Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden and Vice-Presidential nominee Kamala Harris met with tribal leaders in Arizona this week, including Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr., Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, Hopi Tribal Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma, and San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler.

The Biden-Harris campaign also released a 15-page policy proposal for tribal nations and Indian Country that acknowledges that the United States “was founded on the notion of equality for all” but “this promise has been denied to Native Americans who have lived on this land since time immemorial.” The proposal goes on to lay out the campaign’s priorities for Indian Country: strengthening U.S.-tribal relations, upholding treaty obligations to providing quality health care and education to Native peoples, restoring and protecting tribes’ natural and cultural resources and land, addressing disproportionate violence against Native populations, protecting Native Americans’ access to voting and more.

High Country News reports that as scientists work to better understand the COVID-19 virus, tribal nations across Indian Country are pushing federal scientists to conduct disease research that serves Indigenous peoples in a meaningful way.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has seen more than 10 percent of their 10,000 residents contract COVID-19, and has lost 81 tribal citizens. Now, the New York Times reports, the tribe is bracing for a second wave and “more devastation.”

The Hoh Tribe on the coast of Washington State tweeted on Wednesday that SpaceX’s Starlink network has been supplying fast broadband internet access to local residents in the area. Starlink is SpaceX’s upcoming satellite internet service that will provide fast internet to remote areas – allowing for better access to remote learning and healthcare.

The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut is poised to become the first Native casino operator in the Las Vegas resort area after Nevada casino regulators signed off on letting Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment operate the casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas when it opens at the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino a few blocks east of the Las Vegas Strip.

Keep reading for a full news update.

2020 Election:

Seeking The Native Vote: Biden And Harris Meet With Arizona Tribal Leaders 

Native News Online, October 9

The top of the Democratic ticket took their campaign to Arizona on Thursday.

While in Phoenix, Ariz., Democratic presidential nominee former vice president Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) met with several Arizona tribal leaders.

‘Mail Voting Doesn’t Work For Navajo Nation’: Native Americans Face Steep Election Hurdles 

The Guardian, Isaiah Murtaugh, October 9

Tamisha Jensen requested a mail ballot in mid-September. Mail ballots don’t ship in Arizona until 7 October, but she’s worried her first absentee ballot won’t get to her.

Biden-Harris Campaign Releases Policy Plan For Native American Tribal Nations

Duluth News Tribune, Sarah Mearhoff, October 8

Marked by a Thursday, Oct. 8 campaign visit to the American Indian Veterans National Memorial in Arizona, Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have released a robust policy proposal for Native American tribal nations that acknowledges tribal sovereignty and systemic inequities in health, economic and educational outcomes in Indian Country.


Navajo Nation COVID-19 Update: 32 New Cases – Death Toll Now At 563 

Native News Online, October 8

On Thursday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 32 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and one more death. The total number of deaths is now 563 as of Thursday. Reports indicate that 7,312 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 111,430 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 10,582, including four additional cases that were previously unreported due to delayed reporting or reconciliation.

‘A Devastating Blow’: Virus Kills 81 Members Of Native American Tribe 

New York Times, Mark Walker, October 8

For Jason Grisham, it began with a fever. Then came the chills, lingering headaches and a terrifying realization about what the symptoms might mean.

A Devastated Native American Community Shows The Virus’s Deadly Toll On Tribal Nations. 

New York Times, Mark Walker, October 8

The coronavirus has torn through the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians unabated, sickening more than 10 percent of the tribe’s 10,000 residents and killing at least 81 people. Now the tribe is bracing for a second wave and more devastation.

Indigenous Data Sovereignty Shakes Up Research 

High Country News, Kalen Goodluck, October 8

As U.S. government scientists work to understand how COVID-19 affects the human body, tribal nations are still struggling with the impacts of the federal government’s inadequate response to the pandemic. Now, through a National Institutes of Health program called “All of Us,” tribal nations across Indian Country are pushing federal scientists to conduct disease research that serves Indigenous peoples in a meaningful way. Developing research practices in accordance with tribal consultation takes time, however, meaning that for now, tribal citizens are missing out on the program’s coronavirus antibody testing.

Census 2020:

Trump’s Obstruction Of The 2020 Census, Explained 

Vox, Nicole Narea, October 9

County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the chief executive of Harris County, Texas, worried about an undercount in the 2020 census long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.


Casino Closures Hurting Public Health Systems In Tribal Nations 

Washington Examiner, Cassidy Morrison, October 8

Casino closures due to the coronavirus have crippled tribal economies, making an already underfunded public health system even more strained.

Mohegan Sun Tribe Poised To Operate Virgin Casino In Vegas 

Associated Press, October 8

The tribe that owns the Mohegan Sun casino-hotel between Boston and New York City is poised to become the first Native American casino operator in the Las Vegas resort area.


EPA Grant Will Allow NAU’s Institute For Tribal Environmental Professionals To Address Pesticides On Tribal Lands 

NAU News, October 8

The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) at Northern Arizona University was awarded a five-year cooperative agreement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ITEP will receive $975,000 to administer and provide technical support for the Tribal Pesticide Program Council (TPPC), an EPA partnership group that informs tribes of pesticide issues, promotes pesticide education and awareness and assists in the development and establishment of comprehensive tribal pesticide programs.

Native American Tribe Gets Early Access T0 SpaceX’s Starlink And Says It’s Fast 

PC Magazine, Michael Kan, October 8

SpaceX’s upcoming satellite internet service can indeed supply fast internet to remote areas, according to a Native American tribe in Washington state.