Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronavirus cases reach 71 for Navajo Nation, as virus spreads through Indian country

First Responders on Navajo Nation distribute health information. Photo Navajo President's Office

Coronavirus cases reach 71 on the Navajo Nation, as the virus
spreads through Indian country

Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The coronavirus spread nationwide through Indian country this week and devastated families. At least two Native Americans have died from the virus, in Oklahoma and Washington State. On Thursday, the Navajo Nation reported that cases increased to 71 among Navajos. IHS reports ten cases in both California and Portland IHS agencies.

The initial spread in Chilchinbeto near Kayenta, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation followed a gathering of the Nazarene Church, the Navajo Times reported.

Another church gathering in Pine Hill, N.M., near Gallup, further spread coronavirus to Dine'. The pastor's family was hospitalized.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota reported its first case of the virus. The Lakota is recovering at home. On Wind River in Wyoming, one case of a Northern Araphoe testing positivee was linked to a cluster of virus cases in a Lander nursing home.

The United States reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world with more than 1,200 deaths, and the virus spread across Indian country.

In the northwest, where the coronavirus spread was initially the fastest, the family of Geraldine Williams of Tulalip Bay in Washington said they were heartbroken following the death of Geraldine. 

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee earlier restricted gatherings to 250 people.The Seattle Times reports,  "But some tribal governments, such as the Port Gamble S’Klallam on the Kitsap Peninsula, had already gone further, banning gatherings of more than 10 for at least 90 days."

"Such extreme measures are necessary, tribal leaders say. The Makah Tribe and Lummi Nation enacted shelter in place ordinances for their citizens, and the Yakama Nation followed suit Monday night," the Seattle Times reports.

In Oklahoma, the first person to pass to the Spirit World from coronavirus complications was Merle Dry, 55, of the Cherokee Nation. Coronavirus has also spread to Native communities in Wyoming and Minnesota.

Vox reports,  "A Northern Arapaho tribal member on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming tested positive on Saturday and the tribe has declared a state of emergency for the reservation that spans over 2.2 million acres."

"Last weekend, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, lost her brother to Covid-19 after he was already battling a cancer diagnosis," Vox reports.

South of Phoenix, the Gila River Indian Community has two coronavirus cases. One is an Akimel O'otham member and the second is a member of another Native American Nation. Both are recovering at home.

One person living on the Fort McDowell Indian Nation near Phoenix died. However, the person, 49, with underlying health conditions, was not a Yavapai tribal member.

The Indian Health Service reports coronavirus cases in most of its agencies, with the greatest number in the Navajo, with ten cases in both Portland and California agencies. There are two cases in the Great Plains.

IHS statistics show that only about one-half of Native Americans tested have obtained results of the tests. (See more below.)

The epicenter of coronavirus is in New York, where more than 100 people died on Wednesday night, and patients lined up outside hospitals. There was rapid spread in New Jersey.

The spread in the Southeast U.S. is alarming, with rapid spread in New Orleans and north through Mississippi, continuing through the Smokey Mountains into the Carolinas. 

Atlanta, Denver, Chicago and other major cities with international airports show large numbers of cases. Cities with cruise ship ports such as Seattle and Los Angeles have been hard hit by the virus.

In Canada, Mohawks in Kahnawake report five cases. Last week, a doctor who had been at the hospital tested positive for coronavirus.

Below are two statements from the Navajo President and statistics from IHS.

New cases of COVID-19 reaches 71 for Navajo Nation
By Navajo President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Thursday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer were informed by the Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Service, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center, that the number of positive tests for COVID-19 has reached a total of 71 for the Navajo Nation. The cases include the following counties:
Navajo County, AZ: 42 *changed from yesterday, due to clarification of one individual’s residency
Apache County, AZ: 9
Coconino County, AZ: 7
McKinley County, NM: 5
San Juan County, NM: 7
Cibola County, NM: 1
“According to health care and pandemic experts, the best way to beat this virus is to stay home, unless you have an emergency or need food or other essential items. There are many test results pending and the number of positive tests is going to increase quickly as long as people continue to be careless by traveling and ignoring precautions. There are people who don’t know they have the virus who are spreading it by going into public – that’s the reality of the situation. There’s been calls from the public to close all roads, but the fact is that we do not have sufficient public safety personnel and resources to man roadways around the clock. Our officers are needed in our communities,” said President Nez.

He added that the needs for all health care facilities on the Navajo Nation are growing daily and this includes the need for personnel, protective wear, hospital beds, and other crucial resources and supplies.

