Happy Thursday! Here’s a look at what’s happening today:
100 days on Capitol Hill
Indigenous lawmakers have been in office for more than 100 days. What have they accomplished so far?
The five Indigenous voting members of Congress all serve in the House, and most are Republicans. Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Yvette Herrell (R-NM), Kai Kahele (D-HI), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) have worked through national and state hurdles of the last few months.
On major pieces of legislation like the American Rescue Plan, the Indigenous members of Congress voted along party lines, with the Republicans opposing the legislation and the Democrats supporting it.
On other bills affecting Indian Country, many Indigenous Congress members have crossed party lines to advocate for tribal communities.
To read a recap of the lawmakers’ past few months, click here.
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Vermont Senate joins House in eugenics apology
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Senate has joined the House in passing a resolution apologizing to Vermonters, their families and descendants who were harmed by state-sanctioned eugenics policies and practices that led to sterilizations.
Some Vermonters of mixed French Canadian and Native American heritage, as well as poor, rural white people, were placed on a state-sanctioned list of “mental defectives” and “degenerates" and sent to state institutions. Some had surgery after Vermont in 1931 became one of more than two dozen states to pass a law allowing voluntary sterilizations for “human betterment.”
In 2019, then-University of Vermont President Thomas Sullivan apologized for the school’s involvement in eugenics research in the 1920s and 1930s. The university also removed a former school president’s name from the library.
Indigenous lawmaker censured for haka protest
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — An Indigenous New Zealand lawmaker was thrown out of Parliament’s debating chamber Wednesday for performing a Maori haka in protest at what he said were racist arguments.
Rawiri Waititi’s stance came after ongoing debate among lawmakers about the government’s plans to set up a new Maori Health Authority as part of sweeping changes to the health care system.
Waititi told lawmakers in the chamber that he was forced to listen to a “constant barrage of insults” directed toward Indigenous people.
To read more, click here.
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Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors
WASHINGTON — In a move to send the country back toward pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.
To read more, click here.
When will COVID-19 vaccines be widely available globally?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Experts say it could be 2023 or later before the shots are widely available in some countries.
The United States, Israel and the United Kingdom are among the nations where about half or more of the population has gotten at least one shot. In some countries, including South Africa, Pakistan and Venezuela, less than 1 percent of people have been vaccinated. In nearly a dozen countries — mostly in Africa — there have been no jabs at all.
The differences reflect a mix of factors including purchasing power, domestic production capacity, access to raw materials and global intellectual property laws.
The United States has supported waiving intellectual property protection for the vaccines. But it’s not clear whether there will be global agreement on the issue and, if so, whether that would help speed up production.
To read more, click here.
From social media:
- Hawaii House announces names of Mauna Kea working group: 'My community is depending on this working group to fulfill our mission.'
- Former governor to be new Anchorage university chancellor: The next leader of University of Alaska Anchorage has a controversial history with tribes.
- Oak Flat draws support of religious groups: Court briefs in support of the sacred Apache land have been filed.
- Watch: Surviving a third pandemic: We speak with the chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians to see how the tribe is faring in this global health crisis.
What we’re reading:
- Lessons of Wiradjuri Dreamtime that are written in the stars are being passed down.
- Brazil judge provides a lifeline for threatened Indigenous tribe.
- Micronesian scientist becomes first Pacific Islander to reach ocean's deepest point.
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