Last night, Vice President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris faced off in the only Vice Presidential Debate of the 2020 general election. If you missed it, watch the whole debate here, highlights from the debate here, and a fact check of both candidates here.  And don’t miss #Fly gate on social media with your morning coffee. (See a brilliant communications maneuver by the new Mike Pence’s Fly twitter account.) 

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Trump administration’s motion for a stay of Judge Koh’s order extending the Census deadline to October 31. In an emergency request on Wednesday the Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow counting for the 2020 Census to end before the October 31 deadline. This sets up the Supreme Court to make the final ruling on the 2020 Census deadline. 

The Cheyenne River Sioux Health Department reported that it tried to find better-equipped hospitals to transfer COVID-19 patients in South Dakota, but 14 facilities said they were also diverting COVID-19 patients. The Cheyenne River Sioux Health Department says they found a hospital in Burnsville, Minnesota that would accept patients and transferred two COVID-19 cases there. South Dakota’s top health officials have insisted the state has ample hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients.

A school district in Northwest Washington State has begun working with the Samish Indian Nation to fulfill an initiative to integrate tribal history and culture into various subjects taught throughout grade levels in the district. The Since Time Immemorial curriculum, which was developed in 2015, has been integrated in districts throughout the state and tailored to the nearest tribes.

Ten years ago this month, Richard Desautel, a U.S. citizen and member of the Lakes Tribe of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State, purposefully shot and killed a cow elk in the Arrow Lakes area of British Columbia and was charged with hunting without a license and hunting big game while not a resident of British Columbia. Desautel argued he was exercising his right under Canada’s constitution to hunt for ceremonial purposes on the traditional land of his ancestors. Now, Desautel will argue before Canada’s Supreme Court in an attempt to give more Native Americans in the United States the right to use their tribes’ traditional lands in Canada.

Keep reading for a full news update.

2020 Census: 

Trump Officials Ask Supreme Court To Block Order That Extends Census Counting 

NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, October 7

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow counting for the 2020 census to end soon.

In an emergency request on Wednesday, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall said that the Census Bureau must immediately wrap up its field operations, now that it’s passed the bureau’s internal target date of Oct. 5, in order to have a chance of meeting the legal deadline for delivering the first set of census results to President Trump by year’s end.


‘We Are Losing Parts Of Our Culture’: Virus Tears Through Choctaw Community

The New York Times, Mark Walker, October 8

More than 10 percent of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has had the coronavirus, and the tribe is bracing for a second wave and more devastation.

Cheyenne River Sioux Report Scramble For Hospital Beds

AP News, Stephen Groves, October 7

A small hospital serving the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has sent two coronavirus patients to an out-of-state hospital in recent days, the tribe’s health department said Wednesday, even as South Dakota’s top health officials insist the state has plenty of hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19’s Tragic Effect On American Indians: A State-By-State Analysis

U.S. News, Deidre McPhillips, October 7

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Indian and Alaska Native people are 5.3 times more likely than white people to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, the largest disparity for any racial or ethnic group. Coronavirus case rates among American Indians and Alaska Natives were higher than among whites in 23 states.

Native Americans In Minnesota Keep COVID-19 At Bay

US News, Devon Haynie, October 7

After the COVID-19 pandemic made its jarring entrance onto U.S. soil earlier this year, leaders of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa watched closely as the disease inched inward toward their reservation. So far, they’ve avoided a crisis.

2020 Election

Native Americans Could Help Swing Arizona—But Many Struggle To Cast Their Ballot

TIME, Sanya Mansoor, October 7

Native Americans in Arizona and across the country face unique challenges to accessing the ballot, particularly when it comes to vote-by-mail, which has gained popularity nationwide as many Americans are wary about the health risks of voting in-person during a pandemic. A list of potential roadblocks tap into a sense of disenfranchisement in the community that goes back nearly a century

Artists Are Producing Pro-voting Images With Native Values And Design In Mind

Native News Online, Tamara Ikenberg, October 7

Native artists have created powerful pro-voting images that are making the rounds on social media and drawing attention to the urgency of Native participation in the upcoming election on Nov. 3. More meaningful than your average political meme, the visual messages are carefully crafted with Native values and designs in mind.


Rounds, Thune Legislation Would Create a Congressional Charter for National American Indian Veterans (NAIV), Mike Rounds, October 7 

U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) recently introduced legislation to create a Congressional Charter for the National American Indian Veterans (NAIV). Headquartered in South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Reservation, the NAIV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocating for tribal veterans.

Canada’s Supreme Court To Consider Whether Native Americans In U.S. Have Rights North Of The Border

The Washington Post, Amanda Coletta, October 7

The Canadian Supreme Court will hear a case that could have sweeping implications for Indigenous groups on both sides of the border. A victory could give more Native Americans in the United States the right to use their tribes’ traditional lands in Canada. The main question before the justices is whether rights afforded to “aboriginal peoples of Canada” by the Constitution Act can extend to groups that don’t live in Canada.

Bill Pressures CDC To Give Native Americans Better Access To Federal Health Data

Cronkite News, Franco LaTona, October 7

A measure passed by the U.S. House aims to remove barriers that Native Americans face in accessing public health data – something advocates say is key to providing a clearer picture of how COVID-19 and other diseases are disproportionately affecting tribes. Experts said Native Americans have been denied access to some state and federal health data for years, and the pandemic has further exposed this long-standing issue.


FBI Back On Navajo Nation Looking To Solve Double Homicide

AP News, October 7

The FBI is back on the Navajo Nation pursuing investigative leads and gathering more information as it tries to solve a double homicide. The two Ohio men were traveling to California and passing through Sawmill when they died, the FBI said. Their car appeared to get stuck, and they might have been walking for help when they were fatally shot, authorities said.

Washington State Schools To Teach Samish Tribal History

AP News, October 7

A school district in northwest Washington state has started to make plans with the Samish Indian Nation to fulfill a statewide initiative to integrate tribal history and culture into various subjects taught throughout grade levels in the district.

Alarmed By Scope Of Wildfires, Officials Turn To Native Americans For Help

The New York Times, Jill Cowan, October 7

Long before California was California, Native Americans used fire to keep the lands where they lived healthy. Now, as more Americans are being forced to confront the realities of climate change, firefighting experts and policymakers are increasingly turning to fundamental ecological principles that have long guided Indigenous communities.

Grand Canyon Outlines Lethal Removal Of Bison From North Rim

AP News, October 7

Skilled shooters will get the first opportunity next fall to help reduce the herd of bison roaming the far northern reaches of Grand Canyon National Park. Don’t call or write asking how to volunteer, officials say. Those details are still being worked out.