Indian Country headlines for Monday

News we’re talking about today, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death; COVID-19 vaccine trials on two tribal nations; Mark Ruffalo wins first acting Emmy award and more
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The process for replacing Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court has moved swiftly ahead
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joe Biden on Sunday slammed President Donald Trump and leading Senate Republicans for trying to jam through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He urged more senators to stand with a pair of GOP colleagues who oppose the election-season rush.

The extraordinary televised plea from the Democratic presidential candidate to Republican senators reflected the ferocious maneuvering that has followed Ginsburg’s death at 87 on Friday. Her passing upended a campaign that had, until then, focused on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s economic collapse and racial unrest that has stoked protests in U.S. cities.

Trump has said he intends within days to name a woman to succeed the liberal icon, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was moving ahead swiftly with plans for confirmation hearings and votes.

Just hours before Biden spoke, a second Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in opposing efforts to fill Ginsburg’s seat before the next president is elected.

On a call with McConnell, R-Ky., late Saturday, Trump mentioned two federal appeals court judges: Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa, according to a person familiar with the private conversation who was not authorized to publicly discuss the call and spoke on condition of anonymity.

To the chants of “Fill that seat,” Trump told supporters at an event Saturday night in North Carolina that he would nominate a woman as soon as this week.

On Monday the president said he would name the replacement on Friday or Saturday after the services for Ginsburg.

COVID-19 vaccine trials to be conducted on two tribal nations
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced on Sept. 11 via his Facebook page and again on Sept. 14 during a virtual town hall meeting that the tribe is participating in a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 phase 3 vaccine trial on a volunteer basis. The trial will be overseen by Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.

Healthy adult volunteers, ages 18-85, will receive approximately $710 in compensation over the course of their two-year commitment to the trials.

The Lummi Nation government also recently announced it would participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Leadership from both communities emphasized that the trials were voluntary. Their triumphant social media announcements were quickly met with outrage and suspicion from tribal citizens.

“Why are you making us the guinea pigs?” “It’s a rushed experiment!” “Our government leaders should be the first ones to take the vaccine!” “I ain’t falling for it!” “Better to rely on our traditional medicine.”

Indian Country Today national correspondent Mary Annette Pember explores the fraught history of outside research conducted on Indigenous peoples. 

Mark Ruffalo wins his first acting Emmy Award
Mark Ruffalo won the Emmy Award for best actor in a limited series or TV movie Sunday evening for his dual portrayal of twin brothers, one of whom has schizophrenia, in HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True.”

It’s the first acting Emmy for the 52-year-old Ruffalo, who plays the Incredible Hulk in Marvel’s “Avengers” films.

He accepted the trophy as he sat on a couch in a remote room in upstate New York.

An emotional Ruffalo accepted the trophy as he sat on a couch in a remote room in upstate New York, calling for Americans to use their vote to “heal and honor and take care of each other and our most vulnerable people.”

Ruffalo also won a best TV movie Emmy in 2014 as an executive producer on HBO’s “The Normal Heart.”

Tropical Storm Beta to make landfall late Monday evening
HOUSTON (AP) — Tropical Storm Beta trudged toward the coasts of Texas and Louisiana on Sunday, threatening to bring more rain, wind and stress to a part of the country that has already been drenched and battered during this year’s unusually busy hurricane season.

While Beta could bring up to 20 inches of rain to some areas of Texas and Louisiana over the next several days, it was no longer expected to reach hurricane intensity, the National Weather Service said Sunday.

Beta was moving a little faster Sunday afternoon and was set to make landfall along Texas’ central or upper Gulf Coast late Monday night, the National Hurricane Center said. It was then expected to move northeastward along the coast and head into Louisiana sometime mid-week, with rainfall as its biggest threat.

Beta was one of three named storms whirling in the Atlantic basin during an exceptionally busy hurricane season. If the system makes landfall in Texas, it would be the ninth named storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. in 2020. That would tie a record set in 1916, according to Colorado State hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.

Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names on Friday, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s.

Watch: Natives in comics: ‘Born an Indiginerd’
Indian Country Today’s Friday newscast guests were publisher and comic book store owner Dr. Lee Francis IV, Johnnie Jae and Weshoyot Alvitre, a comic artist and illustrator. The trio discuss comic books and the intersection of Native people in the publications. 

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