Category Archives: Native Rights

Navajo Nation Begins Sending Hardship Checks to Elders

“The president’s office announced on Tuesday that the Navajo Nation controller began printing the first batch of American Rescue Plan Act Hardship Assistance checks in the amount of $2,000 for elders, ages 60 years and above, who previously received CARES Act Hardship Assistance.” R. Krisst, Navajo Times, Feb 18, 2022

Two Navajo elders wear face masks to protect them from COVID-19-photo-grandriver:getty images

Excerpt: Hardship for Elders: Processing of elders Hardship checks underway By Rima Krisst, Navajo Times, Feb 18, 2022

“The president’s office said that the goal is to have the ARPA Hardship Assistance checks in the mail by the end of February for previous CARES Act Hardship recipients, with the exception of new applicants and individuals that have outstanding issues such as changes to their mailing address. “The office will continue processing checks as quickly as possible and will work weekends, once again, to expedite the relief checks,” the president’s office said.

Navajo Elders. Photo- Althea John:Navajo Times

The controller’s office has hired temporary staff to help with the processing of the ARPA Hardship Assistance payments…In January, Nez signed the Navajo Nation Council resolution into law, which approved $557 million for the ARPA Hardship Assistance to provide payments to Navajo citizens to help mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. he funding provides $2,000 for adults 18 years and older on or before Jan. 4, 2022, and $600 for children who are enrolled in the Navajo Tribe.”

For Information: 928-871-6386 or https://www.novri.navajo-nsn.gov

 

The Wiyot Tribe Finally Receive Their Dead from California Museum

“The most vulnerable citizens of the Wiyot Tribe were asleep the morning of Feb. 26, 1860, when a band of White men slipped into their Northern California villages under darkness and slaughtered them…After nearly 70 years of separation from their tribe, the remains of at least 20 of those believed to have been killed have been returned home.”B.Melley, AP, ICT, Feb. 2, 2022

This Dec. 21, 2010 photo provided by Aldaron Laird shows Tulawat, the site of the Indian Island Massacre, where members of the Wiyot Tribe were killed in 1860. Aldaron Laird via AP

 

Excerpt:California museum returns massacre remains to Wiyot Tribe, by Brian Melley, AP, ICT

“Many of the children, women and elderly slain in what became known as the Indian Island Massacre had their eternal rest disturbed when their graves were later dug up and their skeletons and the artifacts buried with them were placed in a museum.

‘They’re going to be at peace and at rest with our other ancestors,’ Ted Hernandez, the Wiyot Tribe’s historic preservation officer, said after the repatriation was announced. ‘They’ll be able to reunite with their families.’

The return is part of an effort by some institutions to do a better job complying with federal law that requires giving tribes back items looted from sacred burial sites.

Grave robbing was yet another indignity suffered by Native Americans and their descendants long after they were driven from their lands or killed. Hobbyists, collectors and even prominent researchers took part in the desecration of burial sites. Skulls, bones and antiquities were sold, traded, studied and displayed in museums.

Cutcha Risling Baldy, a professor of Native American studies at Humboldt State University, said returning the sacred items provides healing to tribes…A team from University of California, Berkeley collected the remains and put them in storage with 136 artifacts buried with them — mainly beads and ornaments made from shells, an arrowhead from a broken bottle fragment, a sinker for a fishing net, bone tools and an elk tooth.

The gravesites were where the Wiyot buried some of their dead following a devastating series of mass slayings at a dozen of their villages over the course of a week in 1860.

The unprovoked killings occurred in the midst of the tribe’s World Renewal Ceremony, a 10-day peaceful celebration with food, dance and prayer to return balance to the Earth, Hernandez said.

After the ceremony, the tribe’s men left for the night, paddling from the island to the mainland to hunt and fish for food and gather firewood for the next day’s feast.

In the early morning, raiders arrived by canoe across the bay and stabbed, beat or hacked the victims with knives, clubs and hatchets. Several other attacks were carried out that night, and more killings occurred over the next five days, said Jerry Rohde, a Humboldt County historian…For the Wiyot Tribe, the repatriation last fall came two years after the island known now as Tulawat, was returned to the tribe by the city of Eureka. It’s now up to tribal elders to determine what to do with the remains, Hernandez said.”

Mendocino California Redwood Forest Returned to Tribes!

