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COVID-19 in Indian Country

For news about tribal emergencies, closures and postponements, check out the latest updates on our COVID-19 in Indian Country page.


'We need clarification now': Indian gaming industry being shut out of coronavirus relief program

With the $33 billion Indian gaming industry at a standstill in the midst of the worst public health crisis in decades, tribal casino operations are in danger.


Cronkite News: Trump administration finally closes Grand Canyon after weeks of #COVID19 complaints

The National Park Service abruptly closed Grand Canyon National Park, bowing to weeks of pressure after health officials expressed 'extreme concern' about the potential for spread of COVID-19 in the park.


'We need the money right now': Tribes await billions of dollars in coronavirus relief

With the number of COVID-19 cases in Indian Country continuing to rise, the Trump administration is embarking on the most consequential tribal consultation in recent history.


Chuck Hoskin: In times of need, the Cherokee Nation does not stand down

During times of great uncertainty and hardship, the Cherokee people have never shied away from standing on the front lines.


Rep. Tom Cole: More #Coronavirus help is coming to Indian Country

I worked very hard to ensure tribal nations are equipped to face and fight the unknown challenges ahead with this coronavirus – just like any other state or local authority.


Rep. Markwayne Mullin: The CARES Act brings #Coronavirus relief for tribes

Our small businesses, our farmers and ranchers, our teachers, our tribal governments, our health care workers and first responders on the front lines -- we are all hurting right now.


Cronkite News: Lawmakers join Navajo Nation in seeking closure of Grand Canyon due to #Coronavirus

Lawmakers joined local and tribal officials in calling on the Trump administration to reverse its "reckless" decision to keep Grand Canyon National Park open during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faulted for delay in Indian Country coronavirus funds

As tribes look to the government to uphold its trust and treaty responsibilities during the worst public health crisis in decades, one agency is receiving failing grades.


Cronkite News: As COVID-19 cases rise, so do hospital worries about equipment

Hospitals are rationing and ordering workers to reuse protective equipment like masks, gowns and eyewear in an attempt to head off shortages expected with the surge in COVID-19 patients.


The Conversation: Indigenous people may be the Amazon's last hope

Brazil's divisive president has taken another step to develop indigenous territory in the Amazon rainforest.


'We're building faith': Social Distance Powwow brings Indian Country together despite coronavirus

Being all of 6 years old, Zak Hoops couldn't understand why the powwows he attends were being canceled.


Supreme Court churns along with Indian Country case amid coronavirus crisis

Millions of acres of Indian land are at stake as the nation's highest court adjusts to the coronavirus pandemic.


Tim Giago: World War II and coronavirus pandemic have similarities

Just as our lives changed forever in 1945 so too will the lives of today’s children.


Cronkite News: $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes $10 billion for Indian Country

Lawmakers said tribal communities will receive much needed funding from the CARES Act to fight COVID-19.


Montana Free Press: Glacier National Park closes over coronavirus concerns

Glacier National Park will temporarily close in coordination with the state of Montana, local counties and the Blackfeet Nation.


Shane Morigeau: We should do more to protect Montanans

Over the last few weeks we have seen numerous efforts brought forth to protect Montanans during these trying times.


'We were asking for a lot more': Lawmakers fought hard for Indian Country coronavirus relief funds

A coronavirus relief bill includes an $8 billion fund for tribal governments but it almost got cut out of the final package.


Coronavirus relief coming to Indian Country with passage of bipartisan legislation

With the number of positive COVID-19 cases rising in tribal communities, Indian Country will finally see billions of dollars in relief.


Tribes face great need and don't have enough resources to respond to the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus is hitting American Indians and Alaska Natives hard.


Cronkite News: Undercounts and coronavirus cloud Census 2020 efforts

The U.S. Census Bureau has delayed field operations until at least April 1, so door-to-door visits are on hold as a result of the coronavirus.


