The NAACP, Navajo Nation, City of Chicago, County of Los Angeles, and Gila River Indian Community have officially joined the National Urban League-led lawsuit that is seeking to return the 2020 Census to its original end date of October 31.

Thirteen American Indian and Alaska Native organizations are sharing more than $600,000 in grant funding for cultural preservation projects from the National Park Service’s Tribal Heritage Grant Program. The grants can be used in a number of ways, including locating and identifying cultural resources, preserving historic properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and more.

Indian Country Today outlined the issues that vote-by-mail will face across Indian Country, notably the negative impacts that an election held entirely via vote-by-mail will have on Native turnout across the country. A recent Native American Rights Fund report found that as few as 18% of Native people receive mail at home, primarily because they lack traditional residential addresses, highlighting the need for in-person voting options this November.  

Native News Online reports on the negative impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Murrow Indian Children’s Home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The home was created in 1885 for Native children who are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, and has had to cancel maintenance, family visits, and their annual Benefit Powwow, which raises upwards of $20,000 each year.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Navajo Nation Positive Cases Rises to 9,830; Death Toll Stays at 503

Native News Online, September 1

On Tuesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported nine new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 503 as previously reported on Monday. Reports indicate that 7,102 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 and 95,423 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 9,830. 

Murrow Indian Children’s Home Hurt By Covid-19

Native News Online, Chez Oxendine, September 1

COVID-19 has robbed Murrow Indian Children’s Home in Muskogee of a lot, Executive Director Betty Martin said. Murrow serves as home for American Indian children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Making it a good home, though, has been a challenge in recent months as COVID-19 spread throughout eastern Oklahoma. The pandemic has affected everything at the Murrow Indian Children’s Home—from maintenance to family visits to annual events.


Tribes Support Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis’ Bid To Retain State Supreme Court Seat

Native News Online, September 1

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Isleta of New Mexico, is running to retain her seat on the state’s highest court in the general election on Nov. 3. Montoya-Lewis is only the second American Indian to serve on a state Supreme Court in the country. Prior to her selection by Inslee, Montoya-Lewis served five years on the Whatcom County Superior Court. 

Will Vote-By-Mail Leave Out Native Americans?

Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, September 1

“We’re all for increased vote by mail,” says Jacqueline De León, Isleta Pueblo, but “we’re absolutely against all vote by mail.” De León is an attorney with the legal assistance nonprofit Native American Rights Fund. The nonprofit’s report shows as few as 18 percent of Native Americans receive mail at home, primarily because they lack traditional residential addresses. 

Rural Mail Service On Reservations Questions Whether Native Americans Have Equal Access To Voting Opportunities

Navajo Hopi Observer, Howard Fischer, September 1

Members of the Navajo Nation are asking a federal judge to require the state to count mail-in ballots from voters on all the state’s reservations that are not received until after Election Day. The lawsuit filed in federal court says a study of mail service on the remote reservation means that many tribal members who request early ballots won’t receive them on time to mark them and mail them back to county election offices to meet the deadline.


Catawba Nation Continues Work On Controversial Casino In North Carolina, September 1

The Catawba Nation is reaching into history for its forthcoming, and still controversial, gaming facility on ancestral territory in North Carolina. The Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort draws its name from Catawba Chief King Hagler. During his leadership in the mid-1700s, he allied his nation with the American colonists who revolted against the British at the time of the Revolutionary War.


Oglala Sioux Leader Suspended Following Improper Contact Allegation

AP News, September 1

The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has been suspended and will face an impeachment hearing after he was accused of inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old boy.

The tribal council voted last week to suspend Julian Bear Runner, the president of the tribe located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, after receiving a complaint from the boy’s father, the Rapid City Journal reported. 

President Of Oglala Sioux Tribe Suspended Ahead Of Impeachment Hearing, September 1

Julian Bear Runner, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has been suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct. A young resident of the Pine Ridge Reservation has accused the Bear Runner of engaging in inappropriate contacts. The individual said the contacts began when he was 17 years old and continued recently after he turned 18.

13 Organizations Share $600k In Federal Grant Funding For Tribal Cultural Preservation Projects

Native News Online, September 1 

Thirteen American Indian and Alaska Native organizations are sharing more than $600,000 in grant funding from the National Parks Service for cultural preservation projects. The funding came via the National Parks Service’s Tribal Heritage Grant Program, a part of the agency’s Historic Preservation Fund, which is funded by federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf and appropriated annually by Congress. The fund is intended to support a wide array of preservation projects without using taxpayer dollars.

NDN Collective Announces Grants Available For Second Phase Of Funding

Native News Online, September 1

The NDN Collective announced a second phase of the NDN COVID-19 Response Project, a $10 million effort to provide immediate relief to Indigenous people, organizations, and Tribal Nations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase two of the project is focused on transition and resilience within Indigenous communities and offers grants of up to $100,000.

‘A Process Of Reconnecting’: Young Lakota Actor Finds Ways To Stay Tied To Tribal Culture, September 1

Oglala Lakota actress Blu Hunt’s first full-length film, “The New Mutants,” opened in theaters across America on Friday. In the new Marvel movie, Hunt plays Dani Moonstar, a young Cheyenne woman who is seeking to understand her powers while surrounded by young people like her. 

Crabber Survives Drifting In Boat That Ran Out Of Fuel

AP News, August 31

A member of the Swimonish Indian Tribal Community reported missing in mid-August is back home after spending several days stranded in a boat that ran out of fuel followed by six days detained in Canada. Michael Smith Jr. set out Aug. 17 intending to prepare for crab fishing the next day around Blaine.