Monday, July 6, 2020

Stay-at-Home Order Re-issued for Navajo Nation

By Native News Online Staff - July 06, 2020 at 11:11PM

“Stay Home” – “Stay Safe” signs up on Navajo Nation (courtesy photo)

Published July 6, 2020

5,604 recoveries, 74 new cases, and no recent deaths reported as Department of Health re-issues stay-at-home order

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 74 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no new deaths. The total number of deaths remains at 378 as previously reported.

Reports from all 12 health care facilities on and near the Navajo Nation indicate that approximately 5,604 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 59,205 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 7,914.

Navajo Nation COVID-19 positive cases by Service Unit:

  • Chinle Service Unit: 1,996
  • Crownpoint Service Unit: 680
  • Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 497
  • Gallup Service Unit: 1,319
  • Kayenta Service Unit: 1,134
  • Shiprock Service Unit: 1,272
  • Tuba City Service Unit: 703
  • Winslow Service Unit: 309

* Four residences with COVID-19 positive cases are not specific enough to place them accurately in a Service Unit.

On Sunday, the Navajo Department of Health issued Public Health Emergency Order 2020-017, a Stay at Home (Shelter in Place) order that requires all individuals on the Navajo Nation to stay at home and strictly limit movement within and outside of their immediate communities, and limit public contact with others. Individuals may leave their place of residence only for emergencies or to perform “Essential Activities.” All residents are also required to avoid close contact with people who are sick, wash your hands for 20 seconds often, avoid touching high-touch surfaces, wear a mask, clean and disinfect your home, avoid public gatherings, and avoid non-essential travel.

“The Navajo Nation has had a stay-at-home order in place since the pandemic began in March, but with the latest public health emergency order we are clarifying and adding new language based on everything we have learned over the last few months. The orders that are in effect are based on the advice and input of our Nation’s health care experts. It’s very important that everyone adhere to these provisions in order to keep yourselves and your families safe from the coronavirus. There is still plenty that we don’t know and we don’t expect to have a vaccine for quite some time,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The order also states that all individuals on the Navajo Nation shall comply with the following consistent with the current Public Health Emergency Orders:

  1. Daily curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (from Public Health Emergency Order No. 2020-013 (June 5, 2020)). Weekend Curfews or Lockdowns, as may be ordered.
  2. Wear a mask in public (from Public Health Emergency Order No. 2020-007 (April 17, 2020)
  3. Avoid public gatherings of more than 5 people. “Drive-In” gatherings are permissible during non-curfew hours (from Public Health Emergency Order No. 2020-14 (June 5, 2020)
  4. Remain in your vehicle for curb-side and drive-through essential activities.


To Donate to the Navajo Nation

The official webpage for donations to the Navajo Nation, which has further details on how to support  the Nation’s Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19 (COVID-19) efforts is:


For More Information

For more information including reports, helpful prevention tips, and more resources, please visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at To contact the main Navajo Health Command Operations Center, please call (928) 871-7014.

For up to date information on impact the coronavirus pandemic is having in the United States and around the world go to:

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, Native News Online encourages you to go to Indian Health Service’s COVID-19 webpage and review CDC’s COVID-19


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US Supreme Court deals blow to Keystone oil pipeline

By The Associated Press - July 06, 2020 at 08:36PM

Monday's order is major victory in the fight against the project, an environmental group's attorney says

Click to Read the Full Article: Indian Country Today


We Don’t Need Donald Trump and His Cohorts Telling Us Who Are American Heroes Are

By Levi Rickert - July 06, 2020 at 06:59PM


President Trump named zero American Indians on his list of statues for the proposed National Garden of American heroes.  Sitting Bull, a true American hero, would be a fine choice. 


Published July 6, 2020

President Donald Trump went to Mount Rushmore on the eve of Independence Day and brought a message aimed to excite his base as the summer progresses to the November presidential election.

Trump’s appearance was already an insult to American Indians, particularly the Sioux leaders who banned him from their historical treaty territory. He managed to make it worse when he unveiled a proposed national “National Garden of American Heroes” there.

Trump’s proposed garden was his attempt to respond to the movement to remove Confederate statues and racially inappropriate imagery in this country, such as sports mascots.

“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump said at Mount Rushmore. “This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped.”

At Mount Rushmore, Trump mentioned the arrest of those who attempted to topple the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park near the White House. Mentioning Jackson, who is labeled the “Indian killer” president, was an insult to Indian Country on the stolen ground where Mount Rushmore was carved by a sculptor with ties to the Klu Klux Klan.  

Earlier on Friday, Trump signed an executive order that included the following names to be included in the proposed garden and named some commissions, who are packed with his political appointees, to oversee the proposed American heroes garden.

In the executive order, Trump says:

“The National Garden should be composed of statues, including statues of John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.”

While several U.S. presidents are named to the list, there are no Democrats. Even Democratic presidents who have gained high marks through the years from historians, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy did not make the list.