“Ownership of more than 500 acres of a forest in Mendocino County was returned to 10 sovereign tribes who will serve as guardians to ‘protect and heal’ the land.” I. G. Paz, The New York Times, Jan. 26, 2022

A portion of the 523 acres of redwood forest in Mendocino County, Calif. Credit…Max Forster:Save the Redwoods League, via Associated Press

 

Excerpt: Redwood Forest in California Is Returned to Native Tribes, By Isabella G. Paz, The New York Times

“Tucked away in Northern California’s Mendocino County, the 523 acres of rugged forest is studded with the ghostlike stumps of ancient redwoods harvested during a logging boom that did away with over 90 percent of the species on the West Coast. But about 200 acres are still dense with old-growth redwoods that were spared from logging.

The land was the hunting, fishing and ceremonial grounds of generations of Indigenous tribes like the Sinkyone, until they were largely driven off by European settlers. On Tuesday, a California nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and preserving redwoods announced that it was reuniting the land and its original inhabitants…As part of the agreement, the land, known before the purchase as Andersonia West, will be called Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ (pronounced tsih-ih-LEY-duhn), which means “Fish Run Place” in the Sinkyone language…Since 2006, the Redwoods League had been in conversations with a California logging family who had owned the land for generations. Mr. Holder explained that after years of building a relationship with the family, the league was able to purchase the land in 2020 for $3.55 million. The money for the purchase was donated by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company as part of its program to mitigate environmental damage.”

President Joe Biden Signs Disaster Relief for Navajos

“Navajo Nation health officials on Wednesday reported 70 new COVID-19 cases and six more deaths.The latest numbers raised the totals to 28,544 cases and 1,038 known deaths since the pandemic began…The move will provide the tribe more federal resources to address the pandemicAP-ICT Feb 3, 2021

President Biden signing executive orders. 2021-Credit- Jim Lo Scalzojpeg

Excerpt: Joe Biden signs Navajo disaster declaration as cases rise —AP-ICT Feb 3, 2021

On Tuesday, tribal officials said they received word that President Joe Biden had signed a long-awaited major disaster declaration for the Navajo Nation.

It will provide more federal resources and prompts the release of federal funds for the reimbursement of emergency funds expended to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the Navajo Nation which covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The tribe has tribe extended its stay-at-home order with a revised nightly curfew to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Navajo Department of Health has identified 56 communities with uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus, down from 75 communities in recent weeks.”

For More Information Contact:

Navajo Department of Health

Indian Health Services  (The Federal Health Program for [All] American Indians and Alaska Natives)

Financial Aid for Native Students

 

 

JUST FOR FUN: WATCH GIANT PANDAS SLIDE IN THE SNOW!

#NatZooZen: Giant Pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian in the Snow Feb 1, 2021

Chickasaw Nation President Jefferson Keel Endorses Joe Biden!

‘Vice President Biden is a proven leader with exceptional grace and diplomacy’Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation, ICT

Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation, is the former president of the National Congress of American Indians. (File photo)

Excerpt: Electing Joe Biden stops Trump’s termination policies, By Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation, ICT

“Indian Country is at a crossroads as deep divisions take shape within our country. Native people have borne the brunt of racism for hundreds of years and have seen Presidents attempt to eliminate tribal rights and our communities.

Additionally, the pandemic is impacting Natives at alarmingly high rates, highlighting disparities that have long existed in healthcare and other services.

I witnessed huge strides to foster tribal self-determination during the eight years of the Obama-Biden Administration, elevating tribal voices to unprecedented levels and prioritizing Native issues to heights we had never experienced (or even dreamed of) before… But the sad truth now is that many of the achievements and progress we made during the Obama-Biden Administration have been erased in the last four years… Tribes have been alienated and ignored…[Joe Biden] has shown through his decades of public service a respect and commitment to tribal sovereignty. He is a spiritual man who truly understands and respects the service of Native veterans, and will never disparage them in any way.”

5 key takeaways from Joe Biden’s town hall with ABC News, By Meg Cunningham and Quinn Scanlan, October 16, 2020 NYT   

Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden and moderator George Stephanopoulos participate in an ABC News town hall event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Biden’s persistent message of concern for others, which he follows up with action, is a stark contrast to the actions of the current president.

“I’m less concerned about me than the people, the guys with the cameras, the people working in the, you know, the Secret Service guys you drive up with, all those people.”~Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden

“With less than three weeks until Nov. 3,…Already, more than 18 million voters have cast their ballots, and while that’s an unprecedented turnout this far out from Election Day, many more Americans have yet to officially make their voices heard.”

Tribal Community Sub-Grants

“The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is committed to American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) exercising their right to vote in all tribal, local, state, and federal elections through nonpartisan activities and education. To meet this commitment, we rely on our tribal nations, partner organizations, and tribal citizens to become actively engaged in the campaign. Community Mini Grants – NCAI is offering Community Mini Grants for projects in support of its Native Vote campaign for the 2020 election cycle. Please note: NCAI will consider funding projects/events in whole or part up to a maximum of $2,000 per tribal organization. For More information Visit:  Native Vote 2020 Community Grants Application

*A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19  By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe   NOTE:  “This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.” October 15, 2020

STAY HEALTHY During Flu Season!

