Indian Country headlines for Tuesday

Indian Country Today

News we’re talking about, including Navajo changes to voting; financial planning for the ‘long-haul’; the resignation of a longtime Alaska health leader; and travel advice from South Dakota on tribal checkpoints

Indian Country Today

Navajo Nation adds tents, hand-washing stations to voting process

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Tents are going up on the Navajo Nation with hand-washing stations. One tribe has shortened the hours for voting. A ticketing system will let voters in eastern Arizona cast a ballot curbside or inside.

The coronavirus has forced changes to the way people will vote in Tuesday's primary election. On tribal land, election officials are navigating the closure of businesses and government buildings, curfews and other restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Navajo Nation canceled its own primary for local officials but tribal members still can vote in person for the statewide primary. President Jonathan Nez had pushed back against the decision by tribal lawmakers, but they overturned his veto of a bill that sends all candidates to the general election ballot to be decided by plurality vote.

Financial planning for the 'long-haul'

The nation is facing the highest unemployment rate in more than a hundred years and small businesses have been decimated. Congressional lawmakers chose not to reach an agreement in time to extend the $600 weekly unemployment payments, which expired last week. Many Native American families were already struggling with economic hardships pre-pandemic.

On today's Indian Country Today newscast Patrice Kunesh, Standing Rock, gives tips on how to stabilize your family's budget while becoming more self-sufficient. She's the Founder & Director of Peȟíŋ Haha Consulting.

Kunesh said individual incomes are toppling and real community stability is at risk. “So we really need to be careful. We need to be very pragmatic and we need to be planful about how we get through this both individually as a family and for our communities."

Award-winning innovator in Alaska tribal health resigns

The longtime president and CEO of one of Alaska’s leading tribal health care providers is resigning following the recent firing of her husband, a senior executive, and two dentists amid fraud allegations.

Katherine Gottlieb, who has been with the Southcentral Foundation for more than 30 years, will conclude her service Aug. 31, the nonprofit said Monday.

Her husband, Kevin Gottlieb, was chief of staff and vice president of resource development. He was fired last month, along with dental directors Thomas Kovaleski and Clay Crossett.

An independent “investigation showed the dentists falsified health records by attributing one dentist as the provider of routine dental exams when that dentist did not actually perform the procedures,” the organization stated. “All procedures were performed by qualified dentists, and there was no impact to customer-owner safety.”

The Foundation has reported the findings to the U.S. attorney’s office, which said it could not comment on whether it is investigating.

The foundation’s announcement did not provide a reason for Katherine Gottlieb’s resignation.

South Dakota offers tourism guidance on tribal checkpoints

South Dakota Tourism issued guidance for visitors on tribal checkpoints on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe placed checkpoints on tribal land earlier this year as a way to protect residents from COVID-19.

The state’s tourism department is trying to get the word out to visitors regarding some travel restrictions on tribal lands. The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is set to start and the event brings in hundreds of people from out of state.

“We hope to alert our guests of the current highway delays and to avoid potential rerouting once they arrive at the checkpoints,” read a July 30 South Dakota Tourism news release. “These checkpoints have been put in place by the tribes to protect their residents from additional COVID-19 exposure.”

Trump vows to sue Nevada over mail-in ballots

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation Monday to mail all of the state's active voters ballots ahead of the November election, a move being criticized by President Donald Trump, who promised a lawsuit to block the action.

Sisolak, a Democrat, said the bill would support the safest, most accessible election possible. Nevada joins seven states that plan to automatically send voters mail ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, including California and Vermont, which moved earlier this summer to adopt automatic mail ballot policies.

President Trump has long claimed that mail ballots would compromise the integrity of the election, but the consensus among experts is that all forms of voter fraud are rare.

Why 'Come and Get Your Love' now? After 46 years 'the time has come'

The band Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” has had millions of plays on air and on YouTube with the pioneering rock band's visually powerful performance on TV’s "The Midnight Special" in 1974, when the song was released.

That clip begins with a powwow dancer performing in front of the band, introducing millions to a Native traditional dance they had most likely never seen before.

In 2014, the mega-budget sci-fi film "Guardians of the Galaxy" used the song in a key opening scene and on the official soundtrack, garnering a whole new generation of fans.

But the infectious, bouncy song with a message of earthy and universal love never had an official video from the band. Until now.

Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, has released a new music video for "Come and Get Your Love," pulling in an Emmy-nominated director, Juan Bedolla, and an award-winning Native artist, Brent Learned, to create the visuals.

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