Indian Country headlines for Thursday
Indian Country Today
Navajo Nation shares update on Pfizer vaccine trials
About 150 Navajo Nation citizens have volunteers for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said on Wednesday.
Last week, the United Kingdom became the first country to authorize the Pfizer vaccine. Canada approved the vaccine Wednesday and the U.S. could possibly follow within days, according to the Associated Press.
Indian gaming revenue in 2019 set industry record of $34.6 billion
National Indian Gaming chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer and vice chair Katheryn Isom-Clause announced that revenue from 2019 showed an increase of 2.5 percent over 2018.
Future reports, however, will reflect the impact of the pandemic on the tribal casino industry and how it has adapted to changing circumstances.
Water futures set to join likes of gold and oil, trading on Wall Street for first time
The CME Group plans to launch futures contracts tied to the price of water.
Contracts will allow investors as well as farmers to bet on the future price of water. The contracts are tied to the $1.1 billion California spot water market.
Michael Burry of “The Big Short,” emphasizes water as one of his top investment ideas following the 2008 financial crisis Burry sees demand for water to continue to climb as supply falls due to population growth and climate change.
Biden picks Xavier Becerra to head HHS
President-elect Joe Biden has picked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead Health and Human Services. If confirmed, Becerra would be the first Latino to head the department.
Indian Health Service falls under HHS.
Biden also announced that he plans to nominate Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge as secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to serve again.
Fudge is former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and was recently elected to serve her 7th term representing a majority Black district in Cleveland and Akron.
Vilsack served as leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 8 years during the Obama administration and served two terms as governor of Iowa.
Trump administration accused of rushing to approve mining deal on Oak Flat, land held sacred by Native Americans
The Trump administration is moving forward with approving a land swap this month of a sacred Native American site to Rio Tinto Ltd. and partners to build a copper mine in Arizona.
Members of the San Carlos Tribe as well as environmentalists and Democrats are accusing the administration of fast-tracking the environmental review process. The land in question is located in the Tonto National Forest, known as Oak Flat and is considered a sacred site to many tribal nations in the region.
American Dental Association urges lawmakers to ensure Native Americans have access to care
The American Dental Association sent a letter to Congress to support the House’s request of $222 million for the Indian Service Dental Program in the 2021 final Interior appropriations bill.
Association president Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D and executive director Kathleen T. O”Loughlin D.M.D. noted that more than 80 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native children ages 6-9 and 13-15 years old suffer from dental decay. Less than 50 percent of the U.S. population in the same age groups suffer from cavities.
Sen. Tom Udall signs off, but ‘not retiring’
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall delivered his farewell speech this week on the Senate floor after serving the state and its 23 federally recognized tribes for nearly 30 years.
Throughout his years of service in federal politics, Udall’s efforts have focused largely on the environment and climate reforms and fulfilling promises to Indian Country as well as supported legislation and fostered efforts in Indian Country to include his support in addressing missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Watch: Acting early, swiftly against COVID-19
Joining Indian Country Today in Wednesday's newscast is Chairwoman Shelly Fyant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana and reporter Kolby KickingWoman.
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