Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 29, 2020

Navajo Council approves hardship assistance, now goes before Navajo President

Council voted unanimously Thursday, Sept. 24, to authorize $49,454,416 for coronavirus (Covid-19) hardship assistance.

Office of the Speaker

Navajo Nation Council
September 29, 2020

Navajo Nation Council approves up to $1,500 in coronavirus hardship assistance for enrolled Navajo tribal members, up to $500 for children

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Council voted unanimously Thursday, Sept. 24, to authorize $49,454,416 for coronavirus (Covid-19) hardship assistance to provide emergency financial support to enrolled Navajo tribal members living both on and off the Navajo Nation.

The Council approved up to $1,500 in hardship assistance for individual enrolled Navajo tribal members who were over the age of 18 years as of Mar. 1 and $500 per person under the age of 18 years as of Mar. 1. The hardship assistance program will be funded by the Navajo Nation CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Stimulus) Fund created by the Council in May through Resolution No. CMY-44-20, as line-item vetoed.

Council delegates approved the hardship assistance funding through Resolution No. CS-74-20 (Legislation No. 0201-20), sponsored by Council Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton (Shiprock), by a vote of 21 in favor and 0 opposed. The bill was co-sponsored by Council Delegate Vince R. James (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinłichii', Steamboat).

The president has 10 days to issue a regular veto or a line-item veto on the Council's approved legislation or the president may enact the resolution into law by signing it within the same period. If the president takes no action, the resolution automatically becomes Navajo law.

"Covid-19 has affected every single Navajo person living on and off the Navajo Nation," said Delegate Charles-Newton on Thursday. "We have been hearing from single parents who are struggling to purchase computers, WiFi and WiFi boosters so their children can receive the necessity of education. We hear from ranchers who need extra money to haul water because the local windmill is not operating. We've heard directly from our people who are suffering. This money is going to go directly to the people."

The Council previously proposed and approved the hardship assistance program, but only $1,000 was signed into law by President Jonathan Nez, Delegate Charles-Newton explained.

Thursday's action by the Council adds an additional $50 million to the program with a possibility for additional added funds if Executive Branch programs fail to expend project funding previously approved by the Council as the Dec. 30 CARES Act deadline nears.

If enacted by the president, the hardship assistance program and applications would be administered by the Office of the Controller with legislative oversight by the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) of the Navajo Nation Council.

Navajo Nation Controller Pearline Kirk told the Council Thursday an online portal would be created to quickly and safely process applications for hardship assistance. The Controller added the Navajo Business and Artisan Relief programs established by the Council in July are currently being administered through a similar online portal through the Division of Economic Development. Necessary policy changes can be approved in coordination with the BFC and implemented as part of the program, the Controller explained.

To ensure the greatest number of Navajo people qualify for hardship assistance, the Council required all applicants to demonstrate Navajo tribal enrollment and further restricted the Office of the Controller from using personal income as a basis for emergency financial assistance.

Once the president acts on Council's resolution, the Office of the Controller and the Navajo Nation Council will provide public announcements of the hardship assistance application opening and related information.


The Council approved several amendments to Legislation No. 0201-20 beginning with the Budget and Finance Committee's approved change of the hardship assistance administration from the Office of the President and Vice President to the Office of the Controller.

The approved expenditure plan for the hardship assistance program states: "The Executive Branch, through the Office of the Controller, is responsible for administering the Expenditure Plan and shall develop eligibility criteria and an application and approval process ensuring that any funds disbursed comply with Title V of the CARES Act and Treasury guidance. The Budget and Finance Committee shall review and, if necessary, amend, then approve the eligibility criteria and approval process plan after recommendation of Health, Education, and Human Services Committee."

Additionally, BFC approved initial requirements for the hardship assistance program, which include the tribal enrollment and the provision against basing emergency financial assistance on an income basis.

Delegate Charles-Newton provided further explanation on Thursday that, of the Council's previous approvals of nearly all CARES Funds for response activities, only $29,769,107.38 had actually been spent as of Sep. 21. That information was provided by the Office of the Controller.

The Council's first amendment to Legislation No. 0201-20, sponsored by Council Delegate Elmer P. Begay (Dilcon, Indian Wells, Teesto, Whitecone, Greasewood Springs), added references to nine additional executive orders regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and reaffirmed the continuing overall increases in Covid-19 cases and related mortalities.

Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty (Cove, Toadlena/Two Grey Hills, Red Valley, Tsé'ałnáoozt'i'í, Sheepsprings, Beclabito, Gad'ii'áhí/Tó Ko'í) sponsored the second amendment following confirmation from the Office of the Controller of the remaining unallocated CARES Funds. OOC reported $49,454,416 has not been allocated and advised Council on the risks of approving legislation that are not acted upon by the president and then become law, resulting in an overallocation of funds.

On Thursday, the Council also approved CARES Funds for local chapter governments to expedite the spending of the remainder of the federal funds. That resulted in the revision of total unallocated funds available to the hardship assistance program from $175 million to the approved $49,454,416 amount.

Council delegates approved the revised amount to avoid over-allocating CARES Funds and to reduce the Navajo Nation's risk of potential audit findings.

Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. (Tachee/Blue Gap, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tselani/Cottonwood, Low Mountain) sought additional verification from the Navajo Nation Office of Vital Records and Identification (NNOVRI) of the number of currently enrolled Navajo tribal members who would potentially be eligible for assistance through the hardship program.

NNOVRI Program Manager Ronald Duncan reported 327,726 enrolled Navajo tribal members as of August.

Council Delegate Paul Begay, Jr. (Coppermine, K'ai'bii'tó, LeChee, Tonalea/Red Lake, Bodaway/Gap) stressed the importance of equality during Thursday's 13-hour special session. He acknowledged the proposed allocation would not be adequate to serve every potential qualified applicant for hardship assistance under the initial allocation. That concern was preceded by questions from Delegate Elmer P. Begay regarding the denial process and notification. Much of the policy detail will be overseen by the BFC if the legislation is enacted, explained the Controller.

Council Delegate Herman M. Daniels (Ts'ah Bii' Kin, Navajo Mountain, Shonto, Oljato) also expressed concern the hardship assistance would be immediately spent in border towns, instead of within the Navajo Nation where it can further support communities. Delegate Charles-Newton admitted that border town spending by Navajo recipients of hardship assistance is unavoidable, but the funding would still accomplish the purpose of providing much-needed support to the Navajo people.

Council delegates continued to stress the critical Dec. 30 deadline to expend federal CARES Act funds and the Council's previous approval of reversion provisions to help in reallocating unspent funds. Delegate Crotty and Delegate Otto Tso (Tónaneesdizí) pushed for more information from the Controller on the status of reversions, which would increase the amount of available CARES Funds that can be reallocated. Council Delegate Jamie (Alamo, Ramah, Tóhajiilee), chairman of the BFC, said those allocations will be reviewed by the BFC with the Controller after the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Pending the enactment of the Council resolution into Navajo law, the Office of the Controller will require additional work to implement the hardship assistance program. Following enactment and implementation, the application and online portal is expected to be open for enrolled Navajo tribal members to submit a request for hardship assistance.

All legislation of the Navajo Nation Council may be accessed online at: An archived live-stream of Thursday's special session of the Navajo Nation Council may be viewed at: The Council's website may be accessed at:

Following the vote by the 24th Navajo Nation Council on Legislation No. 0201-20, the legislation began a quality assurance process involving the Office of Legislative Services, the Office of Legislative Counsel and the Office of the Speaker to ensure all amendments and exhibits are properly incorporated into the final resolution certified by the Speaker or Speaker Pro Tem.

MEDIA CONTACTS:, (928) 287-2085

Byron C. Shorty, INT Communications Director

Timothy Benally, Public Information Officer 

September 27, 2020

Statement on Debra White Plume's Health by Owe Aku International Justice Project

Statement from Owe Aku regarding our leader Debra White Plume

Many of you have inquired about the status of Debra White Plume’s health and we wanted to update you on her condition. Doctors discovered a mass on Debra’s lung along with a couple of masses in her abdomen. Because of the seriousness of this discovery, doctors decided to begin chemotherapy and radiation before the biopsy results were returned from the Mayo Clinic. Debra is comfortable and surrounded by her extended family and stated that the “anti-nausea meds are working real good.” Owe Aku and especially Ama’s Freedom School continues to operate and Debra is participating, as always, with her wisdom and guidance while our young leaders step up to fill the gap left by her illness We all continue to be encouraged by the prayers and warm thoughts coming in from around the world and are grateful to all of our supporters, friends, allies and especially tiyospaye.

For people that want to assist during this time donations and/or supplies can be sent to Debra’s temporary residence near the hospital in Rapid City.

