Aliyah Chavez and Vincent Schilling
Indian Country Today

It wasn’t just a global pandemic or elections that caught Indian Country’s attention this year. It was an elder and entrepreneur who took the top spot.

Indian Country Today’s most-read story of 2020 was about Annette Bilagody, the 96-year-old Navajo woman who became an internet hit.

A practice that Bilagody perfected for many years became a memorable moment for many of you.

(Related: Indian Country year in review: Major moments)

“I am very happy that I’ve touched so many people out in the world. Thank you to everyone,” Bilagody said after learning this news. “I’m very thankful that the creators blessed me to be strong still and I am very proud to represent all elders.”

Watch Bilagody's reaction:

Other stories to take the spotlight included timely information about the coronavirus pandemic. Pipelines being shut down, young Native people making waves in politics and a historic Supreme Court decision in Oklahoma also grabbed attention.

And of course, 2020 was the year of a momentous first when Rep. Deb Haaland was selected by President-elect Joe Biden to lead the Interior Department.

Here are this year’s top 20 stories:

  1. 96-year-old Navajo woman becomes an internet hit
  2. 'Historic day' for Standing Rock as pipeline company told to shut down, remove oil
  3. There’s another story behind that Land O'Lakes butter box
  4. Diné woman will be Kansas’ youngest sitting legislator
  5. Tribes begin casino closures
  6. Nakotah LaRance known for 'thrilling, unforgettable' performances
  7. Navajo woman receives clemency from President Donald Trump
  8. In Minneapolis it’s AIM that serves and protects
  9. Nathan Apodaca: Everyone’s new cousin
  10. Treaty defenders block road leading to Mount Rushmore
  11. Two pueblos have some of the highest infection rates in US
  12. Biden-Harris campaign announces tribal nations plan
  13. Supreme Court ruling 'reaffirmed' sovereignty
  14. Federal rules: Tribal casinos are ineligible for payroll help
  15. Crow Tribal Chairman endorses Trump campaign
  16. Soldier’s death leaves family asking ‘why, why, why?’
  17. Oklahoma governor: Casinos are an 'unjust enrichment to tribes'
  18. 'I’ll be fierce for all of us'
  19. Red Fawn Fallis to be released after 57 months
  20. Kobe Bryant, an icon to Indian Country
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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com.

Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is associate editor at Indian Country Today. He enjoys creating media, technology, computers, comics, and movies. He is a film critic and writes the #NativeNerd column. Twitter @VinceSchilling. TikTok @VinceSchilling. Email: vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com.

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