“There’s a national shortage in hospital facilities and supplies and it’s only going to get worse until people adhere to precautionary measures. We are doing our best to get supplies where they are needed. To our health care workers, thank you for everything you are doing and please know that we are praying and doing everything we can to get you help,” added President Nez.

“We have to come together as a Nation if we want to lessen the number of positive cases and beat this virus. We have to meet our prayers half way by staying home as much as possible. We can do this together and eventually we will, but the sooner everyone begins to listen to the health care experts the sooner we will see improvements. Please continue to pray for our health care workers, first responders, and all of our Navajo people,” stated Vice President Lizer.

A Public Health Emergency “Stay at Home Order” remains in effect requiring all residents of the Navajo Nation to remain home and isolated and all non-essential businesses to close to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

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

President Nez and Vice President Lizer take action on several resolutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic
Press statement
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Thursday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer approved three resolutions that were approved by the 24th Navajo Nation Council during a special session held on March 20, to expedite the acceptance of donations that help fight COVID-19, temporarily reduce chapter meeting quorum requirements to allow chapters to take action on resolutions related to COVID-19 while practicing precautionary measures such as social distancing, and expedite the process of implementing more telecommunications infrastructure to help first responders during the COVID-19.

With the approval of resolution CMA-08-20, certain provisions within Title II of the Navajo Nation Code will be temporarily waived to allow the President of the Navajo Nation to accept donations, which will allow the Nation to expedite the use of contributions to help fight COVID-19.

“We understand that essential functions of our government need to continue and that might require the temporary waiver of certain provisions to expedite processes. With the state of emergency for public health purposes it is a blessing that our Navajo Nation enterprises step up to help our people, their relatives, with a donation,” said President Nez, referring to donations from Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, Navajo Housing Authority, Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, and several others who are contributing.

They also approved resolution CMA-12-20, to expedite the process for FirstNet and other critical wireless telecommunications to assist first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic by temporarily suspending the Nation’s standard regulatory processes.

“We need to support our first responders as much as possible and we see this resolution as a means to doing that. There will be repercussions for any company that attempts to take advantage of the temporary suspension of certain requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Vice President Lizer.

President Nez and Vice President Lizer also approved resolution CMA-09-20, which temporarily changes chapter meeting quorum requirements to three registered chapter members to prevent large gatherings and to encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the measure also limits chapter actions to those directly related to COVID-19 only.

“We encourage everyone to stay home, but if a very crucial matter arises, we understand that there may be a need for chapters to convene to take action on certain matters related to COVID-19. This temporary reduction in quorum requirements must not be taken advantage of and must be used prudently. Once this pandemic is over, all resolutions passed with the temporary provisions should come back to the full chapter quorum for ratification. The number one priority in signing this measure into law is to protect the health of our Navajo people,” stated President Nez, who also noted that the new provisions expire in 60 days unless extended.

Lastly, President Nez and Vice President Lizer exercised the veto authority for CMA-15-20, which sought to waive the quorum provision for the Diné College Board of Regents that requires members to be physically present for meetings. The legislation was passed by the Council with no debate, as part of a consent agenda.

“While we know the legislation has good intentions, there is no clear reasoning why it is an emergency at this time. We strongly support social distancing and gatherings of 10 or less people and the board has less than 10 members. In addition, there are no restrictions included in the legislation that limit the actions that the board can take during this time. We need accountability measures in place,” Vice President Lizer said.

President Nez and Vice President Lizer thank the 24th Navajo Nation Council for addressing these matters to help our Nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. All actions taken on the four resolutions are effective immediately.

---
Nationwide: IHS shows most agencies have coronavirus cases. IHS shows only about one-half of those tested have results of tests.

COVID-19 Cases by IHS Area as of March 25, 2020

Following guidance established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clinicians at IHS collect samples with swabs and access testing through laboratories in their jurisdictions. This is the standard testing procedure across the country and is not unique to the IHS. These data represent the total number of Indian Health Service patients tested for COVID-19, reported to the IHS as of 7:00 p.m. EDT on March 25, 2020. A confirmed case is defined as a person who has tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus. Data is reported from IHS, tribal, and urban Indian organization facilities, though reporting by tribal and urban programs is voluntary. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the IHS will provide updated information as it becomes available and is verified.

