Happy Tuesday! Here’s a look at what’s happening today:

Vaccinating Native youth

Twelve-year-old Elias Komulainen was first in line to get his vaccination at the regional tribal health organization in western Alaska Thursday morning. His mother, a physician assistant, went with him.

“I’m so thankful to get my child vaccinated. This will protect him and help get our lives back to normal,” said his mother, Anne Komulainen who works at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation in a statement released by the health corporation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky announced in a written statement Wednesday night: “CDC now recommends that [the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine] be used among this [12-to-15 year old] population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away.”

The President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez, also got his 13-year-old son in for a Pfizer shot right away at the Gallup Indian Medical Center vaccination site on Thursday.

“This is an opportunity for families to receive the vaccine together, if adults have not done so already. The vaccines are effective and they are key to overcoming this pandemic. Community immunity is our goal here on the Navajo Nation,” he said. “Please continue to wear masks, get vaccinated, practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and avoid large in-person gatherings.”

To read more, click here.


Jana Schmieding, Indian Country Today on Instagram Live

Cheyenne River Lakota actress from “Rutherford Falls” will have a conversation with Indian Country Today Wednesday on Instagram Live.

Jana Schmieding stars on the recently released Peacock TV series “Rutherford Falls,” which is about two friends who “find themselves at a crossroads when their small town gets an unexpected wake-up call.”

To watch:
DAY: Wednesday
TIME: 3 p.m. EDT
INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS: Indian Country Today (@indiancountrytoday), Jana Schmieding (@janaunplgd), or Vincent Schilling (@vinceschilling)

Balancing safety and tradition

Last April, in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toby Patrick hosted an Easter Day Root Feast at his home on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He knew there could be repercussions.

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation had postponed its own annual Root Feast, a large celebration of traditional foods, to limit the spread of COVID-19. But Patrick didn’t want to let the important time of year go unmarked. More than two dozen members of Patrick’s family gathered on April 18, 2020, to celebrate the coming of spring by honoring First Foods, such as the couse root, also known as biscuitroot, and camas.

Toby Patrick, who hosted an Easter feast in April of 2020 that violated his tribes' COVID-19 restrictions and led to citations for 17 Native Americans, stands next to his family's canvas longhouse at his home on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. (Wil Phinney/Underscore)

A photo of Patrick’s gathering posted online drew attention from the Confederated Tribes’ Incident Command Team, set up to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribal police said the feast violated COVID-19 stay-home and social-distance restrictions on the reservation. An officer from the Umatilla Tribal Police contacted Patrick, and the ensuing investigation led to citations for 17 adults at the celebration.

To read more, click here.

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Will Sampson inducted into Oklahoma Movie Hall of Fame

Muscogee Nation actor Will Sampson will be inducted posthumously to the Oklahoma Movie Hall of Fame

Sampson appeared in more than 70 films and television shows and is best known for his role in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" opposite Jack Nicholson, according to KTUL.

To read more, click here.

AA NHPI breastfeeding panel set

The National WIC Association is hosting a panel on breastfeeding in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The panel will be on Facebook Live on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

To watch, click here.

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We want your tips, but we also want your feedback. What should we be covering that we’re not? What are we getting wrong? Please let us know. Email dwalker@indiancountrytoday.com.

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