NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota) and others are asking the South Dakota county official in charge of the prosecution to drop all charges against the Black Hills treaty defenders jailed after protests over President Trump’s July Fourth event at Mount Rushmore.
The CDC found that American Indians and Alaska Natives have a COVID-19 infection rate 3.5 times than white people and younger Native people are more affected. Among American Indians and Alaska Natives there were 594 COVID cases per 100,000 people compared to just 169 cases per 100,000 among White people.
Indian Country Today reports on the different approaches that Native colleges and universities are taking to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s district court and Supreme Court have dismissed a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Shane Jett, the former CEO of Community Development Corporations at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and an Oklahoma State Senate candidate who accused a tribal leader of firing him due to his opposition of a local mask mandate.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Saturday COVID-19 Navajo Nation Update: 14 New Cases – Four More Deaths
Native News Online, August 23
On Saturday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 14 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and four recent deaths. The total number of deaths has reached 493 as of Saturday. Reports indicate that 7,060 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 91,856 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases is 9,545.
Infection Rates At Least 3.5 Times Higher For Native Americans; Young Especially At Risk
Indian Country Today, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, August 22
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that American Indians and Alaska Natives have a COVID-19 infection rate 3.5 times than white people and younger Native people are more affected. Sarah Hatcher of the CDC COVID-19 Response Team and other researchers analyzed 9,000 laboratory-confirmed cases from 23 states between Jan. 22 and July 3. American Indians and Alaska Natives are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in these select states overall, Hatcher said.
COVID-19 Incidence More Than Triple Among Native Americans, New CDC Report Says
CNN, Jacqueline Howard, August 21
The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Native American communities. The incidence of Covid-19 cases among American Indians and Alaska Natives was 3.5 times that among White people, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC-led team also found that cases among American Indians and Alaska Natives tended to be younger in age.
Hearing On Shannon Kepler’s Tribal Citizenship Ordered In Light Of Indian Country Ruling
Tulsa World, August 23
The state’s appellate court ordered prosecutors and Shannon Kepler, who was convicted of killing his daughter’s boyfriend, to hold an evidentiary hearing on Kepler’s assertion that he is a Native American.
Execution Of Native American Man Stirs Emotion Within Tribe
ABC New, Felicia Fonseca, August 23
Late on a fall evening in 2001, Alyce Slim and her granddaughter stopped at a gas station on the Navajo Nation after searching for a traditional healer for leg ailments.
Legislative Hearing Examines UC System’s Failures To Return Native Remains And Artifacts
Native News Online, August 21
Officials at the University of California (UC) were questioned last week on their failure to comply with state and federal laws requiring the repatriation of California Native American remains and cultural objects. California Assemblymember James C. Ramos (Serrano, Cahuilla), chair of the Select Committee on Native American Affairs, opened the hearing by describing the lack of sufficient oversight in UC repatriation policy and the need to explore ways to remedy the “troubling findings” in order to expedite the return of remains.
Judge Allows North Dakota To Pursue Protest Reimbursements
AP News, James MacPherson, August 21
North Dakota may move forward with efforts to recoup the money it spent policing protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Traynor denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss North Dakota’s lawsuit seeking to recover more than $38 million in damages the state claimed from the monthslong pipeline protests almost four years ago.
Black Hills Treaty Defender Appears In Court
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, August 21
An Indigenous-led advocacy organization is asking the South Dakota county official in charge of prosecution against the Black Hills treaty defenders jailed in July to drop all charges. NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen, Oglala Lakota, and others hand-delivered petitions to Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo, not long after Tilsen appeared in court on related charges. One petition is asking for all charges against the Black Hills land defenders to be thrown out, and a second petition is for charges against Tilsen to be dropped.
Tribal Courts Toss Oklahoma Candidate Termination Suit
AP News, August 21
Native American tribal courts have dismissed a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by an Oklahoma Senate candidate who accused a tribe’s leader of firing him because he opposed a local mask mandate. Shane Jett, a former Republican legislator currently in a run-off race for a state Senate seat, was terminated Aug. 10 as CEO of Community Development Corporations at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Native Colleges Take Mixed Approach To Fall Semester
Indian Country Today, Eddie Chuculate, August 24
Much like the nation itself, Native American colleges and universities across the country have a mixed approach as they open the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Execution Of Native American Man Stirs Emotion Within Tribe
AP News, Felicia Fonseca, August 23
Late on a fall evening in 2001, Alyce Slim and her granddaughter stopped at a gas station on the Navajo Nation after searching for a traditional healer for leg ailments. There, in an area where hitchhiking is common, Slim agreed to give two males a ride. They got into her pewter-colored pickup truck and when she stopped later to let them out, they didn’t budge.
MiBiz Partners In Launch OF Tribal Business News
MiBiz, August 23
Indian Country Media LLC is partnering with MiBiz Inc. to launch a new niche business publication.
Trading For The Future By Remembering Our Past
Native News Online, Valerie Vande Panne, August 22
At the Minneapolis American Indian Center, chef Brian Yazzie (Diné, Navajo) serves about 200 meals a day to the community’s elders –– more than 20,000 meals since he started serving food here in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food is medicine, Yazzie reminds us, and the elders need to stay healthy, especially in the current global pandemic. And so he and his team of nine make healthy comfort food for them, daily, using mostly Indigenous ingredients.
The US Plans To Execute The Only Native American On Federal Death Row Against The Navajo Nation’s Wishes
CNN, Dakin Andone, August 21
The United States plans to execute the only Native American on federal death row next week, ignoring the Navajo Nation’s longstanding opposition to capital punishment and undermining the federal government’s commitment to recognizing the sovereignty of Native tribes. Despite the crimes, the Navajo Nation and members of the victims’ family have repeatedly said they are opposed to the death penalty in Mitchell’s case, because it would violate their cultural and religious beliefs.
Cherokee Nation Working To Improve Access To Broadband
Tahlequah Daily Press, August 21
The Cherokee Nation is working to improve access to quality, affordable broadband for its citizens throughout the reservation boundaries with a new grant and with leadership advocating for Indian Country on a number of federal broadband advisory boards.