Indian Country headlines for Tuesday

Screenshot of Dr. Anthony Fauci giving remarks during Navajo Nation President Jonathon Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer's town hall meeting Monday.

Indian Country Today

Stories we're following: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Navajo leaders discuss vaccine study at virtual meeting; Tuesday town hall focuses on importance of Native vote; and a rare Mescalero Apache basket goes on exhibit

Fauci praises Navajo Nation at vaccine town hall

Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed vaccine concerns with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer in a virtual town hall Monday.

The safety of the Phase 3 Pfizer COVID-19 trials being offered to Navajo citizens dominated the more than 1,400 comments from listeners.

Many people continue to express suspicion about the safety of the testing as well as concern over a perceived lack of transparency by the Navajo government in the vetting process for the trials.

Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He praised the Navajo Nation for limiting in-person gatherings and taking other measures to combat the coronavirus.

Native Vote Town Hall set for Tuesday

IllumiNative and the Native Organizers Alliance are hosting a virtual town hall Tuesday on the importance of the Native vote.

The town hall features U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Lewis and Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, among others.

The town hall will be streamed on Facebook at 6 p.m. EDT. For more information and to watch, click here.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland
Haaland (Photo by Vincent Schilling, File)

Small-business owners pessimistic about future

Driving around your community, you may have noticed more empty storefronts than a year ago.

A recent survey of Indian Country businesses found nearly 70 percent of respondents had lost at least 20 percent of their revenues. Only 20 percent said they had enough cash on hand to continue operations for another three months.

The study was conducted by the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

They received 400 responses from business owners in mid-July 2020.

Among Native American business owners, 80 percent had lost revenues. Almost a quarter of the Native American business owners reported no revenue.

Business losses were higher in entertainment, recreation and the arts. More pandemic-resilient businesses are those that can serve customers remotely, serve as federal contractors or provide products or services that remain in high demand.

Rare Mescalero Apache basket on exhibit in Nevada city

A Mescalero Apache basket connected to Geronimo’s family will be on exhibit Wednesday at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.

The basket is believed to have been woven by Old Boys, the wife of Geronimo, and was in the collection of S.L. Lee, a Carson City doctor who died in 1927.

The basket is a twined willow burden basket with darkened sumac decoration and bear grass overlay. It has tanned buckskin fringe and edging with leather straps.

For more information about the exhibit and the museum, click here.

New opportunity for Alaska tribal health leader

After leading a statewide tribal health organization in Alaska through tremendous growth and working in the health field for decades, Roald Helgesen, Haida, has moved on to a new opportunity.

During his tenure, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium added a third more employees; purchased, built, and reconfigured several buildings in Anchorage; and increased revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars.s

Helgesen left as head of the Anchorage-based Alaska Native Medical Center in August.

“At the end of the day, I'm a kid from a small town and I've had some great opportunities. But my goal has always been to work for our people,” he said.

Pictured here: Roald Helgeson, Haida, on March 5, 2020. He resigned from his position as administrator for the Alaska Native Medical Center on August 7, 2020 to work as Chief Operating Officer for the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus)
Roald Helgesen, Haida, on March 5, 2020 before his resignation as at Alaska Native Medical Center Administrator on August 7. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus)

Watch: The sovereign nature of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's later work

In our latest newscast, the first Native American woman to become a federal judge talks about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's legacy and the impact she had on tribal nations.

Ginsburg died Friday after complications with cancer. In 2014, Diane Humetewa, Hopi, became the first Native American woman to be confirmed as a federal judge, and she shares a story about meeting Ginsburg and talks about her controversial stance on federal Indian law.

Humetewa described Ginsburg as “iconic.” Ginsburg was only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Indigenous people have been critical of the majority opinion she authored in the City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York case. More recently, Ginsburg sided with Justice Neil Gorsuch in the McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling, which favored tribal sovereignty.

Also on Monday’s newscast, Indian Country Today national correspondent Dalton Walker gives an update on stories he’s been working on. One of his latest looks at TikTok and Native influencers.

Another story Walker is covering is on the first Native American cyclist to race in the Tour de France. He has an update on how Oneida cyclist Neilson Powless fared during his first Tour de France and how Powless is blazing a new trail for Native youth. 

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Comments (1)
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Rita.Revell
Rita.Revell

Regarding Fauci and talks about vaccine trials with the Navajo in Arizona, I would proceed with caution. They have now written laws that the companies that create this can not be held accountable if there are adverse reactions. I would feel more confident about taking a vaccine if those who push it (Fauci, Gates, etc) were themselves taking part. I don't have confidence in them.


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