompting calls for more funding for infrastructure and technology in Indian Country where 18 percent of tribal reservation residents have no internet access at home, while 31 percent said their connection was spotty or nonexistent.

The Navajo Nation lifted its stay-at-home order on Sunday while the infection rates continue to decline with only 24 additional COVID-19 cases and zero deaths being reported on Sunday. Tribal officials continue to encourage residents to only leave their home for emergencies or essential activities.

Keep reading for a full news update.  


113 Native Americans Will Be Participating In The Democratic Convention

Native News Online, August 17

The big party was supposed to take place in Milwaukee this week. Instead, the Democratic National Convention will be held virtually because of COVID-19 concerns. Among the Democratic National Convention participants, representing 37 different states, 113 are American Indians or Alaska Natives. The two Democratic congresswomen, Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) from New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District and Rep. Sharice Davids from Kansas’s 3rd Congressional District, are delegates.

17 Native Candidates In Alaska And Wyoming Primaries

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, August 17

At least 17 Native candidates running for Congress, state legislature and other offices in Alaska and Wyoming will have their primary elections Tuesday. Florida also will be holding primaries, but no Natives appear to be running. In Wyoming, Democrat Lynnette Grey Bull, Northern Arapaho and Hunkpapa Lakota, is seeking a U.S. House seat and is believed to be the first Native person in the state to run for Congress. She serves as vice president of the Global Indigenous Council, an Indigenous rights advocacy organization, and is a first-time candidate.

Southwest Alaska Yup’ik Man Running For U.S. Congressional Seat

Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, August 17

Ray Sean Tugatuk, Yup’ik, is running as a Democrat for Alaska’s sole U.S. House seat. He faces two other candidates in Tuesday’s primary. If he wins, he will go on to face Republican incumbent Don Young. Tugatuk is from Manokotak, a town of 480 people located 350 miles southwest of Anchorage and accessible only by boat or plane. Reached on his cellphone last week, Tugatuk was about 10 miles outside town. “I’m actually out here in the wilderness, and it’s a beautiful, windy day to pick berries,” Tugatuk said.


La Posta Tribe Seeks Restraining Order, Injunction To Stop Trump’s Border Wall

Native News Online, August 17

The La Posta Band of the Diegueño Mission Indians have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to halt the construction of the border wall promoted by President Donald Trump on the southern border. The lawsuit was announced by Save the Homelands of the Indigenous and End Land Desecration (SHIELD), a coalition of advocates battling the Trump Administration’s construction of a border wall on sacred Kumeyaay sites and burial grounds.

The Laws That Impacted The Lives Of South Dakota Indians, Tim Giago, August 17

Voting rights has never been something that the men and women of the Sioux Nations took lightly. Before there was a United States government the Lakota had a Democratic form of government in which the men and women participated. Laws were enacted, leaders chosen, decisions on where to spend the winter season, and the times when the spiritual ceremonies were to be held were things decided by the Tribal Councils. Women had an equal vote on all decisions.


Calls Rise For More Telehealth Resources In Indian Country During COVID-19

Indian Country Today, Allie Barton, August 17

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. 

Stay-At-Home Order Lifted As Navajo Nation Starts Reopening

AP News, August 17

The Navajo Nation has lifted its stay-at-home order but is encouraging residents to leave their homes only for emergencies or essential activities. The stay-at-home order was rescinded Sunday, when 24 additional coronavirus cases and zero deaths were reported. Tribal officials on Monday reported 12 new COVID-19 cases but zero deaths again. The numbers are a vast change from earlier this year when the tribe had one of the highest per-capita rates of infection in the U.S. 

Monday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 12 New Cases & No New Deaths

Native News Online, August 17

On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 12 new positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 480 as of Monday. 6,978 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 and 89,003 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases is 9,469 and negative tests total 74,699.


US Approves Oil, Gas Leasing Plan For Alaska Wildlife Refuge

AP News, Mark Thiessen, August 17

The Trump administration gave final approval Monday for a contentious oil and gas leasing plan on the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where critics worry about the industry’s impact on polar bears, caribou and other wildlife. The next step, barring lawsuits, will be the actual sale of leases. Development — should it occur — is still years away. Environmentalists have promised to fight opening up the coastal plain, a 1.56-million acre swath of land along Alaska’s northern Beaufort Sea coast after the Department of the Interior approved an oil and gas leasing program.

Trump Administration Puts Tribes At Center Of Another Energy Development Debate, Acee Agoyo, August 17

The Donald Trump administration is moving forward with yet another controversial energy development initiative, giving Democrats and tribes a new opportunity to criticize the president’s public lands failings and the impact on the first Americans. On Monday, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the start of an oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) of Alaska. Though he acknowledged that drilling might not occur for several more years, he called it a “major step” for the federal agency with the most trust and treaty responsibilities in Indian Country.

Rep. Sharice Davids Wants The Postmaster General Fired

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, August 16

President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted the stimulus package negotiations are being stalled with Congress over the funding of the United States Postal Service. The president wants to block an emergency infusion of funds to the Postal Service because he is saying, without any justification, mail-in ballots will create a fraudulent election this November.