IHS Area


Alaska 1

Albuquerque 1

Bemidji 0

Billings 1

California 10

Great Plains 2

Nashville 0

Navajo 54

Oklahoma City 2

Phoenix 2

Portland 10

Tucson 0

Many Native Nations have issued restrictions and curfews

Order of the President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota


Pursuant to Article 1, Clause 1 of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe By-Laws and pursuant to Rosebud Sioux Tribe Council Resolution 2020-75, which was passed on March 25, 2020, I am hereby issuing the following Order effective at 12:01 A.M. (After midnight Friday night) on March 28, 2020:


1. A reservation-wide curfew of 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. shall be in effect covering all persons found upon the reservation. Exceptions to this are as follows:

a. Going to/from the hospital or a doctor’s/dentist appointment or providing transportation for someone who is. This includes dialysis services as well.
b. Persons who are taking care of elderly relatives.
c. Medical professionals and essential staff going to/from work.
d. Persons identified as essential employees of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe going to/coming from their place of employment.
e. Clergy and medicine men who are engaged in pastoral care and related services.

2. Shelter in Place. All persons are hereby required to shelter in place. Exceptions to this are as follows:

a. Going to/from the hospital or a doctor’s/dentist appointment or providing transportation for someone who is.
b. Going to/from dialysis or providing transportation for someone who is.
c. Those performing essential household functions and utilizing essential services like banks, post office, hospitals & clinics, grocery stores, pharmacies, and general stores as well as employees who work and provide those essential services.
d. Clergy and medicine men who are engaged in pastoral care and related services.
e. Medical professionals and essential staff going to/from work. Indian Health Service and other medical facilities need to provide a listing of those professionals and staff to RST Law Enforcement.
f. Persons identified as essential employees of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe going to/coming from work.
g. Any other exceptions will need to have the express written authorization of the President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe or his designee.

3. Business Hours. Businesses who operate gas stations, convenience stores, retail stores or restaurants shall close at 8 p.m. and may not reopen before 6:30 a.m. the next day. This will enable employees working at these places and their customers to honor the curfew.

4. Restaurants. Restaurants, delis and grocery stores are to close their dining rooms and offer take-out or drive thru services only while they are open.

5. Unaccompanied Minors prohibited. There will no unaccompanied minors in public. They must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

6. Gatherings limited in Scope and Duration. Gatherings shall be limited to less than 10 people with the same area following CDC-recommended social distancing maintaining a six-foot buffer between people.

7. Businesses are closed to non-residents. For the purposes of this directive, people living in Gregory County, Lyman County, Mellette County, Todd County, and Tripp County are considered residents. Persons unable to prove that they reside in any of the counties listed may be refused service.

Individuals found to have violated this order will be assessed a civil fine of $250 per incident.

Businesses found to have violated this order will be assessed a civil fine of $500 per incident and face possible suspension or revocation of their business license.

THIS ORDER SHALL AUTOMATICALLY EXPIRE WHEN THE STATE OF EMERGENCY HAS BEEN RESCINDED UNLESS SOONER RESCINDED BY THE PRESIDENT OR THE ROSEBUD SIOUX TRIBAL COUNCIL.

RODNEY M. BORDEAUX, PRESIDENT



The following graphs from New York Times today:





About the author

Brenda Norrell, publisher of Censored News, has been a reporter in Indian country for 39 years. She began as a reporter at Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She worked as a stringer for AP and USA Today. After working as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated. She created Censored News in 2006. She has a master's degree in international health.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

They say 8 billion dollars too help tribes.
That is $ 8,000,000,000.00 USD

There is over 5 million Native Amerricans, 78% live off the reservation.

So there is roughly 6 million Native Americans.
That is 6,000,000.

$ 8,000,000,000/6,000,000= $1,333.3333 dollars per tribal member.

You can count on never seeing those funds, because tribal members won't qualify, it goes straight to the tribal offices. Embezzle and forget about the peoples!

Unknown said...

They say 8 billion dollars too help tribes.
That is $ 8,000,000,000.00 USD

There is over 5 million Native Amerricans, 78% live off the reservation.

So there is roughly 6 million Native Americans.
That is 6,000,000.

$ 8,000,000,000/6,000,000= $1,333.3333 dollars per tribal member.

You can count on never seeing those funds, because tribal members don't qualify, it goes straight to the tribal offices. Embezzle and forget about the peoples!

About Censored News

Censored News is published by Brenda Norrell. Since 2006, Censored News has received more than 20 million pageviews. As a collective of writers, photographers and broadcasters, we publish news of Indigenous Peoples and human rights. Contact publisher Brenda Norrell: brendanorrell@gmail.com

Donate to Censored News



Please donate to Censored News for travel and equipment for our live coverage. Thank you, Brenda.