Indian Country Today

Happy Wednesday. Here’s a look at what’s happening in Indian Country:

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Native youth have higher rates of coronavirus compared to Whites

ATLANTA (AP) — A U.S. government report suggests the early substantial racial and ethnic gaps in COVID-19 case rates narrowed for some groups of young people late last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Wednesday. It finds some groups of young people — Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Hispanic people — continue to have higher rates of coronavirus compared to whites.

Large racial and ethnic COVID-19 disparities were seen early in the pandemic, possibly reflecting the demographics of essential workers who weren’t able to comply with stay-at-home orders. Living in multigenerational households also increases risk and is more common in some groups.

Disparities decreased among young people of all racial and ethnic minority groups during the year. In the latter part of the year, the incidence among young Black, Asian and multiracial people was lower than among young white people in the states studied.

The CDC analyzed cases among children and adults younger than 25. The data came from 15 states and Washington, D.C., and included nearly 700,000 cases where race and ethnicity were reported.

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31 billion coronavirus solutions

The American Rescue Plan was enacted by Congress Wednesday and will be sent today to President Joe Biden to sign into law. The U.S Senate Committee on Indian Affairs pegged the total spending for tribes at $31 billion.

The 628-page coronavirus relief legislation includes $1,400 in direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually, gives $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $20 billion to tribal nations, and budgets $14 billion for vaccine distribution. The law will extend jobless benefits through September.

This bill, President Biden’s first legislative victory, is a significant contrast to the Republican approach to governing. Former President Donald Trump’s first initiative was a $1.9 trillion tax relief measure that primarily benefited the wealthy.

To read more, click here.

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., listens as President-elect Joe Biden announces her as his nominee for Secretary of Interior at The Queen Theater in Wilmington Del., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The latest on Deb Haaland

The Senate released new details Wednesday afternoon indicating that Rep. Deb Haaland’s confirmation for Interior secretary was moving forward, setting up a timeline that could lead to a vote as early as Monday, a political expert says.

To read more, click here.

Spiro Mounds site to host spring solstice walks

On March 19, the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center in Oklahoma will host guided walks to share information about the spring equinox and how Indigenous people celebrated and dealt with the changes in the seasons.

Walks will be led by archaeologist Dennis Peterson, who will talk about this prehistoric American Indian mound site, the types of mounds, why they were created, and why some of the mounds are lined up for the sunsets of the solstices and equinoxes. He also will share the history of the excavations, Native ceremonies and stories, tales of the unusual happenings associated with the mounds and answer questions.

For details, click here.

From social media:

The latest headlines:

Bestselling author Tommy Orange – whose debut novel “There There” drew widespread acclaim – accepted the Festival of Words Writers Award to kick off the annual event in Oklahoma.

A longtime educator whose career included high-profile jobs on the Navajo Nation resigned from his latest post as an Arizona county schools superintendent after officials discovered pornographic images on his work-issued computer.

Connie Walker’s new true-crime podcast, in collaboration with Gimlet and Spotify, recently premiered on March 1.

Nevada lawmakers are considering legislation to require schools to get rid of racially discriminatory logos and mascots and require officials to push for the renaming of mountains, trails or any other geographic points with racially offensive names.

On Wednesday's newscast: highlights from the Sundance Film Festival, the "pretend Indian" problem, plus ICT Editor Mark Trahant shares a crowd sourced poem.

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