Indian Country Headlines for Monday

Volunteers prepare donations for delivery to those affected by COVID-19 on tribal lands Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. The resource drive is for families isolated due to COVID-19 on Navajo, Hualapai, Havasupai and White Mountain Apache tribal lands. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Indian Country Today

What happened this weekend, what we’re looking at, and more headlines around Indian Country

Indian Country Today

Good morning! Here are some things to know this Monday as you're having a cup of coffee or tea, and getting ready for the day. 

World hits coronavirus milestones amid fears worse to come

The world surpassed two sobering coronavirus milestones Sunday — 500,000 confirmed deaths, 10 million confirmed cases — and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted reopenings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come.

“COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, who allowed businesses to start reopening in early May but on Friday shut down bars and limited restaurant dining amid a spike in cases.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back reopenings of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles. He ordered them to close immediately and urged eight other counties to issue local health orders mandating the same.

More Florida beaches will be closing again to avoid further spread of the new coronavirus as officials try to tamp down on large gatherings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people are driving the surge.

“Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are," DeSantis said.

(Stay updated on the COVID-19 cases and deaths in the Indian health system at the Indian Country COVID-19 syllabus)

A lifeguard keeps watch over a packed beach Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Huntington Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A lifeguard keeps watch over a packed beach Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Huntington Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Judge: Alaska Native corporations can get relief funds

A federal judge has ruled June 26 that Alaska Native corporations are eligible to receive relief funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The judge initially ruled to halt distribution for part of the $8 billion relief funds to the corporations, a request from tribal nations. Nearly two months later, the same judge ruled on Friday that the corporations are eligible to receive funds.

U.S District Judge Amit Mehta’s decision said the Alaska Native corporations “are ‘Indian Tribes,’ and that their boards of directors are ‘Tribal governments,’ for the purposes of the CARES Act,” according to the 36-page court document.

The decision allows U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin, a defendant in the case, to distribute $162.3 million for Alaska Native corporations from an initial disbursement that was based on population data, according to court documents. The total hasn't publicly been disclosed.

This June 6, 2019, file photo shows the U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington. Multiple published reports say that the U.S. government has launched a national-security review of the China-owned video app TikTok, popular with millions of U.S. teens and young adults. Several senators have recently noted concerns about censorship and data collection on TikTok. The Treasury Department, which houses CFIUS, says it does not comment on specific cases. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
This June 6, 2019, photo shows the U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Bois Forte Band reports first COVID-19 case, imposes quarantine order

The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, a tribe in northern Minnesota, reported its first known COVID-19 case, according to a newspaper report.

Chairwoman Cathy Chavers said a female citizen has tested positive on June 18 and has since been quarantined. In response, according to the Hibbing Daily Tribune, the tribe approved a quarantine order that risks banishment if people fail to abide.

Other penalties include loss of fishing, hunting rights, per capita payments and fines up to $2,000.

Lakota tribes show support for Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit

The Oglala Sioux Tribe and Rosebud Sioux Tribe stand Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the tribe’s lawsuit against the President Trump administration.

On June 23, Cheyenne River filed a lawsuit, accusing Trump and 10 other federal officials of abusing their authority and threatening the tribe’s law enforcement and coronavirus relief money over its highway checkpoints. Since early April, the tribe has maintained highway checkpoints to ward off the COVID-19 pandemic. To see a timeline of key events, click here.

Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner stands in front of the Capitol during the four-day tribal nations policy summit hosted by the National Congress of American Indians.
(Julian Bear Runner | Facebook)

Rosebud, Oglala each issued a news release announcing its support.

“Cheyenne River’s June 24 complaint demonstrates the latest of several challenges that our people have faced when dealing with those in power within the federal government,” read Rosebud’s statement. “All tribal nations should take note of this politically motivated tactic.”

Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner shared similar words in his statement.

“The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s actions are in good faith to protect tribal members and other reservation residents,” he said. “Their actions align with the Lakota way, but also with good government practice.”

Remington Arms preps for bankruptcy sale to Navajo Nation

Remington Arms is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is discussing potential sale to the Navajo Nation, according to a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal.

What does it mean to be Black and Native in 2020?

It ain’t easy being Native on stolen land. And being Black in America has its own set of challenges. Both identities can bring a list of obstacles few others face.

What does it mean to be a Black Native or Afro-Indigenous in 2020?

For some, it’s a complicated answer that’s steeped in a dark history, past and current prejudices and acceptance and pride through connection. Also factor in systemic racism, racial profiling, that Native people and Black people are most likely to be killed by law enforcement, and underlying health conditions making Native and Black people more susceptible to COVID-19.

Approximately 270,000 people in the country identified as Black and Native in the last U.S. census.

Ivy Vainio 1
Ivy Vainio. (Courtesy photo by Doug Bowen-Bailey)

WATCH: Reporters’ Roundtable from Friday, June 26

Reporters' Roundtable examines how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the wildfire season. How are crews training in this era of social distancing. And what changes will fire crews see when they are called to a forest fire? And in New Mexico there's an educational showdown brewing between tribes and the governor of New Mexico.

To talk about these issues we have Brian Bull, general assignment reporter for KLCC-FM in Eugene, Oregon, and Shaun Griswold, a reporter for New Mexico In Depth.

Follow Indian Country Today for developments on today’s education case in New Mexico. 

Native Journalism Whiteboard

"Survival requires us 'to reflect upon the dangers with which we are surrounded; to view the darkness which seems to lie before our people — our prospects, and the evils with which we are threatened; to talk over all these matters, and, if possible, come to some deficit and satisfactory conclusion.'" — Elias Boudinot, Cherokee Phoenix

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