It’s official! The NEW NUNA is here. In celebration of our five year anniversary we launched our new brand and website! If 2020 has taught us anything, it has been to adapt and evolve. We are more excited than ever to embark on our next chapter for the NUNAverse in 2021. Check out our evolution here.
The biotech company Moderna plans to file for emergency-use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccinewith the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today, which would start a process that could allow the vaccine to be administered more widely before the end of the year.
President-elect Joe Biden made several staffing announcements over the weekend, including adding Dr. Jill Jim Executive Director of the the Navajo Nation Department of Health, to his transition team’s COVID-19 task force, and that the Biden administration will have an all-female communications team.
Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement that the permit application to build the Pebble Mine – a controversial gold and copper mine near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in southwest Alaska – was denied under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act.
The University of South Florida acknowledged this week that its campus in Tampa is located on land that belonged to the Seminole people and other American Indian tribes, an admission meant to give context to the Thanksgiving holiday most Americans are celebrating. In a statement released earlier this week, the university’s department of anthropology said it recognized “the historical and continuing impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities.”
The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is creating the nation’s largest tribal national park on a forested bluff overlooking the Missouri River and a historic site of its people. The 444-acre park will allow the tribe to tell the story of the Ioway people and provide a place for people to hike, camp and bird-watch, said Lance Foster, the Vice Chairman of the tribe.
Keep reading for a full news update.
Moderna Is Set To Ask The FDA TO Authorize Its Coronavirus Vaccine, A Key Step Before It Can Be Given To More People
Business Insider, Allana Akhtar, November 30
Moderna is set to ask US regulators to allow the emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine, starting a process that could allow the shot to be given more widely within weeks.
Navajo Nation Surpasses 16,000 COVID-19 Cases On Saturday; Death Toll At 648
Native News Online, November 29
The Navajo Department of Health reported 258 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 648 as previously reported on Friday. Reports indicate that 8,609 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 155,113 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 16,223, including 11 delayed unreported cases.
As South Dakota Takes Hands-off Approach To COVID-19, Native Americans Feel Vulnerable
NBC News, Erik Ortiz, November 25
In the early weeks of the pandemic, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota enacted drastic measures to fend off the spread of the coronavirus across its stark and sprawling prairie land. The efforts are in sharp contrast to how South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has overseen the pandemic in her state of nearly 885,000 residents.
President-Elect Biden Adds Navajo Nation Health Director, Dr. Jill Jim, To His Transition Team’s COVID-19 Task Force
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, November 28
President-elect Joe Biden announced Saturday he is adding Dr. Jill Jim, the executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Health, to his transition team’s coronavirus task force as the incoming administration focuses on preparation to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The president-elect also added two Jane Hopkins and David Michaels to the team, which is co-chaired by David Kessler, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Minnesota Tribes File To Halt Pipeline Approval Due To Virus
AP News, November 27
Two Native American tribes in northern Minnesota are asking state regulators to stop the imminent construction of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, saying it would increase the risk of coronavirus infections spreading. The Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa filed a motion late Wednesday asking the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to stay its approval of the $2.6 billion project. They argue construction would put locals at increased risk of coronavirus infections as workers move into the area.
Tribes Maintain Centuries-Old Treaty Obligation With Virginia
Native News Online, Darren Thompson, November 25
The Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indian tribes in Virginia have maintained a peace treaty with the state of Virginia for 343 years — by presenting the Governor of Virginia a tribute each year around the fourth Thursday of November. The treaty essentially meant Virginia tribes would retain rights to their lands, receive protections from the state and would present a tribute instead of paying taxes.
Trump Administration Denies Pebble Mine Permits
Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus, November 25
Environmental and tribal organizations are celebrating a decision by the Trump administration to deny a permit for a controversial gold and copper mine near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in southwest Alaska. The Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement that the permit application to build the Pebble Mine was denied under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act.
Tribal Leaders Support Bill On Teaching Native History In Connecticut
Native News Online, November 24
In celebration of National American Indian Heritage Month, representatives of Connecticut’s five tribal nations announced in a statement Monday their support for State Sen. Cathy Osten’s proposed bill requiring the teaching of Native American history in Connecticut’s public schools. In the next several weeks, Sen. Osten (D-Sprague) will introduce a bill requiring each local and regional school board to include Native American studies as part of the social studies curriculum for the school district, focusing on the Northeastern Woodland tribes of Connecticut.
