Category Archives: Politics

Natives Helped President Biden in Arizona. Can Natives in Georgia Help Democrat Senators in Georgia?

“Very few of Georgia’s more than 100,000 voting-age Native Americans cast ballots in November. Even a small increase could make a difference in the Senate runoffs.” M. Astor, The New York Times

Terry Yazzie celebrated in Window Rock, Ariz., after the election. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. received a vast majority of votes from the Navajo Nation. Credit: S. Chischilly for The New York Times

Excerpt:Native Americans Helped Flip Arizona. Can They Mobilize in Georgia? By Maggie Astor, The New York Times

“Marian McCormick lives in Georgia, as do 2,700 other members of the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe. She knows that comes as a surprise to some people.’Here in Georgia, they tend to think that Native Americans were all removed,’ said Ms. McCormick, the principal chief of the tribe, which is based in Whigham.

More than 180 years ago, as part of the Trail of Tears, the United States military drove thousands of Cherokee and Muscogee people off the land they had lived on for centuries and marched them to what is now Oklahoma.… nearly 150,000 Native Americans still live in Georgia, by the Native voting rights group Four Directions’s estimate.

They receive few government services and tend not to participate in nontribal elections, both because they face structural barriers — like hard-to-reach polling places and lack of voter ID — and because of the mistrust built by brutality and broken promises. Of the estimated 100,000 who are of voting age, only about 15,000 are registered to vote.

Organizers and tribal leaders recognize that if even a few thousand more Native Americans were inspired and able to vote in Georgia, they could play a meaningful political role in a closely divided state where two runoff elections on Jan. 5 will decide which party controls the Senate.

Buoyed by remarkable Native American turnout in other states last month, advocates are trying to make that happen at breakneck speed. Ms. McCormick recently spoke with OJ Semans, a co-founder of Four Directions, which is nonpartisan. They agreed to begin a get-out-the-vote campaign with two other state-recognized tribes, the Cherokee of Georgia and the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee, and to [ask] the [Democratic] Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock to address issues important to Native Americans.

Democrat Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia

Democratic Senator from Georgia Raphael Warnock

Increasing turnout among members of a marginalized community in a month is a tall order, and the deadline to register to vote in the runoffs is even sooner: Dec. 7.

The foundations that groups like Four Directions have spent years building in other states — the networks of volunteers and relationships with tribes — are not so well established in Georgia, and Native Americans there are not as heavily concentrated on tribal land.

Georgia Senators Jon Ossoff and Senator Raphael Warnock at rally in Georgia.

But the examples other states set this year could provide a road map, even if the reward is farther off than January.”

 

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

The Pueblo Indian Rebellion 340 years ago is Resonating in 2020 Protests

“Indigenous groups in the Southwest are imbuing their activism this year with commemorations of the 340-year-old Pueblo Revolt, one of Spain’s bloodiest defeats in its colonial empire.” S. Romero, The New York Times

Credit- Pueblo Action Alliance

 

Excerpt: Why New Mexico’s 1680 Pueblo Revolt Is Echoing in 2020 Protests, By Simon Romero, The New York Times

“While protests over police violence against African-Americans spread from one city to the next in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in May, the missive scrawled in red paint on the New Mexico History Museum reached further back in time: ‘1680 Land Back.’

The graffiti invoked another rebellious juncture in what is now the United States: the uprising in 1680 when Pueblo Indians handed Spain one of its bloodiest defeats anywhere in its vast colonial empire. From the protests in the late spring against New Mexico’s conquistador monuments to the writing last month emblazoning the walls of Santa Fe and Taos celebrating the Pueblo Revolt, the meticulously orchestrated rebellion that exploded 340 years ago is resonating once again…Indigenous groups are referring to the Pueblo Revolt in organizing drives over such issues as stolen lands, the Justice Department’s deployment of federal agents to Albuquerque and the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Native peoples especially hard.

‘The Pueblo Revolt was the most successful Indian revolution in what is now the United States, ‘said Porter Swentzell, a historian from Santa Clara Pueblo, one of New Mexico’s 23 tribal nations. ‘Twenty twenty is energizing this upsurge of activism inspired by the revolt that was building for years.’

