Indian Country Headlines for Wednesday

Indian Country Today

News we’re watching for July 22, 2020

Canadian football team announces it will discontinue its name
The Edmonton football franchise announced Tuesday it will discontinue its name and will go by the “EE Football Team” and “Edmonton Football Team” until a new name is picked. The decision comes as more teams face increasing pressure to drop racist or stereotypical names.

The team said Tuesday that a number of factors will go into finding a new name, including “research and engagement with season seat holders, casual ticket purchasers and partners.”

Many Indigenous folks were happy to hear of the change, including Willie Hensley, Inupiaq, of Alaska, who said, “We have vestiges of the colonial period all over North and South America, I’m glad Canada is doing something about it.”

World Health Organization to fight 'dangerous' coronavirus fake news
The World Health Organization says it will bring together scientists from several fields to fight growing misinformation about COVID-19 that is endangering lives.

Researchers from disciplines ranging from mathematics to IT, sociology, psychology, health and communication will focus on a new field of research WHO is calling "infodemiology.”

Unclear and misleading information could "jeopardize trust" in health authorities, the UN agency said. Most damaging it said, is the sharing of dangerous and unproven claims based on false information from non-health actors.

Man removed from Native American reservation store for refusing to wear mask 
Newsweek reports a Wisconsin man repeatedly refused to wear or purchase a mask or to leave a grocery store on a Native American reservation Monday. Instead, he pulled his T-shirt up over his mouth (exposing his stomach), and tried to convince employees that was enough protection against the spread of coronavirus.

The man was at the LDF Country Market in Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconsin. The store is in the Lake Superior Chippewa reservation area, which is home to a large number of Ojibwe tribal bands.

Video shows the man arguing with employees, demanding to know their names, and walking up to within inches of a female employee asking him to please leave. A tribal police officer arrived and removed him from the store.

Coronavirus hits 85 crew members of fishing vessel off Alaska
More than two thirds of the crew, 85 people, aboard a factory fishing vessel that docked in the Alaska fishing port of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands were infected with the coronavirus, officials said.

The boat, named the American Triumph, has departed Dutch Harbor and will travel hundreds of miles to the community of Seward in Southcentral Alaska, arriving Wednesday, Alaska's Energy Desk reported Sunday.

The ship is owned by Seattle-based American Seafoods Group LLC, one of the biggest firms in the billion-dollar Bering Sea pollock fishing sector.

Oklahoma high court: Governor overstepped with tribal deal
Oklahoma state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Gov. Kevin Stitt overstepped his authority when he reached casino gambling agreements with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes.

The deals would have allowed the two tribes to offer wagering on sporting events and house-banked card and table games, to build new casinos closer to larger population centers, and would have given the state a larger share of casino revenues from those new casinos.

But because such wagering has not been authorized by the Legislature, any revenue from such games is prohibited, the court ruled.

Tensions between BC fishing lodges, Haida Nation escalate over COVID-19
Royal Canadian Mounted Police in northwest British Columbia say they will review video of a confrontation on the water near Haida Gwaii between members of the Haida Nation and staff of a local fishing lodge.

The video appears to show some five vessels from the Queen Charlotte Lodge passing too close to a pair of smaller Haida boats, leading to a tense verbal exchange.

Tensions have been rising since the luxury fishing lodge, which is on the northernmost island of the archipelago, reopened. 

Locals are trying to ensure the coronavirus does not spread in their remote community, which has limited health services. The Haida Nation, the Old Massett Village Council and the Skidegate Band Council have asked non-essential travelers not to visit the area.

COVID-19 in Arizona: Navajo leaders eye phased reopening, stress caution
Navajo leaders said they may begin to move toward reopening the Navajo Nation in phases as early as next week, but continued to urge people to take precautions to keep the number of COVID-19 cases on a downward trend. 

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez challenged residents to keep new infections below 50 a day for 14 days, where it's been at for almost a week, to "support reopening certain places for Navajo usage." The tribal government has said it will continue a reservation-wide weekend lockdown for at least the next two weekends, for the 16th and 17th such lockdowns.

"Indigenous Futures Survey" research project
The Indigenous Futures Survey, a joint project between the Center for Native American Youth, IllumiNative, and the Native Organizers Alliance, is looking for individuals to take its 15-minute online survey. Those who take the survey will be asked questions about how COVID-19 has affected their daily experiences, democratic engagement, and priority issues. All survey responses will be kept confidential.

The goal of the survey is to gather and disseminate information about the priorities and needs of Native communities in preparation for the 2020 election.

Any Native person wishing to take the survey can be entered in a raffle to win several prizes. The survey will close on August 1, 2020. More information can be found here.

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