Things to know: June 10
Indian Country Today
TOO MANY NATIONAL PARK VISITORS
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez is expressing concerns that national park reopenings could worsen the COVID-19 pandemic in areas where cases remain high.
Nez said parks and monuments near the reservation experienced a lot of traffic over Memorial Day weekend.
“I haven’t been given the numbers from our police department, but I’m sure it’s high,” he told the Albuquerque Journal. “We don’t want visitors to be detained. We don’t want them to have to pay a $1,000 citation because they are going through our lands.”
ARIZONA TRIBE FIGHTS HIGH INFECTION RATE
The White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona is battling a high COVID-19 infection rate. As of June 8, the tribe has 1,003 confirmed cases and 12 deaths.
There are 13,420 people in the "primary care area" that includes the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, according to the state’s health agency. The primary care area is the geographic area where residents look for primary health services.
That works out to an infection rate of 7.47 percent for the White Mountain Apache.
It could also be calculated to be approximately 7,474 per 100,000. That’s higher than the Navajo Nation. As of June 8, the Navajo Navajo has an infection rate of 3.89 using the 157,000 population from the Navajo epidemiology center. This also works out to approximately 3,892 individuals per 100,000 on the Navajo reservation.
Just last week, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said virus cases and hospitalizations continue to climb amid the state’s recent phased reopening.
NORTH DAKOTA CANDIDATES ADVANCE
Three Native women running for the North Dakota Legislature will advance to the November election.
Thomasina Mandan, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, and Tracey Wilkie, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, are running for state House seats. For state Senate, Lisa Finley-DeVille, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary election.
All three candidates are Democrats and will face incumbents in November.
LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BY BLACK LIVES MATTER IN IOWA
On Monday, the Black Lives Matter group located in Des Moines, Iowa, tweeted they are recognizing the streets are not “our streets,” during protests, but the land of Ioway, Sauk, and Meskwaki people.
“We will no longer be using the chant, 'whose streets? our streets.' These aren’t our streets; this isn’t our land,” read the tweet. “This land belongs to the Báxoǰe (Bah Kho-je) or Ioway people, the Sauk (Sac) people and Meskwaki (Fox) people.”
NUNAVUT LEADERS CALL FOR POLICE REVIEW
Leaders in Nunavut demand for a territory-wide review of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after dozens of alleged police brutality, misconduct and insensitivity cases, reported CBC.
Benson Cowan, CEO of the Legal Services Board of Nunavut, said in the first of two letters to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, that legal aid workers heard about racism and insensitivity from RCMP to community members.
EASTERN CHEROKEE DELAYS REOPENING
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has experienced a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases since it began its phased reopening of tribal offices and programs May 8.
At that time, the tribe had nine confirmed cases of COVID-19. As early this week, it had 43.
The tribe was previously slated to open Monday but has pushed back its reopening to June 22 after being notified that three employees at Qualla Boundary Head Start and Early Head Start tested positive for the virus, Principal Chief Richard Sneed said in a statement. Besides the Head Start programs, the date change applies to the tribal newspaper, the Qualla Boundary Public Library, the Cherokee Youth Center and other programs.
NEW PRESIDENT NAMED FOR ILLSAGVIK COLLEGE
Trustees for Iḷisaġvik College in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, selected Justina Wilhelm as the tribal college’s next president. She is currently the school’s vice president for administration.
“The college will surely grow and prosper under her direction, as an active participant in our cultural way of life and part of the fabric of our Iñupiaq community,” said Lillian Lane, Chair of Iḷisaġvik’s Board of Trustees in a news release.
Wilhelm is a lifelong resident Utqiaġvik. After graduating from Barrow High School, she obtained a Bachelor’s of Sociology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, followed by a Master’s in Social Work in 2018 from the University of New England. She has worked the entirety of her career on the North Slope, including 14 years with the North Slope Borough Health Department, the news release said.