Tribes score victory in long-running battle against Dakota Access Pipeline

In a big victory for tribal nations that have fought the Dakota Access Pipeline through two presidential administrations, a federal judge ordered a full environmental review of the controversial project.


Rep. Tom Cole: Fighting an invisible enemy in the #Coronavirus

Unlike the traditional enemies our nation has faced throughout history, COVID-19 is one that can dangerously hide in plain sight and threaten the health and wellbeing of any American community.


Rep. Markwayne Mullin: Resources for those impacted by #COVID19

Coronavirus is impacting everyone and changing our everyday lives.


Indian Health Service works to distribute more coronavirus funding to tribes as cases continue to grow

With additional coronavirus funds on the table, tribes continue to press the Trump administration to ensure their communities aren't left behind.


Kevin Abourezk: Indian Country can't be left behind in coronavirus crisis

It is morally wrong to continue to neglect the indigenous people of America who paid for their healthcare with the ceding of millions of acres of their land.


Cronkite News: Republicans and Democrats feud over #coronavirus stimulus

The Senate deadlocked for a second day on more than $1 trillion in proposed support for an economy buffeted by coronavirus, as Democrats said the bill gives too much to corporations and Republicans accuse Democrats of making it a liberal wish list.


'We've been here forever. We'll be here forever': Indian Country takes action to address coronavirus pandemic

As coronavirus cases across America continue to surge, tribal leaders are taking dramatic steps to ensure the safety of their people and those they serve.


Trump administration moves slowly on coronavirus funding for Indian Country

The Trump administration finally announced plans to distribute much-needed funding to Indian Country as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow in tribal communities.


Urban Indian couple helps community amid coronavirus crisis

With many people staying inside to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a Lakota man went from house to house, delivering much-needed supplies to people in need.


Montana Free Press: Neighboring counties ask Yellowstone National Park to close

Officials want Yellowstone National Park closed in response to concern that tourists may contribute to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the neighboring counties in Montana.


Chad Walker: Journalists covering Indigenous Peoples should focus on context and truth

Bias in the media has been shown to be a problem for Indigenous Peoples around the world.


Pamunkey Tribe eager to move forward with casino proposals

The recently recognized Pamunkey Tribe is seeking to build two casinos in Virginia as full-scale gaming moves closer to reality.


Cronkite News: After clear victories at the polls, Biden looks to be in control

Coming out of the Arizona primary, former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged as the clear Democratic frontrunner ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders.


Chuck Hoskin: Safety and health are priority for Cherokee Nation

Our courageous team at Cherokee Nation is doing everything possible to maintain essential services and meet the needs of the people, as our health and emergency staff prepare for the worst.


'Lives are at risk': Coronavirus cases continue to grow in Indian Country as tribes push for action in Washington

With the number of coronavirus cases in Indian Country growing by the day, tribes are pressing the federal government to live up to its treaty and trust responsibilities.


Doug George-Kanentiio: How the Mohawks responded to historical plagues

When I was growing up on Akwesasne Mohawk Territory there were social habits which reflected an historical response to the devastating communicable diseases which came close to wiping out our ancestors.


Rep. Tom Cole: Flatten the #Coronavirus curve

With confirmed cases of COVID-19 multiplying rapidly across the nation and around the world, there is increasing concern about how to effectively slow the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.


Rep. Markwayne Mullin: Do your part to flatten the #COVID19 curve

The number of COVID-19 cases in our country is growing by the day and without taking any steps to address it, the number of people who become infected will exponentially grow.


Cronkite News: COVID-19 relief bill clears Congress as lawmakers prepare new package

The Senate gave overwhelming approval to a multibillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill, the second such bill in two weeks, and immediately turned its attention to a third bill that could have a $1 trillion price tag.


David Korten: Why coronavirus is humanity's wakeup call

The rapid spread of novel coronavirus has prompted government, business, and civil society to take dramatic action.


Terry Mitchell: Indigenous civil rights blockades should be met with a new diplomacy, not violence

The Wet’suwet’en conflict brings us to a deciding moment in Canada, one that will shape the future of the nation.


