A recently released study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined how COVID-19 has affected Native communities across the country. The study found that the “the cumulative incidence of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among [American Indians/Alaska Natives] was 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites.” Read the full CDC press release here.

The New York Times published an opinion piece from Carl Slater, a delegate to the Navajo Nation Council, in which Slater lays out how the death penalty for the only Native currently on death row is “an affront to Navajo Sovereignty.” Slater explains how the Federal Death Penalty Act, an abuse of the tribal court system, and potential racism in the trial process all offend tribal sovereignty.

A use-of-force review panel reported last week that a police officer in Poulsbo, Washington would not be disciplined for killing Stonechild Chiefstick during a July 3, 2019 fireworks show, prompting the Suquamish Tribal Council to reexamine its government-to-government and cultural relationship with the nearby city.

Market Watch details the unexpected ways in which COVID-19 has impacted a Native community in Michigan’s upper peninsula, covering how the pandemic has affected businesses, schools, and families.

Keep reading for a full news update.


In A Native American Community In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, COVID-19 Has Been Felt In Unexpected Ways 

Market Watch, David Rompf, August 20

On the shore of Lake Superior, in the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s possible — for one still moment — to forget the deserted office buildings and muted street life of Midtown Manhattan. Not far from where I swim in the clearest water I’ve ever seen, bald eagles glide overhead, swooping to pluck their choice of trout and salmon. Earlier in the day, road signs warned of bear and moose crossings.

CDC Data Show Disproportionate COVID-19 Impact In American Indian/Alaska Native Populations 

Muskogee Phoenix, August 19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new study that specifically examines how COVID-19 is affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) – one of the racial and ethnic minority groups at highest risk from the disease. CDC found that in 23 selected states, the cumulative incidence of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among AI/AN was 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites.  

Census 2020:

Feinstein, Udall, Colleagues Press For Accurate 2020 Census Count For Native Communities 

Red Lake Nation News, August 20

Washington–Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and a group of their colleagues to urge the Department of Commerce and Census Bureau to honor their previously announced 2020 census completion date to ensure an accurate count for Indian Country and the Native Hawaiian community.


‘We Are All Related’: Indian Country Turns Out For Another Day Of Democratic Convention 

Indianz.com, Kevin Abourezk, August 19

The first Americans stole the stage before a captive audience during the second day of the Democratic National Convention as they presented delegate votes for their party’s presidential ticket.

‘We Need Indian Country To Step Up’: Democrats Rally Behind Joe Biden And Kamala Harris 

Red Lake Nation News, August 19

Indian Country leaders are standing up for Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as they seek to defeat Republican President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence this November.


Lezmond Mitchell’s Death Sentence Is An Affront To Navajo Sovereignty 

The New York Times, Carl Slater, August 19

On Aug. 26, the federal government plans to execute Lezmond Mitchell, 38, the only American Indian under a federal death sentence. This a profound insult to Navajo sovereignty. I am a leader of the Navajo Nation, and along with its president, vice president and legislative branch, I call on President Trump to commute his sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

Tribes, NCAI Urge President Trump To Halt Execution 

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, August 19

The National Congress of American Indians and more than a dozen tribal nations have joined a growing effort to get President Donald Trump to block a Navajo citizen’s execution, set to take place in less than a week.

Officer Who Shot Native Man In Crowded Park Returns To Work 

Indian Country Today, Richard Walker, August 19

The Suquamish Tribal Council is reexamining its government-to-government and cultural relationship with the nearby city of Poulsbo, west of Seattle, after a police officer there was cleared to return to work one year after he shot and killed a Cowichan/Cree man in a crowded waterfront park.


School-To-Prison Pipeline Has Deep Roots In Tangled History Of Tribal Schools 

Calah Schlabach, Indianz.com, August 18

In the early 1930s, Robert Carr, a member of the Creek Nation, was expelled for “incorrigible behavior” from Chilocco Indian Agricultural School near the Kansas-Oklahoma border.

By the time he was 21, Carr had been incarcerated in three different institutions. He died in a Kansas state prison where he was held for stealing $30 worth of food, said his niece, K. Tsianina Lomawaima, a professor and Indigenous studies scholar at Arizona State University.