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Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth, to meet with U.S. VP candidate

Biden for President Minnesota will hold a virtual roundtable event on Wednesday with Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA); Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN); Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation; Minnesota state Senator Bobby Joe Champion (D); Minnesota state Rep. Rena Moran (D); and Minnesota parents. 

The discussion will focus on President Trump’s leadership and how Minnesota families, -- specifically those in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 -- are navigating the challenges of returning to school during the pandemic.

The talk is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and is open to the public. To RSVP, click here.

Will vote-by-mail leave out Native Americans?

Observers and pundits are predicting record-setting voter turnout in the coming election. But the number of votes from Indian Country may be underwhelming because of systemic problems. To stay safe from COVID-19 people will want to vote by mail, which works great in the states that have had mail-only voting for years. But it’s a poor fit for people on reservations. Obstacles include:

 - A lack of traditional street addresses
 - Unreliable or slow mail service
 - Lack of translations and translators
 - Long distances to get to the nearest post office
 - Lack of internet service
 - Too few ballot-drop boxes

The Native American vote has been crucial in deciding races in the past and could be decisive in the Nov. 3 election, depending on voter turnout and whether Native votes get counted.

In this July 21, 2015, file photo, Martha Johnson turns in her ballot at the Nenahnezad Chapter House in Fruitland, N.M., during the Navajo Nation's referendum election. Native American voting rights advocates are cautioning against states moving to mail-in ballots without opportunities for tribal members to vote safely in person. The Native American Rights Fund released a wide-ranging report on voting rights Thursday, June 4, 2020. In it, the group outlined the challenges that could arise as states move to rely more heavily on mail-in ballots. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times via AP, File)

Court order blocking Kiowa COVID-19 money lifted

The Court of Indian Offenses for the Southern Plains has lifted an order that blocked spending of COVID-19 relief funds by the Kiowa Tribe chairman. The Kiowa legislative and executive branches have been wrangling over part of the $19.5 million authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act for the tribe.

The Legislative branch wanted to simply issue every tribal member a check for $1,000, which the executive branch said would not comply with Treasury department  regulations.

CARES funding is meant to cover expenses incurred by the pandemic. If the money is used for other purposes, the tribe may have to pay it back to the federal government.

In June the 7-member Kiowa legislature took steps to recall Chairman Matthew Komalty, then began an impeachment trial against him, which was put on hold.

(Related: Kiowa chairman’s impeachment hearing delayed)

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‘Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World’ documentary up for Emmy award

A film by Stevie Salas, Mescalero Apache, has been nominated for an Emmy Award in the News and Documentary category.

The self-taught guitarist got his start in music in San Diego. While still a teenager he began touring with Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger.

He branched into film in 2017 with the documentary “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” which has been nominated for the Emmy. The film chronicles artists such as Link Wray, Robbie Robertson, Randy Castillo, and Jimi Hendrix, whose paternal grandmother was one-quarter Cherokee.

Salas followed that up with a film about the Standing Rock conflict involving Native Americans attempting to protect their homelands and drinking water from oil pipeline construction. Salas has been working at a San Diego studio with actor Graham Greene, who’s narrating a short documentary Salas is doing called “The Water Walker.”

Tracking Native mascots for media, scholars

The National Congress of American Indians has begun tracking Native “themed” school mascots to create a national database for the media and academia.

The organization is identifying, tracking, and engaging with schools about whether and how to change their mascots. The National Congress shares information about the documented harm such mascots cause Native people, in particular Native youth. This supports the organization’s long-standing formal opposition (as a national governing body of tribal nations) to the continued use of these mascots.

WATCH: Opening a business during the pandemic

In March, Americans were becoming aware of COVID-19 and watched as the novel coronavirus started closing down events and popular tourist attractions. Yet the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone didn't let the global pandemic stop them from opening a cannabis business.

The tribe is located in Elko, Nevada, which is in the northeastern part of the state. Its population is 2,700 citizens. “Newe Cannabis” opened as a drive through business in April.

Vice Chairman Juan Arevalo is featured in Tuesday’s Indian Country Today newscast and talks about the business.

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