Indian Country plunges into uncertainty as coronavirus reaches their communities

The coronavirus continues to wreak social and economic havoc in Indian County, with tribes curtailing their operations as the first cases are confirmed in their communities.


Native Sun News Today: Reunification for Healing: First of its kind

Later this month there will be a meeting of peoples from the Dakota, Nakota, Lakota and Ojibwe nations.


Ivan Star Comes Out: My electricity got cut off on the Pine Ridge Reservation

I know my complaining is not going to improve my situation. I’m not even going to rely on our "tribal" government to help in this matter.


Catawba Nation celebrates after Trump administration changes mind on casino project

It took nearly seven years but the Catawba Nation has finally won approval to build a casino after the Trump administration changed its mind on the matter.


Native Sun News Today: Border town school cuts Native girl's hair

A Lakota mother is angry: "It's our traditional way to not cut our hair, unless for ceremonial purposes. STOP CUTTING THEIR HAIR!"


Tim Giago: A song we never forgot

It was July of 1952 and there was a war on.


Chuck Hoskin: Why Cherokee Nation invests in public schools

At Cherokee Nation, we recently renewed a commitment to a great cause and a great tradition: public education in Oklahoma.


The Conversation: Indian Country leaders urge Native people to be counted in 2020 Census

Native Americans living on reservations and in traditional villages were the most undercounted people in the 2010 U.S. Census.


Montana Free Press: Former presidential candidate mounts campaign for U.S. Senate

Democrat Steve Bullock is challenging Steve Daines for his seat in the U.S. Senate, giving the incumbent Republican a daunting opponent in 2020.


Cronkite News: Financial incentive offered for wild horses and burros

Thousands of wild horses and burros roam across millions of acres of public land in 10 Western states


National Indian Gaming Association postpones annual convention

The 2020 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention is being rescheduled in light of coronavirus concerns in California.


United South and Eastern Tribes: Tribal sovereignty should not be held hostage by Washington politics

The right of a Tribal Nation to have a land base is a core aspect of Tribal sovereignty and cultural identity, and it represents the foundation of our Tribal economies.


Native Sun News Today: 'Indigenous Matriarchs Rising' celebrates Women's History Month

Indigenous matriarchs are being recognized as the nation celebrates Women's History Month.


Cronkite News: Cultural barriers challenge Native Americans seeking cancer treatment

Despite some strides in improving health care access and treatment in Indian Country, cultural barriers still prevent patients from asking for help or getting treatment.


Native Sun News Today Editorial: Election 2020 will be a bumpy and a dirty ride

Washington D. C. is a community where up is down and down is up.


'The fight is here and now': Sacred site debate returns to nation's capital amid familiar challenges

Republicans tried to derail a sacred sites hearing by using the coronavirus as an excuse. It didn't work.


Native Sun News Today: #NoKXL fight continues in and out of the courts

Tribal nations held off the Keystone XL Pipeline in federal court even as the company behind the controversial project moved forward with man camps.


'We're going to practice our sovereign rights': Oglala Sioux Tribe enters new era with cannabis vote

The Oyate have spoken. Regulations for medicinal and recreational marijuana are moving forward on the Pine Ridge Reservation.


'We are staying on top of it': Oglala Sioux Tribe declares coronavirus emergency

President Julian Bear Runner took action following news of coronavirus cases in South Dakota and learning of a lack of test kits at the Indian Health Service.


Bill to improve health care for urban Indian veterans advaces on Capitol Hill

A bipartisan bill to improve health care for urban Indian veterans is taking another step forward on Capitol Hill.


Native Sun News Today: Tohono O'odham demand end to blasting of sacred sites for border wall

"Dynamiting these sacred sites and burial grounds is the same as bulldozing Arlington National Cemetery," Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said.


Unofficial results from Oglala Sioux Tribe referendum on alcohol and marijuana

Voters of the Oglala Sioux Tribe want to legalize marijuana, but not alcohol, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, according to the unofficial results.


