While positive COVID-19 cases in the Navajo Nation have begun to plateau, Navajo leaders are urging their citizens to stay home during the long Labor Day weekend. Earlier this week, Navajo officials said that until there is a vaccine that is proven to work, their citizens should continue to exercise caution to prevent further spread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has alerted states to prepare for a national distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine as early as November 1, and the Indian Health Service says it’s working closely with the National Supply Center and will have a plan for distribution, likely focusing on hot spots.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced that HUD has awarded a total of $100 million to tribes as a part of their Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat Program. The funding will help address problems that pose an imminent threat to public health or safety of tribal residents, and will be used to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evacuations were ordered on the Crow Indian Reservation and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana in response to a Sarpy wildfire that began on Wednesday of this week.
Last week, 16-year-old Jenilee Donovan of Utqiagvik helped land her communities first whale of the fall season when she threw the darting gun releasing the second harpoon that landed her community its first bowhead of the season. The catch was a 36-foot, 1-inch, young male bowhead that community members will subsist on over the next year.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Navajo Nation To Run Partial Weekend Lockdown Into September
AP News, September 3
Navajo Nation officials are extending partial weekend lockdowns and daily curfews through September to help control the spread of the coronavirus on the tribe’s reservation. The lockdowns on the vast reservation in the Four Corners region start at 9 p.m. Saturday and run until 5 a.m. Monday. They were shortened in August from previous versions that began on Fridays.
Navajo Nation President: “Stay Home” This Labor Day Weekend
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, September 3
Even with the flattening of the curve of COVID-19 positive cases, Navajo Nation leaders are urging Navajo Nation citizens to stay home during the long Labor Day weekend. Earlier this week, Navajo Nation officials said until there is a proven vaccine that works, Navajo citizens should exercise caution to prevent spread of the deadly virus.
Who Gets A COVID-19 Vaccine? When? And Who Pays?
Indian Country Today, September 3
As the nation rushes toward a vaccine for COVID-19, there are a growing number of questions, including concerns that the system is not ready. The Indian Health Service says it’s working closely with the National Supply Center and will have a plan for that distribution, likely focusing on hot spots. Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee, director of IHS, said in his weekly newsletter that the agency is participating in weekly meetings about Operation Warp Speed, the national vaccine effort, and that includes a strategy for distribution.
HUD Provides $100 Million In CARES Act Funding To Native American Tribes To Support Coronavirus Recovery Efforts
Indianz.com, September 3
Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced that HUD has awarded a total of $100 million to Tribes across the Nation as part of HUD’s Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat program (ICDBG-CARES). This funding helps address problems that pose an imminent threat to public health or safety of Tribal residents and will be used to help Tribes prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
California Census Leaders: ‘We Have 30 Days To Make A Difference’
Indian Country Today, Pilar Marrero, September 3
Rushing to increase California’s census response rate before a shortened schedule ends Sept. 30, community groups and census leaders are asking people to remember they still have time to respond, and that billions of dollars in education and health care programs depend on an accurate count. Approximately 30 canvassers are going around the state trying to reach Native Americans who have not responded to the census, but the group also uses email blasts, and virtual phone and text banks.
Following Mcgirt Decision, Oneida Nation Case Continues String Of Indigenous Court Victories
People’s World, Albert Bender, September 2
The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin won a long legal battle with the recent decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Oneida Nation v. Village of Hobart that its reservation is still intact. The decision is the direct result of the Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, issued on July 9, declaring that the Creek Reservation in that state still exists. The legal issues in both cases are basically the same—allotment, non-Indian intrusion by a state or municipal entity on reservation land, the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, and current reservation status.
Lawsuit Challenging Restrictions On Native Voting Rights Goes To Trial
Great Falls Tribune, Nora Mabie, September 3
A lawsuit challenging a state law that allegedly restricts Native Americans’ voting rights will go to trial in Yellowstone County District Court on Tuesday. Western Native Voice v. Stapleton challenges Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton on the Montana Ballot Interference Prevention Act (BIPA), which limits who can collect and convey a ballot belonging to another person.
Teenager Helps Land Utqiagvik’s First Whale Of Fall Season
Anchorage Daily News, Jenna Kunzee, September 3
Yay hey hey!
Last week, 16-year-old Jenilee Donovan of Utqiaġvik went from a Barrow Whaler athlete to a Barrow whaler in earnest when she threw the darting gun releasing the second harpoon that landed her community its first bowhead of the season.
Wildfire Forces Evacuations On Two Reservations In Montana
Native News Online, September 3
Evacuations have been ordered for a Sarpy wildfire on the Crow Indian Reservation and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe has an evacuation order from the Reservation line east to Iron Bridge (Rosebud Creek). Only emergency personnel and residents are permitted on US 212 there, mainly because of smoke on the highway.
Chris Wondolowski Says Athletes Have Responsibility To Use Platforms
Chris Wondolowski, Kiowa, knows history when he sees it. The Major League Soccer veteran and the league’s all-time leading scorer watched as the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play in a playoff game to protest social injustice. For Wondolowski, the strides towards social justice around the country are personal. Wondowloski pointed to the fact that Native Americans have traditionally been undercounted in the census, and an earlier deadline for the 2020 Census again threatens to impact representation.
Washoe Tribe Sounds Off About Minden’s Sundowner Siren
Native News Online, Nanette Kelley, September 3
For nearly a century, a siren has sounded every evening at 6 p.m. local time in the western Nevada town of Minden. For many longtime Minden residents, the siren is a nostalgic nod to the past that stirs sentiments about the Minden’s farming heritage as well as its volunteer fire department. But for many members of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, the siren is a daily reminder of beatings and banishment from their traditional lands.
Native American Homeless Encampment Grows At Hiawatha And Franklin, Community Demands Housing Support
KSTP, Jessica Miles, September 3
The Wall of Forgotten Natives is a Minnesota Department of Transportation property near Hiawatha and Franklin avenues where homeless men, women and families live in tents. It is the same area homeless Native Americans lived two years ago, many retreated back to the encampment Wednesday, moving from where they were camped on public property nearby.
Coalition Showcases Homeownership Models for Native Veterans on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Native News Online, September 3
The South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition is working to increase homeownership among American Indian veterans. A pair of American Indian community development financial institutions (CDFIs) recently hosted a reservation-wide tour for state and federal officials to highlight housing loan programs available to Native veterans.