Yesterday, lawyers representing the only Native on death row filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Attorney General William Barr and several other government officials in an attempt to stop his execution tomorrow.
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer opened the second night of the Republican National Convention with pre-recorded remarks from Shiprock, New Mexico. Lizer endorsed President Trump for re-election in 2020 during his speech.
Five federally recognized tribes will receive roughly $3.3 million in grants from the Department in Housing and Urban Development to offset the effects of COVID-19. Among those tribes are the Alaska Native villages of Selawik and Bethel, who will use $421,000 to renovate a building used to store food and supplies and $900,000 to purchase and renovate three homes to help with local housing shortages, respectively.
California’s popular “Squaw Valley Ski Resort,” home to the 1960 Olympics, announced that they will change their name after consulting with local Native groups.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Republicans Open Presidential Convention With Familiar Anti-tribal Messages From Donald Trump
Indianz.com, Acee Agoyo, August 25
The Republican Party kicked off its national convention with no visible Native presence, opening a week of events that stand in marked contrast to the Democrats trying to unseat Donald Trump from office. A roll-call of state delegations on Monday morning was touted by the Republicans as a showcase of the true face of America. But there weren’t any actual representatives from tribal or urban Indian communities amid attempts by some states to highlight the contributions of Native people.
Politics And Bedfellows: Nez, Lizer Address Democratic, GOP Conventions
Cronkite News, Catherine Fusillo, August 25
If anyone thought it strange that the top two elected officials in the Navajo Nation were speaking at competing political conventions, Navajo Vice President Myron Lizer said they have not been paying attention. “There’s no secret we are a split ticket,” Lizer said during a Navajo town hall Tuesday with President Jonathan Nez. “We are working both sides, and we are well represented in Washington.”
Navajo VP Praises Donald Trump On Funding, Public Safety
Indian Country Today, Kolby Kickingwoman, August 25
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer opened Night Two of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, endorsing President Donald Trump for the 2020 election. Speaking in pre-recorded remarks from Shiprock, New Mexico, Lizer ran through a list of accomplishments the president has achieved for Indian Country in his first term. The Navajo Nation No. 2 in command said it wasn’t until Trump came into office that Indian Country had a true seat at the table.
At RNC, Teen From Video Of Protest Slams Media ‘War Machine’
AP News, Will Weissert, August 25
A Kentucky teenager known for video of his interaction with a Native American man at the Lincoln Memorial last year said Tuesday that the “full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode” against him without knowing all the facts. Nick Sandmann told the virtual Republican National Convention that he believes news outlets were driven by “anti-Christian, anti-conservative, anti-Donald Trump” bias in reporting on the incident.
Chickasaw Nation Launches Virtual Resources For Tribal Citizens In Response To COVID-19
Native News Online, Chez Oxendine, August 25
The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma has launched an array of virtual resources to support tribal citizens during pandemic-prompted closures and quarantines. The resources include everything from virtual medical visits to refilling prescriptions to WIC services. The nation’s efforts also include a weekly “Connecting Our Community” video series, which will discuss culture, health, fitness and cooking. The videos include instructions on how to make cloth face masks, how to handle deliveries and how to safely shop amid the spread of COVID-19.
Navajo Nation COVID-19 Monday Update: 10 New Cases
Native News Online, August 25
On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 10 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and one more death. The total number of deaths is now 494 as of Monday. Reports indicate that 7,063 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 92,358 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases is 9,5467.
Tribes In Selawik And Bethel Receive Hud Grants To Offset COVID-19 Impacts
KOTZ Radio, Wesley Early, August 25
In the latest round of funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, five federally recognized tribes have received roughly $3.3 million in grants intended to offset effects of COVID-19. Among those tribes are the Alaska Native villages of Selawik and Bethel. Colleen Bickford is the state director for Alaska’s HUD Department. She says this funding is the fifth batch of grants to come from the Indian Community Development Block Grant program.