Trump administration changes course with withdrawal of pro-tribal homelands policy

Indian Country is once again falling victim to the Trump administration's disastrous tribal homelands agenda with the withdrawal of a pro-tribal legal opinion.


Native Sun News Today: Seven Directions Program has roots in Lakota culture

Traditional healers from the Pine Ridge Reservation are helping keep drug defendants out of prison in South Dakota.


Cronkite News: Supreme Court bars lawsuits in fatal cross-border shootings

Border patrol agents who shot and killed two Mexican teens in two separate incidents cannot be sued in the U.S. court system.


Tribes test Trump administration's commitment with coronavirus crisis

Concerns about the coronavirus are growing in tribal communities as advocates warn that $40 million isn't nearly enough to prevent the spread of the disease among urban and reservation Indians.


United South and Eastern Tribes cancel D.C. meeting over coronavirus concerns

The United South and Eastern Tribes said more than half of its members have imposed coronavirus-related travel restrictions.


Tim Giago: Why did the Native Americans convert to foreign religions?

The invading Christians labeled the indigenous people as heathens. They set out with a vengeance to cleanse the land of these heathens.


Chuck Hoskin: Calling on all Cherokees to be counted in 2020 Census

It’s hard to believe 10 years have already passed, but this month, U.S. Census postcards will show up in mailboxes across Cherokee Nation and the United States.


Native Sun News Today: New basketball tournament draws top talent

The first annual Native American Elite Middle and High School Basketball Nationals is taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Indian Country Today: Native Americans vastly underrepresented on the federal bench

There are 870 Article III judges in the United States. Only two are Native American.


Oglala Sioux Tribe votes on legalizing marijuana and alcohol

Citizens of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are weighing two big issues this week.


City in North Dakota shuts down sweat lodge used by urban Indian community

The largest city in North Dakota has shut down a community-run sweat lodge due to concerns about health and safety.


Pamunkey Tribe confronts questions about race-based history

The recently-recognized Pamunkey Tribe is once again facing questions about its race-based past.


Montana Free Press: Activists rally against Keystone XL Pipeline — again

Environmental and indigenous activists returned to federal court in Montana, seeking to stop construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.


Cronkite News: Democrats fire back against Trump administration's 'stonewalling'

The House Natural Resources Committee granted its Democratic leader the authority to subpoena officials from the Trump administration over the objections of Republicans.


Tribes continue to share gaming revenues in Oklahoma despite dispute with governor

Tribes in Oklahoma continue to share Class III gaming revenues with the state even though the Republican governor claims their agreements expired on January 1.


Sault Ste. Marie Tribe wins major victory in homelands litigation

The Trump administration's disjointed tribal homelands policy continues to crumble amid scrutiny in the courts and in Indian Country.


'Come celebrate with us': Taos Pueblo commemorates return of sacred land

On September 19, Taos Pueblo will commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of the return of sacred Blue Lake to the tribe.


Indian Country Today: Some say go while others say no after COVID-19 disruption

Tribes, organizations and enterprises in Indian Country are trying to conduct business and mitigate fears about the coronavirus.


NIGA keeps close watch on coronavirus ahead of annual convention

The National Indian Gaming Association is getting ready for another successful tradeshow.


Ericca Hovie: When dating turns violent

It was sophomore year of high school when I first noticed him and I knew he was different.


Gabe Galanda: Facebook's violence against Indigenous women problem

Our laws and legal processes, as they relate to Facebook and its Big Tech brethren, are inadequate and unethical.


Native Sun News Today: Eric True Blood, Oglala Warrior

Eric True Blood, Oglala Lakota from Sheridan, Wyoming, does not consider himself a hero.


Cronkite News: Ski resort on sacred land moves forward with major expansion

The U.S. Forest Service approved a $60 million expansion of a privately-owned ski resort in the sacred San Francisco Peaks.


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: There is no room for Indians here

Are your reading habits diverse and open to all ideas? Or do you, like many of us, just read from the sources that agree with us?


