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New COVID-19 relief bill includes money for Native schools

A new $900 billion pandemic relief package that could be approved this week has money for Native American schools.

Of the $82 billion allocated to schools and universities, nearly $1 billion is for Native American schools, according to the AP.

The package also includes $600 direct stimulus payment for most U.S. citizens and an additional $600 payment per dependent children.

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Leech Lake Ojibwe woman nominated to lead Duluth council

Duluth, Minnesota City Council member Renee Van Nett, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, is expected to become the next Duluth council president.

In doing so, she'll be the first Indigenous person to hold the roll, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Van Nett was recently nominated to lead the council in 2021.

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In this photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, lava flows within the Halema’uma’u crater of the Kilauea volcano Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. The Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has erupted, the U.S. Geological Survey said. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

Volcano erupts on Hawaii’s Big Island, produces steam cloud

The Kilauea volcano erupted late Sunday, shooting a steam cloud into the sky. The event lasted about an hour according to a report from the National Weather Service on Monday.

New lava flow hit a pool of water inside the crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park resulting in a short but fairly vigorous eruption.

In 2018, Kilauea erupted destroying more than 700 homes.

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Alaska Natives: Crucial traditions at risk

Rosita Worl, Tlingit, is among countless Alaska Natives who observe subsistence gathering and sharing practices, essential and deeply significant traditions that date back thousands of years.

Inupiaq mother Kelsi Ivanoff and daughter Harlow Ralphie, with Dolly Varden trout, whitefish and grayling caught ice fishing in the Unalakleet River a few miles upriver from Unalakleet, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Steve Ivanoff)

Now, a coalition of tribes says laws that were meant to protect these aboriginal rights have failed.

If Deb Haaland is sworn in as Interior secretary, one of the issues Alaska Natives will want to bring up is subsistence.

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Standing Rock citizen cleanses NBA court

Kyrie Irving, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and his Brooklyn Nets kickoff the 2020-21 NBA season Tuesday.

Irving plans to smudge basketball courts before games in Brooklyn and on the road. He smudged the court in Boston last Friday before the Nets beat the Celtics in an exhibition game.

After the game, Irving said he smudged the court to "cleanse the energy."

“It’s for us to stay connected, and for us to feel good about coming to work,” he said.

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Deb Haaland faces momentous questions at Interior

Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblos, would wield a lot of power as Interior secretary. She’d also have a lot on her plate having to do with Indian Country.

The department intersects with tribes over water rights, gaming and repatriation of human remains, among dozens of other activities. It administers 55.7 million acres held in trust for Native Americans, and manages $2.5 billion for tribes.

Perhaps most important to Natives, the Interior Department holds the key to getting ancestral lands and sovereignty, or self governance, restored to Natives.

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Veterans Affairs Tribal Advisory Committee Act nearly law

A bill, Veterans Affairs Tribal Advisory Committee Act, written by Rep. Deb Haaland, a New Mexico Democrat, will create a committee on tribal and Indian Affairs to advise the Veterans Affairs on matters that affect Native veterans.

The House passed the vote and it now awaits the president’s signature to become law.

This 2013 file photo shows Jesse Taken Alive of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe testifying in Bismarck, N.D., before the Task Force on American Indian Children Exposed To Violence. Family members say the former chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has died after contracting COVID-19, not long after his wife passed away from the coronavirus. Sixty-five-year-old Jesse “Jay” Taken Alive was hospitalized in late October and died Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 according to his brother, Virgil Taken Alive. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

Standing Rock man remembered for service to tribe

The former chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe died recently after contracting COVID-19, about a month after his wife passed away from the coronavirus, his family said.

Jesse "Jay" Taken Alive was 65.

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Watch: Pandemic issues: Vaccines and funding

The director of the Tribal Health Research Office at the National Institutes of Health Dr. Dave Wilson is featured on Monday’s Indian Country Today’s newscast. Wilson talks about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. He’s Navajo and recently moderated a panel discussion with Dr. Anthony Fauci and tribal leaders to address vaccine concerns.

Also, Indian Country Today national correspondent Dalton Walker joins the newscast to talk about the CARES Act and its spending deadline.

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