Report: Taos Pueblo citizen considered for Biden’s Interior secretary

Former Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor, Taos Pueblo, is being considered for the head Interior job under the President Joe Biden administration, according to The Hill. Connor served under the Obama administration.

Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblo, of New Mexico, is also being considered for Interior Secretary, according to multiple reports. The Hill also reported that New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham turned down the Interior offer.

Medical officials serving Navajo make urgent plea: Stay home

Medical professionals serving the Navajo Nation made an urgent plea to residents Thursday to stay home as coronavirus cases rise, testing the limits of health care on the vast reservation.

“If we don’t stop COVID, we will run out of beds, we will run out of nurses, we will run out of supplies,” said Dr. Loretta Christensen, chief medical officer for the Navajo-area Indian Health Service.

In this April 20, 2020, photo, Dr. Diana Hu, left, and a colleague wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as they work in the COVID-19 screening and testing tent in the parking lot at Tuba City Regional Health Care on the Navajo Reservation in Tuba City, Ariz. . (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The Navajo Nation has been seeing more cases daily than it did in the spring when it was a national hotspot. The difference now is that cases are rising in all the states that border the reservation — New Mexico, Utah and Arizona — and nationally, and the tribe no longer can draw on the resources it once did.

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CDC reduces quarantine time

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new quarantine guidelines for people who were exposed to coronavirus, reducing the length of time from 14 days to 10 days without symptoms or seven days with no symptoms and a negative test, according to CBS NEWS.

Officials said the shorter time period is intended to encourage more people to quarantine.

Native residents in Denver are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases

Health officials are unsure why cases are rising but pre-existing conditions and mistrust in government could be part of the problem.

According to census data, 0.4 percent of Denver residents are Native American but make up 7.4 percent of the city’s Covid-19 cases.

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In this Nov. 4, 1971 file photo, Eddie Benton, a holy man of the Chippewa Indian Tribe, shows a prayer he wrote to Linda Jeffers, of Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard, Mass., a member of the Wampanoag Tribe in Cambridge, Mass. Eddie Benton-Banai, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement that was formed partly in response to alleged police brutality against Indigenous people, has died. He was 89. A family friend says Benton-Banai died Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 at a care center in Hayward, Wis., where he had been staying for months. (AP Photo/J. Walter Green, File)

Native elder Eddie Benton-Banai dies

Eddie Benton-Banai, Anishinaabe Ojibwe, died Monday at a care center in Wisconsin, where he had been staying for months, according to family friend Dorene Day. He was 89.

Benton-Banai, who helped found the American Indian Movement, made a life of connecting American Indians with their spirituality and promoting sovereignty, and was the grand chief, or spiritual leader, of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge.

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Tribes eye program to address missing Native Americans

Tribes in Montana and federal prosecutors launched a test project this week that they hope will lead to a blueprint for addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people across the U.S.

The Salish and Kootenai Tribes will be joined by communities in Alaska, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Oregon that will each develop their own response plans tailored to the community’s needs.

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Biden facing tough choices on border wall

Joe Biden will inherit a border wall-building effort that accelerated in President Donald Trump's final year. Work crews are blasting through mountains and destroying tree-like cactus and other habitat in Arizona and New Mexico. Almost all of the construction under Trump has taken place in wildlife refuges and Indigenous territory that already belongs to the U.S. government.

While the work is considered "replacement" of older barriers, crews are removing small vehicle barriers and installing towering steel posts and lighting that are far more restrictive.

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A row of excavators forms an assembly line during U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work on the border wall near Yuma in May. A federal court ruled Friday that the Trump administration’s use of Pentagon funds for border wall construction is unlawful. (Photo by Robert DeDeaux/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Trump administration adopts changes to U.S. citizenship test

The Trump administration is changing the U.S. citizenship test. The new version will ask 20 questions rather than 10, including some with a more conservative framing, according to the New York Times.

Click here to see questions and answers.

Watch: Fix the census? Would Congress do that?

When 2020 started, Indian Country Today followed two main stories, the US census and the election. This year ended up giving us so much more news. From the pandemic, to social unrest, and even so much needed entertainment, our team worked hard to investigate and inform.

On Thursday, Editor Mark Trahant joins the newscast to take a look back at the stories and topics that shaped Indian Country Today's 2020 coverage.

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