Project To Respond To Missing And Murdered Native People Launched In Oklahoma
Native News Online, November 24
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Cherokee Nation on Monday announced a pilot project to implement a Tribal Community Response Plan with U.S. Attorneys Trent Shores of the Northern District of Oklahoma and Brian Kuester of the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
Navajo Homes Getting Electricity With CARES Act Funding
AP News, Kate Groetzinger, November 27
27 homes in Utah that have received power from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority this fall. It received $14.5 million from the Tribe’s $714 million federal CARES Act allotment to connect 510 homes. Crews started work on the project in June, after the Tribe received $600 million in May following legal delays. So far, she said they’ve made it to 380 houses, or about 75 a month, and there are 130 left to connect before the funding expires on Dec. 31.
Arizona Tribe Bets On Pro Basketball
Indian Country Today, Dalton Walker, November 26
Gila River Hotels and Casinos, the tribal gaming enterprise of the Gila River Indian Community, has partnered with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The partnership includes a newly renovated courtside property called “Club Gila River” inside PHX Arena, the downtown Phoenix home to both teams. In a first, according to the NBA, Gila River has introduced gaming chips and gaming table felts adorned with the logos of the Suns and Mercury at its gaming properties.
Rihanna Shares Thanksgiving Message: ‘Sending Love To All My Native American Brothers And Sisters’
Complex, Jose Martinez, November 26
As millions of people across the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, Rihanna wanted to take the time to remind her followers to keep in mind the many Native Americans who are “in mourning” today. “Some are celebrating today…many are in mourning,” she wrote on her Instagram Stories. “Sending love to all my Native American brothers and sisters.”
Billy Mills Dreamstarter Gold Recipients Each Awarded $50k
Indian Country Today, Vincent Schilling, November 29
Five Native American young professionals have each received the Dreamstarter Gold grant on behalf of the Running Strong for American Indian Youth organization, a nonprofit founded by Native Gold-Medal Olympian Billy Mills. The recipients are winners of a $50,000 grant. All of the recipients are Native and are previous recipients of Running Strong grants.
Native American’s Remains To Be Buried In Natick
AP News, November 28
The remains of a Native American who fought for the nation’s independence during the American Revolution are finally being laid to rest. Alexander Quapish’s remains had been stored in the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard University. He will be buried at a date to be determined at the Natick Praying Indian Burial Ground. The remains are being buried in line with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
New Program For Native Students At UW Continues Online Despite COVID-19 Pandemic
Native News Online, Tyler Agafonov, November 27
The Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the University of Washington had big plans when they envisioned launching the Native UW Scholars program last year. New Native American students would get to meet on campus before classes began, visit various places around the university’s campus and travel around Seattle and the Puget Sound region before meeting weekly during the academic year. Despite going completely virtual, organizers and mentors say the program’s rollout has been a success.
Florida College Says Its Campus Belonged To Native American
AP News, November 26
The University of South Florida acknowledged this week that its campus in Tampa is located on land once occupied by the Seminole people and other Native Americans, an admission meant to give context to the Thanksgiving holiday most Americans are celebrating Thursday.
In a statement released earlier this week, the university’s department of anthropology said it recognized “the historical and continuing impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities.”
Iowa Tribe Creates National Park On Nebraska-Kansas Border
AP News, November 25
The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is creating the nation’s largest tribal national park on a forested bluff overlooking the Missouri River and a historic site of its people. The 444-acre park will allow the tribe to tell the story of the Ioway people and provide a rustic getaway where people can hike, camp and bird-watch, said Lance Foster, the vice chairman of the tribe.
Copper Rush: Opponents Worry Feds Have Fast-Tracked Resolution Mine Ok
Cronkite News, Claire Chandler, November 25
Activists worry that the Trump administration has fast-tracked the final environmental impact statement for the massive Resolution Copper mine, a project planned for lands near Superior that are claimed as sacred by the San Carlos Apache. Opponents became alarmed when the U.S. Forest Service’s schedules of proposed action, which said the environmental statement would be completed by December 2021, suddenly shifted this year to a finishing date of this December, before President Donald Trump leaves office.
This 12-Year-Old Boxing Champion Is Fighting For Native Women And Girls Outside The Ring
Native News Online, Amy Sokolow, November 25
Ayanna O’Kimosh, a twelve year old from the Menominee Indian Reservation, is a national boxing champion. Outside of the ring, Ayanna still fights — though for a different cause. She’s used the notoriety that comes with being a young fighting prodigy to cast a spotlight on the national crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Coastal Harm From Invading Saltwater ‘Happening Right Now’
AP News, Bill Lambrecht, November 23
Four Native American tribes on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast requested United Nations assistance this year to force action by the U.S. government on invading salt. Their formal complaint cited “climate-forced displacement” and said saltwater had poisoned their land, their crops and their medicinal plants.The tribes’ plight offers an extreme example of a lesser-known but fast-growing impact in the climate crisis: saltwater intrusion.