Indian Country headlines for Monday

In this 2018 photo, Nancy Beaulieu, a citizen the Leech Lake Tribe, attends a Public Utilities Commission meeting in St. Paul, to oppose Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP, File)

Indian Country Today

Stories we're following on Dec. 7: Minnesota Line 3 pipeline approved, Native Americans renew claim to Black Hills, UK begins delivering vaccine on Tuesday and more

Minnesota regulators deny request to delay Line 3 pipeline

A Minnesota regulatory panel denied a request from the Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa to prevent Enbridge Energy from moving forward with its contentious Line 3 crude oil pipeline.

Opponents say the pipeline threatens spillage and irreparable damage to waters the tribes use to fish and harvest wild rice and that the influx of construction workers in communities along the pipeline corridor would worsen the spread of COVID-19.

Members of the Public Utilities Commission that approved the pipeline said that delaying construction would hurt workers who have already arrived in northern Minnesota and that the court has the authority to halt construction on its own if it rules in the tribes’ favor.

On Friday two protesters climbed and occupied trees along the Line 3 corridor.

Read more.

Native voters affected Arizona outcome; what about Georgia?

Not many of Georgia’s more than 100,000 voting-age Native Americans went to the polls in November, according to the New York Times.

Just a small boost could have an effect in Senate runoffs.

Marian McCormick, principal chief of the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe in Georgia, is working with OJ Semans, co-founder of Four Directions, a nonpartisan Native voting advocacy organization to increase voter turnout.

Read story.

A NHS pharmacy technician at the Royal Free Hospital, simulates the preparation of the Pfizer vaccine to support staff training ahead of the rollout, in London, Friday Dec. 4, 2020. (Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP)
A NHS pharmacy technician at the Royal Free Hospital, simulates the preparation of the Pfizer vaccine to support staff training ahead of the rollout, in London, Friday Dec. 4, 2020. (Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP)

World watches as UK begins delivering vaccine Tuesday

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has dubbed Tuesday as "V-Day," a reference to World War II triumphs, in announcing the country's vaccinnation kick-off on Dec. 8. 

Read more. 

Native Americans renew push to reclaim Black Hills

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld tribal claim to land in the Black Hills but ordered restitution in the amount of $1.5 billion in today’s dollars.

Tribal leaders have rejected the money; they want the land returned.

President Donald Trump’s Mount Rushmore rally on July 4 brought renewed attention to the dispute; protesters headed to the rally, blocking the road to the park. About 20 protesters, including Lakota activist NIck Tilsen were arrested. Tilsen was charged with several misdemeanors and felonies including simple assault and robbery for taking a shield from a law enforcement officer.

Tilsen and others want Indigenous-led development in the area that will help tribes escape dependence on appropriations from Congress, PBS reported.

Read more.

Tlingit man elected as San Diego mayor

On Nov. 3, Todd Gloria, Tlingit, 42, was elected mayor of San Diego, the nation’s eighth-largest and California’s second-largest city.

Gloria is the first openly gay and the first person of color to be elected as San Diego’s mayor, as well as “the first Native American and Filipino-American mayor elected in a US city of over a million people,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Hearing to oust Fort Peck tribal chair turns heated

The Fort Peck Tribal executive board voted Dec. 3 not to remove Chairman Floyd Azure, who was facing allegations of breaching the tribe’s code of ethics, the Great Falls Tribune reported. Azure accused board members of being unfair during the hearing.

Read more.

There will ‘absolutely’ be black market for vaccines

Athletes, politicians and other wealthy or well-connected people have managed to get special treatment throughout the pandemic. Early access to COVID-19 vaccines is likely to be no different.

“There absolutely will be a black market,’ bioethicist Arthur Caplan of New York University told STAT news.

“Anything that’s seen as lifesaving, life-preserving and that’s in short supply creates black markets.”

Read more.

Data shows Americans couldn’t resist Thanksgiving travel

Americans couldn’t resist the urge to gather for Thanksgiving, driving only slightly less than a year ago and largely ignoring the pleas of public health experts, who begged them to forgo holiday travel to help contain the coronavirus pandemic, data from roadways and airports shows.

The nation’s unwillingness to tamp down on travel offered a warning in advance of Christmas and New Year’s as virus deaths and hospitalizations hit new highs a week after Thanksgiving.

Read more.

Watch: Reporters Roundtable: From Saskatchewan to Montana

On our latest Reporters' Roundtable, Priscilla Wolf and Bernie Azure give an update on the stories they're covering in rural parts of Canada and in areas in and around the Flathead reservation in Montana.

Wolf is a correspondent for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network based in Saskatchewan, Canada. Azure is the assistant editor for the Char-Koosta News in Pablo, Montana.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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