As with Trump’s administration, there is a lack of diversity on Trump’s heroes list. A quick breakdown of the proposed heroes list shows 31 individuals named. Eight are women (25.8 percent) and are five African Americans (16,1 percent).

There are no American Indians (zero percent), Hispanics (zero percent), or Asians (zero percent) named to the list.

There is no mention of Cesar Chávez or Delores Huerta, both Mexican Americans on the list.

Since Trump did not name any American Indians to the proposed list, I decided to name some American Indian leaders who readily come to mind, such as Tecumseh, Pontiac, Sitting Bull, Sacagawea, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud.

Jim Thorpe, named the Greatest Athlete in the World, definitely should have made the list.

In modern times, I can think of people I consider American Indian heroes, such as Billy Mills, Wilma Mankiller, Dennis Banks, and Billy Frank. All of them should have been great contenders for the list.

Trump’s treatment of American Indians as inconsequential from consideration for the American heroes list is his way — and that of his cohorts — to erase this country’s first people from history. 

Because if you don’t mention them, they never existed. This notion contributes today to how American Indians struggle to get past “other” on statistical data.

Given the complexities of problems such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest that exists in the country today, it would seem presidential for Trump to spend his time attempting to bring COVID-19 and racial division under control.

But it appears Trump’s proposed National Garden of American Heroes is one more distraction. The president who should be the unifier of the nation shows he is more interested in sowing discord and division.

It would be ludicrous for this country to allow the man who defended the white supremacist group in Charlottesville to name American heroes. It would be ludicrous to allow the man who allowed putting refugee children in cages to determine who should be American heroes.

We don’t need Donald Trump to tell us who our heroes are.

Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the publisher and editor of Native News Online. He may be reached at


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DOJ appoints Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons coordinator for Michigan

By Native News Online Staff - July 06, 2020 at 06:35PM


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Department of Justice has hired a new Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) coordinator to cover the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan. 

The U.S. Attorneys for the Western and Eastern Districts of the state announced July 2 that they appointed veteran FBI agent Joel Postma to the post. 

Postma is one of 10 MMIP coordinators nationwide appointed by the DOJ to investigate cases involving missing and murdered Native Americans. 

During his career with the FBI, Postma spent several years investigating cases involving missing children and runaways and participated in death investigations in Indian County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

Postma also served on the Tribal Multi-disciplinary Team and Child Protection Team, as well as established procedures to investigate drug crimes in Indian County. 

To improve the relationship between the FBI and tribal law enforcement, Postma also created a ride-along program that helped increase familiarity among the various agencies. 

“Tribal communities have long suffered disproportionate violent crime and now the MMIP challenges in particular have caught the attention of the Department,” Andrew Birge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, said in a statement. 

Birge called Postma “eminently qualified to help respond to the challenges” and noted that tribal law enforcement agencies recommended that he be appointed to the position. 

In the new position, Postma is charged with identifying MMIP cases in Michigan, reaching out to tribal communities and coordinating various law enforcement efforts to respond to and address MMIP. That also includes improving data collection and analysis around MMIP across the state. 

Postma is a graduate of the criminal justice program at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The MMIP coordinator position is part of a national effort the Department of Justice announced in November 2019 to address cases of missing and murdered Native Amiercans. The department committed $1.5 million to hire MMIP coordinators to work with U.S. Attorney Offices spanning 11 states. 


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MIGIZI’s Fire Aftermath Brings the Community Together

By Monica White Pigeon - July 06, 2020 at 05:45PM

The day following the fire, hundreds of Migizi supporters and neighbors flooded the streets to clean up the wreckage. (Courtesy photo)

MINNEAPOLIS—On the early morning of May 29, Migizi Communication staff scrambled to save what they could from the burning flames that consumed its building during the George Floyd riots. The fires spread from building to building, leaving Migizi caught in the middle and leaving its 40-legacy in uncertainty.

Migizi’s current and former executive directors, Kelly Drummer (Lakota) and Laura Waterman Wittstock (Seneca), were seen comforting one another outside of wreckage while wearing their facial masks and keeping their distance. 

Migizi’s former and current executive directors, Laura Waterman Wittstock (left) and Kelly Drummer (right) were seen comforting each other outside the wreckage. 

Nearly a month later, the surrounding community and online supporters are proving that compassion and determination can turn seemingly impossible circumstances around. 

Migizi Communication is a youth-based nonprofit that provides resources, access and support for Native youth to explore their creativity and educational opportunities to become self-sufficient and contribute to social change.

The day following the fire, supporters and neighbors flooded the streets to clean up the wreckage. The Migizi Facebook page posted videos and photos showing the care and comradery of its neighbors, despite increasing racial and social tensions within the city.

“We have had hundreds of hundreds of people helping us clean out and take out the things that survived, which is a miracle,” said Kelly Drummer, Migizi executive director, according to a May 30 post. “The outpour is just amazing. I just can’t believe it.”