Indian Health Service nominee in limbo amid another high-profile crisis

The Indian Health Service remains without a permanent leader as the coronavirus emerges as the latest crisis for the agency.


Umatilla Tribes reopen casino after addressing coronavirus

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation reopened their gaming facility after addressing fears connected to the coronavirus in Oregon.


Native Sun News Today: Alcohol sales at Oglala Sioux casinos up for vote

Voters of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are being asked to approve the sale of alcohol at gaming establishments on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.


Charmaine White Face: What stereotyping does

If you take out the words "tribal" and "Indian" all you have left are patients fighting a federal agency for health care.


Clara Caufield: Leroy Whiteman makes his journey to the Next Camp

Traditionally, uncles played the role of disciplinarians, teachers and advisors in Northern Cheyenne society, a role Leroy Whiteman took very seriously.


Cronkite News: Navajo Nation transitions to a new energy reality

"Right now, throughout the world, we’re not taking care of our lands," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.


Tribes head to Capitol Hill for 'historic' hearing on taxation issues

A hearing on tax issues in Indian Country features all four tribal citizens who serve in Congress for the first time in history.


Lawmakers look at Trump's Indian Country budget request

President Trump is proposing cuts to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education.


Indian Country Today: A 'human rights catastrophe' at Cayuga Nation

A Cayuga leader's decision to tear down 12 properties with the assistance of newly-sworn in tribal police officers has sparked a series of protests and altercation in New York.


Homeland Secrets: Shootings by Homeland Security agents get little scrutiny

Federal law enforcement shootings have escaped heightened scrutiny even though most of the victims have been black, Hispanic or Native American,


Tim Giago: Charles Trimble's passing leaves a big hole in the world of Native journalism

When Charles Trimble first showed up at the boarding school on the Pine Ridge Reservation, he was dropped off by his mother.


Senate Committee on Indian Affairs takes up Indian energy and tribal wildlife bills

Tribal energy development and tribal wildlife management are on the agenda for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.


Indian Country Today: Warnings for tribes as coronavirus spreads

"Tribes are not prepared for the coronavirus," one health expert told ICT.


Running Strong for American Indian Youth announces 'Dreamstarters'

Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills announced the sixth class of Indian youth to receive $10,000 grants for projects that help them bring their dreams to life.


Doug George-Kanentiio: Why Canada's reconciliation plans have failed

Go to the hell you tried to create for us on this earth.


Albert Bender: Boom for whom? The 'zombie idea' of a booming Trump economy

This economy is terrible, for millions, as usual. The U.S. public must not be hoodwinked by fraudulent numbers.


Native Sun News Today: Women water protectors blast man camps

The subjects of the 'Warrior Women' film are speaking out against the dangers of the Keystone XL Pipeline.


Ivan Star Comes Out: A glimpse of life on the Pine Ridge Reservation

What do our non-Lakota neighbors know about life here on the Pine Ridge?


Cronkite News: Tohono O'odham Nation leader decries border wall construcation

Two Arizonans -- one of them a tribal leader -- brought two very different ideas about the border wall to a hearing in the nation's capital.


The Conversation: How Wet'suwet'en butterflies offer lessons in resilience and resistance

The world is beginning to better understand that the core of extractive industries are tied to deep political and economic conflicts related to the settler-colonial present and a shared colonial history.


Montana Free Press: The push is on for recreational marijuana

According to an analysis by multistate marijuana provider Verilife, the place with the largest number of dispensaries in the country per 50,000 residents is in Montana.


Tribes at odds with governor over expansion of gaming in Connecticut

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe want to expand gaming in Connecticut but the governor is backing rival legislation that could undermine their rights.


Democratic presidential race sees shakeup amid questions about one candidate's 'Native' ancestry

The Democratic presidential race got a major jolt over the weekend as one candidate continues to face questions about Indian ancestry claims.


