On Tuesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported zero positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation for the first time since March 17 when the Navajo Nation first reported its first cases. On Wednesday, Navajo Nation health officials reported 12 new confirmed cases, but reported no deaths for the second time in three days.
The Arctic Village Council, the League of Women Voters of Alaska, and two individuals who have health concerns have filed a lawsuit asking a judge to block election officials from enforcing a requirement that Alaska absentee voters have someone witness them signing their ballots.
The Tribal Connect Act, bipartisan legislation introduced in late August, would increase access to the Federal Communications Commission’s $4 billion E-rate program, which provides discounts to help schools and libraries get high-speed internet at an affordable rate. The proposed legislation would also create a $100 million pilot program to provide broadband internet access in tribal communities lacking a library.
Red Fawn Fallis, an Ogalala Lakota woman serving federal prison time in relation to the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance at Standing Rock, was released yesterday after serving 57 months in prison. Fallis pleaded guilty in January 2018 to civil disorder and illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon.
Keep reading for a full news update.
No New COVID-19 Cases On Navajo Nation For First Time Since March
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, September 9
On Tuesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported zero COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation for the first time since March 17 when the Navajo Nation first reported its first cases. While no cases were reported on Tuesday, which is welcome news, Navajo Nation leaders are not proclaiming “mission accomplished.” Navajo Nation leaders maintain Navajo citizens must remain cautious because there is no vaccine available to the public yet.
No COVID-19 Deaths On Navajo Nation For 2nd Time In 3 Days
AP News, September 9
Navajo Nation health officials on Wednesday reported 12 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, but no deaths for the second time in three days. The latest numbers increase the total number of people infected to 9,915 with the known death toll remaining at 527. Tribal health officials reported one new coronavirus case Monday and no additional deaths for the first time since March.
More Mississippi Choctaws Have Died Of COVID-19 Than Those Who Died Of The Disease In Hawaii. Or Alaska. Or Wyoming.
Indian Country Today, Jerry Mitchell, September 9
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the Mississippi Choctaw Band of Indians harder than any major city in the nation — and 10 times harder than the rest of Mississippi. Of the 10,000 Choctaws served by the tribe, one in 10 — 1,092 — have tested positive for COVID-19. “That’s worse than what we’re seeing in New York City or anywhere else in the U.S.,” said the 42-year-old Chief Cyrus Ben, who has battled the disease himself, suffering fever and chills. By comparison, one in 34 residents in New York City has tested positive.
Vancouver Public Schools Retires Chieftain Mascot
AP News, September 9
The Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors on Tuesday unanimously voted to stop using the chieftain name and mascot at Columbia River High School and Minnehaha Elementary School. Board members last month expressed their desire to halt the use of the image of a Native American chief in a feathered headdress, The Columbian reported. Local tribal leaders urged the school board to stop using the image, and more than 1,700 people signed a petition this summer opposing its continued use.
In Pennsylvania Public Schools, An ‘Epidemic’ Of Native American Mascots And Nicknames
The Philadelphia Inquierer, Jeff Gammage,
Four years ago, at least 67 public schools in Pennsylvania embraced Native American nicknames and mascots. Today, after long, contentious debate and amid vast protests across America against systemic racism, that number has hardly moved, dropping to 64. “It’s our job to support Native individuals in getting these mascots removed,” said Jason Landau Goodman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, a Harrisburg-based advocate for inclusive education. “Wrong is wrong.”
Lawsuit Challenges Alaska Witness Requirement For Ballots
AP News, Becky Bohrer, September 9
A lawsuit filed Tuesday asks a judge to block election officials from enforcing during the COVID-19 pandemic a requirement that Alaska absentee voters have someone witness them signing their ballots. The plaintiffs are the Arctic Village Council, a tribal government; the League of Women Voters of Alaska; and two individuals that the lawsuit says have health concerns. The lawsuit seeks to have the witness requirement declared “unconstitutionally burdensome” on the plaintiffs’ right to vote amid the pandemic.
Federal Legislation to Expand Tribal Access To Affordable High-Speed Internet, Create $100M Pilot Broadband Program
Native News Online, September 9
New bipartisan federal legislation to narrow the “digital divide” in Indian Country would expand access to an existing broadband internet service used by schools and libraries. The Tribal Connect Act, introduced in late August by Senators Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M. and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla, would increase access for tribes to the Federal Communications Commission’s $4 billion E-rate program, which provides discounts for schools and libraries to seek high-speed internet access at an affordable rate.
Red Fawn Fallis To Be Released After 57 Months
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, September 9
An Oglala Lakota woman serving federal prison time in relation to the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance at Standing Rock will be released, a family member and an advocacy group confirmed. Glenn Morris said in an email his niece Red Fawn Fallis was scheduled to be released on Sept. 9 after serving 57 months in prison.
Veteran Native Journalist Ramona Marozas Brings Her Talents To Native Report
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, September 9
Ramona Marozas referenced back to an American Indian naming ceremony of several members of her family on the shores of Lake Superior on the Bad River Indian Reservation as being the impetus of wanting to become a journalist. The elder who conducted the ceremony told her that her American Indian name was Great White Cloud.
‘Gather’ Review: The Struggle To Remain Sovereign
The New York Times, Lovia Gyarkye, September 8
This documentary wonderfully weaves personal stories with archival footage that contextualizes the continued violence against Native Americans. Many are familiar with the tangible losses associated with colonization. But there are also the intangible losses that can totally reconfigure how Indigenous people and their descendants relate to each other. “Gather,” a documentary by Sanjay Rawal, intimately examines one intangible loss — food traditions — and its use in pursuit of Native sovereignty in the United States.