Please email Owe Aku for Debra's street address in Rapid City: 

Some recommendations for donations are:
*Assistance with medical house rental. Rather than commute 200+miles roundtrip for weekly appointments and treatments, Debra has secured a rental home near the hospital in Rapid City SD.
*Rental House Utility Bills (electric, internet, cell phone)
*Gas for transport and for rotating caregivers
*Walmart, Target, or Safeway gift cards for a healthy, plant-based diet and household/personal necessities.
*Food delivery service to give caregivers a respite from meal prep: Grub Hub available in Rapid City.
For more information contact

Go Fund Me account
Read more
Censored News: Celebrating Red Warrior Debra White Plume

September 26, 2020

Indigenous Women: Protect the Tongass National Forest in Alaska


Indigenous Women Respond to U.S. Forest Service Plans to Gut Protections on The Tongass National Forest in Alaska

By Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
Censored News

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, California – With wildfires blazing in the Amazon Rainforest and across western states in the U.S.— and the climate crisis and environmental degradation ever escalating— efforts to repeal environmental protections continue to expand globally. Currently, the United States Forest Service (USFS) is intensifying plans to roll back long-standing protections against logging and road-building in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Today, the USFS announced a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and moved one step closer to exempting the Tongass, known as the nation’s “climate forest,” from the hard-fought for National Roadless Rule.

September 25, 2020

Fed. Court Sets August Trial Date for Thunderhawk v. Morton County -- Standing Rock Civil Rights Lawsuit

Federal Court Sets August Trial Date for Standing Rock Civil Rights Lawsuit
Thunderhawk v. County of Morton, North Dakota
By Columbia Law School
Censored News
New York, September 25, 2020 — Judge Daniel M. Traynor (U.S. District Court for North Dakota) has set aside two weeks for trial starting August 16, 2021 for Thunderhawk v. County of Morton, a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging the five-month discriminatory closure of Highway 1806 at the height of the NoDAPL movement at Standing Rock.  The trial was set at a recent status conference before Magistrate Judge Charles S. Miller (U.S. District Court for North Dakota), at which swift discovery deadlines were also imposed.
"We are pleased that this case is moving forward so expeditiously," lead attorney Noah Smith-Drelich said. "We appreciate the commitment that Judge Traynor and Judge Miller have shown to ensuring that the plaintiffs in this case have their day in court without further delay."

September 24, 2020

Members of Congress, Tribes, State Governments call to shut down Dakota Access Pipeline

Photo by Ryan Vizzions Standing Rock NO DAPL


Now, 24 members of Congress, 27 Tribes and Tribal organizations, and 19 state governments submit briefs supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight against the pipeline

We’re thankful that so many members of congress, Tribes, and state governments are standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in saying no to DAPL. These leaders understand that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe deserve the right to reject a pipeline running through their lands -- Jan Hasselman, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice

By Earthjustice
Censored News
Sept. 23, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Members of Congress, Tribes, and state governments today submitted briefs in support of shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The briefs come after a federal judge in July found that the pipeline violated federal law and ordered it shut down pending an environmental impact statement examining the impacts the DAPL would have on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The case is now on appeal before the D.C. Circuit, which has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 4.

The following is a statement from Jan Hasselman, Earthjustice staff attorney, who has been representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight against DAPL:

“We’re thankful that so many members of congress, Tribes, and state governments are standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in saying no to DAPL. The decision on whether DAPL should keep running is ultimately a political one, and these leaders understand that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe deserve the right to reject a pipeline running through their lands.”
Brief submitted by Members of Congress
Brief submitted by the Tribes and Tribal organizations
Brief submitted by state governments


Siham Zniber, Earthjustice

Listuguj Mi’gmaq battle Canada for Treaty lobster fishing rights


Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government
Censored News

On Sunday, September 20, the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government (“LMG”) began its fall lobster fishery. The catch will be used to provide for the community’s needs, with most distributed to community members for food and the rest sold to finance fisheries operations and community initiatives to support economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), however, will issue a licence prohibiting the sale of lobster caught by the LMG this fall, restricting its use to food, social, and ceremonial purposes. This goes against the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 decision in Marshall, which confirmed that the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1760-61 protect the right of Mi’gmaq communities to fish and sell fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood.
“Canada tells us repeatedly that they acknowledge our treaty right to sell fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood,” said Darcy Gray, Chief of the LMG. “But, as an institution, the DFO won’t change how it operatesto allow us to sell the lobster we catch every fall. Instead, they criminalize us for exercising our rights. That is systemic racism. It continues year after year.”

