Since the election was called in his favor, President-elect Joe Biden has made a number of announcements for who will fill Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions. The NUNA team is continuing to track staffing announcements as they are made, and we are maintaining a comprehensive list of nominee’s Twitter accounts here.

See below for a full list of the announced nominees and staff:

NPR reported Hansi Lo Wang reports that the Census Bureau missed the House Oversight Committee’s November 24 deadline for turning over internal documents about “processing anomalies” because they have not been “cleared for release,” and there are concerns about lawsuits. Hansi Lo Wang also reports that no Census Bureau official is currently listed on the witness list for the House Oversight Committee’s December 3 hearing about the 2020 Census.

Wes Studi (Cherokee) was recently named to The New York Times’ list of the “25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century (So Far),” coming in at number 19 on the list. Writing about Studi, The Times said:

“Wes Studi has one of the screen’s most arresting faces — jutting and creased and anchored with the kind of penetrating eyes that insist you match their gaze. Lesser directors like to use his face as a blunt symbol of the Native American experience, as a mask of nobility, of suffering, of pain that’s unknowable only because no one has asked the man wearing it. In the right movie, though, Studi doesn’t just play with a character’s facade; he peels its layers. A master of expressive opacity, he shows you the mask and what lies beneath, both the thinking and the feeling.”

Click here to read the rest of the list.

In Montana, The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and U.S. Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme announced the launch of a new test project that they hope will lead to a blueprint for addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people across the United States. The project will establish guidelines in collaboration with tribal governments, law enforcement and other partners. Lessons learned from the project will then be used to develop a draft plan that will be distributed to tribes across the U.S.

Keep reading for a full news update.


‘We’re No Longer Safe’: COVID-19 Rages Through Alaska Native Villages

Native News Online, Tamara Ikenberg, December 1

COVID-19 is now spreading exponentially through the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, or YK Delta region. An area the size of Oregon, the region’s population is 82 percent Alaska Native, and is filled with vulnerable villages in no way prepared to deal with a pandemic. In fact, they’re set up for maximum spread in isolated, hard-to-reach areas, with households containing multiple generations.

Navajo Nation Health Department Identifies 75 Communities With Uncontrolled Spread Of COVID

Native News Online, December 1

The Navajo Department of Health reported 104 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and three more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 656 as of Tuesday. Reports indicate that 9,425 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 160,369 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 16,711, including 12 delayed reported cases.

Native American residents in Denver are seeing a spike in coronavirus cases

Denverite, Esteban Hernandez, December 1

There has been a reported spike in positive COVID-19 cases in Native American and Native Alaskan residents in Denver. Census data shows 0.4 percent of Denver residents are Native American, but data from Denver Public Health shows they make up 7.4 percent of all COVID-19 cases as of November 22. The data also shows between October 18 to Nov. 1, cases among Native American and Native Alaskans residents rose by 7.2 percentage points.


Navajo Nation Lawmakers Consider Extending Junk Food Tax

AP News, December 1

Lawmakers on the Navajo Nation are considering a bill to extend a 2% sales tax on unhealthy food and beverages sold on the reservation.

The bill sponsored by Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty is making its way through Navajo Nation Council committees. Lawmakers approved the Healthy Dine Nation Act in November 2014 that taxed food with minimal or no nutritional value, widely known as the junk food tax. It expires this year unless lawmakers vote to extend it.


Tribes Eye Program To Address Missing Native Americans

AP News, Iris Samuels, December 2

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana and federal prosecutors launched a test project Tuesday that they hope will lead to a blueprint for addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people across the U.S. The tribe and U.S. Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme said the project will establish guidelines in collaboration with tribal governments, law enforcement and other partners. Lessons learned from the project will then be used to develop a draft plan that will be distributed to tribes across the U.S.

‘Big Sky’ Producers Recognize Native American Criticism

AP News, Lynn Elber, December 2

Native American tribes and advocates are condemning “Big Sky,” a Montana-set ABC drama, for ignoring the history of violence inflicted on Indigenous women and instead making whites the crime victims. Created by David E. Kelley, “Big Sky” stars Katheryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury as private detectives searching for two white sisters on a road trip who go missing and turn out to be part of a pattern of abductions.

Enbridge Starts Construction On Line 3 In Minnesota

AP News, Mohamed Ibrahim, December 1

Enbridge Energy began construction on its Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement in Minnesota on Tuesday, a day after state regulators approved the final permit for the $2.6 billion project amid legal challenges from local activist and Indigenous groups. Two tribes — the Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa — asked the PUC last week to stay its approval of the project, saying the influx of construction workers would put residents along the route at higher risk of COVID-19. A consolidated appeal by environmental and tribal groups is also pending before the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Wes Studi Named One of the 25 Greatest Actors of the Century by The New York Times

Native News Online, December 1

Wes Studi (Cherokee) was named on Sunday to The New York Times’ prestigious “25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century (So Far)” list. Studi, who grew up in Tahlequah, Okla., is known for his portrayal of Native Americans in a way that forever shattered age-old stereotypes in the movie industry. Breaking new ground, he brought fully developed Native American characters to the screen, and then took it a step further by highlighting the success of Native Americans in non-traditional roles.