The second day of Judge Amy Coney Barret’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee is currently underway. For highlights from yesterday’s hearing click here, and to watch today’s proceedings live click here.

Last month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a proclamation making October 12 a joint celebration of both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day for this year, marking the first time that Arizona celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day at all. In Alabama, the Capital City of Montgomery observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time in an effort to recognize “the city’s true history,” the city’s mayor said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Representative Deb Haaland and other representatives introduced a bipartisan Congressional Resolution calling for the official designation of the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments today in a case involving six Navajo citizens in Arizona who want mail-in ballots from residents on the vast reservation to be counted past November 3. A previous ruling from an Arizona Judge gave election officials an extra 10 days to count ballots from the Navajo Nation, and Arizona’s Attorney General filed an appeal. 

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced on Monday that former Senate Pro Tempore Brian Bingam would be the state’s new Secretary of State and Native American affairs. Bingman, who also is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, joined the Stitt administration in August as the governor’s new chief policy advisor and is expected to work as a liaison between the Legislature and governor’s office.

Keep reading for a full news update.

Indigenous Peoples Day:

Goodbye, Columbus?: Arizona Celebrates First Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Cronkite News, Calah Schlabach, October 12

Native Americans in Arizona finally celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an official state holiday Monday – but it was a win with an asterisk. After years of advocacy by tribal groups, Gov. Doug Ducey last month signed a proclamation making Oct. 12, 2020, a joint celebration of both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day, but just for this year.

Alabama’s Capital City Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day

AP News, October 12

Alabama’s capital is observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time Monday in an effort to recognize “the city’s true history,” the city’s mayor said. “We are not rewriting history. In fact, we are allowing for a more accurate accounting of history by acknowledging the people who are native to this land.” 

Activists in New Mexico, Arizona Mark Indigenous Peoples Day

AP News, Cedar Attanasio, October 12

Protesters used a rope and chain to topple a monument in New Mexico’s capital city as activists faced off with authorities along the U.S.-Mexico border in neighboring Arizona as part of demonstrations meant to mark Indigenous Peoples Day.

Protesters Knock Down Roosevelt, Lincoln Statues In Portland

AP News, October 12

Protesters in Portland overturned statues of former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and vandalized the Oregon Historical Society in a declaration of “rage” toward Columbus Day. Protest organizers dubbed the event “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage,” in response to Monday’s federal holiday named after 15th-century Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.

Haaland, Fellow Congressional Native American Caucus Members Call For Federal Holiday Designation For Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Deborah Haaland, October 9

U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland, Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced a bipartisan Congressional Resolution calling for the official designation of the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day as a federal holiday.


Court To Hear Appeal In Navajo Mail-in Ballot Case

Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, October 12 

A request for extra time to have mail-in ballots from the Navajo Nation count this November continues this week in the form of an appeal hearing. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments Tuesday, three weeks before Election Day, in a case involving six Navajo citizens in Arizona who want mail-in ballots from residents on the vast reservation to be counted past Nov. 3.

New Missing, Murdered Laws Hailed As ‘Huge Victory’

Indian Country Todya, Joaqlin Estus, October 12 

Two new laws addressing the issue of missing and murdered Native Americans are drawing widespread praise as a step toward addressing needs identified by tribes and experts in law enforcement and justice, including better data collection, coordination and increased resources. President Donald Trump signed Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act on Saturday. 

Cortez Masto, Murkowski Hail Trump Signing Of Bills To Curb Epidemic Of Missing, Murdered And Trafficked Native Women, Senator Catherine Crotez Masto, October 12

U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — champions in the Senate of the Not Invisible Act and Savanna’s Act, respectively — released statements on the signing of the two bills into law by the president. 

Savanna’s Act And Not Invisible Act Signed Into Law To Help Address The Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis, Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, October 12

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer commend the signing of the Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act into law on Saturday by President Donald Trump, which will help to address the missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic that continues across the United States.  


Navajo Nation Reports 30 New COVID-19 Cases And 6 Deaths

AP News, October 12

Navajo Nation health officials on Monday reported 30 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths. The latest numbers bring the total number of cases to 10,728 including two additional cases that was previously unreported due to delayed reporting. The known death toll now is at 571.


Nevada Land Proposal Includes Tribal Voices

Indian Country Today, Amber Torres, October 12

To pay back for decades of land mistreatment by the US Navy, Nevada Senator Cortes Masto has proposed the Northern Nevada Rural Land Management, Conservation, and Military Readiness Act. The act includes a historic $20 million payment from the U.S. Navy in response to historic contamination on over 6,000 acres of the Walker River Paiute Tribe’s reservation lands, as well as replacement lands for the tribe to engage in critical, non-gaming economic development enterprises

Former Oklahoma Senate Leader Appointed Secretary Of State

AP News, October 12

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday the appointment of former Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman as Oklahoma’s new secretary of state and Native American affairs. Bingman, who also is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, joined the Stitt administration in August as the governor’s new chief policy advisor and is expected to work as a liaison between the Legislature and governor’s office. 

Inside A Small-Town Native American Beauty Pageant

CNN, Jacqui Palumbo, October 12

Each year, pageants like Miss Native American and Miss Indian World invite indigenous women from around the United States to represent historically disenfranchised tribes and celebrate their cultural heritage. And in the rural town of Pembroke, North Carolina, which sits along the state’s southern border, a much smaller annual pageant takes place: one honoring the girls and women of a tribe that has fought for federal recognition for over 130 years.

‘They Are Not Forgotten’

Indian Country Today, Stewart Huntington, October 12

Rapid City, South Dakota city marked Indigenous People’s Day with a march to remember the students who died decades ago at the Rapid City Indian Boarding School, and a groundbreaking ceremony for a $2 million memorial to the children. About 200 marchers gathered in the morning at the city’s Sioux Park, and organizers handed out placards with the names of 50 children who perished at the boarding school before family members could be notified. 

Native Women Show Resilience As Frontline Workers Combat Wage Gaps

Native News Online, Monica Whitepigeon, October 12

Equal pay disparities between women and men are even more apparent during the pandemic, especially for Native women who classify as essential workers. In late September, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) reported that three out of 10 Native women are considered front-line workers and earn under 60 cents for every dollar compared to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.

Online Film Festival Provides Insight Into Traditional Ways Of Knowing

Native News Online, Nanette Kelley, October 12 

For the first time, the Wild and Scenic Film Festival “where activism gets inspired” tour is available through remote access to encourage land stewardship, including films focused on Indigenous ways of knowing.