Indian Country headlines for Friday
Indian Country Today
Rep. Haaland poised to become the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency
President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the U.S. Interior Department. If confirmed by the Senate, the New Mexico Democrat would make history as the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary.
"A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior," Haaland tweeted Thursday night.
"Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce. I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land. I am honored and ready to serve."
Haaland, who is from the Pueblos of Laguna and Jemez, became one of the first two Native women elected to Congress in 2018.
‘Happy tears’: Indian Country cheers Interior pick
Native people are crying happy tears — on their apartment floor, on social media, in their cars — for Rep. Deb Haaland’s selection as head of the Interior Department.
This decision is historic for many reasons. One, a Native person in a Cabinet-level position. Two, it’s a win for Native women across Turtle Island. Three, Nick Tilsen, CEO and president of NDN Collective, sums up:
“Haaland’s appointment gives us a voice in a Department that has long been responsible for our exploitation,” Tilsen tweeted.
Tribal leaders receive COVID-19 vaccine
White Mountain Apache Tribe Chairwoman Gwendena Lee-Gatewood, San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler and Red Lake Nation Chairman Darrell Seki were some of the first tribal leaders to share that they received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lee-Gatewood documented her vaccine Tuesday on her public Facebook page. The Red Lake Tribal Council Facebook page posted photos on Wednesday of elected leadership receiving the vaccine. Rambler posted a short Facebook video Thursday of receiving the vaccine.
The Cass Lake Hospital on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation was the first to administer the vaccine to staff and tribal elders on Monday.
Interior Secretary Bernhardt, Muscogee Nation leader Hill have COVID
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tested positive for COVID-119. Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill also tested positive.
Hill had experienced minor symptoms before being tested and will work remotely until he’s fully recovered, according to a Muscogee news release. Multiple reports say Bernhardt is asymptomatic and will work in quarantine.
Eastern Cherokees green-light medical pot
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has started the process of legalizing medical marijuana, joining a growing number of U.S. tribes eying the drug's economic and medicinal potential.
The Tribal Council this fall passed a resolution submitted by Principal Chief Richard Sneed and two others to legalize marijuana’s medical use.
Will children be able to get virus vaccines?
More data is needed before children will be able to safely get COVID-19 vaccines, according to the AP. Pfizer and Moderna have both begun testing on youth. Pfizer’s vaccine is for people aged 16 and older.
Redwolf Pope sentenced to four years for rape, voyeurism
Redwolf Pope was convicted of rape and voyeurism in September and sentenced to four years in prison by a district court judge in Santa Fe.
The case against Pope was the result of a joint investigation between the Seattle and Santa Fe police department after women brought video to the Santa Fe police that appeared to show Pope raping unconcious women in both cities.
Pope also faces two charges for rape in Seattle for which he will stand trial after serving time for the conviction in New Mexico.
Teams say Indian names show respect, history says otherwise
Because of pressure from activists, the public or their corporate sponsors, most sports teams have shed overtly racist names of the past. More than a dozen major college or pro sports teams made the move over the last 50 years, according to the AP.
But a few have clung to Native American names and imagery, arguing they reflect honor and respect. History says otherwise.
Defense, HHS medical personnel to help Navajo COVID-19 fight
The Defense Department and Health and Human Services are deploying medical personnel to the Navajo Nation to provide relief and resources for health care workers fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Debunked COVID-19 myths
The AP examines five myths around COVID-19.
Myth one: Masks don’t offer protection from the coronavirus
In fact, they do.
Newscast: Alaska eyes its permanent fund
Joaqlin Estus, Tlingit national correspondent for Indian Country Today, is on the show. She'll tell us more about why Alaska's governor is aiming to punish financiers opposed to Arctic drilling.
Plus, freelance Koyukon Athabascan journalist Meghan Sullivan is on the newscast and has more on how the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine is going for Alaskan Natives.
Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support Indian Country Today for as little as $10.