Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed at the age of 87 on Friday evening from complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. Justice Ginsburg was an architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970’s, and had served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years. Indian Country Today gathered responses to Justice Ginsburg’s passing from across Indian Country.

Kiowa Tribe District 1 Legislator, and Legislature Speaker, Angela Chaddlesone McCarthy died on Thursday after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in August. McCarthy was known as a passionate legislator brimming with ideas and projects.

After Navajo and Lummi government leaders announced that their tribes would be participating in COVID-19 vaccine trials they were quickly met with outrage and suspicion from their tribal citizens. While the respective leaders emphasized that the trails were voluntary, tribal citizens took to social media to criticize the decision.

Nielson Powless (Oneida) was the first Native to participate in the Tour de France, which wrapped up in Paris on Sunday. Powless finished in the top five during two of the race’s stages, including a fourth place finish in stage 4 earlier this month. Overall, Powless finished 56th out of nearly 200 cyclists.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Vaccine Trial Triggers Outrage From Lummi, Navajo Tribes

Indian Country Today, Mary Annette Pember, September 20

Navajo and Lummi government leaders recently came face-to-face with suspicion and uncertainty surrounding the race to find a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus after they announced their tribes would be participating in COVID-19 vaccine trials 一 their triumphant social media announcements were quickly met with outrage and suspicion from tribal citizens.

Saturday Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 17 New Cases – Death Toll At 548

Native News Online, September 19

The Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 17 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and four more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 548 as of Saturday. Reports indicate that 7,230 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 and 101,899 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 10,107.

COVID-19 Claims Life Of Kiowa Tribe Legislature Speaker Angela Chaddlesone Mccarthy

Native News Online, Chez Oxendine, September 18

The Kiowa Tribe is mourning the passing of Kiowa Tribe District 1 Legislator and legislature speaker Angela Chaddlesone McCarthy, who died Thursday following a battle with Covid-19, said fellow District 7 Legislator Jacob Tsotigh. Speaker McCarthy was 49.


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

Native News Online, Nanette Kelley, September 18

With Governor 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. The legislation would strengthen and clarify the process for repatriating California Native American remains and artifacts held by various state institutions, such as the University of California (UC) system.


Indigenous Reactions to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Indian Country Today, September 20

‘A true champion of justice’

The word of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death spread fast across Indian Country. Tribal leaders, officers of the law, and citizens celebrated her life and expressed fears for the future.

Four American Indians In Congress Remember Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, September 19

Since Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, the four members in Congress who are tribal citizens issued a statement commemorating her 27 years on the nation’s highest court.

Tribal Leaders, Members Of Congress Connect Virtually For ‘Impact Days’

Indian Country Today, Kolby Kickingwoman, September 18

The National Congress of American Indians’ annual event, “Tribal Unity Impact Days,” was held online this year due to COVID-19. This year, 14 members of Congress took part in roundtable discussions with tribal leaders, focusing discussion on the next COVID-19 relief bill, health, education, public safety, broadband access, protecting veterans and the McGirt Supreme Court ruling.


Republican Lawmaker Slams National Congress Of American Indians, Acee Agoyo, September 18

Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski is accusing the National Congress of American Indians of engaging in “divisiveness” in connection with a bitter dispute over billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief. In a stunning four-page letter, Senator Murkowski accused NCAI for getting involved in the ongoing legal and policy dispute, and said that the organization shouldn’t have gone public with opposition to Alaska Native corporations (ANCs) receiving shares of a coronavirus relief fund designed to help tribal governments address the impacts of the global public health crisis.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski Letter On ‘Tribal Unity’, Lisa Murkowski, September

Text of a September 17, 2018, letter from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to President Fawn Sharp of the National Congress of American Indians. A copy was also sent to NCAI’s executive committee of tribal leadership.

National Elections:

Native American Communities Make A Final Push To Get Out The Vote This November

The Hill, Anagha Srikanth, September 18

Two months before the November presidential election, two nonprofits are announcing a new campaign — not for a candidate, but for the voters. Natives Vote, organized by IllumiNative and the Native Organizers Alliance, is pulling out all the stops, from commissioning art from at least 50 Native artists to featuring a collaboration between fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail and artist Bethany Yellowtail, to get out the vote in their communities.

From Showdown To Stalemate, Pascua Yaqui Voting Site Feud Continues

Cronkite News, Calah Schlabach, September 18

What was a showdown between the Pascua Yaqui tribe, the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the county’s recorder has now turned into a stalemate. The supervisors voted 3-2 to authorize an emergency voting site to replace a polling place that the tribe has been trying to get restored for the last two years.


Bright Future For Oneida Cyclist

Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, September 20

Oneida cyclist and first time Tour de France rider Neilson Powless is the first Native American to compete in race history. Powless was one of nearly 200 cyclists to participate in September’s punishing three-week cycling sprint of the most challenging stages that the French have to offer. The race finished up Sunday in Paris and Powless’ overall place was 56th.

American Airlines Flies Home Native American Remains

Simple Flying, Jay Singh, September 20

American Airlines took part in an extraordinary repatriation mission. Working with various agencies, the airline transported the remains and other funerary artifacts of Native American inhabitants to Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park.

Kumeyaay Native Americans Refuse To Fight Back As Woman Attacks Them At Border Wall Protest

TMZ, September 19

A group of Southern California Native Americans opted not to strike back as they were being pummeled by a woman who didn’t like their protest against Trump’s border wall.

This was posted by a group called Defend Kumeyaay Land — natives who originated in San Diego County — and while members of their tribe were out by the border Friday protesting the ongoing construction of more barriers, they were confronted by a very handsy, violent lady.

First Native American Racer Blazes Trail At Tour De France

AP News, John Leicester, September 19

Not only has Neilson Powless survived cycling’s greatest and most grueling race, he distinguished himself in a crop of exciting young talents who helped set this Tour alight. Crossing the finish in Paris on Sunday will, he hopes, resonate on reservations back in the United States.

Congress Wants Answers After Trump Administration Refuses To Testify About Bie School Reopenings

Native News Online, September 18

Chair Raúl M. Grijalva and Rep. Ruben Gallego, chair of the Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States are seeking answers from Assistant Secretary of U.S. Department of the Interior – Indian Affairs Tara MacLean Sweeney and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Director Tony Dearman about the decision made to reopen BIE-operated schools on Sept. 16.

Rural, Native American Schools Seek More In-person Learning

AP News, September 18

School leaders on the Navajo Nation, including Gallup-McKinley and Central Consolidated Schools, say that half or more of rural students are unable to connect to online learning, which has exacerbated tensions with tribal communities. A lawsuit is pending over allegations that the state is falling short of a constitutional mandate to provide adequate education to indigenous, Hispanic, disabled and low-income children.

More Call For Pause As US Weighs New Mexico Drilling Plan

AP News, Susan Montoya Brown, September 18

Environmentalists and tribal citizens 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. They sent a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, saying the coronavirus pandemic has prevented meaningful in-person consultation with Native American tribes and others who would be affected by the decision.

Native American Activist Guilty Of Rape But Not Kidnapping

AP News, September 18

A New Mexico jury on Friday convicted a Redwold Pope, a Native American activist, of rape and voyeurism, but acquitted him of kidnapping — the most serious charge against him. Prosecutors had accused Pope of raping a woman in a Santa Fe hotel in 2017 and recording the act. Pope is an activist who has been described as having assisted elders and others during 2016 pipeline protests at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.