Just one week after the United States broke a daily record for deaths caused by COVID-19, officials across the country reported a new record of 3,011 new fatalities yesterday. Meanwhile, NPR has created a tool using recently released hospital-level data to allow individuals to find details about the hospitals in counties across the country.

In Canada, health officials have authorized the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, making them the third country to do so after the United Kingdom and Bahrain. In the United States, an FDA advisory panel meeting today is expected to support emergency use of the vaccine – and vaccinations could begin as early as next week.

The Mattakeeset Massachuset Tribe is arguing that hundreds of acres south of Boston is rightfully theirs, and should not belong to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, who are currently planning to build a hotel, casino, and entertainment complex there. The Mattakeesets want the Mashpees and state and local authorities to recognize their land claim, which they base on colonial-era documents. The Mattakeeset Tribe currently has a few hundred members but does not have federal recognition or a land base like the Mashpee Tribe, which was federally recognized in 2007 and has roughly 3,000-members.

A new Forever Stamp – called “Raven Story” – was unveiled last month and is believed to be the first USPS stamp designed by an Alaska Native. Artist Rico Lanáat’ (Tlingit) said he made Raven the central symbol because he plays an essential role in many traditional Tlingit stories, and that the stamp immortalizes a thrilling moment from the story of Raven setting the sun free.

Keep reading for a full news update.


U.S., Breaking A Record, Tops The 3,000 Daily Death Mark

New York Times, December 10

New Data Reveal Which Hospitals Are Dangerously Full. Is Yours? 

NPR, Sean Mcminn, December 9

The federal government on Monday released detailed hospital-level data showing the toll COVID-19 is taking on health care facilities, including how many inpatient and ICU beds are available on a weekly basis.

First COVId-19 Vaccine May Be Distributed Next Week 

Department of Defense, C. Todd Lopez, December 9

An assessment by the Food and Drug Administration shows the COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. drug company Pfizer is around 95% effective. The vaccine will soon be considered by the FDA for emergency use authorization. If that happens, Operation Warp Speed is ready to distribute the vaccine immediately. It could happen by next week, the secretary of Health and Human Services said.

Canada Authorizes Use Of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine 

NPR, Colin Dwyer, December 9

Canadian health officials have authorized use of the country’s first COVID-19 vaccine. Health Canada announced the move Wednesday, saying a “thorough, independent review of the evidence” determined that the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech meets the “stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements for use in Canada.”

Navajo Nation Reports 191 New COVID-19 Cases, 5 More Deaths

AP News, December 9

Navajo Nation health officials on Wednesday reported 191 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths. In all, the tribe has now reported 18,575 cases and 693 know deaths since the pandemic began.

Navajo Nation President Spoke With Pfizer CEO About Vaccine On Wednesday 

Native News Online, Levi Rickert, December 9

One day before the expected approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s vaccine for Covid-19 Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim spoke with Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla on Wednesday.

2020 Election:

Pandemic, Trump And Racism Drive Voter Turnout In Some Tribal Communities

Cronkite News, Anthony Wallace, December 9

Enthusiasm across Arizona was higher this election than in the 2016 presidential contest, and final results show the contrast was even more stark in Indian Country, where voters said they were especially motivated because of the COVID-19 pandemic and issues of race. A census analysis of 2018 data found American Indians were at least 4.4% of eligible voters in Arizona, or more than 220,000 people. Considering the neck-and-neck battle in Arizona’s presidential election this year – decided by a mere 10,457 votes – they had the power to swing the outcome.


Tribes Dispute Reservation Where A $1B Casino Is Planned

ABC News, Philip Marcelo, December 9

A rift is widening between Native American groups in New England over who has claim to scores of acres south of Boston where one tribe has been trying for years to build a $1 billion casino. The recently revived Mattakeeset Massachuset Tribe argues it’s the rightful heir to the land in Taunton set aside by the federal government for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which is planning to build a hotel, casino and entertainment complex. The Mattakeesets want the Mashpees and state and local authorities to recognize their land claim, which they base on colonial-era documents.


Congress Vows To Watch Army Response To Fort Hood Violence

AP News, Lolita Baldor, December 9

Members of Congress pledged on Wednesday to deepen their investigations into sexual assault, harassment and other problems at Fort Hood, Texas, and explore legislation, zeroing in on what officials say are glaring deficiencies in the Army criminal investigations unit at the base.

Raven Mail: Tlingit Artist Designs Stunning Stamp For U.S. Postal Service

Native News Online, Tamara Ikenberg, December 9

Surrounded by twinkling gold stars, with the sun in his beak, the Trickster of Tlingit culture is the star of “Raven Story,” the new Forever Stamp by Tlingit and Athabascan artist Rico Lanáat’ Worl. “Raven Story,” believed to be the first USPS stamp designed by an Alaska Native, was unveiled last month. It will be in circulation in 2021 at a date yet to be announced.

Denise Juneau’s ‘Challenging Decision’ To Resign

Indian Country Today, Joaqlin Estus,

Denise Juneau will resign as the superintendent of the Seattle Public Schools at the end of her contract in June. Juneau, the first Native American to lead the school district, took the job in 2018 and was the seventh superintendent of the school district in 20 years. She is an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tribes, and a descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe and the Tlingit and Haida Tribes.