Indian Country Today

Native Hawaiian candidates cruise to November

An open U.S. House seat will have three Native Hawaiian candidates on the general election ballot.

Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele captured 66 percent of the vote Saturday in a Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, which covers suburban Honolulu and the state’s more rural islands.

Republican candidate Joe Akana beat out eight other GOP challengers with nearly 39 percent of the vote. The third Native Hawaiian candidate, Jonathan Hoomanawanui, is a member of the newly formed Aloha ‘Aina Party and ran unopposed.

A November win by Kahele, Akana or Hoomanawanui would give the state its second Native Hawaiian in Congress since statehood.

Kaialiʻi “Kai” Kahele, a Democrat and Hawaii state senator, is a candidate for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. (Photo courtesy of Kai Kahele campaign website)

Hawaii became the fifth state to conduct an election entirely by mail after the state enacted a vote-by-mail law last year.

More primaries will be held Tuesday; follow Indian Country Today for coverage.

Watch: ‘COVID-19 and Indigenous peoples’ resilience’

On Monday, take part in a virtual event that celebrates Indigenous people around the world.

An interactive panel discussion titled “COVID-19 and Indigenious peoples’ resilience” will be available on Zoom or Facebook. For more information, click here.

“The aim is to highlight how the preservation and promotion of Indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge and practices can be leveraged more fully during this pandemic,” read the description bio.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People 2020 was Sunday. Aug. 9 marks the date of the inaugural working group on Indigenous populations at the United Nations in 1982.

Biden releases statement on Bristol Bay, Pebble Mine

Presumptive Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden issued a statement about the Pebble mine and protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay region.

“Bristol Bay has been foundational to the way of life of Alaska Natives for countless generations, provides incredible joy for recreational anglers from across the country, and is an economic powerhouse that supplies half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon. It is no place for a mine," the statement said. "The Obama-Biden Administration reached that conclusion when we ran a rigorous, science-based process in 2014, and it is still true today. The only reason we are still debating whether Pebble Mine should move forward is because hours after former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with a mining executive behind closed doors, the Trump Administration reversed our thoughtful decision.

(Related: Pebble Mine in Alaska: Key events)

“Now, Alaskan culture, traditions, and jobs are on the line. As President, I will do what President Trump has failed to do: listen to the scientists and experts to protect Bristol Bay — and all it offers to Alaska, our country, and the world.”

Biden’s statement comes days after President Donald Trump said he would “listen to both sides” after his eldest son and a campaign adviser urged him to intervene to block the proposed copper and gold mining project. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the final stages of deciding whether to permit the Pebble Mine.

Workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamna, Alaska, in 2007. The battle over a copper and gold mine near one of the world's premiere salmon fisheries is headed to the ballot in a vote next week that has turned a normally sleepy local election into a national environmental debate. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

Pueblo Revolt: The 'first American Revolution'

Monday marks 340 years since a successful uprising of Pueblo nations against Spanish colonizers in present-day New Mexico. 

The Pueblo Revolt is known by scholars including Joe Sando of Jemez Pueblo as the first American Revolution.

On Aug. 10, 1680, Ohkay Owingeh leader Po’pay secretly organized and carefully executed a plan uniting various tribal nations in attacking Spaniards. 

The rebellion is estimated to have killed 400 people, including 21 Spanish priests. For 12 years following, the Spanish stayed away from Pueblo land.

Po’pay is now an icon of the rebellion. In 2005, the state of New Mexico gifted a 7-foot-high statue of Po’pay to the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C., making it the seventh statue of a Native person in the country’s Capitol.

5 North Dakota tribes top county COVID cases

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota Indian Affairs Commissioner Scott Davis says the state's tribes are "back to square one" after recent coronavirus outbreaks linked to July Fourth gatherings.

The primary counties where the state's five federally recognized tribes are located are all ranked in the state's top 20 for virus cases per capita in the last two weeks.

Davis says tribal leaders are taking the virus seriously and that he has warned the pandemic will probably last a long time.

Spirit Lake Nation Chairman Douglas Yankton, whose northeastern North Dakota county leads the state in the number of cases by population in the last two weeks, said the tribe is debating shutting down the casino for a second time and issuing a stay at home order for everybody. But the economic consequences could be devastating.

Some tribes have issued mandatory masks orders and all have ramped up testing. Recent mass COVID-19 screenings at Spirit Lake and at the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation each drew nearly 1,000 people.

Plaintiffs seek judgment in suit over Mauna Kea road

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state of Hawaii over management of land around the Mauna Kea Access Road are seeking a partial summary judgment in the case.

The lawsuit filed by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation argues the departments of Transportation and Land and Natural Resources have illegally used land around the access road on the state's tallest mountain, West Hawaii Today reported.

A hearing via video conference is scheduled to be held Tuesday.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in February include Big Island Hawaiian community leaders Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele, Edward Halealoha Ayau and Kelii W. Iaone Jr.

Iaone and Kanahele were among more than 30 Hawaiian elders arrested during a protest at the access road in July 2019. Demonstrators last year blocked the road for months, saying the Thirty Meter Telescope project at Mauna Kea's summit would desecrate sacred land.

IEN, Kanae Okana, Mauna Kea

The judgement request asks an Oahu judge to declare that transportation department Director Jade Butay and land and natural resources Director Suzanne Case breached their trust obligations and violated the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.

The state Department of the Attorney General filed a motion of opposition last week, saying the plaintiffs did not meet the burden to prove summary judgment is entitled.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.