We hope you had a restful weekend. Here's a look at some news affecting Indian Country over the weekend:
Public health officials urge cautious approach to reopening of schools
As the Trump administration pushes full steam ahead to force schools to resume in-person education, public health experts warn that a one-size-fits-all reopening could drive infection and death rates even higher.
They're urging a more cautious approach, which many local governments and school districts are already pursuing. But U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos doubled down on President Donald Trump's insistence that kids can safely return to the classroom.
"There's nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous," she told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."
Still, health experts say there are too many uncertainties and variables for back-to-school to be back-to-normal.
"The single most important thing we can do to keep our schools safe has nothing to do with what happens in school. It's how well we control COVID-19 in the community," Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said. "Right now there are places around the country where the virus is spreading explosively and it would be difficult if not impossible to operate schools safely until the virus is under better control."
The Washington NFL franchise plans to retire its controversial nickname on Monday, according to multiple reports.
News broke over the weekend that team owner Daniel Snyder will retire the name and reveal a new team name Monday morning, according to USA Today. The new name remains unknown, but Warriors, Red Wolves and Redtails have ranked among fans' most popular choices on social media.
After Native mascots
New Republic reporter Nick Martin explores life after the end of Native mascots in a perspective piece published Friday.
Martin spoke with Bryan Brayboy, an Indigenous professor at Arizona State University, and National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp.
“It’s uncertain what will happen next, but it would be a mistake to treat whatever it is … as the end of the issue,” Martin wrote.
A push for online gaming amid pandemic struggles
In the midst of a debilitating global pandemic, there is no shortage of concerns for tribes involving their gaming operations.
Some tribes and their gaming advocates say ‘resiliency’ requires new tactics, relying on paths that some wealthier, established casino tribes have generally been hesitant to go down and have even lobbied against, including online gaming.
“There’s still a reluctance to fully support online gaming,” says Joe Valandra, former chief of staff of the National Indian Gaming Commission and current director of the Native American Contractors Association. “Having said that, there is a big recognition that online everything is here now, and, especially in light of current events, likely here to stay. Right now it’s the pandemic, but people have been more and more comfortable doing more things online all along, so it only makes sense for tribal enterprises to tap into that potential.’”
Canadian hockey team to change name out of respect for First Nations
A hockey team in British Columbia, Canada, will change its name and logo out of respect for First Nations, according to the CBC.
The Saanich Junior Braves have used its logo that displays a stereotypical Native man and nickname since 1967. A new name hasn’t been selected, according to the report, and the team will be referred to as Saanich Junior B.
The team is located on Vancouver Island, off the Pacific coast.
Town plans to move statue of founder who led Pequot massacre
WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut town plans to remove a statue of Major John Mason, its founder and the leader of a massacre against the Pequot tribe, from a public green, if it can get permission from state authorities.
Dozens of Windsor residents joined a digital town council meeting July 6 to demand the statue's removal.
The 2-ton statue was first erected in 1889 in Groton, Connecticut, which Mason is also credited with founding. In 1992, a member of the Pequot tribe campaigned to have it removed from Groton because he said it glorified the killing of his ancestors, and it was relocated to Windsor in 1996, the Hartford Courant reported.
Windsor residents and a town council member have renewed the call to take the statue off public display.
Over the weekend, the statue was painted with graffiti reading "BLM," the newspaper reported.
The town is seeking to move the statue from the public green to the grounds of the nearby Windsor Historical Society, Mayor Don Trinks said. The city has contacted the governor’s office and historic preservation agencies to request the removal of the statue.
Animated video promotes healing
An animated video for these modern times created for the National Congress of American Indians has been released. “Feather’s Story” tells the story of a child struggling with the problems of the modern world. She’s troubled by the pandemic and pollution, and wants to figure out how to make things better.
Wind Spirit Spotted Bear, of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation invited her daughter Feather to come to the studio and talk about how she was feeling. Spotted Bear is a multimedia developer for MABU, the agency that created the animated video.
Feather’s words became the script for the short video. A Jingle dancer is Feather’s aunt Jennifer Young Bear. The original song used in the video is by Joel Wood, of the Northern Cree Singers.
Support Indian Country Today by becoming a member. Click here.