Gitanjali Rao, a 15 year old from Colorado, has been selected as TIME Magazine’s first ever Kid of the Year. Rao was selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees for her work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying, and about her mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems

Eddie Benton-Banai (Ashishinaabe Ojibwe), a founder of the American Indian Movement and the Grand Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, passed away on Monday at the age of 89. Benton-Banai met American Indian Movement co-founder Clyde Bellecourt in a Minnesota prison, where they started the prison’s cultural program to teach American Indians about their history and encourage them to learn a trade or seek higher education.

While President Trump invoked the Antiquities Act to remove 2 million acres of land from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments, and several Native tribes are asking the courts to reverse parts of that decision, President-elect Joe Biden would have the authority to restore the National Monuments to their original boundaries – something he signaled he would do during his campaign.

In the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Department of Health reported 310 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 17,035 and the total number of deaths causes by the virus to 658. The state of New Mexico reported 1,549 new cases of COVID-19, the state of Utah reported 4,004 cases, and Arizona reported 3,840. 

Keep reading for a full news update.


The Predictable, Preventable Mess Of Reopening Schools In Indian Country 

The New Republic, Nick Martin, December 3

In August, as families across the country prepared for the new school year, Smithsonian magazine spoke to more than a dozen anonymous tribal citizens about remote learning, public health protocols, and the rest of the fraught exercise of learning in a pandemic. A grandma from Oregon, who was also a former Bureau of Indian Affairs I.T. specialist, said that she had to step in to teach her grandchildren for two months because their parents still had to work full-time. 

Navajo Nation Surpasses 17,000 COVID-19 Cases On Wednesday

Native News Online, December 2

The Navajo Department of Health reported 310 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and two more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 658 as of Wednesday. Reports indicate that 9,517 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 166,820 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 17,035, including 14 delayed reported cases. 

Cherokee Nation Gets Virus Grant 

Westside Eagle Observer, December 2 

Cherokee Nation Health Services has been awarded a $4.1 million Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for Underserved Populations grant through the Native American Research Centers for Health and the National Institutes of Health to assist with covid-19 testing and contact tracing efforts.


For Montana’s Little Shell Tribe, Pressure Mounts As The Cares Act Spending Deadline Inches Closer

Native News Online, Claire Carlson, December 2

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law in March, allocated $8 billion in funding to tribal governments across the United States. The Little Shell Tribe qualified to receive $25 million in CARES Act funding, yet with this money comes a catch: it must be spent by the end of December. And after lawsuits that questioned who should be eligible to receive funds pushed back the disbursement of the funding even further, the December deadline even more difficult to meet.


Meet TIME’s First-Ever Kid Of The Year

Time, December 3 

The world belongs to those who shape it. And however uncertain that world may feel at a given moment, the reassuring reality seems to be that each new generation produces more of what these kids—five Kid of the Year finalists selected from a field of more than 5,000 Americans, ages 8 to 16—have already achieved: positive impact, in all sizes.

American Indian Movement Co-Founder Benton-Banai Dies At 89

AP News, Amy Forliti, December 2

Eddie Benton-Banai, who helped found the American Indian Movement partly in response to alleged police brutality against Indigenous people, has died. He was 89. Benton-Banai, who is Anishinaabe Ojibwe, was born and raised on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation in northern Wisconsin. He made a life of connecting American Indians with their spirituality and promoting sovereignty, and was the grand chief, or spiritual leader, of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge.

Trump’s Monument Reduction Could Be Reversed Under Biden

Indian Country Today, December 2

With Joe Biden’s capture of the White House comes the likelihood that Utah’s two big national monuments will be restored to their original boundaries. Just as President Donald Trump invoked the Antiquities Act to cut 2 million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase monuments, Biden will hold the power to restore the monuments designated by two Democratic predecessors. Several American Indian tribes are asking the courts to reverse the order that reduced Bears Ears National Monument in San Juan County by 85%.

Homes Destroyed, People May Be Missing After Alaska Mudslide

AP News, Becky Bohrer, December 2

Homes are believed to have been destroyed and at least two people are unaccounted for after multiple mudslides in the Alaska community of Haines on Wednesday, authorities said. 

The largest slide, about 600 feet (182.88 meters) wide, hit early Wednesday afternoon and trapped about 30 people. The slides occurred in heavy rains in southeast Alaska.