Last week, Representative Don Young sent a letter to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham requesting the deadline of September 30 to be extended back to the October 31 deadline originally scoped by the Bureau earlier this year. Also in Census news, NPR reports that the Census Bureau is allegedly ‘scaling back on a critical step: checking its own work.’
The All Pueblo Council Of Governors called for the U.S. Department of the Interior to pause all activities and deadlines related to a proposal that would govern oil and gas drilling and other development near Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Representatives Deb Haaland and Ben Ray Luján also sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted New Mexican’s ability to participate in the public process that will have consequences for the economy and way of life in the northwest corner of the state.
A bill from California Assemblymember James Ramos that would require the Secretary of State to convene an advisory task force to recommend strategies for increasing Native American voter participation was approved by the State Senate on a 39 to zero vote, and will now go to Governor Newsom for his review. The task force would consist of the Secretary of State, his or her designees and additional members they appoint. All members of the panel would be required to have experience with voting rights or be county election officials.
The owner of “Big Squaw Mountain” ski resort in Maine is resisting calls to change the resort’s name after three women started a petition. Calls to change the resort name come after a ski resort in California that is similarly named announced they would be changing their name.
The Navajo Nation has reported 9,800 total cases of COVID-19, and has recently surpassed 500 deaths from the virus.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Navajo Nation Reaches 9,800 COVID-19 Cases
Native News Online, August 30
On the day, the United States reached six million cases of COVID-19 cases, the Navajo Nation reported it reached 9,800 positive cases of the deadly virus that has left 502 dead since March 17, 2020 when the tribal nation first began reporting its COVID-19 cases. On Sunday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 11 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and one more death.
Citizen Potawatomi Nation Establishes CARES Act Relief Fund
Native News Online, Chez Oxendine, August 28
Established in early June, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Coronavirus Relief Fund is drawing on resources allocated to the tribe by the CARES Act to assist its tribal citizens. The fund provides up to $1,200 to those who can prove they have been furloughed or left unemployed and impacted negatively by COVID-19.
Northern Arapaho Business Council Makes Additional Financial Assistance Available To Tribal Members
Indianz.com, August 28
The Northern Arapaho Business Council is pleased to make available additional financial aid for Members who require assistance due to COVID-19. This is the second round of payments for enrolled Members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, and is made possible as part of federal relief secured by the Tribe through the CARES Act.
Ramos Bill To Increase California Native American Voter Participation Heads To Governor’s Desk
Redlands Community News, James Folmer, August 28
A measure to help Native Americans gain greater access to the electoral process was approved today by the Senate on a 39 to 0 vote and will go Governor Newsom for his review. Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) said his bill would require the Secretary of State convene an advisory task force to recommend strategies for increasing Native American voter participation.
Atlanta Major League Baseball Working With Tribe To Address Cultural Concerns
Indian Country Today, Joseph Martin, August 28
Leaders of the Atlanta Major League Baseball team have said they will not change the team’s name. But they have reached out to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the closest federally recognized tribe, to address cultural issues surrounding the operation, including the controversial “tomahawk chop.” Team leaders have been working with the tribe since last fall in hopes of finding a way to keep the word “Braves” while discarding the often disparaging, racist associations with it.
Owner Resists Change To Ski Resort Name Containing Slur For Native Americans
Bangor Daily News, Lynne Fort, August 28
The owner of the Big Squaw Mountain ski resort near Moosehead Lake is resisting changing the resort’s name after three women started a petition and after a similarly named California resort removed the derogatory term from its name. Owner James Confalone said that he has no intention of changing the name despite the petition that is now circulating.
Stitt Suggests Native And Black Oklahomans For Monument
AP News, Sean Murphy, August 30
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recommended three Native Americans and two Black Oklahomans as national heroes who should be considered for inclusion in a new National Garden of American Heroes. Among Stitt’s recommendations were former Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller, early 1900s humorist Will Rogers, both citizens of the Cherokee Nation, and Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe, a Sac and Fox/Pottawatomie citizen.
California Intertribal Communities Work Together To Provide Emergency Resources During Fires
Native News Online, August 30
As wildfires rage across northern California, American Indian tribes and advocates are working together to combat the burning forests and lend assistance to Native citizens throughout the state. Late last week, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reported more than 1.6 million acres had burned in nearly 7,100 wildfire incidents across the state.
Students Shape Wind River Virtual Tour
Indian Country Today, Kalle Benallie, August 30
The heart of a new Wind River Reservation virtual tour is a group of local high school students who helped create narratives for 10 significant locations. TravelStorysGPS asked the Fort Washakie High School students to tell their tribes’ stories for a virtual tour of the reservation, which is available on the company’s website and app. The tour allows people to experience the sights remotely or listen and learn about them as they drive through the Wyoming reservation.
Fans Hope Marvel Comic Book Improves Native Representation
AP News, Terry Tang, August 29
Marvel Comics announced this month that it’s assembled Native artists and writers for “Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices #1,” an anthology that will revisit some of its Native characters. It’s timed for release during Native American History Month in November. Native comic book fans hope it’s a new start for authentic representation in mainstream superhero fare.
Native American Center Eyed In Place Of UVa’s George Rogers Clark Statue
Daily Progress, Bryan McKenzie,
The statue of Revolutionary War General George Rogers Clark has stood on University of Virginia land for 99 years, but a push for racial equity and efforts by student leaders may force the statue to be removed. The statue would be replaced by a Native American-centered cultural center under a recommendation by UVa’s Racial Equity Task Force.
Pueblos, Lawmakers Ask For Pause On New Mexico Drilling Plan
AP News, Susan Bryan, August 28
A coalition of Native American tribes and members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation are asking federal officials for more time to consider a proposal that would govern oil and gas drilling and other development near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The Interior Department earlier this year agreed to extend the comment period by 120 days and another round of virtual meetings was held this week, with the first session dedicated to the Navajo Nation, which has jurisdiction over much of the land that surrounds the park.
Grand Chief Remembered As ‘Fierce Defender Of Our Rights’
Indian Country Today, Greg Horn, August 28
Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton has been laid to rest. At the time of his death, he had been serving in his second term of his second stint as the Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake after being re-elected in 2015 after an 11-year retirement.
Tohono O’odham Police Officer Killed In Line Of Duty Near Tribal Casino
Native News Online, August 28
The Tohono O’odham Nation is mourning the tragic death of one of its police officers who was killed in the line of duty on Thursday in the town of Why, Ariz. In an initial press release, the Tohono O’odham Nation said Tohono O’odham Police Department officers were responding to reports of an armed and erratic driver in the small town, about 120 miles west of Tucson. The officer was later identified as Officer Byran Brown, a 19-year veteran of the Tohono O’odham Police Department.