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Pfizer: Vaccine to be available to Navajo is looking 90 percent effective

Pfizer is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration for release of its COVID-19 vaccine. 

This is the same vaccine that has been conducting clinical trials on the Navajo reservation. 

If the vaccine is approved, Navajo citizens would be among the first people eligible to receive the vaccine as part of the trial agreement.

Biden vows to revive White House Tribal Nations Conference

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the 2014 The White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington D.C. (Photo: Vincent Schilling)

Julia Krieger, regional communications director for the Biden-Harris campaign, confirmed in an email to Indian Country Today that Joe Biden's administration will "immediately reinstate" the White House Tribal Nations Conference, where tribal leaders are invited to Washington, D.C., to meet with high-ranking government leaders.

Krieger added that the “Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations,” as listed on the website, would be honored.

The introduction to the plan says, in part: “The United States of America was founded on the notion of equality for all. We’ve always strived to meet that ideal, but never fully lived up to it. Throughout our history, this promise has been denied to Native Americans who have lived on this land since time immemorial.”

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Search warrants served on Navajo Nation amid hemp crackdown

Navajo Nation Police stand outside one of Dineh Benally's hemp farms on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. The police were implementing a restraining order against the farms. (Photo by Sharon Chischilly, Navajo Times)

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — A team of federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers on Monday served search warrants on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, where the tribe has been cracking down on illegal hemp farm operations.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said the warrants were sealed and he could not provide any details. He said only that the warrants stemmed from an ongoing investigation.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez tweeted Monday that tribal police were assisting in a multi agency operation and that there was no threat to the community. He said more information would be released later.

In October, more than a dozen people were arrested on drug charges at a motel in the area. Authorities alleged the suspects were trimming marijuana plants in multiple motel rooms as marijuana was being stored in other rooms. Investigators were trying to determine whether the suspects were tied to the hemp operations.

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Tribe, university to revive traditional fire suppression techniques


After experiencing a wildfire that destroyed 200 homes and displaced 1,000 people, the Karuk Tribe of California is joining with other organizations to lay out how traditional fire prevention techniques can protect their homelands.

The Slater Fire is an example of catastrophic wildfires flaring up after decades of ignoring Karuk forest management techniques.

Skye Greenler is a graduate research fellow in the Oregon State University College of Forestry. In a statement from the University, she said: “Historically, fires were frequent and highly useful for this landscape and the Karuk people. For the last 150 years, we’ve suppressed fire, and now most of the fires on this landscape are ones we can’t suppress, that are often devastating to communities, ecosystems and cultural resources.”

Frank Lake, Karuk descendent, of the U.S. Forest Service, said: “Collaboratively integrating western and Indigenous fire science and knowledge systems in this research will help reinstate fire on this landscape to achieve socio ecological resource values with benefits both to tribes and the public.”

The Karuk tribe’s traditional territory covers more than a million acres along the Klamoth and Salmon rivers. The tribe said the prescribed fires stimulated production of traditional foods and cultural materials, removed accumulated fuel, and fostered species abundance and diversity.

Partners include the Karuk tribe, Oregon State University, University of Washington, and U.S. Forest Service.

Watch: The Wiyot's Tending Nature

November is Native American Heritage Month and as a part of that, there is a series on PBS that puts the spotlight on tribes in California.

“Tending Nature” looks at environmental knowledge tribes have and how they have tended the land throughout time. Corbett Jones, the director and producer of Tending Nature, joined us Monday to talk about the series which airs nationwide on Wednesday.

Plus, Indian Country Today national correspondent Mary Annette Pember is on the newscast weighing in on the impacts the President-elect Joe Biden administration could have on Indian Country.

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