After Justice Department attorneys missed a deadline for producing a complete record of internal Commerce Department documents, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh extended her order that stopped the 2020 Census from winding down. The order was set to expire yesterday, but will instead remain in effect until September 24 at the latest. This is the latest in the Trump administration’s efforts to shield thousands of internal documents about the 2020 Census from the public.

Remains of Native peoples that were taken from Colorado 130 years ago were returned from the National Museum of Finland over the weekend, and were reburied within Mesa Verde National Park. The tribes made the announcement Thursday to respect a traditional four-day grieving period.

Meanwhile, the California Senate approved a bill last month that would help federally and non-federally recognized California tribes to recover ancestor remains and artifacts from state-funded institutions.

The Cherokee Nation was recently named as the Tribal Destination of the Year by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association. They received the honor for their dedication to sharing the rich history and culture of Cherokee people through various historic sites and attractions, which includes six cultural museums, two welcome centers and various retail locations.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) Letter On ‘Tribal Unity’, September 18

Tracking COVID-19 In Alaska: 113 New Cases Reported Thursday As Health Officials Forecast An Increase In New Cases 

Anchorage Daily News, September 17

Alaska’s COVID-19 cases increased by 113 on Thursday, and they’re projected to increase more in the coming week, state health officials reported Thursday.

Previously, the state’s modeling predicted a decrease in cases, but that has since changed and it’s now projecting an increase going forward, health officials wrote in a weekly summary of cases.

Navajo Nation COVID-19 Updates: 19 New Cases Reported On Thursday 

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, September 17

On Thursday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 19 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and one more death. The total number of deaths is now 540 as of Thursday. Reports indicate that 7,226 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 and 101,248 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 10,083, which includes five additional positive COVID-19 cases that were previously unreported due to delayed reporting from health care facilities.

Udall Holds Roundtable With Tribal Leaders, Calls For Urgent Senate Action On Additional COVID Relief Tribal Priorities 

Senate Committee On Indian Affairs, September 17

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, held a virtual roundtable with Tribal leaders as part of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Tribal Unity Impact Days event. During the roundtable, Udall discussed his continued efforts to secure more federal resources to respond to the ongoing pandemic and his work on legislative priorities for Native communities. Udall then answered questions from Tribal leaders on the potential for further federal coronavirus relief and the outlook on federal spending bills.

Census 2020: 

Court Order Keeps Census In Limbo As Counting End Date Looms 

NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, September 17

The winding down of the 2020 census must remain on hold nationwide through Sept. 24 at the latest, a federal judge in California has ordered.

The move by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh throws the national head count further into uncertainty as a coalition led by the National Urban League continues a legal fight to provide the U.S. Census Bureau with more time to tally the country’s population and review results, which are used to determine the distribution of federal funding and political representation for the next decade.

Trump Administration Is Trying To Keep Census Documents Secret 

CNN, Gregory Wallace, September 16

The Trump administration is trying to get a federal judge to help shield thousands of internal documents about the 2020 census from the public.

The more than 8,800 records, plus an undisclosed number due for release later this week, document the administration’s controversial move to cut off the census at the end of September, rather than the planned October 31.


Cherokee Nation Receives National Recognition As 2020 Tribal Destination Of The Year 

The Claremore Daily Progress, September 18

Cherokee Nation was recently named as the 2020 Tribal Destination of the Year by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.

New Legislation Could Bring Repatriation To Non-Federally Recognized Tribes In California 

Native News Online, Nanette Kelley, September 18

With Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, federally and non-federally recognized California tribes would be one step closer to recovering ancestor remains and artifacts from state-funded institutions.

Letter Asks Interior To Slow Chaco Development 

Indian Country Today, Susan Montoya Bryan, September 18

Environmentalists want federal land managers to suspend efforts to amend a plan that would guide oil and gas development and other activities near Chaco Culture National Historical Park.  

Native American Remains And Artifacts Returned To Colorado After 130 Years 

CBS Denver, September 17

On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the repatriation of Native American remains and artifacts taken from Colorado 130 years ago. A Swedish researcher unearthed the remains of about 20 people and more than two dozen funerary objects from southwestern Colorado in 1891. They eventually became part of a larger collection at the National Museum of Finland.

Remarks By President Trump On Repatriation Of Native American Artifacts And Remains 

White House, September 17

TikTok Posts Can Help Us Heal 

Indian Country Today, Mary Annette Pember, September 16

Erin Tapahe, Diné, never imagined so many people would be interested in watching her TikTok videos.

As of today, she has over 25k followers on her account, @tapahe and was recently hired by TikTok to produce videos as part of the company’s Creative Learning Fund. The initiative, launched in May, provides TikTok creators financial earnings through a $50 million fund.

Amazon Indigenous Group Patrols To Expel Invading Loggers 

Indian Country Today, Eraldo Peres, September 16

A bit after sunrise, dozens of Indigenous Tembé men began preparing for the important day ahead. They danced, chanted and donned matching black T-shirts before setting off on motorbikes into Brazil’s Amazon forest.