Vancouver School Board Backs Retiring Chieftain Mascot
AP News, August 25
Vancouver Public Schools in Washington appears ready to retire the mascot at Columbia River High School after hearing feedback that decried its Native American imagery as offensive and racist. In a workshop Tuesday, the board of directors indicated their support for retiring the mascot image of a Plains Indian chief. Members heard from leaders of local Native American tribes who urged the school district to eliminate the mascot.
California Ski Resort Changing Name, Citing Offensive Word
AP News, August 25
A famous California ski resort will change its name because of the use of a derogatory term for Native American women, officials announced Tuesday. The site was the scene of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The decision was reached after consulting with local Native American groups and extensive research into the etymology and history of the term said Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
Gaming Initiatives Backed By Tribal Corporation Faces Uncertain Future
Indianz.com, August 25
Gaming initiatives backed by Ho-Chunk Inc., the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe, can’t appear on the November ballot, Nebraska Secretary of State Robert B. Evnen announced. Keep the Money in Nebraska collected enough signatures for three separate initiatives to appear on the ballot. But Evnen in a news release on Tuesday said the language in two of them was “confusing” because they didn’t focus on a single subject. A third is considered to be “logrolling,” or the trading of favors, which he said is outlawed in the state.
Tribal Census Self-Response Rates Surpass State; Rates Continue To Increase After COVID-19 Closures
Indianz.com, August 25
More than half of the residents of the Pueblos of Cochiti, Kewa and Jemez have all responded to the 2020 Census, surpassing the self-response rate of the entire state of New Mexico. As of August 25, 56.1% of residents have responded to the Census at Kewa, 55.4% of residents have responded at Cochiti and 56.8% of residents have responded at Jemez. The self-response rate for New Mexico is 54.9%.
Only American Indian On Death Row Files Suit Against AG Barr To Halt Execution
Native News Online, August 25
One day before his scheduled execution by lethal injection, Navajo citizen Lezmond Mitchell has filed a lawsuit in a D.C. court to stop the federal government from carrying out his death-penalty order. On Tuesday, lawyers for Mitchell, the only American Indian awaiting execution, filed a lawsuit against Attorney General William Barr in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Under the Federal Death Penalty Act, Barr is responsible for carrying out sentences of death against federal prisoners.
Justice Dept. Is Set To Execute Native American Prisoner
New York Times, Hailey Fuchs, August 25
The Justice Department intends on Wednesday to execute the only Native American man on federal death row, despite urgent pleas from more than a dozen tribes to respect Navajo culture and spare his life. The inmate, Lezmond Mitchell, 38, faces the death penalty for his part in the 2001 murder of a Navajo woman, Alyce Slim, and her 9-year-old granddaughter, Tiffany Lee.
Navajo Man Asks To Halt Execution While Seeking Clemency
AP News, Michael Balsamo, August 25
The only Native American man on federal death row is asking a judge to halt his execution until he receives a determination to his clemency petition from the Justice Department and President Donald Trump. Lezmond Mitchell’s lawyers filed papers in federal court in Washington seeking to delay his execution, which is currently scheduled for Wednesday at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.
An Exercise In Culture: Native Fitness Instructors Serve Up Online Workouts Infused With Indigenous Knowledge
Native News Online, Tamara Ikenberg, August 25
Gathering her fringed fancy dance shawl around her, Ojibwe fitness instructor Michelle Reed gracefully tiptoes while showing her sneak-up, a powwow dance that simulates taking your enemies by surprise. “We’re working those calves, sneaking it up,” said Reed, while leading dozens of students during a recent installment of her online N8V Dance Fitness class, which she broadcasts Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. from her home art studio in Crystal Falls, Mich.
To Manage Wildfire, California Looks To What Tribes Have Known All Along
NPR, Lauren Sommer, August 24
Fire has always been part of California’s landscape. But long before the vast blazes of recent years, Native American tribes held annual controlled burns that cleared out underbrush and encouraged new plant growth. Now, with wildfires raging across Northern California, joining other record-breaking fires from recent years, government officials say tackling the fire problem will mean bringing back “good fire,” much like California’s tribes once did.