As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, in the midst of a global pandemic, it's also just four months away from the presidential election.
Two reporter-producers at Indian Country Today talk about some of the stories making headlines
Kolby KickingWoman is based in Washington, D.C. He's been on the Supreme Court beat as well as following the civil uprising across the country.
Aliyah Chavez is based in Phoenix. She's covering the primary elections leading up to the general election. There are a record number of Native Americans running for a variety of offices.
Here are a few comments from Chavez:
“Indian Country Today was following 20 Native candidates on Tuesday night. The candidates came from three states, including Oklahoma, Colorado, and Utah. Most notably, however, we followed four Native candidates who are seeking bids to Congress. All of them won their primary elections last night and will be on the ballot in November.”
“Oklahoma is going to be a particularly exciting place to watch come November where voters will have to choose between a Democrat and Republican, who are both Cherokee.”
“Danyell Lanier, a Democrat is looking to fill the shoes of current Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who is seeking his fifth term in Congress."
"Republican Congressman Tom Cole of the Chickasaw Nation, won his primary election last night and he is seeking his 10th reelection bid to Congress.”
“In Utah, Darren Parry, who is a Democrat, is looking to flip an open house seat. As of Wednesday morning, he is ahead in his primary election having 52 percent of the vote with 74 percent precincts reporting. And he's looking to make a really big splash if he wins the first congressional district there.”
“Utah has not elected a Democrat to Congress in 42 years. So if he wins, that would definitely be an upset for the Republican party. We will be watching that race closely on November 3rd.”
“Something that I was watching closely last night was voter turnout. As most people may know, or may not know, Utah is a really Republican leaning state, and so to be running as a Democrat in an open congressional seat is a big deal.”
“He was winning by about 800 votes this morning which is really a situation you don't see very often. So his race hasn't been called, but Indian Country Today will be closely watching what happens there.”
“I spoke to him on Monday, the day before his election and he said no candidate could have ever seen coming how to campaign in a pandemic.”
“When we started election season, we've had 19 Native candidates running for office, and so far four of them have lost their primary elections and are out of the running, but eight have qualified for the general election.”
“Moving forward, we're following seven more candidates who are running in primaries that are mostly happening in August and they're from the states of Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Alaska.”
“So depending on how things end up, there's a possibility of having 15 Native candidates running for Congress and the general election, which is a really, really big deal. So it's definitely something to look forward to in November.”
“Something else that's really interesting is that a lot of the Native candidates who are running for Congress are running for the United States House of Representatives.”
“We have two Native women who could potentially be elected to the Senate in November.”
Here are a few comments from KickingWoman:
“Since the death of George Floyd, we all know that discussions on race and racial equality have been happening nationwide.
“That has renewed calls for the Washington NFL team and team owner, Dan Snyder to change the name from their racial slur mascot.”
“There was a study that was published on June 8th in the Race, Ethnicity and Educational journal that stated that Native mascots only cause harm, especially to Native youth.”
“It's been very interesting to see the renewed calls. If you're on social media, there have been videos and images by IllumiNative calling for the team to change the name. And it's definitely gained a lot of steam.”
“So the founding team owner, his name was George Preston Marshall. The Washington football team was the last team to integrate in 1962. And he was a known segregationist, I believe. And so they removed his statue from the old Washington stadium at RFK stadium in D.C.”
“They're also removing his name from the Ring of Fame within FedEx field. That's also an issue that the D.C. City Council has taken up that when the team wants to build a new stadium, that they want to build it within DC city limits, that they might need to change the name before that happens.”
"Spike Lee, famous director and comedian D.L. Hughley are two celebrities that have called for the Washington team to change their name.”
“The Washington Post was criticized for a study that they put out a number of years ago, saying that the majority of Native Americans aren't offended by the team name. That's been debunked since the Native American Journalist Association also joined other journalist associations of people of color calling for all media outlets to not use the Native mascots and the images or the team name in writing.”
“National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp, she equated the team name to the Confederate flag.”
“There was a group of 88 investors that (have), I believe, $620 billion in assets. And they sent letters to FedEx Pepsi-Co and Nike, calling for them to terminate all business relationships with the team until the name is changed.”
“I think the NFL amassed over $1.5 billion in advertising last year. And so if there's one area where these owners feel the pain it's in their wallet. And so maybe that campaign will also turn the pressure up.”
KickingWoman is also waiting for a decision in the McGirt v. Oklahoma case in the U.S. Supreme court.
Also in the newscast, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye has the latest numbers of positive COVID-19 tests in Indian Country.
The anchor and executive producer of the newscast is Patty Talahongva.