The Navajo Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises Navajo citizens to get a flu vaccine this fall to protect yourself, your family, and your community and help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The flu vaccine can prevent influenza (flu) and is not a COVID-19 vaccine. Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the country every year, usually between October …See More

Also Visit: Navajo Department of Health for COVID-19 Updates

Natives Face More Challenges for 2020 Election!

“The pandemic has led to a surge in postal ballots but mail posted on the reservation has to travel as much as 244 miles further than mail posted off-reservation.”I. Murtaugh, The Guardian

Excerpt: Mail voting doesn’t work for Navajo Nation’: Native Americans face steep election hurdles- By Isaiah Murtaugh, The Guardian

A family compound in a remote area on the Navajo Nation outside of Gap, Arizona. Credit- S. Keith:Reuters

“Tamisha Jensen requested a mail ballot in mid-September. Mail ballots don’t ship in Arizona until 7 October, but she’s worried her first absentee ballot won’t get to her.

Jensen, a jeweler who lives in the Navajo Nation, doesn’t have a regular mailing address – she writes ‘a mile west of Cameron Chapter House’ – and the US Postal Service doesn’t deliver to her rural, deserthome. She and her family share a PO box at the tiny Cameron post office, but it’s not always reliable: she didn’t receive her son’s school report card last year and she doesn’t know what else she might have missed.

Native Americans have only had nationwide voting rights since 1957, and though the 1965 Voting Rights Act removed many barriers to voting…Voting rights experts have seen the nationwide expansion of mail balloting during the pandemic as a boon for safe voting access this year, and the Navajo Nation had one of the densest outbreaks of Covid-19 in the country. But Native American advocates are wary… Tribal advocates estimate that some voters have to drive anywhere from 40 to 150 miles roundtrip to pick up their mail. But the Arizona lawsuit Yazzie v Hobbs also pointed out that the reservation’s 27,425 square miles are covered by just 24 post offices and 15 postal service providers…If a potential voter shares a PO box with family or friends but their name isn’t registered to it they might not have a way to receive a mail ballot at all. If they do manage to receive a ballot and drop it back at the post office, it could go through a routing maze that adds days to its delivery time, even in a normal year…These problems are mostly rural, and reservations in more suburban or urban settings face fewer issues. The Salt River Pima Maricopa Community outside Phoenix has had traditional mailing addresses for more than 10 years and worked with Maricopa county to get ballot drop boxes for this year’s election…But other, perennial ballot problems persist. Many native languages are only spoken and cannot be effectively translated for mail ballots. Several states require ID to vote by mail, but don’t accept tribal ID cards, sometimes the only form of identification tribal members have.

A billboard aimed at Native Americans in Arizona urging people to vote in the November 2020 US elections. Credit: Isaiah Murtaugh

A spokeswoman for Arizona’s secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, said that the state has secured an additional $1.5m for elections in the state’s 20 reservations, to be used for mobile voting sites, extra ballot boxes and voter outreach. They have also put together audio and written ballot translations for the Navajo and Apache nations, though a voting safety guide implies that voters still need to call the local county recorder’s office to access it…Meanwhile, Jordan Oglesby, a Navajo Nation department of justice lawyer, said that the nation was trying to keep every option open, including mail. With everything [Navajo Nation residents] have gone through this year, I just want to make sure they have an opportunity to cast their vote,’ said Oglesby.”

CNN Instant Poll: Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris Seen as Winner in a Debate that Matched Expectations

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris waves as she arrives on stage for the vice presidential debate with Mike Pence on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Julio Cortez/AP.

“More Americans said Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris did the best job in the vice presidential debate tonight, according to a CNN Instant Poll of registered voters who watched.”  J. Agiesta — CNN

Tribal Community Sub-Grants

“The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is committed to American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) exercising their right to vote in all tribal, local, state, and federal elections through nonpartisan activities and education. To meet this commitment, we rely on our tribal nations, partner organizations, and tribal citizens to become actively engaged in the campaign. Community Mini Grants – NCAI is offering Community Mini Grants for projects in support of its Native Vote campaign for the 2020 election cycle. Please note: NCAI will consider funding projects/events in whole or part up to a maximum of $2,000 per tribal organization. For More information Visit:  Native Vote 2020 Community Grants Application

*A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19  By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe   NOTE:  “This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.” October 8, 2020