Ohlone West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site announcement Sept. 24, 2020

Ohlone West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site announcement Sept. 24, 2020

Special Announcement by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Regarding the West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site

The Campaign to Save the Historic West Berkeley Ohlone Shellmound and Village Site and the National Trust for Historic Preservation will hold a Press Conference to Make a Special Announcement regarding the Shellmound and Village site at 1900 Fourth Street in Berkeley, CA, Thursday, September 24, at 10 AM PT.

Lisjan Ohlone leader Corrina Gould, along with Brian Turner of the San Francisco Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sacred Land Film Project director Toby McLeod, Confederated Villages of Lisjan attorney Michelle LaPena, Berkeley Vice-Mayor Sophie Hahn, the Save the West Berkeley Shellmound Campaign Steering Committee (and other speakers to be announced) will hold a press conference to make this exciting special announcement:

September 23, 2020

Celebrating Red Warrior Debra White Plume

Debra White Plume
Photo by Kent Lebsock 

Photo Debra White Plume arrested at White House, demanding a halt to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Photo Debra White Plume giving Lewis and Clark re-enactors a symbolic blanket of smallpox. Photo by Brenda Norrell, Chamberlain, South Dakota

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Sept. 23, 2020

We celebrate today Debra White Plume, Oglala Lakota, and her courage and bravery as a matriarch for a new generation. We share with you the words of our longtime friend, who was one of the first writers for Censored News.

We honor her bold actions for truth as she fought for the water at the Red Warrior Camp in Standing Rock, fought against the Keystone XL Pipeline and was arrested in Washington, and stood to block the megaload trucks in South Dakota.

September 22, 2020

'Gather' film showcases Native Americans reclaiming food sovereignty


GATHER: The Fight to Revitalize Native Food Ways

By Bioneers
Censored News

Gather, a recently released documentary and New York Times critic’s pick, is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Gather follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river.

Learn more about the film.

Indigenous Rights and Women's Leadership -- WECAN Webinar


Indigenous Rights and Women's Leadership
are Central to Divestment Strategies
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
1:00pm EST USA Time // 5:00pm UTC
In light of the climate crisis, environmental racism, colonial policies, gender inequality, and the Covid-19 pandemic, it has never been more clear the importance of Indigenous rights and self-determination and women’s leadership as central strategies for justice and protection of Mother Earth. From the frontlines of extraction to the boardrooms of financial institutions to the halls of governments, Indigenous women are leading resistance efforts against the fossil fuel industry. Indigenous women and their allies are building critical strategies for divestment from fossil fuels, calling for justice and accountability from the financial sector, and advocating for a Just Transition that places people and planet first.

Indigenous women and their allies are demanding that financial institutions adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement, protect the climate, respect the rights of nature, and the rights and lives of Indigenous communities experiencing the impacts of fossil fuel development. While much more is still needed, divestment advocacy, direct actions, and campaigning are having a critical impact on the fossil fuel industry regarding moving funds out from the dirty energy sector and generating policy changes to uphold Indigenous and human rights as we face the climate crisis.
Speakers include: Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Nation, long-time Native rights activist, Environmental Ambassador and WECAN Board Member; Charlene Aleck, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, former councillor with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Trans Mountain pipeline expansion opponent; Monique Verdin, Houma Nation, Director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, Organizer with Another Gulf is Possible; Michelle Cook, Diné, Founder of Divest Invest Protect, Founder and Co-Director of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegations; with facilitation and comments by Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), Co-Director of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegations.

Full event description and speaker bios can be found at the Facebook event and on our website!

September 19, 2020

Lakotas arrested at KXL pipeline protest: Zeibach Sheriff intrudes, police use excessive force, on Cheyenne River Lakota Nation

Photos by Andy HighBear

Photos by Andy HighBear

Photo by Andy HighBear

Lakotas arrested at KXL pipeline protest on Friday: Zeibach Sheriff intrudes, tribal police use excessive force, on Cheyenne River Lakota Nation

"It became clear the police were more than happy to hurt our people when they targeted one of our white allies. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal police instigated, by pulling out tasers and using excessive force. They pushed down an elder who was merely standing by and asking the police to stop." -- Joseph White Eyes.

Article by Brenda Norrell
Photos by Andy HighBear
Censored News

EAGLE BUTTE, South Dakota -- Lakotas were arrested at a KXL pipeline protest on the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation on Friday by the local police and county sheriff's deputies using excessive force during the peaceful and prayerful gathering. The Zeibach County Sheriff intruded on the sovereign land of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation.

Lakota Water Protectors rallied to bring awareness to a recent secret meeting held by TransCanada Energy and seven Cheyenne River Council representatives without Oyates' consent. Five people were roughly arrested at the prayerful and peaceful protest, including Lakota women.