The Pueblo Action Alliance mounted a campaign on social media that proposed replacing statues of Spanish conquistadors with Popé sculptures.

Statue of Po’pay by Cliff Fragua in the National Statuary Hall, a chamber in the United States Capitol

‘They were able to oust our colonizers by unifying and that’s basically what’s happening today,’ said Ms. Teba, 27, a member of the Native liberation group the Red Nation. ‘We have multiple tribes coming together to get rid of statues celebrating our genocide.’

Pueblo Action Alliance

Even after a semblance of calm returned to New Mexico, the revolt left an imprint. After the United States conquered New Mexico in the 1840s, the Pueblos preserved much of their hard-won autonomy, in contrast to other Indigenous peoples who were removed from their lands.”

Covid-19 Help for Pueblos – Courtesy Indianz,com

Indian Country’s Updated COVID-19 Syllabus

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden as he hugs his wife Jill Biden after Winning the first presidential debate in Cleveland.(Win McNamee:Getty Images)

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden greet the audience after [winning] the first presidential debate in Cleveland.(Scott Olson:Getty Images)

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s thoughts on the first presidential debate:

During a campaign stop Wednesday at a train station in Alliance, Ohio, Democratic nominee Joe Biden said he would continue to participate in the debates, telling reporters that he is looking forward to them.

“I just hope there’s a way in which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption,” Biden said.

The former vice president said it would make sense for the moderator to switch off Trump’s microphone during Biden’s turn and vice versa, providing each candidate with two minutes of uninterrupted speaking time.

Important Information on Voting 2020

How to vote: Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.

Battlegrounds: Want to understand the swing states? Read about Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.

Related: A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19 By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe Click on your state in the map to see a lot of the information you need in order to cast a ballot this fall — by whatever method you choose. This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/?cid=rrpromo

Coming up: Biden and current U.S. president are scheduled to debate three times this fall; here’s what to know about the 2020 presidential debates.

Natives Honor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Hundreds of mourners stood in the plaza outside the U.S. Supreme Court in the nation’s capital on Friday evening after they heard the news of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Friday…Since her passing, the four members in Congress who are tribal citizens issued statement commemorating her 27 years on the nation’s highest court.” L. Rickert, Native News

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Excerpt: Four American Indians in Congress Remember Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, By Levi Rickert, Native News

Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04), Chickasaw Nation

“America has lost a remarkable icon and tenacious legal mind with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg devoted her life’s work to study and understanding of the law, and she fought for what she believed was right and just.”

Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03), Ho-Chunk Nation

“The loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an immense one. She was a tireless champion for justice and a fierce advocate for the rights of all people under the law. My thoughts are with her family and I join people across the nation in mourning her passing,”

Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01), Laguna Pueblo

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing is an incalculable and devastating loss in the fight for justice and equality for all… Her brilliance and light was a force in the courtroom and on the bench.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Cherokee Nation

“My prayers are with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s family during this difficult time…as the second woman on the Supreme Court, she was a trailblazer and a fighter. May she rest in peace.”

 

Democratic Presidential Leader speaks on the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, September, 2020. Credit CNN

Democratic Presidential contender Joe Biden was visibly shaken when he delivered a statement offering his condolences over the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Friday after several bouts with cancer. Ginsburg is known for her court opinions and it was to her legacy that Biden began by paying tribute.

In a statement delivered just hours after her death, Mr. Biden said,

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not only a giant in the legal profession but a beloved figure. My heart goes out to those who cared for her and cared about her. She practiced the highest American ideals as a justice: equality and justice under the law…Ruth Bader Ginsberg stood for all of us.  As a young attorney, she persisted, overcoming a lot of obstacles for women who were practicing law in those days. She continued until she moved herself in a position so she could end up changing the law of the land, leading the effort to provide equality for women in every field and she led in the advance of equal rights for women.” (via CNN).

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

March 15, 1933, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.— September 18, 2020, Washington, D.C.

During an interview with MSNBC Justice Ginsburg was asked “how she’d like to be remembered. Her response:

“…Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something outside myself. Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid.” ~Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg~( The Notorious R.B.G.)

