The drug maker Pfizer said today that its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective and had no serious side effects. The data showed that the vaccine prevented mild and severe forms of COVID-19 and was 94% effective in older adults, who are more vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19, and who do not respond strongly to some types of vaccines.

After a food shortage hit the Organized Village of Kake in Alaska, Tribal President Joel Jackson asked federal and state lawmakers to approve an emergency, out-of-season hunt in the Tongass National Forest for the tribe. Now, the state of Alaska is asking a federal court to reverse the decision granting the hunt, which would prohibit rural communities and federally recognized tribes from requesting emergency hunts, however dire the circumstances. Additionally, the Organized Village of Kake would lose some of their rights under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which protects the hunting, fishing and access to traditional foods that tribal citizens have relied on for generations.

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Murkowski and Hassan introduced S.4898 that would extend the period during which states, tribes, and territories may use Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) payments through September 2021 as reported by NAFOA. NAFOA is urging all tribal governments to reach out to their congressional delegation immediately in both the House and the Senate to support this extension. 

In Minnesota, Governor Walz has authorized state National Guard nurses to be deployed to the Jourdain/Perpich Extended Care Center on the Red Lake Nation, where 19 residents and 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Red Lake Chairman Darrell Seki Sr. Chairman Seki said he spoke with Governor Walz virtually on Monday and the National Guard help could come as soon as Tuesday.

The U.S. attorney’s office says it destroyed a quarter-million plants during marijuana eradication efforts at 21 farms in the Shiprock area of the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico. Federal prosecutors say the raids by federal, state, and tribal law enforcement authorities took three days to carry out, starting on Nov. 9, and involved more than 1,100 makeshift greenhouses.

Keep reading for a full news update.


COVID-19 Is Sending Black, Latino And Native American People To The Hospital At About 4 Times The Rate Of Others

CNN, Nicole Chavez, November 17

Black, Hispanic and Native American people infected with Covid-19 are about four times more likely to be hospitalized than others, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows. American Indian or Alaska Native and non-Hispanic Black people were hospitalized about 4.1 and 3.9 times the rate of non-Hispanic White persons, the CDC said.

Three-Week Lockdown In Effect On Navajo Nation – 197 New Covid Cases Reported On Monday

Native News Online, November 17

A  three-week stay-at-home lockdown began on the Navajo Nation on Monday, which also implements new safety provisions and requirements for businesses, and calls for schools to implement online learning only, to help reduce the uncontrollable spread of COVID-19. 

2020 Elections:

An Inupiaq Candidate Will Head To Alaska’s House – But Which One?

Indian Country Today, Aliyah Chavez, November 17

Alaska’s state House District 40 will have an Inupiaq representative when official results are called. Nearly two weeks after the elections, the result is still undeclared. Both candidates are 26 years old and have a history of experience in service. Elizabeth Ferguson is running as a Democrat, and Josiah Patkotak as an independent.

Invisible No More: Native Americans Celebrate Biden Win After Playing Key Role In Election

ABC News, Mariya Moseley, November 17

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win was a welcome surprise to one Native American man, whose celebratory dance moves have gone viral amid Native American Heritage Month. Ashkia Randy Trujillo of Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico, jumped out of his truck and performed a traditional dance after it became apparent that the former vice president had ousted President Donald Trump by securing the necessary 270 electoral votes.


The Alaska Native Village Of Kake Defends Its Right To Hunt During Pandemic

Native News Online, Jessica Douglass, November 17

When a food shortage hit the Organized Village of Kake in Alaska at the start of the pandemic, Tribal President Joel Jackson’s thoughts turned to hunting. Jackson asked state and federal lawmakers in April to approve an emergency out-of-season hunt in the Tongass National Forest for the tribe, which it granted three months later. But now, the state of Alaska is asking a federal court to reverse that decision.

Cherokee Nation Ready To Tackle New Challenges In Post McGirt V. Oklahoma Decision

Native News Online, Chuck Hoskin Jr., November 17

I live on reservation land, where I am governed by the Cherokee Nation and federal laws. I also live in the state of Oklahoma, where I am proud of our tribe’s successful partnership with the state government over decades. Unfortunately, Gov. Kevin Stitt seems to believe those two facts are mutually exclusive.

Women Challenge Tribal Banishment In US Appeals Court

AP News, Colleen Slevin, November 17

A lawyer for four women who were temporarily banned from the Ute Indian Tribe’s reservation in Utah asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to revive a lawsuit challenging their punishment. In 2018, the tribe banned the women from its reservation for five years over allegations they tried to destabilize the tribal government and had filed frivolous lawsuits for nearly 30 years, among other things.

Man Sues Washington Jail Over Lack Of Gluten-free Food

AP News, Gene Johnson, November 17

Gaven Picciano, a member of the Ojibwe Tribe, says he lost about 35 pounds and was malnourished to the point of unconsciousness during a three-week stay in a Washington state jail early this year because staff failed to provide him gluten-free food to accommodate his celiac disease. Picciano filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against the Clark County Jail in Vancouver, Washington, as well as NaphCare Inc., the for-profit Alabama company that provides medical services at the jail. 


TC Energy Says Keystone XL Pipeline Fits Biden Agenda

AP News, November 17

The creation of union jobs and support by Indigenous investors will help convince U.S. President-elect Joe Biden that the Keystone XL pipeline fits into his “Build Back Better” agenda, an executive with TC Energy Corp. said Tuesday. The pipeline, proposed in 2008, was rejected twice under the Obama administration because of concerns that it could worsen climate change, then Trump revived it.

Minnesota National Guard Sent To Help Tribe

Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, November 17

National Guard help is coming to a rural northern Minnesota tribe after a surge in COVID-19 has hit some of its most vulnerable citizens and frontline workers. The Jourdain/Perpich Extended Care Center on the Red Lake Nation suspended indoor visitations to its facility in late October and a few days after reported that some residents and staff had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Historic Deal Revives Plan For Largest Us Dam Demolition

AP News, Gillian Flaccus, November 17

An agreement announced Tuesday paves the way for the largest dam demolition in U.S. history, a project that promises to reopen hundreds of miles of waterway along the Oregon-California border to salmon that are critical to tribes but have dwindled to almost nothing in recent years.

Pennsylvania Town To Remove Derogatory Name From Streets, Trails

AP News, November 17

A western Pennsylvania town council has voted to remove “squaw” from street and trail names after objections to the word as a derogatory term for Native American women.

The Fox Chapel Council took the action Monday, months after several citizens objected to its use.

Details Emerge From Federal Raid On Navajo-Area Farms

AP News, November 17

The U.S. attorney’s office says it destroyed a quarter-million plants during marijuana eradication efforts at 21 farms in the Shiprock area of the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico. Federal prosecutors say the raids by U.S., state and tribal law enforcement authorities took three days to carry out, starting on Nov. 9, and involved more than 1,100 makeshift greenhouses.

University Of Oklahoma Teams With Iowa Tribe Higher Education Department For Upcoming Virtual College Fair

Native News Online, Adam Proctor, November 17

More than 790 participants from 13 school districts so far have signed up for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s fair which will invite them to connect using browser-based client GamerJibe and meet with 50 colleges and universities. All Iowa tribal members in grades nine through 12 are invited to RSVP for the event.