Good morning, NUNAverse,

These are the top five biggest stories from across Indian Country brought together in once place. In this weekly media clips roundup, take a look back at what our readers were engaging with the most from the past week of news:

President Biden issued a proclamation recognizing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons AwarenessDay – May 5th, 2021 – and calling on all Americans and levels of government to “support Tribal governments and Tribal communities’ efforts to increase awareness of the issue of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives through appropriate programs and activities.” 

The Interior Department announced that Larry Roberts, a citizen of the Oneida Nation and a professor at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, will serve as its first ever Native chief of staff. Roberts served as Acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs during the Obama administration. Prior to that, he served as General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The U.S. Department of Treasury reversed the distribution methodology for the $8 billion in the CARES Act for tribal governments. The initial methodology used the Indian Housing Blog Grant program to determine population of tribes – and therefore allocation of funding – and the reversal could settle a lawsuit filed by the Shawnee Tribe in June of 2020. While the announcement did not specifically name the Shawnee Tribe in its reversal, it did mention the lawsuit that is still pending. Two other tribes are part of the same legal action, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the Miccosukee Tribe, with the Shawnee Tribe. 

Following the U.S. Department of Treasury’s announcement that they will reverse the distribution methodology for the $8 billion in CARES Act funding for tribal governments, some tribes will receive more money from the relief package approved last year. While it is unclear exactly how many tribes will benefit from the revised calculation or how much they’ll get, the Treasury Department said it will look at the difference between the federal data and the enrollment data provided by tribes and rank them, so the top 15% get an additional payment. The higher the ratio between the two data sets, the larger the percentage of funding a tribe will get, the department said.

In collaboration with Oklahoma State University, the Cherokee Nation is one of three Oklahoma tribes chosen by NASA to create a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum that includes Native culture. As part of a $3.3 million program called Native Earth|Native Sky, the program will “build culturally-relevant earth-sky STEM programming” to help increase students’ understanding and interest in STEM. According to an OSU press release, the funding is a cooperative agreement with OSU College of Education and Human Sciences.