U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in California ruled late last night that the 2020 Census must continue through its original end date of October 31. Judge Koh made her ruling two days after hearing arguments from attorneys for the Census Bureau, and attorneys for civil rights groups and local governments that had sued the statistical agency in an effort to halt the 2020 census from stopping at the end of the month. 

Tribal leaders will have the opportunity to discuss COVID-19 vaccine plans for distribution and allocations during several conference calls with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that will begin next week. The HHS’ tribal consultation will work through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

The Graton Rancheria Tribe is giving $15 million to UCLA Law to provide scholarships for law students interested in pursuing Native legal studies. The money will be used to create the Graton Scholars program at UCLA Law’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center.

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., reopens to the public today. The museum has been closed for months due to COVID-19, and will be open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. with free timed entry passes that are available on the museum’s website. 

Keep reading for a full news update.

Census 2020: 

Judge Says 2020 Census Must Continue For Another Month 

Associated Press, Mike Schneider, September 25

A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at the end of September and ordered the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident to continue for another month through the end of October, saying a shortened schedule likely would produce inaccurate results.

Court Orders Census Counting To Continue Through Oct. 31; Appeal Expected 

NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, September 24

A federal court has ordered the Trump administration to abandon last-minute changes to the 2020 census schedule and extend the time for counting for an additional month. 


Tribal Leaders To Participate In Consultation With Federal Health Officials For COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout 

Native News Online, September 25

Tribal leaders will have the opportunity to discuss Covid-19 vaccination planning for distribution and allocation during several conference calls beginning next week in the federal government’s attempt to provide tribal consultation to Indian Country leaders.

In American Indian Communities, Questions About COVID-19 Test Access Remain

Mitchell Republic, Dana Ferguson, September 23

Testing shortages early on in the COVID-19 pandemic could’ve proven a dire setback as the illness started spreading across the country. But tribal leaders and state health officials said partnerships helped get resources out to tribal communities and prevented more severe outbreaks of COVID-19. However, more needs to be done to ensure Native American and Indigenous people can access tests and are being assessed at rates comparable to other demographic group.


Tribal COVID-19 Relief Data Breach

Indianz.com, September 24

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin had trouble addressing the tribal coronavirus relief fund data breach during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. “I’m going to have to look into that. I’m not familiar with the tribal data breach that you’re referring to,” Mnuchin said, promising to get back quickly with an answer.

Tribal Sovereignty:

Mono Lake Kutzadika’s Paiute Tribe Takes Another Step Toward Federal Recognition 

Native News Online, Nanette Kelley, September 25

With support from the neighboring tribes, community and their local U.S. representative, the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Paiute Tribe, with its 88 tribal citizens, is seeking federal recognition through legislation.

Designation For Native American Burial Grounds In Berkley May Impede Planned Housing Development [Subscription]

San Francisco Business Times, Ted Anderson, September 24

The historic designation comes after a years-long battle over the site, which was the previously the parking lot for the now-shuttered Spenger’s Fish Grotto.


Eastern Cherokee Want BIA Official Removed

Indian Country Today, Joseph Martin, September 24

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians government is asking that its local Bureau of Indian Affairs head be removed and a new superintendent be assigned to the Cherokee, North Carolina, agency. Principal Chief Richard Sneed, who submitted the resolution, accused McKee of being inconsistent and unprofessional.

Graton Rancheria Tribe Donates $15m To UCLA Law For Native American Studies

Casino.org, Devin O’Conner, September 24

The Graton Rancheria Tribe, owner and operator of the Graton Resort & Casino, located 40 miles north of San Francisco, is giving UCLA Law $15 million. The gift is to provide scholarships for law students interested in pursuing Native American legal studies.  

UCLA Law Secures Record-breaking Gift From Native American Tribe

Law.com, Karen Sloan, September 24

The University of California at Los Angeles has secured the single largest donation on record from a Native American tribe to a law school—$15 million that will fund full-ride scholarships for students who aspire to careers in tribal law.

Native American Capital Among 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites

National Geographic, Andrew Lawler, September 24

If two Virginia counties have their way, a low-lying stub of forest jutting into the James River will host a small water pumping station to meet the needs of their growing populations. But a determined coalition of Native Americans and preservationists have been battling the $10 million project, arguing that it would destroy Rassawek, the ancient capital of the Monacan tribe.

‘Baby-friendly’ Hospitals Tackle Health Disparities By Encouraging Native Mothers To Breastfeed

Cronkite News, France La Tona, September 24

The Whiteriver Indian Hospital in eastern Arizona is combating health disparities among Native Americans by teaching new mothers strong breastfeeding practices, which research shows improves such ailments as obesity and Type 1 diabetes in kids. The medical center on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation is one of about 10 hospitals under the Indian Health Service that is classified as “Baby-Friendly.

National Museum Of The American Indians Reopens And Other Events This Weekend

Native News Online, September 24

After being closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., reopens to the public this Friday, Sept. 25.