x̌ast sn̓yak̓ʷqín, relatives.

A lot of news out there. Thanks for stopping by Indian Country Today’s digital platform.

Each day we do our best to gather the latest news for you. Remember to scroll to the bottom to see what’s popping out to us on social media and what we’re reading.

Also, if you like our daily digest, sign up for The Weekly, our newsletter emailed to you on Thursdays. If you like what we do and want us to keep going, support and donate here.

Okay, here's what you need to know today:

SALT LAKE CITY — President Joe Biden will expand two sprawling national monuments in Utah that have been at the center of a public lands tug-of-war that has played out over three presidential administrations, the state's governor said Thursday.

Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, released a statement expressing disappointment in a decision by the administration to expand Bears Ears National Monuments and Grand Staircase-Escalante, which were downsized significantly under President Donald Trump.

They cover vast expanses of southern Utah where red rocks reveal petroglyphs and cliff dwellings and distinctive twin buttes bulge from a grassy valley. The Trump administration cut Bears Ears, on lands considered sacred to tribes, by 85 percent and slashed Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half.

Hopi Chairman Timothy L. Nuvangyaoma said he is "happy" and "grateful for the advocacy of all those related to protecting Bears Ears and for the Hopi tribe" because it means a lot to the clan memberships. READ more. — Associated Press and Indian Country Today

SUPPORT INDIGENOUS JOURNALISM. CONTRIBUTE TODAY.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The appeals of two Oklahoma death row inmates convicted of murder were rejected Thursday by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

Shaun Michael Bosse, 38, and Benjamin Robert Cole, Sr., 56, each argued that the state had no jurisdiction in their cases under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in what's known as the McGirt decision because the victims of each crime were Native American and the crimes occurred on tribal lands.

The appeals court ruled that the McGirt ruling does not apply retroactively and that both Bosse's and Cole's convictions and sentences were final prior to McGirt.

The court earlier this year overturned Bosse's and Cole's convictions and sentences, but in August reversed those and similar rulings weeks after finding that McGirt does not apply if the inmates' cases are final. The court said at the time that it would reconsider the appeals.

Neither Bosse, convicted of killing his girlfriend and her two young children, nor Cole, convicted of killing his 9-month-old daughter, are Native American, but the victims were Native American and the crimes occurred on tribal lands.

Bosse and Cole have both been charged with murder in federal court, but could not be sentenced to death under the federal charges. — The Associated Press

Sign up here to get ICT's newsletter

Tribal gaming experts across the nation are monitoring the situation closely with excitement and skepticism.

More than half of the country is currently offering sports betting in some form, with even more states expected to offer it in 2022 and 2023.

Ten states are offering in-person sports wagers only, with an additional 11 offering full mobile betting with multiple options and six others have limited mobile betting options, according to Action Network. READ more. — Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today

FOLLOW ICT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, TIKTOK.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Lumped into the “Other” racial and ethnic category, American Indians and Alaska Natives are effectively invisible on Maryland’s state website for COVID-19.

More than 120,000 people who identify as Native American live in Maryland, but without public-facing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, it is a mystery how many the disease has affected — and how many resources should be allocated to help them.

“Not only is that bad public health, but it’s also very dehumanizing for American Indians and Alaska Natives on our Native lands,” Kerry Hawk Lessard, executive director of the health services nonprofit Native American Lifelines of Baltimore, said to Capital News Service.

The Maryland Department of Health puts American Indians and Alaska Natives in the “Other” category for COVID-19 cases and death numbers “due to low statistical occurrence given the population of Native Americans in the state,” department spokesperson Andy Owen wrote in an email to Capital News Service. READ more. — The Associated Press

ICT logo bridge

We want your tips, but we also want your feedback. What should we be covering that we’re not? What are we getting wrong? Please let us know. Email dwalker@indiancountrytoday.com.