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x̌ast sn̓yak̓ʷqín, relatives.

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TANACROSS, Alaska — One Alaska Native village knew what to do to keep out COVID-19. They put up a gate on the only road into town and guarded it round the clock. It was the same idea used a century ago in some isolated Indigenous villages to protect people from outsiders during another deadly pandemic — the Spanish flu.

It largely worked. Only one person died of COVID-19 and 20 people got sick in Tanacross, an Athabascan village of 140 whose rustic wood cabins and other homes are nestled between the Alaska Highway and Tanana River.

Angie Cleary, a registered nurse, cares for Joyce Johnson-Albert as she receives an antibody infusion while lying on a bed in a trauma room at the Upper Tanana Health Center Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in Tok, Alaska. Johnson-Albert was optimistic but also realistic. "I just hope the next few days I'll be getting a little better than now," Johnson-Albert told a reporter on the other side of a closed, sliding glass door to the treatment room two days after testing positive for COVID-19 and while receiving an antibody infusion. "It's just hard to say. You can go either way." (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

But the battle against the coronavirus isn't over. The highly contagious delta variant is spreading across Alaska, driving one of the nation's sharpest upticks in infections and posing risks for remote outposts like Tanacross where the closest hospital is hours away.

The COVID-19 surge is worsened by Alaska's limited health care system that largely relies on hospitals in Anchorage, the biggest city... READ more.The Associated Press


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week more than $1.9 million in grant awards for tribes in four states to use on water quality improvement projects.

The money will be used to help pay for a range of initiatives that include pollution reduction projects, shoreline restoration to re-open shellfish harvesting by tribal citizens and the development of water quality assessments or wetland climate change adaptation plans.

The 15 tribes awarded grants are in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and include the Klamath Tribes, Lummi Nation, Nez Perce Tribe and Quinault Indian Nation. The grants ranged from about $76,000 to nearly $241,000.

“We are very pleased to support our tribal partners in their efforts to protect and improve water quality and fish habitat, said Michelle Pirzadeh, the EPA’s Acting Northwest Regional Administrator, in a Sept. 30 news release. “ Water quality is the foundation of health communities, and we know this funding helps tribes ‘fuel’ on the ground, tangible projects that will move the needle and make a difference.” — Chris Aadland, Indian Country Today

A breathtaking and heartfelt new documentary highlighting a four-year battle of Native women-led water protectors in the #NoDAPL movement has recently secured a spot on Fuse TV.

End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock” premiered on Fuse TV — a video-on-demand streaming platform that focuses on empowering and cultural-based content — on June 25, a date marking the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Bighorn.

Lula Red Cloud featured in "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means. (Courtesy image)

The documentary is part of the Peabody and Emmy award-winning Fuse Docs franchise, and was directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means.

The documentary also features some of the internationally recognized drone footage from Native journalist Myron Dewey... READ more.Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today

Two Denver men accused in the fatal shooting of a man on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation nearly five years ago have been convicted in the case, federal authorities said Wednesday.

A jury last Thursday found Francisco Villanueva, 43, and Adan Corona, 35, guilty of numerous charges, including first degree premeditated murder, in the Oct. 16, 2016, death of Vincent Von Brewer III. Prosecutors said earlier that Brewer was killed while the defendants were trying to kidnap him to collect on a drug debt.

Villanueva and Corona allegedly shot Brewer 15 times as he attempted to flee.

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The two men each face life in prison without parole. A sentencing date has not been scheduled. — The Associated Press

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President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his picks to head the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts, tapping a Harvard University scholar and an Arizona State University professor to oversee the federal agencies.

If confirmed by the Senate, Shelly Lowe, who is the executive director of Harvard University's Native American program, will be the nation’s first Native American to serve as chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up in Ganado, Arizona.

The humanities and arts endowments were established by Congress in 1965 and are independent federal agencies that support research, education and development in the arts and humanities through partnerships with state and local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector... READ more. The Associated Press

More than $476 million in Office on Violence Against Women grants were announced by the Justice department on Tuesday.

More than $6 million was awarded to 18 nonprofit, nongovernmental tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions and $3.8 million awarded to 10 programs within Indian country and Alaska Native villages to assist those victimized by sexual assault.

To see the entire list of grants, click here.


News from the beauty industry. Soon a popular Indigenous-owned beauty brand can be found at your local JCPenney store.

JCPenney plans to soon end its partnership with beauty conglomerate Sephora. It will begin its own beauty section with what the company calls a range of inclusive brands instead.

The retailer announced last week one of the retailers chosen is Prados Beauty.

Prados Beauty is owned by Cece Meadows, a Xi-cana and Indigenous entrepreneur. The company specializes in eyeshadow palettes, brushes and other products. It has been featured in publications like Vogue and Cosmopolitan.

Prados Beauty said in a statement it is excited for the opportunity and thanked its supporters.

JCPenney will launch its new beauty section in select stores in October with a goal to roll it out to all 600 of its stores by 2023. — Aliyah Chavez, Indian Country Today

The pandemic has been very stressful for many different people. The National Indian Council on Aging created a new campaign reminding everyone to check up on elders during this time of isolation.

One study shows that prolonged social isolation is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. The organization's Executive Director Larry Curley, Navajo, joins ICT's newscast to tell us more about this campaign. Watch here.

  • Michigan’s tribal nations respond to Canada’s move to invoke 1977 pipeline treaty.
  • Welcoming remarks: National AMBER alert and AMBER Alert in Indian Country virtual symposium.
  • A Lakota runner says she’s done hiding her identity: 'Why should I have to make myself little?'

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