Indian Country headlines for Monday

(Photo: Democratic National Convention Native American Caucus)

Indian Country Today

We’re watching the Democratic National Convention, the US Postal Service, school-to-prison pipeline, a Navajo man on federal death row and more

Democrats to kick off their online, virtual political convention with land acknowledgement

Bright blue lights. Jam-packed arenas. Colorful signs waving in the crowd. Those are usually the sights and sounds of the Democratic National Convention.

Like much else, this year will be different.

The DNC Convention, hosted in Milwaukee, is poised to be a virtual event. The convention is hosted every four years and its ultimate goal is to officially nominate the Democratic party’s presidential pick.

Instead of large audiences and gatherings, the program will consist of a series of online video addresses — half of which will be prerecorded — that play out for two hours each night until former vice president Joe Biden formally accepts the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday from his home in Delaware.

Every evening starting Monday, the convention will be headlined by speeches from elected officials like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Also giving speeches are former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

The party will also vote to approve a new policy platform that includes topics like climate change, immigration, healthcare and education.

What’s new is that the party’s official 2020 platform begins with a land acknowledgement.

Postal Service warns 46 states that voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots

The U.S Postal Service sent letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia warning it “cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.”

Delivery from the postal service could also disquality the votes even if voters followed state election rules, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

States also expect 10 times more mail. "The Postal Service is asking election officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works," Martha Johnson, a spokeswoman for the USPS, said in a statement.

Forced assimilation fed school-to-prison pipeline

Modern juvenile incarceration disproportionately affects Native American youth, and experts on U.S. Indian policy trace the disparity back to the U.S.’s Native American assimilation policies of the 19th and 20th centuries –– which included boarding schools.

Not only were boarding schools often little better than prisons, they intentionally broke up Native American families and triggered trauma that has compounded over generations, leading to many of the disparities Native Americans face today, according to one report.

But some advocates the history of schools is nuanced, with one saying they were not "directly responsible for every bad thing that happened in Indian Country. But it’s linked to every bad thing that happened in Indian country.”

Navajo man loses latest bid to delay federal execution

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The only Native American on federal death row lost a bid Thursday to push back his execution date.

Unless Lezmond Mitchell gets relief from another court or is granted clemency, he will be put to death on Aug. 26 at the federal prison in Indiana where he is being held.

Mitchell's attorneys sought a delay from the U.S. District Court in Arizona where he was sentenced in the 2001 slayings of a 63-year-old fellow Navajo tribal member and her 9-year-old granddaughter. They argued the execution must be performed under Arizona law.

Judge David Campbell said the attorneys didn't identify any procedures in Arizona statutes or criminal rules that conflict with the federal protocol when it comes to how Mitchell, who is 38, would die.

“The court therefore concludes that the government's planned method of execution is not inconsistent with the salient provisions of Arizona law,” Campbell wrote.

Campbell disagreed with the U.S. Justice Department that the requests from Mitchell to strike his execution warrant and delay capital punishment were untimely and that a federal law entrusts all details of executions to federal officers.

The Justice Department didn't respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Mitchell's attorneys filed a notice of appeal to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. That court granted him a reprieve from execution last year as he sought to interview jurors in his case about potential racial bias. The court ultimately ruled against him and declined to maintain a stay of execution. It's expected to expire next week.

Emotions run high over new beer can

In honor of National Navajo Code Talkers Day, a Washington, D.C., craft brewery has rereleased its Code Talker American Pale Ale — this time in a can — drawing some rave reviews but also backlash.

The Hellbender Brewing Company announced the ale’s third annual release this week, debuting a bright red can featuring John V. Goodluck’s image.

Some social media commenters commended the company for bringing awareness to the Navajo Code Talkers, saying Goodluck has the right to honor his grandfather any way he sees fit.

Haudenosaunee Nation’s two lacrosse teams invited to compete in the 2022 World Games

The International World Games Association, World Lacrosse and the World Games 2022 announced Aug. 14 that the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams “representing the Haudenosaunee Nation will be eligible to compete” in the World Games.

The organizations “emphasized the position of honor held by the Haudenosaunee Nation, as originators of the game.”

(Related: Iroquois Nationals competing in World Games ‘just makes sense’)

WATCH: ‘Optimistic’ tribes are stepping up to the plate during pandemic

Dean Seneca is a citizen of the Seneca Nation and for many years he worked at the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in the area of infectious disease and pandemics.

Seneca was in Sierra Leone in 2014 and helped with the fight against the Ebola pandemic. He was also the first guest on our newscast when it started on April 6th.

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