September 18, 2020

Colonization and Domestic Violence by StrongHearts Native Helpline

Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Penn. The United States kidnapped Native children and forced them
to give up their traditional ways, forcing on them English, Christianity, and U.S. militarism.

                            Colonization and Domestic Violence

By StrongHearts Native Helpline
Censored News

The parallels that can be drawn between colonialism and domestic violence can be seen through their definitions and through a review of Native American history. Having lived through genocide and horrific suffering, the aftermath of European contact and colonization continues to not only haunt Native Americans, it wreaks havoc in their everyday lives.

Colonization is the act of domination involving the subjugation of one people to another. It’s the practice of gaining full or partial control over another country and its Indigenous peoples, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically. In the process, colonizers impose their religion, economics and cultural practices on others. Simply put, this is Native American history in a nutshell.

Navajo President blocks Dine' College professor from questioning COVID-19 vaccine risks

Navajo President blocks Dine' College professor from questioning COVID-19 vaccine risks

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Navajo President Jonathan Nez blocked a Dine' College professor online from questioning the biological and cultural risks of coronavirus vaccine experiments on Navajos. 

Dine' College Assoc. Professor Christine M. Ami said, "I have been officially blocked from commenting on the Office of President and Vice President's site. This is an example of the censorship that our Navajo Nation government is perusing. I’m not being belligerent -- I am asking basic questions."

Ami raises the important ethical question of the medical researchers and drug companies offering money as an incentive in a population that is economically disadvantaged, especially when the vaccine risks are unknown.

September 17, 2020

The Good Hearts Deliver: Lakota, Navajo and Hopi compassionate relief in times of pandemic


Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief
"One of our amazing team leaders, Hector Ray, transporting a food distribution kit from Chinle, Az to Jeddito." -- Cassandra Begay

The Good Hearts Deliver: Compassionate relief is inspiring as Lakota, Navajo and Hopi grow crops, cook gourmet meals, fill water tanks, and deliver to elderly, families in need and fellow Natives in quarantine. Good heart volunteers ridging the gap in Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Meals for Relatives COVID-19 Rapid City Community Response -- Lakotas cook gourmet for Natives in quarantine in Rapid City

September 15, 2020

Navajos already used in controversial coronavirus plasma transfusions, next vaccine experiments, the Navajo Nation confirms

Navajos already used in controversial coronavirus plasma transfusions, next vaccine experiments, the Navajo Nation confirms

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News exclusive
Copyright Censored News
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- Navajos are already being used in controversial coronavirus plasma infusions by Johns Hopkins University researchers who are being funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The controversial coronavirus plasma infusions, which are not FDA approved, are already underway using Navajos at the Indian Health Service hospitals in Shiprock, N.M. on the Navajo Nation, and at the Gallup, N.M., IHS hospital, the Navajo Nation confirmed.

Jill Jim, executive director of the Navajo Department of Health, responded to Censored News questions late Tuesday.

"Johns Hopkins received funding for these experimental infusions. Johns Hopkins University has received funding from the Department of Defense and the Bloomberg Foundation to conduct this clinical trial, which is being overseen by the FDA," the Navajo Departement of Health told Censored News Tuesday about the coronavirus plasma infusions.

Navajos to be used in coronavirus vaccine experiments by Johns Hopkins and drug company

Navajo government approves high-risk COVID-19 vaccine experiments on Navajos by Johns Hopkins and the drug company Pfizer

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Updated Sept. 16, 2020
New article: Navajos already being used in controversial coronavirus experiments by Johns Hopkins University on the Navajo Nation. The coronavirus vaccines will be the second coronavirus medical experiment using Navajos.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation government has agreed to allow Johns Hopkins to carry out coronavirus vaccine experiments on Navajos.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez said Friday that the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 study will be administered by the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in Chinle, Arizona, and in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation and in Gallup, New Mexico.

Mohawk Nation News 'The Timely Everett Report 1922'

 oya na tehatiyarostens ne onkwesonha, aktehnon nihatinakareh tanon oya natehatiwennotens, akwekon tehsonkwawi kanon entowatorahtshekeh tanon tsino natekontakhanion. 
For audio go to MNN:
Audio Player
MNN. The timely Everett Report of 1922 confirms us as caretakers of turtle island. Our children and the unborn have all the rights. We can never convey or sell any of turtle island from ocean to ocean, pole to pole.  Read about the systemic injustice since 1492: