A COVID-19 vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford was 70% effective on average in stopping people from developing COVID-19 symptoms, with no severe illness among those who received the vaccine. The trial tested two different dosages, with the one 62% effective and the other 90% effective. Taking both methods together produced an average efficacy of 70%, AstraZeneca said.

The Navajo Nation recorded more cases of COVID-19 yesterday than any other single day during the pandemic with 383 new cases – the previous high was set on Friday at 351 new cases. Meanwhile, Cronkite News reports on the tremendous impact that COVID-19 has had on students across Navajo Nation, noting that since many students have lost family members and mentors during the pandemic a number of them have “lost their way,” or stopped attending school altogether.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) released the “IHS COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccine Plan November 2020,” a 42-page plan that lays out how the IHS health care system will prepare for and distribute a vaccine for COVID-19. The plan includes important guidance for all IHS federal and tribal health programs, and urban Indian organizations that choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine coordinated through IHS.

A Civil War statue torn down by protestors outside of the Colorado State Capitol over the summer will be replaced by a sculpture of a Native American woman mourning the atrocities of the Sand Creek Massacre. The Capitol Building Advisory Committee voted 7-2 Friday in favor of the new sculpture after hearing from representatives of the tribes that suffered at Sand Creek 156 years ago. While the original sculpture was meant to honor Colorado soldiers who fought for the Union and was designed by First Colorado Calvary member Captain Jack Howland, the First Colorado Cavalry also took part in the Sand Creek Massacre.

Keep reading for a full news update.


Navajo Nation Breaks All-time Record Of COVID-19 Cases For Second Time In Three Days – 383 New Cases Reported On Sunday

Native News Online, November 22

The Navajo Nation on Sunday broke its all-time single-day record of COVID-19 cases again on Sunday with 383 new cases and 5 deaths. Just Friday, the Navajo Nation set a record with 351 cases. The total number of deaths is now 631 as of Sunday. Reports indicate that 8,131 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 147,793 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 15,039, including 42 delayed reported cases.

‘It’s Creating A New Normal’: A Navajo School District And Its Students Fight To Overcome Amid Covid-19

Cronkite News, Anthony Wallace, November 21

Across the Navajo reservation, victims of COVD-19 include parents and grandparents, sole guardians and providers, mentors and teachers. Without them, some students have lost their way or, quite literally, fallen off the map. The COVID-19 death rate on the reservation is greater than that of any U.S. state, so even as schools elsewhere reopened for in-person learning, those on the reservation did not.

Indian Health Service Releases Vaccine Plan

Native News Online, November 20

The Indian Health Service (IHS) on Thursday released the IHS COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccine Plan November 2020. The 42-page plan details how the IHS health care system will prepare for and distribute a vaccine for the deadly COVID-19 disease. The plan includes important guidance for all IHS federal, tribal health programs, and urban Indian organizations that choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine coordinated through IHS.

Practical Hurdles, Cultural Distrust In Native Communities Could Hamper Vaccine Distribution

NBC News, Kelly Cannon, November 20

Cold-chain and two-dose requirements for promising vaccine candidates pose serious challenges for Native American communities without reliable electricity or transportation.Throughout the pandemic, tribal leaders have faced rushed processes and deadlines to make consequential decisions involving vaccine readiness, such as whether to receive vaccine allocations through the state or the Indian Health Service.


‘Something Very Historical’: Push For Diverse Biden Cabinet

AP News, Ellen Knickmeyer, November 21

Native Americans are urging President-elect Joe Biden to make history by selecting one of their own to lead the powerful agency that oversees the nation’s tribes, setting up one of several looming tests of Biden’s pledge to have a Cabinet representative of Americans.

Dozens of tribal officials and voting activists around the country are pushing selection of Rep. Deb Haaland, a New Mexico Democrat and member of the Pueblo of Laguna, to become the first Native American secretary of interior.

A Push Emerges For The First Native American Interior Secretary

The New York Times, Coral Davenport

A coalition of Democrats, Native Americans and liberal activists is urging President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to nominate one of Congress’s first Native American women to head the Interior Department, putting an American Indian in control of vast swaths of the continent and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The nomination of Representative Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico, as Interior secretary would have undeniable symbolic power.


Slain Oglala Lakota Woman’s Convicted Murderer Granted Parole, Release Delayed

Native News Online, Darren Thompson, November 21

An Oglala Lakota woman’s convicted killer was commuted earlier this year by California Governor Gavin Newsom, which made him eligible for parole seven years earlier than his original sentence of two counts of 15-years-to-life for second degree murder on May 3, 2000. Rodney “Patrick” McNeal was later granted parole on a tied vote and he was scheduled to be released on November 13, 2020. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, he remains in prison and her family is advocating for McNeal to stay in prison.

Big Firms’ Native American Law Practices Tackle COVID-19, Census

Bloomberg Law, November 20

Tribes have often tapped boutique law firms for help on tribal-related issues such as land use or boundaries. During the pandemic, tribes turned to law firms with Native American practices to convince the government of their financial needs, and to navigate the bureaucracy of a huge federal aid program.

Nationwide Protests:

Toppled Civil War Statue At Colorado Capitol To Be Replaced

AP News, November 21

The Civil War statue toppled by protesters outside the Colorado state Capitol over the summer will be replaced by a sculpture of a Native American woman mourning the atrocities of the Sand Creek Massacre. The Capitol Building Advisory Committee voted 7-2 Friday in favor of the new sculpture after hearing from representatives of the tribes that suffered at Sand Creek 156 years ago.


‘Will Rogers Was Always A Cherokee’

Indian Country Today, Vincent Schilling, November 21

The Cherokee Nation has agreed to purchase Will Rogers’ historic home and family ranch in northeastern Oklahoma, promising restoration and repairs to the birthplace of the renowned actor and humorist. A signing ceremony formalizing the purchase from the Oklahoma Historical Society was held on November 4, Rogers’ birthday.

Washington Football Team Ends Ties With Native Foundation

Native News Online, November 20

The Washington Football Team has ended its relationship with the charitable foundation that team owner Daniel Snyder created to help Native communities, just four months after the NFL franchise dropped its controversial name and mascot. The team has decided to stop making contributions to the Original Americans Foundation and will instead focus its philanthropic and charitable work on the Washington Football Charitable Foundation.

Social Distance Powwow Brings Native Americans Together Amid A Difficult Time

Yahoo! Sports, Justin Chan, November 20

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the U.S. in March, Dan Simonds, a member of the Pequot tribe in Connecticut couldn’t help but wonder how it would affect his community. In an effort to continue the tradition of Native American gatherings, Simonds came up with a solution. Together with Whitney Rencountre and Stephanie Hebert, Simonds started Social Distance Powwow, a Facebook page where vendors, dancers and singers can share their talents.