Indian Country Today

Tribal nations fight ruling giving relief money to Alaska Native corporations

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) —The U.S. Treasury Department and the tribal nations disagree over which entities Congress intended to be eligible for COVID-19 relief funds

Tribal nations are challenging a court decision that allows Alaska Native corporations to receive a share of $8 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding set aside for tribes.

The tribal nations filed a notice of appeal Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., meeting the deadline set by a lower court judge.

The Treasury Department has disbursed most of the money to the country's 574 federally recognized tribes. It set aside at least $162 million for the corporations, according to court documents, but hasn't disclosed the exact amount.

Oklahoma governor tests positive for COVID-19; recently visits tribal complex

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt gestures during a news conference concerning the state's compact with the Oklahoma Tribes for gambling during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Oklahoma City. Stitt and the tribes are locked in an impasse over whether the 15-year agreements that give the tribes the exclusive rights to operate casinos in Oklahoma expire on Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has COVID-19 and recently visited a tribal complex in Oklahoma, according to Osage News.

Stitt met with Otoe-Missouria tribal leaders at the tribe’s complex on July 9 to discuss the tribe’s new gaming compact. Stitt announced he tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.

A Otoe-Missouria spokeswoman told the tribal newspaper that attendees were encouraged to wear masks during Stitt’s visit and guests were social distancing.

Former NFL standout Chris Long helps bring Navajo Nation residents much needed water

PHOENIX – Former NFL two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long and his foundation are donating $100,000 to the Navajo Nation to improve water access.

 The money will go to the indigeneous-staffed Navajo Water Project from DigDeep, and will be used to install solar-powered, 1,200-gallon water systems under hundreds of homes to ensure that families have reliable, clean water. 

“We’ve been doing work for years now on Navajo Nation, which is the largest reservation in the US,” DigDeep founder George McGraw said. “If it was a state, it would be our 10th biggest.”

1800s era governor of Alaska statue to be removed

The Alexander Baranof statue, pictured with a patina of bird droppings in front of Harrigan Centennial Hall, was at the center of a protest Tuesday, June 23, 2020, just prior to a city Assembly meeting in Sitka, Alaska. An Alaska city assembly voted Tuesday, July 14, 2020, to relocate the statue of a Russian merchant that has drawn criticism as a symbol of colonialism and abuse of the region's Indigenous people. (James Poulson/Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP)

An Alaska town will relocate a statue of a Russian colonist accused of enslaving Alaska Natives while the area was under Russian control two centuries ago.

Assembly members in Sitka on Tuesday night approved moving the statue of Alexander Baranov, an early 19th century governor of Russian Alaska, from outside the local civic center into the Sitka Historical Society Museum.

Albert Duncan, a Sitka resident and Alaska Native, asked the assembly to remove the statue.

"It still causes grief, pain, and it reminds us of our historical trauma," Duncan said.

In an era marked by bloody skirmishes ,Sitka was the base of operations for fur traders with the Russian-American Company, of which Baranov was chief manager. In 1808, Sitka became the capital of Russian America. It was the site where Russian transferred “ownership” to the United States in 1867. 

Aboriginal claims were not addressed until more than a century later, in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

What's wrong with X? 'The dumb way your fans behave'

Mark Trahant, Shoshone Bannock:  A conversation with Susan Harjo

Suzan Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, has been at the center of so many changes in our society for a long time.

She has been a reporter. She’s a poet. And a museum curator. The executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. And she’s helping reframe ideas about racism and sports for decades.

In so many ways what happened to the Washington NFL team seemed to happen in an instant, but of course, it did not. And the work of Suzan Harjo testifies to that fact.

“You can imagine what the people in the corporate headquarters of FedEx and Nike and PepsiCo and Bank of America and Target and Walmart and everyone else,, thought when they saw people demonstrating in over 700 cities at the same time. And why? Because we all witnessed the same man, George Floyd, get murdered on television and it was repulsive and riveting and sad and made you want to do something about anything.

The changes have come as a result of people working: Natives, people of color, women’s groups, business leaders, faculty, students, and more.

“They always are difficult because people say, ‘Braves, what's wrong with that? Warriors, what's wrong? Well, it's the dumb way your fans behave for one, it's all the Tomahawk chopping, it's the war painting, the woo, woo, wooing, the fake dyed turkey feathers and chicken feather headdresses, the so-called Indian clothes, the so-called Indian dances. It's all of that. And it's putting up people you say you revere, you say you honor; you're exposing them to mockery.”

She likened the situation to naming a school in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and then having the N word as the football team, as the basketball team or having the S word [squaw]... having that as the name of the women's teams, these are not honorifics. They're brutal insults.”

Instead? "How about financing some statues of Native peoples? Some sculptures of Native people? How about employing some of our artists who can make some of these beautiful tributes that don't have to even be of people, they can be of the spirit of the world.”

Click here to see Mark Trahant and Susan Harjo's conversation. 

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