House Committee on Ways and Means schedules first ever hearing on tribal taxation

The Democratic-led House Committee on Ways and Means will be taking up tribal taxation issues for the first time at a hearing in the nation's capital.


Tim Giago: Learning a trade at the boarding school

Everybody who came to the Holy Rosary Mission Boarding School on the Pine Ridge Reservation worked.


Chuck Hoskin: Cherokee Youth Summit builds leadership

At Cherokee Nation, we focus on empowering the next generation of leaders at every level.


Rep. Tom Cole: Socialism is not the American way

The Democratic Party’s tightening embrace of socialist proposals and politicians is real cause for alarm, especially in a country whose very foundation is liberty.


Rep. Markwayne Mullin: Career and technical education helps build the American dream

We all have our own idea of what our American Dream looks like and having a job helps us accomplish that goal.


Native Sun News Today: Native warrior damaged in body but not in spirit

Eric True Blood, Oglala Lakota from Sheridan, Wyoming, does not consider himself a hero.


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: The Lakota Food Summit gives hope to our people

The Lakota Food Summit drew hundreds of us to talk about how to eat, how to cook, how to pay attention to the environment and how to engage in plantings and harvesting of foods that sustained our ancestors for centuries.


Cronkite News: Sacred sites desecrated to make way for Trump's border wall

An emotional Tohono O'odham Nation chairman said blasting sacred sites to build a border wall has "forever damaged our people."


YES! Magazine: Project promotes sustainability on Pine Ridge Reservation

Building sustainable communities is the antidote to fear of a changing climate.


Umatilla Tribes shut down casino and takes precautions as coronavirus hits Indian Country

A casino employee tested 'presumptive positive' for the coronavirus, prompting the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation into action.


Oklahoma governor won't let Indian ancestry doubts derail gaming dispute

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation but the tribe once tried to remove his ancestors from their rolls.


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe loses appeal in homelands case

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe isn't giving up despite a negative ruling from a federal appeals court.


'He was punished for sexual harassment': #MeToo allegations at NCAI resurface in court

The National Congress of American Indians drove another nail into the coffin of its senior-most attorney following his ouster from the organization.


Native Sun News Today: Trump seeks major changes in environmental reviews

Indigenous leaders were among the many who raised their voices at one of only two hearings on a Trump administration proposal to roll back environmental policy.


Trail in honor of Ponca Chief Standing Bear takes big step forward

Efforts to memorialize the 550-mile path that the Ponca people were forced to walk in the late 1800s are getting a major boost.


Witness list for hearing on Trump administration destroying sacred sites for border wall

The House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States will be discussing the Trump administration's destruction of sacred sites at a hearing in Washington, D.C.


Supreme Court schedules hearing in lone Indian Country case

Indian Country remains united as the nation's highest court prepares to hear the only tribal law case on the docket.


Tribal Citizens: Progress for Democrats and Indian Country

Legendary Native activist Frank LaMere had a journal with three words on the cover: 'Make things happen.'


Native Sun News Today: Lakota Tech enrolls first class of students

A new high school is opening on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the fall of 2020.


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Sending a clearer message about hate crime

Motives are often deliberately obscured by the non-Indian community that cannot bear to look at its own history concerning Indian-White hostility.


Cronkite News: Copper mine opposed by tribes suffers another setback in court

A federal judge has overturned environmental permits for the Rosemont Copper Mine, a controversial project opposed by tribes in Arizona.


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Native America Calling
For Monday: Border wall construction ignores tribal concerns
The chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation says the current wall construction on the U.S. – Mexico border is no different than “building a 30-foot wall along Arlington Cemetery.” Ned Norris Jr. made the comments during a recent congressional hearing, saying blasting and bulldozing in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona is destroying many sacred places that remain important for ceremonial practices. The tribe continues to push for government-to-government consultation which is mandated by federal law. But the U.S. Government is invoking a waiver that bypasses the requirement for barriers along the border. We’ll get an update and more details from the voices of those on the ground.
-- Listen on Native America Calling
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