As part of a healing ceremony and community appreciation, Migizi hosted a Healing + Unity event outside the building’s ruins on June 5. Crowds socially distanced in the street as eyewitnesses shared their stories, healing songs were sung, and prayers went out to ancestors. 

Migizi’s Facebook page says, “We were so glad to have seen so many people come join us as a community. We sang, cried, laughed, and ate some delicious food donated by our community organizations and people.”

Relatively new to the neighborhood, Migizi’s recently constructed building has only been in use since July 2019. Previously, the center was housed in independent office spaces around Minneapolis and relied on funding and donations from corporate and church sponsors. Now, the organization is reaffirming its commitment to youth and rebuilding to create a safe and sacred space.

Wittstock, who founded Migizi (“bald eagle” in Ojibwe) in 1977, served 27 years as its executive director. Her vision to train young journalists to dispel misconceptions of Native culture in the media transformed into other cultural and educational programs, including Native Academy with the goal to increase the number of graduating postsecondary education Native students. 

“I see potential in every Indian kid… The potential is there if we give them a chance,” Wittstock said.  

Amidst the chaos, the organization still offers online programming and services including student appreciation boxes of cedar and sage, online cultural sessions known as Medicine Mondays and summer program set for early July. 

In efforts to fund the rebuild, Migizi continues to find willing donors among the online community. 

Playwright and New Native Theatre founder, Rhiana Yazzie (Navajo) and Jacob Vang, Migizi’s marketing and communication’s coordinator, took to Facebook and raised over $154,000 — exceeding the original goal of $100,000 within three days.

A benefit album of local Minnesota artists will help fund the rebuild efforts for Migizi. 

To date, Migizi has raised $656,249 through nearly 13,500 donors. With four ways to contribute and through a partnership with Tompkins Square Radio, supporters can also buy a curated album entitled “Out of the Ashes: A Benefit Album for Minneapolis,” which features local Minnesota artists. 

To get involved or for more information, visit the Migizi website here.


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NANA-owned federal contractor secures $7 million DOE contract

By Native News Online Staff - July 06, 2020 at 05:27PM

Courtesy photo.

HERNDON, Va. — The Alaska Native Corporation NANA has announced that one of its federal contracting subsidiaries has been awarded a $7 million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Under the five-year contract, Colorado Springs, Colo.-based RiverTech LLC will provide technical support services to the Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration in its Rocky Mountain Region.

Courtesy photo.

RiverTech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herndon, Va.-based Akima, which in turn is owned by NANA, offers a range of mission support, systems engineering, and I.T. capabilities to address engineering and operational challenges. The company is a U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) certified minority contractor, which provides the company access to federal sole-source contracts. 

The Western Area Power Administration is a federal power marketing organization that markets and transmits electricity generated by federally operated hydroelectric dams. The administration sells power to wholesale customers including towns; rural electric cooperatives; public utility and irrigation districts; federal, state, and military agencies; Native American tribes and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation customers.

“This award is a testimony to our longstanding support of the DOE,” Duncan Greene, president of Akima’s Mission Systems, Engineering & Technology Group, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with WAPA and support their mission to deliver clean, renewable, reliable hydroelectric power while enhancing America’s energy security.”

The Western Area Power Administration’s Rocky Mountain Region, one of four spanning a 14-state area in the central and western U.S., operates in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas. 

Under the contract, RiverTech will provide technical support services at locations in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. The activities covered under the contract include vehicle and heavy equipment maintenance, facility maintenance, environmental service and engineering support services.

The Department of Energy awarded the contract under the federal government’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) program for small businesses.

Courtesy photo.

Most recently, RiverTech was awarded a five-year, $70.2 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to take on non-flying duties at 14 bases nationwide in an effort to reduce the workload for the branch’s Mobility Air Forces flying personnel, as Native News Online reported in June. 

Akima, RiverTech’s parent company, is a federal contractor founded in 1995 that specializes in facilities, maintenance and repair, as well as I.T., logistics, protective services, systems engineering, mission support, furniture and construction. Akima employs 7,500 people across its more than 40 subsidiaries, and currently is working on more than 2,000 contracts and task orders, according to its website. 

The businesses are an enterprise of the NANA Alaska Native Corporation, which is owned by 14,300 Iñupiat shareholders with roots in a 38,000-square-mile section of northwest Alaska, much of which is located above the Arctic Circle. 

In addition to federal contracting, NANA also maintains a diversified portfolio of commercial businesses in the mining, oil and gas, health care, education, construction and exploration.

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Black Hills treaty defender faces felony charges

By Dalton Walker - July 06, 2020 at 04:43PM

Of those taken into custody at Friday’s protest ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit, only Nick Tilsen, Oglala Lakota, remained in custody all weekend

Click to Read the Full Article: Indian Country Today