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The National Congress of American Indians is holding its 78th annual convention this week and Vice President Kamala Harris was Tuesday's featured speaker.

Vice President Kamala Harris gives remarks at the 78th Annual National Congress of American Indians convention from the south court auditorium in Washington, DC, on October 12, 2021. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today)

Tribal leaders heard Harris' and President Joe Biden's commitment to tribal sovereignty that included a big announcement.

Harris said the Biden/Harris administration is renegotiating the memorandum of agreement on Public Law 477. This plan was established in 1992 under President George H. W. Bush.

Watch her address here:


Erasure is no longer on the menu.

I started the spreadsheet in the middle of March, the week that Navajo saw its first cases, and the spreadsheet began to grow. Our newsroom had eyes on every corner of Indian Country (another reason why every newsroom should have Indigenous journalists). Our team knew the communities and knew where to find the social media pages, radio stations, or websites. Sometimes the point person.

I probably spent four to six hours a day reaching out to people via phone or email, building rapport, collecting data, inserting the data into the spreadsheet, doing the math, and creating ICT newscast’s COVID report based on this data.

It took more than 18 months for Indian Country Today and the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health to create and launch the COVID-19 tracking map and data for tribal nations as part of the university’s coronavirus resource center… READ more. — Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today

Indigenous people across the United States marked Monday with celebrations of their heritage, education campaigns and a push for the Biden administration to make good on its word.

The federal holiday created decades ago to recognize Christopher Columbus’ sighting in 1492 of what came to be known as the Americas increasingly has been rebranded as Indigenous Peoples Day.

A bronze sculpture of Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte, Omaha Tribe of Nebraka, at Lincoln’s Centennial Mall in Nebraska was unveiled on Indigenous Peoples' Day, Oct. 11, 2021. (Photo by Shirley Sneve, Indian Country Today)

For Michaela Pavlat, cultural interpreter at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, the day is one of celebration, reflection and recognition that Indigenous communities are fighting for land rights, for the U.S. government to uphold treaties, and for visibility and understanding... READ more. The Associated Press

The first message came at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, just after my story was published online and before I had even seen it myself.

It was one of three messages from people who had information about Nora Printup, a Seneca girl who drowned in Ocean City, New Jersey, in 1905, while attending the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.

A flood of messages has since come in from Rosebud, Winnebago, Omaha and Alaska, inquiring about several names on the published list of students (below) who died while attending Carlisle or the Lincoln Institution in Philadelphia... READ more.Louellyn White, special to Indian Country Today

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Kyrie Irving can keep refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

He just won't play for the Brooklyn Nets until he does.

The Nets announced Tuesday that Irving, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, would not play or practice with them until he could be a full participant, ending the idea that he would play in only road games.

Irving hasn't said he isn’t vaccinated, asking for privacy when he spoke via Zoom during the team’s media day on Sept. 27... READ more. The Associated Press

The Biden administration is set to host the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit the week of Nov. 8.

Specific details have yet to be released except for the summit being virtual.

Be sure to register by Oct. 22. For questions, email

The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 48 more COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the ninth time in the past 13 days.

The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 34,506 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

The known death toll is at 1,456.

Tribal officials still are urging people to get vaccinated, wear masks while in public and minimize their travel.

"We are seeing a flattening of the curve in terms of new cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation, but we have to stay focused and remain diligent," President Jonathan Nez said in a statement Tuesday.

All Navajo Nation executive branch employees had to be fully vaccinated against the virus by the end of September or submit to regular testing. — The Associated Press


MEXICO CITY — Suspected drug cartel gunmen opened fire on a car in northern Mexico on Monday, killing a 3-year-old boy and wounding the child’s parents, authorities said.

The father, who was driving in the city of Ciudad Obregon when the attack happened, managed to get the car to a hospital, where the toddler was pronounced dead, prosecutors in the border state of Sonora said. The gunmen escaped.

Sonora has been wracked by gang violence, including the killings of Indigenous people.

In recent weeks, DNA tests on skeletal remains found near an apparent drug cartel encampment confirmed that five of the remains belonged to some of seven missing men from Mexico’s most persecuted Indigenous group, the Yaquis. The Yaqui men were abducted in mid-July near Ciudad Obregon.

The state prosecutor’s office has suggested that the murder of Yaqui leader Tomás Rojo Valencia in May was also the work of drug cartels or allied local gangs. — The Associated Press

“​​This may be the easiest thing I've ever done so far as President.”

That’s what President Joe Biden said Friday afternoon, speaking from outside the White House, to celebrate the presidential action that will expand two national monuments in Utah, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Democratic lawmakers, tribal leaders and environmentalists attended the White House ceremony.

Biden's action reversed a decision by President Donald Trump that opened for mining and other development hundreds of thousands of acres of rugged lands sacred to Indigenous peoples and home to ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs... READ more. — Indian Country Today

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