Related:

The Biography of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

10 quotes that help define the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Why Justice Ginsburg was referred to as The Notorious R.B.G.

 

Election 2020: What to know

How to vote: Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.

Battlegrounds: Want to understand the swing states? Read about Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.

Coming up: Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate three times this fall; here’s what to know about the 2020 presidential debates.

Related: A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19 By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe

Click on your state in the map to see a lot of the information you need in order to cast a ballot this fall — by whatever method you choose. This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/?cid=rrpromo

Indian Country’s Updated COVID-19 Syllabus

Coronavirus Q&A: What is it? The symptoms. And how it spreads
An explainer of every frequently asked question in relation to COVID-19.

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

Canada’s Natives Help The Spirit Bear Survive

“Adept at catching salmon because they blend into the daylight, the white bears are small in number – yet First Nations are stepping in to help.” A. Harvey, The Guardian

“Adept at catching salmon because they blend into the daylight, the white bears are small in number – yet First Nations are stepping in to help.” A. Harvey, The Guardian

Excerpt:Long kept secret, Canada’s ghostly spirit bears are even rarer than thought, By A. Harvey, The Guardian

“When Marven Robinson was a kid, any mention of spirit bears was met with hushed dismissal from the elders in his community, the Gitga’at First Nation of Hartley Bay, British Columbia.

Since the 19th century, Indigenous peoples in the area learned to keep the bears with ghostly coats a secret to protect them from fur traders.

As the ancient legend goes, the Wee’get (meaning the “raven,” known as the creator of the world) turned every 10th black bear white to remind people of the pristine conditions of the Ice Age.

Known as moksgm’ol, meaning ‘white bear’, spirit bears are sacred to the Indigenous people who live in the Great Bear Rainforest, a 6.4m-hectare swath of land in central and northern British Columbia…First Nations and academic researchers has revealed that the white bear is rarer and more vulnerable than previously thought…Urgently, about half of spirit bear hotspots fall outside of British Columbia protected areas, making their habitats vulnerable to logging, mining and drilling projects.

Spirit bears have long been present in First Nations traditional song, dance, and storytelling, but it wasn’t until 1905 that they were recognized by Western science and named Kermode bears, after Francis Kermode, former director of the British Columbia Provincial Museum… On top of their cultural, economic and genetic significance, spirit bears, along with their black counterparts, enrich the forest by spreading marine nutrients through the transportation of salmon from the stream to the forest where they eat it, away from the more aggressive grizzly bears.

Spirit bears are white-coated black bears that inherit their pale fur from a rare recessive gene. Photograph- Kyle Breckenridge

Equipped with new information about the vulnerability of spirit bears, the question now is how best to protect them… Leave it up to the First Nations, the original stewards of the land.

The bears help enrich the forest by spreading salmon nutrients. Photograph- Jack Plant

In 2018, the Edéhzhíe Protected Area in the Dehcho region of the Northwest Territories became Canada’s first Indigenous Protected Area. The land is now co-managed by the Dehcho First Nations and the Canadian government, who must make decisions by consensus, a process with roots in indigenous culture. They share a mandate to protect the land, support the relationship between the First Nations and the land, and contribute to reconciliation.”

“On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went down to Florida in an attempt to help secure the Latino vote in November.”

“I’ll tell you what, if I had the talent of any one of these people, I’d be elected president by acclamation,” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Biden was referring toLuis Fonsi  [the artist who performed the Spanish song ‘Despacito’] as well as singer Ricky Martin and actress Eva Longoria, who also spoke ahead of Biden in Kissimmee, Florida.”Ed O’Keefe reports.

Election 2020: What to know

How to vote: Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.

Battlegrounds: Want to understand the swing states? Read about Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.

Coming up: Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate three times this fall; here’s what to know about the 2020 presidential debates.

RELATED:

A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19 By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe  Click on your state in the map to see a lot of the information you need in order to cast a ballot this fall — by whatever method you choose. This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg August 10, 1993 – September 18, 2020

Rest In Love and Peace – Talking-Feather

Indian Country’s Updated COVID-19 Syllabus

Coronavirus Q&A: What is it? The symptoms. And how it spreads
An explainer of every frequently asked question in relation to COVID-19.

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates